Taxes

PSA: If You Pay $20,000 To Someone Who Calls Himself The “Tax Doctor,” You Deserve Whatever Happens Next

Screw up on your tax return that’s due next week, and you may be subject to any number of civil penalties. For example, if you understate your income by more than the greater of $5,000 or 10% of the correct tax liability, and you’ll pay an additional 20% of the liability as penance under Section […]

GAO Went Undercover to Discover Tax Preparers Are Terrible at Tax Preparing

Mind you, it was a small sample of 19 but of those, 17 were wrong: GAO found significant preparer errors during undercover site visits to 19 randomly selected preparers — a sample which cannot be generalized. Refund errors in the site visits varied from giving the taxpayer $52 less to $3,718 more than the correct […]

Milwaukee Man Killed for Tax Refund Offers Another Reason to Adjust Withholding

The violent filing season of 2014 continues: A Milwaukee man was charged Tuesday in connection with a homicide on the city's south side in which the victim was targeted for his tax refund. Doneal Bell, 21, was charged with felony murder in the fatal shooting of Mario D. Towns, 23, on March 1 in the […]

Selling Pot Out of Your Tax Prep Business Named ‘420 Multi Services’ Will Only Fool People for So Long

Remember awhile back when we looked at some unusual tax offices? Well even longer ago, we wrote about a Bronx joint called 420 Multi Services. I know what you’re thinking. What you’re thinking is not what anyone else was thinking because apparently 420 operated as a totally inconspicuous tax prep office for 10 years. I […]

Save the Date: Senate Hearing on Protecting Taxpayers from Incompetent and Unethical Return Preparers

I may have blown off the PCAOB public meeting this week but this I can totally get with. Mostly because they used the word "incompetent" so brazenly (the irony of which is obviously lost on the Senate). The Senate Finance committee will be tackling the all important topic of "Protecting Taxpayers from Incompetent and Unethical […]

Mississippi to Implement Tax Holiday For Hunters Because America

I'm all for the Constitution and all but folks in Mississippi are ALL for the Constitution and all, y'all: Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Wednesday creating an annual tax free holiday in for Mississippi sportsmen each fall. The Mississippi Second Amendment Weekend holiday will occur on the first Friday of each September until midnight […]

Maryland Lawmakers Prepared to Take Their Tax Credits Back From House of Cards

Oh, Maryland, you're so funny: Members of the Maryland House of Delegates are still stewing over a threat from the “House of Cards” producers to leave the state if they don’t get millions more dollars in tax credits. So on Thursday afternoon, delegates issued a threat of their own: Sure, go ahead, leave this beautiful […]

This Person Really, Really Loves Tax Season

For all your misery as you drag yourself ever closer to April 15th, you have people like this on the opposite side of the spectrum: Y'all still ballin or nah? #TaxSeason I counted $3500 but I have bad eyes and am not that good at counting either so might need one of you to check […]

When You Inevitably Get Laid Off, Your Severance Payments Will Be Subject To FICA Taxes

Yesterday, the Supreme Court gathered to decide an issue that had drawn the attention of tax advisors and subpar employees the country over: Is severance pay pursuant to an involuntary layoff subject to FICA employment taxes? The answer was a resounding “yes,” a reversal from the rulings previously handed down by the District Court and […]

TIGTA Reveals There Are Still Stupid People Falling for Fake IRS Phone Scams

Despite having warned taxpayers over and over that the IRS does not and will not call you and demand you wire over some cash, apparently some people are still falling for this. So much so that TIGTA felt compelled to send out a friendly reminder: The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA) today issued […]

Suburban Cleveland Councilman Denies Getting in Brawl With Liberty Tax Sign Spinner

Continuing with today's theme of tax violence, avoidance and straight up creepiness, here's a strange story from (where else) Cleveland: A man paid to dress as the Statue of Liberty and promote a Brook Park tax business says City Councilman Tom Troyer shoved him Monday during a tussle over the business’ street side advertising. The […]

Missouri Man Assaults H&R Block Employee Because Tax Return

Is this turning into the most violent tax season ever or what? First the guy in Detroit shooting people over his lady friend not getting her refund in cash and now this. A Missouri man is facing a third degree assault charge after he allegedly choked the shit out of an H&R Block employee. Guess […]

Neighbors With Tax Software are Poaching Clients From Professional Tax Preparers

At least according to comments on this CPA Trendlines survey: Ray Nations, a leadership figure in the Virginia Society of Enrolled Agents, is also looking at some setbacks this year, and pricing pressures aren’t helping. “Clients are either using on-line software themselves or are going to their friends, or coworkers or neighbors who have an […]

Let’s Just Call Everything We Don’t Like a Tax to Get People Upset

No one likes taxes, that much we know. So if you're raging against a particular issue, it's best to call any exchange of money a "tax" to hammer home your point about how awful and terrible and unfair the collection of that money is. Case in point: Union dues are a tax. They are a […]

Angry Guy Who Hates Tax Season Having an Even Worse Tax Season Than You

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an early contender for worst client of the 2014 filing season: A 19-year-old Detroit man has been charged with a slew of felonies stemming from a shooting at a tax business on the city’s east side Friday. Xzavier Tyrone Mazyck was arraigned on 30 counts today in 36th District Court, […]

Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist Finally Exposed as a Hipster

As if the beard and the "I hated taxes before it was cool" mantra wasn't proof enough, now we know for sure Grover is a big ole hipster: Do you even tax reform, bro?

Dave Camp’s Tax Reform Plan Cuts Lots of Breaks, Trees

The top Republican tax-writer in Congress proposed restructuring the U.S. tax code to eliminate dozens of breaks to pay for reductions in the corporate and individual rates. The 979-page plan from Representative Dave Camp would mark the biggest changes to the U.S. tax system since 1986, affecting every part of the U.S. economy. The proposal includes new […]

Meanwhile in Canada, You Get a Tax Credit For Not Stinking the Joint Up

Apparently my Canadian pal Krupo is playing around with some tax software and tipped me off to an interesting tax credit for the farmers of Manitoba. The aptly-named Odour Control Tax Credit (translation for our fellow Americans who don't understand what in the hell that word means when there is a stray U thrown in […]

Americans for Tax Reform Suggests You Get Fat Because Obamacare

Listen, Grover Norquist, just because you don't take your own health seriously doesn't mean the rest of us should boycott the gym: Like many people you’ve probably noticed your wallet feeling a little lighter than usual lately. Sorry, but it’s not because you work your biceps every day at the gym. It’s because while you’ve […]

Pot Taxes May Not Be Such a Cash Cow Due to, Well, the Cash

I was originally going to talk about how Colorado's pot tax revenues are in trouble due to federal laws restricting banks from accepting drug money but the best part of the Fox article I planned to link to is actually this part: “The large cash deposits smell like marijuana, so some of the businesses are […]

The Key To Improving America’s Infrastructure is Kidnapping Grover Norquist

I mean really, that's going to be the only way to get anything done in Washington, obvs. From the Washington Examiner (yeah yeah, I know): Without more money to fix America’s roads, ports and airports, “our backs are against the wall,” said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the Democratic Party leader from 1999-2001. “What alternative […]

It’s Form 1040, In Excel—Need I Say More?

You people with a predilection for tax forms. At least you’re not Glenn Reeves, the guy who has slavishly recreated Form 1040 in Microsoft Excel for the past 17 years. Sick of Lacerte, ATX, Creative Solutions, and their ilk? Figure out how deep the gubmint’s hand is going in your pocket in a spreadsheet instead. […]

With Tax Time Nearly Upon Us, Let’s Look at Some Unique Tax Service Locations

My ex used to get his taxes done in the back of the same place where he got his hair cut (no wonder he had IRS problems all the time) which I guess is a big thing in San Francisco among the immigrant set. And it's not just San Francisco. We dug up a few […]

There Are Plenty of Good Reasons to Hate Facebook, But Tax Breaks Are Not Among Them

When you write about tax law, you interact with a lot of commenters, most of them of the angry variety. Of course, most people are of the angry variety, so it adds up. But I’ll say this – when it comes to tax law, at least the anger is often justified. It can be very […]

Eli Manning Is Determined To Destroy Everything He Touches, Like a Washington State Car Dealership For $420,000

Look, I’m not much of a businessman. As a kid, my lemonade stand was shut down for egregious environmental violations. In high school, I was removed as Treasurer of the senior class after I got bilked out of our prom fund by the deposed Prince of Nigeria.  And as an adult, my great American novel […]

Can’t Get a Home Loan but Still Paying Someone’s Mortgage? Beware the Interest Deduction Rules

Here's the latest post from our new tax guy, Tony Nitti. See his first post on Robinson Cano kicking the New York Yankees to the curb and you can find him tweeting from @NittiGrittyTax. Tony wrote a similar post on this subject last March but current events called for a update. Enjoy.    The lending market […]

Money Can’t Buy You Everything But It Can Buy Robinson Cano From the Yankees

Ed. note: Today, we're introducing you to the new guy. Tony, meet Going Concern; Going Concern, meet Tony. Alright, now that we got that out of the way… Tony Nitti is a tax partner at WithumSmith+Brown in Aspen, CO. When he isn’t writing or teaching about tax policy, you can find him skiing, mountain biking, […]

Grover Norquist May Have Had the Most Awkward Thanksgiving Ever

Some things should not be discussed at the Thanksgiving table. But I guess if you're related to Grover Norquist, what are you going to talk about? Thanksgiving dinner: Nana, mom, aunts telling chldbirth stories. 5 yr old says "so when the baby comes out Mommy's mouth…" Topic changed — Grover Norquist (@GroverNorquist) December 3, 2013

ESPN “Bitcoin Sign Guy” Raises Over $22k, Now Needs Tax Advice

Let no one deter you from flying a wacky sign, as this guy learned over the weekend: Here's the deal: Yesterday on ESPN's "College GameDay" (an ESPN college football show that's filmed at a different college campus each week) some student held the above sign that has both the Bitcoin logo and a QR code. […]

Tax Simplification, Male Prostitution, and Mormon Thrift Stores

Senator Max Baucus presented three tax reform proposals in three days aimed at fixing and simplifying the tax code which is stupid because the tax code is already super simple and works just fine.

Baucus Proposal Would Give ‘Legal Authority’ to Regulate Tax Preparers

Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) released Part Deux of his tax reform proposal today and it mostly addresses penalties for identity theft as well as securing the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. As enthralling as all this sounds, Baucus's plan also would give "legal authority" for the IRS to regulate tax preparers. A judge brought […]

CREW Goes After Grover Norquist, Compares His ATR Works to Those of Al Capone

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington — or CREW, as they are lovingly and lazily known for those of us who love acronyms and hate organizations with long complicated names — has filed a complaint with the IRS and DoJ in the hopes they will investigate Americans for Tax Reform and, more specifically, its […]

Grant Thornton Isn’t Going to Take This $100 Million Tax Shelter Ruling Lying Down

See, and you guys say we never listen to you. This comes from this morning's open items thread: Is it true that Grant Thornton lost a $100MM lawsuit regarding tax shelters? Accounting Today has the best scoop I've seen so far on this matter: A Kentucky circuit court judge has ruled that Grant Thornton is […]

GOP Congressional Members Aren’t Going to Give Up on Their Favorite Pastime to Focus on Tax Reform

Congressman Dave Camp's (R-MI) vision for tax reform is lower rates with fewer credits and deductions. Seems simple enough. If he manages to succeed in getting a bill out of the Ways and Means Committee however, he'll have to get past two major obstacles:   1) Congressional Members who like the idea of tax reform, […]

Here’s a Clip From The Beatles Cartoon Episode ‘Taxman’ for Your Viewing Enjoyment

The Tax Analysts Twitter feed shared this earlier and it's pretty great. It's campy, it's nostalgic, it's a George song. What's not to like?   

2014 Tax Season Is Off to a Great Start

IRS delays opening of 2014 tax filing season for 1-2 weeks, citing shutdown…. — Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) October 22, 2013

Anyone Feeling Nostalgic for Tax Reform Today Can Stare at This Photo as Long as They Need To

Our tax system will probably stay a clusterfuck for another 100 years, but we'll always have the Tax Reform Act of 1986! Today is the 27th birthday of the Act and judging by the political climate in DC, it'll have many more happy returns. For anyone longing for resurrections of Ronald Reagan, Dan Rostenkowski or […]

Welp, Here Are Three Big Deductions That Aren’t Getting Eliminated in Tax Reform

Now that our elected officials have finished not doing anything about the budget and debt ceiling, they have ample time to get back to not doing anything about other things. Like tax reform! Senator Max Baucus is the chairman of the Finance Committee meaning he's responsible for getting a bill out of the upper chamber. […]

SEC: Nothing Rotten About Apple

Four months after opening its review of Apple’s finances, the Securities and Exchange Commission has closed it, having found nothing untoward about the company’s handling of its overseas cash and related tax policies. In a September letter to Apple, released late last week, the SEC said it had completed its review of the company’s fiscal 2012 […]

Okay Everyone, We Need a Collective Noun for Corporate Tax Lobbyists

Don't forget, a "murder" is taken.   If a gaggle is a group of geese, what is the word for the group of corporate tax lobbyists/execs that just poured out of Dave Camp's office? — Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) September 19, 2013 What about a "hatchet of lobbyists"? Or a "fatcat"? Is a "Gucci of lobbyists" […]

Friendly Reminder for CPAs Who Live By ‘Carpe Diem Cras’: Today Is a Major Filing Deadline

I'm sure that it doesn't apply to any of our readers, but just in case, be sure to get to those extended corporate, pass-through, and trust tax returns filed by the end of today. Joe Kristan reminds everyone that the penalty for late filing of pass-through returns is $195 per K-1, so that should help motivate the […]

Fiscal Cliff Deal Prevented Millions from Missing Out on AMT Fun

A new study from the Tax Policy Center discovered that more taxpayers will be subject to the alternative minimum tax in the coming years — 6.1 million by 2023 — but man, things could've been really interesting/irritating. Without the fiscal cliff deal, 22.6 million taxpayers would've gotten to know Form 6251 in 2013, growing to […]

People Are Having Babies Earlier to Max Out Tax Benefits

Naturally. Williams’s Sara LaLumia, the University of Chicago’s James Sallee and the Treasury Department’s Nicholas Turner took it upon themselves to figure out if policies like the Child Tax Credit (CTC), the dependent exemption and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC, which is more generous for families with more children) are pushing mothers with due […]

Edward Snowden Is Going to Need Some Expert Expat Tax Advice

Any enterprising tax gurus out there should recognize this as an opportunity: Will #Snowden pay U.S. #taxes on Russian income? As U.S. citizen, he's supposed to file. http://t.co/xGnS42gO9D #expats — Janet Novack (@janetnovack) August 7, 2013 There are always loose ends in these situations. Here's hoping one of you can capitalize on this one.

Tanning Tax Is Racist, Says Guy Somehow Elected to Congress

Ted Yoho is calling attention to the injustices in this country on behalf of Florida's 3rd Congressional District: Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) said the 10 percent tax on the use of indoor tanning facilities was discriminatory, and that he had said as much to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to audio posted by Right Wing […]

Go Ahead and Ask Harry Reid if Tax Reform Can Be Revenue Neutral; Just Ask Him

Any tax overhaul “has to be under the total understanding that this can’t be revenue-neutral,” said Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “It can’t be even close to neutral. It has to be a significant tax target.” [Bloomberg]

Americans for Tax Reform Suggesting That Phil Mickelson May Never Play the Open Championship Again Is Stupidly Ludicrous

Yes, someone at Americans for Tax Reform actually wrote this: Over the weekend, Phil Mickelson won the Scottish Open and the Open Championship. While winning even one PGA event is a tremendous feat, Mickelson won’t be left with much to celebrate upon his return from the U.K. In his recent Forbes article, K. Sean Packard, CPA (Director […]

U.S. Senators with Harebrained Tax Reform Ideas Offered an Opportunity

The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), are telling skeptical lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by […]

Tax Think Tank Reminds Us That There Are a Lot of Bad Parents Out There

Tax Policy Blog: Cigarettes and Preschoolers Don’t Go Together http://t.co/NBHKp7Z0KZ — Tax Foundation (@taxfoundation) July 24, 2013 Got it! But electronic ones are cool, right?

Let’s Be Frank, the ‘Hot Dog Tax’ Didn’t Cut the Mustard

What?! You never heard of the 'hot dog tax'? You need to ketchup!  In reality, the hot dog tax was not a tax on hot dogs per se  as Kelly Phillips Erb fires things up: In 1971, New York managed to push through a law which imposed a state and city sales tax to restaurant bills that […]

Let’s Give Courtney Love Credit for Being Tax Compliant in 2008 and 2010, You Guys

In point of fact, I do not know if Ms. Love is in compliance in the tax years of 2008 and 2010, however it stands to reason that if she were not, the lien filed on July 11th by the IRS would have included amounts due in those years. The IRS filed a tax lien against the […]

Oregon Department of Revenue Sensitive to the Fact That Some Religious Groups Think Filing Tax Forms Electronically Is of the Devil

Are there any accountants out there that moonlight as religious scholars? I know you're out there. If you could help put the sixth question on the FAQ page of the Oregon Department of Revenue's website into some kind of context, we'd all be grateful: I am a member of a recognized religious group. My religious group […]

Keep Your Pants On: D&G Probably Won’t Spend Time in Jail for Tax Evasion

As all we know, when Italian men want to protest the injustice of taxes, they proudly drop trou. And I'm sure Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who were convicted of evading millions of euros in taxes and sentenced to 20 months in prison, would appreciate nothing more than an army of their countrymen ditching their […]

The Olds Don’t Get the Internet and All Tax Collectors Are Evil, Say Younger, More Paranoid Republicans That Oppose Online Sales Tax

The Marketplace Fairness Act is back in the news again, as The Hill reports that some Republicans — Texas Senator Ted Cruz to be precise — are saying that a generational gap is largely the reason that younger GOP Senators opposed the bill. Never mind that four out of the five oldest GOP Senators voted […]

The Tax Man Drumeth

With the sound of the drums echoing off the walls of the surrounding buildings, it feels as if it could be an impromptu street performance – but it's not. This is tax collecting Bangalore-style. Fed up with companies refusing to pay their tax bills, the city has gone one better than merely sending out reminder letters. Instead it […]

Protesting Taxes Seems More Effective When the Focus Isn’t on the the Signs

Granted, we don't want to see an average member of the Tea Party sans pants. But you have to admit, these Italian businessmen are on to something: Five Italian businessmen stripped off their trousers and protested outside parliament on Tuesday, demanding the abolition of a tax collection agency they blame for the suicides of scores of their […]

BREAKING: Rich People Make the Most of Tax Breaks

I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you: Tax breaks will cost the American treasury nearly a trillion dollars this year. And most of that money goes to people at the top of the heap — the very top. That's the conclusion of a new study by the Congressional Budget Office, a non-partisan unit of the U.S. […]

Tim Cook Is Sorry He’s Not Sorry

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook made no apology on Tuesday for the iPad maker saving billions of dollars in U.S. taxes through Irish subsidiaries and told lawmakers that his company backs corporate tax reform, even though it may end up paying more. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has found that Apple in 2012 alone […]

Last Year Was a Very Unfortunate One to Be Wealthy and French, Even By French Standards

More than 8,000 French households' tax bills topped 100 percent of their income last year, the business newspaper Les Echos reported on Saturday, citing Finance Ministry data. The newspaper said that the exceptionally high level of taxation was due to a one-off levy last year on 2011 incomes for households with assets of more than 1.3 […]

The IRS Scandal Has Made the Long Odds of Passing Tax Reform Even Longer

Until last Friday, tax reform seemed to be working a steady pace towards…something. I mean, Max & Dave have both a Twitter account and a website dedicated to the cause so you know they were getting serious about the thing. This kind of effort is enough to get the ghost of Ronald Reagan wandering around DC […]

Maybe Mitt Romney Can Recommend a Savvy Tax Planning Professional for Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore recently became a very wealthy man (well, wealthier). Good for him, right? This is America after all, where the rich are important and the important are rich and if you're neither then, well, you're probably not working hard enough.   Anyway, if you're wondering how Vice Prince Albert made his […]

Why Yes, Tax Reform Can Get More Complicated

Juggling all the aspects of income tax reform is quite a task. Here's a mind dump of a few of the elements involved: Credits Deductions Tax-exempt income The treatment of pass-throughs How much marginal rates should be cut If more revenue should be raised How carried interest is treated The capital gains rate Transfer pricing […]

Maryland Does Love Itself Some Mortgage Interest Deduction; North Dakota a Little Less So

[A] report issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts – an independent nonprofit organization and the sole beneficiary of several trusts established by heirs of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew – determined that the percentage of tax filers deducting mortgage interest ranged from nearly 37 percent in Maryland to only 15 percent in West […]

Senators Look to Expand Eligibility for a Successfully Dysfunctional Tax Credit

Today, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced legislation that will not only extend the Earned Income Tax Credit, but will also expand its eligibility. Both men are keen on the idea:  “Enhancing the earned income tax credit should be a bipartisan goal, as President Reagan called EITC the most effective tool in fighting […]

After Filing Snafu, H&R Block Making It Up to Customers in Most Superficial Way Possible

Kinda like a thoughtless relative or friend who completely forgot your birthday:  “H&R Block appreciates that the issue involving the filing of Form 8863 this past tax season may have frustrated and inconvenienced impacted clients,” a statement from the Kansas City-based company said. “H&R Block recently sent those clients who had their tax returns prepared and filed […]

Lauryn Hill Could Use a Hand Here

Actually, Judge Madeline Cox Arleo knows that Ms. Hill is a person with "substantial assets" so she's not sure why it has taken so long to come up with the $504k that she owes in criminal tax liability. Nevertheless, Judge Arleo is giving her two weeks to cough it up and Hill's attorney, Nathan Hochman […]

It’s Rarely a Good Sign When a Tax Prep Business Closes Its Doors Three Days Prior to April 15th

A Sunset Hills accounting business closed abruptly last week just days before the tax deadline. Its owner was sentenced to five years in prison for stealing $19,869 from a client. Mary Beth Gable, 55, owner of MEG Accounting and Tax Services at 10345 Watson Rd., pleaded guilty to the theft charge in February. Gable, of the […]

Tax Day Is Barack Obama’s Favorite Day of the Year, Says Dude Running for Texas Land Commissioner

Dude is also nephew of a former President. So I guess that's why it's news. Any tax professional who celebrates this day because it means they can finally go home at a reasonable hour should take this as a personal insult. THIS IS YOUR DAY AND NO ONE ELSE'S.

Intuit Loves That You Hate Doing Your Taxes

In the last five years, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, has spent $11.5 million lobbying the federal government. One of the things they're lobbying against is something called "return-free filing." Never heard of it? That's weird. It's been successfully implemented in Denmark, Sweden and Spain, and only one of those countries is on the verge of financial […]

Social Media’s Ideas for Tax Reform Can’t Be Worse Than Anything That’s Been Kicked Around So Far

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Representative Dave Camp (R-MI) report in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that since Congress has spent ample time listening to interest groups, it's about time they got really serious about tax reform: In the coming weeks, we will give you the opportunity to provide your input as well. No need to […]

Americans for Tax Reform: Playing Professional Football in Texas to Save Taxes > Working for Jerry Jones

Tony Romo will make a lot of money playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys under his new contract. How much money that contract is actually worth depends on how you look at the situation.  Americans for Tax Reform looks at the situation in the following terms: if, you opt to play for a team in a state […]

Maybe Dave Camp’s Pass-through Proposal Doesn’t Address Carried Interest So It Won’t Invite Unfortunate War Analogies

Victor Fleischer writes at DealBook that Michigan Congressman Dave Camp's proposal to simplify partnership and S-Corp tax law may be too simple. It's not that Professor Fleischer doesn't like simple, it sounds like he does. And he also likes that Camp gave everyone a couple of options. But Camp's more "radical" option is missing some details […]

The Worst of Tax Season Commercials

I spent half my afternoon pulling up the worst tax commercials out there after we received this tip: is it me or are these h&r block commercials infuriating? No, no it is not just you. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a good tax commercial, have any of you? Let's take a peek […]

Never Fear, The U.S. Senate Is Here! (To the Rescue Tax Preparer Regulations)

Earlier this year, a DC judge threw out the IRS' ability to regulate unlicensed preparers and then, in a bit of added insult, when another judge denied the agency's request to suspend the injunction. Anti-regulation types were happy; the IRS was sad. Despite the setback, you kind of knew that the Service wasn't going to […]

CPA Problems: Never-ending Revenue Modules, Waking Before Dawn, and Brat Taxes

With only three weeks until April 15th, some of you might like to be reminded that there are other people out there who are going through busy season pains just like you are. Unlike you, they have taken their suffering to Twitter and smartly labeled their problems as #CPAproblems which allows us to share them […]

Members of Congress Seem Surprised That Tax Reform Meetings with Interest Groups Would Arouse Cynicism

Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee announced that it was creating eleven working groups to kickstart this tax reform idea that's been thrown around. At the time the effort was described as a "fact-finding mission" which is funny because facts are not something Congress is known to have a firm grasp of. REGARDLESS! This […]

BREAKING: Incompetent Tax Advisers May Get Fired

The Wall Street Journal is on it, you guys: Plenty of accountants make errors on tax returns from time to time but most manage to remain on good terms with their affected clients. Make a big mistake or too many, however, and the tax pro can be out of a job. Financial advisers often help […]

Tax Nerds Feeling Vindicated After Their Long-held Viewpoints Are Paid Lip Service

Tax Policy Center co-director Eric Toder is feeling good today. Why? Some people known for not doing much of anything productive are saying things that sound remarkably like some people who plan to do something productive! The House Ways and Means Committee, in a letter signed by all its Republican members to Budget Committee Chairman […]

CPA Goes on a PR Campaign After Tax Fraud Conviction; Suggests John McCain Will Vouch for Him

Last week a Santa Barbara CPA by the name of Steve Pybrum was sentenced to three years in prison after he was convicted of "filing false individual income tax returns." You see, Mr. Byrum was operating your run-of-the-mill "full service CPA firm" called Pybrum & Company, but he was of the opinion that his business was […]

Most Americans Disapprove of Cheating On Taxes; Some Want to Cheat Like Tiger Woods

A recent poll, commissioned by the IRS, found that the overwhelming majority of taxpayers think that it's never okay to cheat on their taxes. It's an interesting data point, but what does it really tell us? More than anything, it tells us that the IRS is an insecure little bitch. Like Stacey, that girl in ninth grade who […]

A Few Hip-Hop Artists Are Claiming That They Can Deduct ‘Making-it-rain’ Expenses for Tax Purposes

As you might expect, TMZ has the scoop and it quotes a number of artists who are currently considering tips for strippers as a legit deduction and therefore a serious tax strategy. And who doesn't love creative tax planning? But how might they rationalize this idea?  Well, Bizzy Bone considers these young ladies to be […]

If a Symbolic Gesture Doesn’t Convince You That John Boehner Is Serious About Tax Reform, Then Nothing Will

If there's one thing that members of Congress love to pretend to be serious about, it's tax reform. They talk a lot about the importance of tax reform; they pledge to do such-and-such with regards to tax reform; they say tax reform is their "top priority." But, as we have seen, little action has been […]

Happy 100th Birthday, Federal Income Tax!

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment or – as some of you consider it – the thing that keeps you in a job. Back in 1913, the personal income tax would get you at 1% on incomes above $3,000 and maxed out at 7% on incomes over $500,000. […]

Charlie Rangel Told Sean Hannity He Needs a Good Accountant

Last night, New York Rep Charlie Rangel made his way to Colin's favorite fair and balanced news channel to sit down with Sean Hannity and Hannity's hair to talk taxes. Newsbusters has the transcript: SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Out of every dollar one of those rich people in New York make, how much should they be […]

Cleverly Named Tax Bill Probably Kept Senate Staffers Up All Night

Senators Carl Levin, D-Mich., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., introduced the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act, also known as the CUT Loopholes Act, or S. 268, on Monday. The bill was introduced in the midst of a congressional and White House showdown over the impending budget sequestration and growing calls for corporate tax reform, but builds […]

Born-Again Christian Learns What People Mean When They Say Taxes Are Evil

A Tennessee man – who became a born-again Christian a decade ago – has quit his job over the number 666 appearing on his W-2: Walter Slonopas, 52, resigned as a maintenance worker at Contech Casting LLC in Clarksville after his W-2 tax form was stamped with the number 666. The Bible calls 666 the […]

The Situation Around the Registered Tax Return Preparer Program Has Become a Really Bad Soap Opera

In case you weren't paying attention, the IRS's Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program just got shit-canned by a federal judge. Of course, as CPAs we don't really have to care about the RTRP program because we're exempt, as are our minions, as long as we promise to micromanage them. Regardless, schadenfreude feels pretty damn […]

What Do We Make of Phil Mickelson’s 62% Tax Rate Claim?

This morning we shared Tony Nitti's story at Forbes about walking-KPMG billboard Phil Mickelson considering "drastic changes" because he is "in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn’t work for me right now."  "It" being a combined tax rate that's pushing 62 or 63 percent, […]

How We Averted the Fiscal Cliff: As a CPA, People Might Expect You To Know This Crap

I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat; you’re an accountant, and the avert-the-fiscal-cliff legislation that the federal government crapped out at the last minute hooks you up. Sure, you’re going to pay more in taxes, but Congress was actually able to bang out some long-term solutions to the expiring tax cuts which is going to make your life easier1.

Tax Case Shows It’s Better To Give Than To Receive Notification of an IRS Audit

The Bible says God loves a cheerful giver, and the U.S. Tax Code says a cheerful giver loves the charitable contribution deduction. But according to the outcome of the recent case Durden v. Commissioner, the Tax Court hates both God and cheerful givers. According to an article in The Tax Adviser, here's what happened. In […]

The Corporate Income Tax Is Like Mother’s Milk for Tax Professionals

Corporate tax lawyers like the tax – a lot. Corporate tax managers can’t live without it. The Big Four accounting firms have an army of partners who have become rich working on corporate tax issues. State revenue departments are full of people who earn their living working on corporate taxes. Most of them would like […]

Acting IRS Commish Warns That Tax Season Calendars May Need Adjusted

He just wanted to get this out there sooner rather than later: IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller warned Congress on Wednesday that if lawmakers fail to extend the traditional alternative minimum tax patch, up to 100 million American taxpayers could be affected, and most taxpayers might not be able to file their tax returns […]

Grover Norquist Gives the All-clear on ‘Plan B’

Here's the official word from ATR: ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases.  The House this week will vote on a tax bill.  This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million […]

The IRS Was Just Kidding About Not Providing Interstate Migration Data

Last week, a number of conservative media outlets got a little bent out of shape when the IRS said that it would no longer be providing interstate migration data. The reason being that the data provided was immensely valuable because it shows how people "vote with their feet" — leaving states with high income tax […]

Warren Buffett & Friends Talking Estate Tax Policy Now

A group of wealthy people that includes Warren Buffett, George Soros and former President Jimmy Carter is pressing Congress to roll back estate tax parameters, saying the current set-up leaves “too much revenue on the table.” The group of roughly three dozen people released a statement on Tuesday calling for both the current estate tax exemption […]

A Maine Woman’s Illiteracy Will Be a ‘Fact of Significance’ in Her Tax Fraud Case

Not having a firm grasp on taxes is rarely an acceptable defense for committing tax-related crimes. HOWEVER, a woman in Maine is employing a slightly different angle for her defense: Carole Swan testified Wednesday during a suppression hearing in U.S. District Court in Bangor that she’s basically illiterate. Swan’s inability to read much more than names […]

New York, California in a Horse Race for Sending Most People to States with God-Awful Heat, No Income Tax

Hot off the Twitter, New York Times' Catherine Rampell shares some interesting data about movers in 2012: nation’s overall mover rate increased from a record low of 11.6 percent in 2011 to 12.0 percent in 2012, per US Census — Catherine Rampell (@crampell) December 10, 2012 Okay maybe that's not so interesting, but this helps:  most common […]

Tax Shaming Works

Martin Sullivan cites a KPMG study from 2005 that was ahead of its time:  "The main point is not that accusations are often unjustified, but the fact that they are made at all. Tax has news value now and, although often unfounded, 'naming and shaming' attacks on alleged tax avoiders can damage their reputations in the eyes […]

Politicians Incorrectly Demonizing “Tax Loopholes” Is Old Hat

Today, Christopher Bergin explains how our elected officials butcher the term "tax loophole": For now, let’s look at the Republicans (trust me, I plan to get to the Democrats, too). When Republicans talk about tax reform, they say they mean that they want to close loopholes to increase revenue and make the system better. OK, […]