All Articles - Think Outside the Tax Box

CURRENT EDITION

By Annette Nellen, CPA, CGMA, Esq.

The Safeguards Rule — Are You Compliant?

Tax professionals must take measures to prevent unauthorized access to customer information. For example, you should limit access to customer data to only those employees who need it for their jobs. Also, outsourcing tax preparation in your firm can impact this security.

In October 2019, the IRS added a new question about data security responsibilities to the form to obtain or renew a PTIN. As a tax professional, it’s important to understand what the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires and how you can comply.

Keep reading to learn what steps you can take to help protect the confidential information of clients and ensure GLBA compliance.

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Real Estate Developments Investments with Mineral Easements Option Course

This session will cover the basics of tax-efficient real estate strategies, specifically real estate development investments with a conservation easement option. The structure of each type of offering will be outlined in detail. The history of the laws addressing conservation easements will be discussed including an in-depth explanation on the current legislative landscape. Since the nature of each deal is driven by an underlying commodity, details outlining valuation and current market trends will be covered including the appraisal processes. Partnership voting will also be explained.

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Warning! Avoid the Latest “Dirty Dozen” Scams Identified By the IRS

Since at least 2001, the IRS has issued annual news releases warning taxpayers of scams they should be aware of and stay clear of. The release in 2001 included just eight scams but starting in 2002, the IRS expanded the list and dubbed these scams with the catchy moniker: the “Dirty Dozen.” In describing these lists, the IRS often warns taxpayers to “remain vigilant” against the scams, to not “fall prey” to them, and to “be on the lookout for” these dangerous activities. While the warnings seem to be directed to individual taxpayers, the lists sometimes include warnings of scams directed at return preparers and employers. Tax practitioners certainly need to be aware of these scams to exercise appropriate due diligence to know if any client is involved in a scam such as an abusive tax shelter, and to help educate clients about the numerous and growing number of scams many of which are designed to steal their personal and financial data and resources. This article covers the 2022 “Dirty Dozen” list. It also includes suggestions on how practitioners might use this information in tax compliance and planning and to help clients protect their identities and assets and avoid tax problems. Additional resources for dealing with the items on the list are provided. A chart listing the “Dirty Dozen” items from the start in 2001 through 2022 is included to show trends and the reality that some scams such as identity theft, phishing, return preparer fraud and frivolous tax arguments have made the list almost every year. Click here to continue reading.

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Why Many Tax Pros Want a Stronger IRS

Early last month Adam Markowitz faced a storm of criticism over a tweet that suggested that people upset about increased IRS funding should maybe just be compliant. It got rather ugly. #TaxTwitter came to his defense despite some of us disagreeing with details of his tweet. All of my GOP friends who are worried about 87,000 IRS enforcement agents coming after the little guy... How about just don't cheat on tax returns? A fully truthful and accurate tax return is bulletproof in an audit. I never understood the fear of an IRS audit. Don't lie. Period. For somebody whose return has more than a few moving parts there is a lot of effort in putting together information for an audit. And there will usually be some things that can be viewed differently. Further you can sometimes catch the agent from hell. AFH is sure that your client is a crook and it will be hard to convince them they should go fight crime someplace else. With all that said many tax pros would still like an IRS that audits more, although they might want them to fix some other things first. To learn more about what is expected in the coming months, learn more here.

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The Inflation Reduction Act Overview: A Brief Guide for the Non-Tax Professional

Question: How can I explain the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act to my tax planning clients? Answer: The simplest solution I've found so far is to break the Act into three components: tax credits for electric vehicles, tax credits for home improvements, and how the IRS will use the new funds allocated to them. From there, it's a simple matter of identifying some of the core concepts behind each category. To save you some trouble, I've created new client alerts to illustrate how one might do that! Keep reading to learn more!

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What Is This Worth, Exactly? Determining Fair Market Value of Non-fungible Tokens for Charitable Schedule A Deductions

Value is in the eye of the beholder; or was that beauty? This is especially true for those infamous monkey portraits on the internet. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have exploded in popularity and can carry with them substantial tax consequences. Due to the volatile nature of the digital asset market and coupled with the lack of similar assets, it can be exceptionally difficult to determine the fair market value (FMV) of NFTs. Gift giving and donations can become much more complicated when NFTs are involved. New Fangled Technology For the noobs, an NFT is a type of cryptographic token that exists on a blockchain. As the name suggests, the tokens are not fungible, meaning each asset is unique and can't be interchanged for one another, the way that dollars or bitcoins can. Every NFT represents a unique asset with a unique value, however, determining what that value is can be quite difficult; The market for buying and selling NFTs can be extremely volatile. Some NFTs may quickly lose value or have no value at all. When a taxpayer donates an NFT to a qualified charitable organization as a way to reduce tax, the FMV is a required piece of information. To find out how to do this properly, keep reading.

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The Inflation Reduction Act Tax Credits Course

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 expanded existing energy credits and created brand new ones. There are now several new ways tax professionals can help taxpayers save thousands of dollars a year by planning for these tax credits. In this webinar, we will cover the credits likely to be used by individuals and small businesses. We will also discuss tax planning considerations and areas in need of additional guidance.

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Charitable Deduction Rules – No Excuses – Acknowledgements

There is a story I heard even before I started doing tax work when I was a hotel night auditor. It was about a guy named Joe who ran a luncheonette where he also sold newspapers and candy bars and the like. Joe’s Place was across the street from Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility, a Catholic parish. Joe would see Father Mulcahey carrying a heavy bag every Monday morning. The good father was heading to the bank with the Sunday collection. One day Joe invited him in for a cup of coffee and proposed a win/win. Joe was always running out of change on Sundays. So how about if Father Mulcahey has the ushers count the coins and bring them over, Joe would write a check for the coins, and the father will just have Joe’s check to bring to the bank on Monday? Then, Joe would deduct the check written to the church as a charitable deduction. It was a great plan and it worked well for several years until the IRS audited Joe and a skeptical IRS agent called on Father Mulcahey about Joe apparently being Our Lady’s biggest donor. After all, he had the canceled checks. So if a canceled check to church on Sunday won’t work to document your charitable deduction, what will? Keep reading to find out!

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Who You Gonna Call? Not the IRS – A Guide to IRS Online Tools

You don’t have to be a tax geek to know the IRS has trouble picking up the phone. Old habits die hard. If you have a tax question, what do you do? You call the IRS. Good luck with that. You’ll be on hold for a long time if you can get through at all. The IRS initiated a call-back feature, but it’s not always available. The hold music is uninspiring; sometimes, after holding for hours, you get the dreaded “courtesy disconnect.” Yikes! Let’s face it. The IRS has a full plate; years of doing more with less have crippled the agency. Congress is quick to excoriate the IRS for poor service but keeps piling on more tasks (without necessary funding). Luckily, the IRS is working hard to provide more and better online applications and resources. There’s a lot out there, some well-known, some not so well-known, click here to take a tour and discover which shortcuts will help you most.

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