Business Strategies Archives - Page 2 of 17 - Think Outside the Tax Box

Business Strategies

By Garret Wasny, MA, CMC, CITP/FITP

Harnessing ChatGPT with “BEST WILD”

In the realm of tax research, the journey from traditional methods to the digital age has been transformative. The evolution of AI in this field marks a significant milestone, reshaping how tax professionals approach complex regulations and compliance. This journey began with simple tax software, gradually advancing to more sophisticated AI tools capable of analyzing large datasets and identifying patterns beyond human capability. Today, we stand at a pivotal moment where AI, particularly ChatGPT, is not just an aid but a game-changer in tax research.

Enter "BEST WILD", a revolutionary technique designed specifically for this new era. By integrating the advanced capabilities of ChatGPT, "BEST WILD" offers a systematic approach that transcends traditional boundaries in tax law analysis. This method doesn’t just aid in navigating the complexities of tax regulations; it revolutionizes the process, making it more efficient, accurate, and insightful.

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Staying Afloat in Tax Seas: Understanding the IRS’s Moratorium on ERC

Question: Should I even bother assisting my clients with filing new ERC claims? Answer: In light of the IRS's recent moratorium on processing new Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims and the introduction of a withdrawal option for certain employers, it's understandable that you might be wondering whether to assist your clients with filing new claims. The answer, like a well-prepared tax return, is nuanced and deserves a detailed examination.

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An Alphabet Soup of Confusion: LLCs, BOI, and UPL

By now I hope that all tax professionals have heard of the FinCEN requirement for certain entities to report beneficial ownership information starting in 2024. The requirement is causing confusion because tax and accounting professionals feel that this could be an opportunity to either add value to an existing engagement, could be a new revenue stream, or could be a huge potential for liability. What follows is a brief review of the law and the requirements, an analysis of the main issues, and some recommendations for practitioners wondering how to help their clients while limiting their professional liability.

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Electronic Commerce Creates Confusing Sales Tax Obligations

Any company engaged in e-commerce, i.e., selling online, knows that the ability to reach buyers and customers remotely can juice the bottom line. State and local tax jurisdictions around the country know that, too, especially the bottom line of their sales tax coffers. Now every state with a statewide sales tax has a threshold past which remote sellers must collect and remit state sales tax. Failure to do so can incur big penalties, or worse, and there’s a lot to know based on where and what you sell online.

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Client Alert

Content Marketing for Accountants: Creating Valuable and Engaging Content

If you read my article Building a Strong Personal Brand as an Accountant: Strategies for Success you’d have learned about how I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2018, knowing absolutely nothing about marketing. I was one of those CFOs who would need to understand why a company has to spend more money on marketing; however, I did understand that having a robust online presence was necessary for a new digital age. Little did I know that marketing is senior to any other activity in a business.

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Some of What You Need to Know to Do 1041 Right Because Nobody Knows Everything

There was a recent IRS memo from an associate chief counsel that should be shocking but actually isn’t. Promoters have for many years been hawking a “copyrighted non-grantor irrevocable complex discretionary spendthrift trust,” which purported to avoid capital gains tax. You could learn about it on TikTok. It “worked” by citing Section 643(a)(3), which excludes capital gains allocable to corpus from distributable net income. You and I both know that DNI is not taxable income, but not everybody who learns the tax law from TikTok has caught onto that subtle point yet. Although I have never encountered anything as egregious as the “copyrighted, etc, etc, trust” I have seen a lot of problems with trusts over the years (and partnerships and SALT – don’t get me started). Much of it has to do with working under a lot of pressure. Often, the things that are wrong end up not mattering all that much, but I get a little frightened, because maybe one of these days the IRS is going to start getting its act back together. If it does, I think things may be a little shocking to practitioners who have grown up in an environment where enforcement has been progressively gutted.

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“AI Inside” – What Does that Even Mean?

Remember back in the day when having your tax and accounting software in the "Cloud" was the newest, coolest thing? Even if it took us 10 years to realize that the "cloud" just meant someone's server somewhere else? Similarly, have you noticed that our tax and accounting products have a sprinkling of AI now? And if they don't, they're talking about how they'll be AI-ing soon? (And if they're not talking about it, do we even want them in our toolbox?) Let's chat about what it means to have "AI Inside", especially with the rise of tools like ChatGPT and Bard. The "AI Inside" label is becoming ubiquitous but can mean many things, so let's discuss. I'd hate for you to get excited about an AI feature only to discover that you can access it via one of the widely available Generative AI (GenAI) tools (ChatGPT, BingChat, Bard, Claude, etc.). While this new technology has fundamentally shifted everything, what does it mean for us as tax professionals? On this journey of exploring what "AI Inside" really means, we're going to discuss what's going on under the hood. We'll also dive into why creating a fully functional "TaxGPT" is challenging right now. (Notice I said "right now"). Finally, we can look at what "AI Inside" tools would be handy, even if you CAN get that functionality out of the regular ol' GenAI applications. In the end, you'll know whether to be impressed or pass. And, even more importantly, you'll know whether to spend the extra money on those tools.

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Prepare For the Day When You Don’t Have More Work Than You Know What To Do With

In the last few months, I have been getting "seems like old times" feeling as interest rates rise. They remain laughably low by the standards of my early days in the business. I can remember prime being 20%. And then there are all these issues with office rentals thanks to the aftermath of the plague. One of the nice things about a career in accounting is that while you are affected by business cycles the need for our work is somewhat continuous. I’m thinking that now might be a good time to get ahead of the curve a little and study up on a Code Section that may be coming up a lot more – Code Section 108 – Income from discharge of indebtedness. Fortunately, a recent Tax Court opinion in the case of Michael G. and Julie A. Parker can provide us with a lesson in some of the important principles in this area.

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Minister’s Housing Allowance

There are tax perks to filing a tax return as an ordained minister. But some of the things you’ve heard in the pool of public opinion are false, while others have a hint of truth. For example, pastors and ministers do indeed pay income taxes. Churches, on the other hand, do not but that’s a different article for a different newsletter. If you are serving members of the clergy, it is important to understand these perks. One that I see messed up the most is the housing allowance. The IRS allows ordained ministers to exclude their housing allowance from taxable income. That is if they meet certain other criteria. The complete amount the church has deemed as a housing allowance is not always the amount that the IRS allows. Even with that, the excludable amount is only from income taxes, not all tax. Ministers also have special rules and a potential exemption when it comes to social security and Medicare taxes. This is where I see many well-meaning taxpayers and even tax professionals messing up. But that will not be you or your client. We are going to look at what the minister’s housing allowance is according to the IRS. Then we will look at who qualifies for it, and how to calculate it.

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