Guest Article Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Guest Article

By Timalyn Bowens, EA

Three Rules for the Augusta Rule

Today I want to talk about the quick question, “Can I rent my home to my business tax free?” The answer is not straightforward. It takes time to look at the specific set-up of that taxpayer's business. It requires a bit of research. You need to know things like:
● What's the fair market value of renting your home?
● How many days will you rent your home to your business?
● Can we substantiate that this rental is ordinary and necessary?

Amber Gray-Fenner already did an excellent job of explaining the Augusta Rule in an earlier issue of the newsletter. So, I won't go over all the same points. I want to look at what the Augusta Rule is and how it came about. Then, we'll look at three takeaways for you to remember in your practice and give to your clients.


Death and Taxes: What Clients Should Know About the Death of a Spouse

Even your most financially savvy client isn’t going to think clearly after the death of their spouse. Taxes will be last on their minds. That’s where you’ll come in, nudging them toward tax and money moves both immediate and long-term, from filing returns to budgeting income to taking a step-up in basis. Above all, don’t assume grieving clients know these details or that they’ll remember them in one of life’s toughest moments.

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Looking Bad for Investors in Syndicated Conservation Easements

Albert Lauber, my favorite Tax Court judge, gave us an opinion in February that paints a detailed picture of the workings of a syndicated conservation easement. In the end, he supports the findings of the Senate Joint Finance Committee that the engine of these abusive transactions is an inflated appraisal. In November, David Gustafson issued an opinion that exposed the financial engineering techniques that promoters engaged in. We’ll take a look at those, but first I would like to give you an overview, because we may need that to figure out the lessons to be learned.

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The Role of Webinars in Accountants’ Marketing and Sales Efforts

In modern business, accountants face a dual challenge: They must maintain a firm grasp of financial intricacies and regulatory frameworks and navigate the increasingly competitive marketing and sales landscape. As traditional methods evolve, entrepreneurial accountants must leverage innovative marketing tools to bolster their outreach and attract clientele. Webinars have emerged as a powerful medium among these marketing tools, offering a dynamic platform for education, engagement, and lead generation. Herein, I will explore the fundamental role of webinars in accountants’ marketing and sales efforts, shedding light on their benefits, strategies, and best practices.

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Navigating the Plagiarism Minefield: Strategies and Solutions for Certified Tax Planners

In the AI era, especially with tools like GPT, plagiarism isn't just copying another's work, but also presenting AI-generated content as one's unique thought without understanding or modifying its output. It's about intent and attribution. If someone blindly takes an AI's output and presents it as their own, especially in professional or academic settings, it can be considered a form of plagiarism. For certified tax planners, understanding and addressing this nuanced form of plagiarism is crucial for maintaining professional integrity and credibility.

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Poor Tax Judgement Turns Junk Call Gold into Lead

Everything becomes a tax story eventually. That is what provides me with a lot of "I was today years old" experiences as tax stories are the one thing that I follow religiously. So I first learned about the field of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) litigation from reading the proposed findings and recommended dispositions in the case of Ruben Escano v. Innovative Financial Partners LLC and Josh Benson. Innovative Financial Partners is a subsidiary of Humana.

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What one Judge called "the wrinkled skin of tax law" is on display in US Tax Court again. This month was a technician's bento box, a variety.

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When Does Married Filing Separately Make Sense?

If your clients are married, at this time of year they’re probably choosing to file their taxes under the status of Married Filing Jointly. But is MFJ the best move? Married folks have other options; one of them is Married Filing Separately (MFS). Despite this status sounding like someone’s dressing for divorce court, it can be useful in certain circumstances – or harmful.

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Maybe That Trust Really is Defective

There are times when I really would like to know the story behind the story. And that is the case with CCA 202352018. The only good thing about not knowing the story behind the story is that I get to make one up. The CCA is about one of the funniest oxymorons in the tax field. It concerns an intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT). That is serious competition for my favorite tax oxymoron – passive activities. Let’s start out with some background on IDGT. This piece is mainly for the income tax preparers who have to deal with the implications of this fancy planning rather than the fancy planners.

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