Guest Article Archives - Think Outside the Tax Box

Guest Article

By Amber Gray-Fenner, EA NTPI Fellow USTCP

Soapbox Ethics: Circular 230 And the Unauthorized Practice of Law

The beneficial ownership reporting requirement established by the Corporate Transparency Act has created a fair amount of chaos concerning whether providing reporting services to clients is the unauthorized practice of law (UPL). While some state bar associations have come down on one side or the other as to whether certain types of reporting are UPL, the Treasury offers no clear guidance. What the IRS has made clear recently is that Circular 230 ethical obligations extend to matters beyond what the Loving case determined was “practice before the IRS.”

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How Tax Professionals Can Navigate Complex Financial and HR Conversations Using AI: The ChatGPT C.A.R.E. Method

In the intricate world of accounting, tax professionals are often perceived as navigators traversing through the seas of numbers and financial statements. A lesser-discussed aspect of their role is the management of complex and emotionally charged conversations. Tax accountants frequently find themselves at the center of discussions that are not just about figures on a spreadsheet but deeply intertwined with the personal and business well-being of their clients. From addressing audit discrepancies to handling sensitive tax liabilities, these scenarios demand more than just technical know-how; they require a blend of empathy, clear communication, and emotional intelligence.

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The Latest on Proposals for a Wealth Tax

Should the rich pay more taxes? Are they dodging their equitable responsibility? Or do wealth taxes discourage people from the American dream of trying to get rich? Taxes are what the other guy in America should pay and the rich, with headline exemptions like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates , usually join the chorus of taxpayers who say they don’t want to pay more taxes no matter how much they’re worth. Call the concept one of a fair share or just simply unfair, a national wealth tax continues to ignite debate and legislation. What’s the latest?

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Should You File Your Client’s Taxes Early?

Common sense says that filing taxes as early as possible in the year gets an onerous chore off your plate and, chances are, gets your clients’ tax refund into their pockets quicker. Common sense can also be wrong if you need, as most taxpayers do, various tax-reporting forms that can arrive in early spring, if not later. There are also many other reasons you may, or may not want, to file your client’s taxes as early as possible.

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Client Alert

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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Lessons From Surprising Items Buried in 2023 Tax Developments

Various rulings and tax agency actions in 2023 were arguably “unusual” and “surprising.” Most of these items were not the key holding of court decisions or IRS news releases or guidance. They were more subtle or buried. This article uncovers a variety of these oddities and posits what we might learn from them.

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A Winner of a Losing Hobby Case

Wolfgang Frederick Kraske, representing himself in Tax Court, pulled off a rare feat. He managed to get two opinions for the price of one in a relatively low stakes case . My friend Lew Taishoff found the regular decision about the $4,574 Section 6662(a) accuracy related penalty to be of great interest . I think the more interesting story is in the memo opinion that covers the tax deficiency of $22,687 for the years 2011 and 2012. It is mostly about Section 183: Activities not engaged in for profit, commonly referred to as the hobby loss rule. Although in this case, the activity does not even seem to get up to the level of a hobby, much less a business conducted for profit. I didn’t dig any deeper into the case, so the story you are getting is what Judge John H. Gale concluded. Kraske might have had something to say if I had interviewed him.

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Section 1244 Still Worth Remembering

The inherent optimism of entrepreneurs makes thinking about things that mitigate the effect of failure not that unpleasant. In a career in accounting, you are likely to see many deals that don’t work out, so it’s best to remember anything that will lessen the pain. Section 1244 is such a provision. Section 1244 allows what would otherwise be a capital loss to be treated as ordinary. Its significance has been somewhat diminished, but every little bit helps.

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The Constitution for Tax Pros

A case currently before the Supreme Court, Charles Moore, G. Moore et ux. v. United States , has the court looking at some of the fundamentals of the Constitution’s treatment of taxation. Advocates of various views are hoping for an earthshaking result. Also, many “tax protester” arguments base themselves on misreading of Supreme Court decisions from around the time of the 16th Amendment. Knowing a fuller version of what surrounds the snippets they feed you probably won’t help you bring them around if they have drunk deep of the tax protester Kool-Aid, but it will help you maintain your own sanity. Let’s start with what the Moore case is about.

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