Letters to the editor - Think Outside the Tax Box

Letters to the editor

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TAX COURT ROUND-UP – January 2023

I’m new here, but I know enough not to try to do what everyone else does. I won’t try to cover the wider tax picture. I cover United States Tax Court on my blog, so here’s a brief round-up on what went on in Tax Court during the last month that I think is of interest to the tax planner and practitioner…

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Tax Days of Our Lives: CPA Firm Contentious Breakup Ends in Tax Court Decision

I am going to nominate the Clark Raymond opinion as the best tax story of the year. At least, it is the best one for CPAs. You have to tease it out of the opinion, but there is a kind of rollicking story of troubled partner relationships. I did 40 years in large local and regional public accounting with a little bit of national icing on the cake and never encountered so much apparent dysfunction. Other commentary on the case has concluded that the lesson is about doing a good job maintaining your capital accounts, but I think the real lessons may be a little different.

It is public record, but the guys in the conflict are still practicing so out of professional courtesy I will refer to them as Tom, Dick, and Harry. There is another partner who is part of the story that I will call Jane. Also, for simplicity, I will ignore the fact that they held their partnership interests through single member entities and in Tom’s case in an entity with his wife who did administrative work. And I will refer to the entity involved as “the firm.”

The story is every accountant’s nightmare (and would make for a great tax-themed soap opera). Partners disagree. Partners walk out. Clients follow exiting partners to their new business leaving the old partner with debt.

Here is the story.

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Way Out of State Tax on Student Debt Forgiveness

There was some rain on the parade of celebration of the student loan debt forgiveness. The Tax Foundation, perhaps with a touch of schadenfreude, announced that the forgiveness, not federally taxable due to recent legislation, might be taxable in as many as thirteen states. They have taken a closer look and backpedaled quite a bit. It is now down to four states Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina and Wisconsin and those are not for sure. But, there is likely another way out for many of the recipients of this boon. Keep reading to learn more!

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Ethical Concerns in Using Tax Planning Software

Question: What are my ethical responsibilities when I use software to produce a tax plan?

Answer: In the world of taxes, there are many ethical issues that can come into play. One area that involves judgment and expertise is when it comes to interpreting tax codes for various purposes such as taking deductions or understanding how ambiguous language might apply in certain situations – all while trying not to make any mistakes.

To learn more about your ethical obligations, continue reading.

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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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Self Rental Tax Dilemma: Are Your Deductions at Risk?

It’s challenging at times to understand the passive activity loss guidelines. Many taxpayers are not fully aware of the rules or how they could affect investments and transactions. There are some details that, if not taken care of in advance, could have serious detrimental tax effects.

The way to handle self-rentals in relation to the passive activity loss rules is one of these subtleties. Although many professionals know the self-rental regulations, there are some circumstances that can result in a loss of desired tax benefits.

To continue learning about a general overview of the self-rental provision and the passive activity requirements and how to maximize your deductions from them, keep reading. You will also learn the effects of selling an operating company with a self-rental property still on the books.

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