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Tax Blawg

Tax Talk Blog for Tax Pros

Welcome to TaxBlawg, a blog resource from Chamberlain Hrdlicka for news and analysis of current legal issues facing tax practitioners. Although blawg.com identifies nearly 1,400 active “blawgs,” including 20+ blawgs related to taxation and estate planning, the needs of tax professionals have received surprisingly little attention.

Tax practitioners have previously lacked a dedicated resource to call their own. For those intrepid souls, we offer TaxBlawg, a forum of tax talk for tax pros.

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Posts from November 2010.

For our readers who are concerned about handling federal tax controversies, from audits and appeals to litigation, Kevin Johnson and I will be speaking next year at a new conference series, "Resolving IRS Tax Controversies, How to Prepare for Audits and Appeals, Resolve IRS Disputes, Mitigate Penalties and Understand Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods."  The course will provide information covering the entire spectrum of federal tax controversies, including:

  • An overview of the audit process
  • The tier issue program
  • IDRs and summonses
  • The use and significance of privileges

    As our regular readers know, the expiration of a variety of tax provisions has been a topic of interest here at the TaxBlawg.  For readers who are interested in the issue, you may find useful the Tax Foundation's post reminding us of the federal tax provisions that are scheduled to expire at the end of this year as well as provisions that expired at the end of 2009.

    Categories: Legislation

    One of our readers recently emailed us with a question about the application of the new Schedule UTP to deferred tax assets.  The question is straightforward enough: must uncertain positions involving deferred tax assets be reported on Schedule UTP and, if so, when must they be reported?  The explanation, thanks to confusion created by several examples in the final Schedule UTP instructions, is anything but straightforward.  Let’s start with a little background.

    In an article to be published in State Tax Notes' December 6 issue, I argue generally that claims that high state taxes discourage economic development may be flawed because they look at statistics selectively and fall prey to the fallacy that correlation implies causation.  In particular, I consider an article by Arthur Laffer in the Wall Street Journal in October, in which data on personal income per capita do not appear to be consistent with the relevant government-issued data.  The Laffer article argued that the introduction of income taxes by various states over the past fifty years ...

    There are a number of things that frustrate the Internal Revenue Service, ranging from not filing tax returns on time, not paying taxes when due, not providing sufficient estimated taxes, business failure to pay its employment taxes, entering into a "listed transaction," and generally saying bad things about the Agency.  Every year, IRC §6702 requires the IRS to publish a list to identify positions that it views as "frivolous" and subject to a penalty.  This year's list has been issued, and you may find it interesting.  We will try to cover the more interesting ones.

    It seems that one of our favorite topics is back in the news: the sourcing of guarantee fees.  As reported in today’s Tax Notes, Robert Driscoll, withholding technical advisor for LMSB, was recently quoted as saying that guarantee fees might not be considered U.S.-source income if the guarantor is a qualified resident of a treaty country.  Amy S. Elliott, “Guarantee Fees May Not Be U.S.-Source if Guarantor Resides in Treaty Country, Official Says,” 2010 TNT 215-4 (Nov. 8, 2010).  According to the article, discussions within the IRS National Office have suggested that guarantee fees would probably fall under the “other income” article of the relevant treaty and thus would not be considered U.S.-source income in most cases.  Id.

    Some of my clients would tell you that there never was such a thing as a “kinder, gentler” Internal Revenue Service, but over the years different attitudes have prevailed in that organization and yes, I can attest that there was an unquestionably kinder as well as gentler organization not long ago.  For a brief time in the late 1980s, when Lawrence Gibbs was Commissioner, he encouraged IRS employees to look upon taxpayers as their “clients.”  He left the position before he had been able to transform the attitude of the organization to something along those lines.  Following the passage of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, as well as a reorganization, the IRS once again went on a “charm offensive,” including regularly scheduled taxpayer service days to try to help taxpayers resolve problems that didn’t seem to be working out on their own.

    Categories: Administrative