Berdon Blogs

SALT TALK: Sales Tax, Twitter, the USPS, Megan Brennan, and Wilford Brimley

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Apr 3, 2018 11:40:00 AM

I hope you aren’t sick and tired of reading about nexus, sales tax, and collection obligations, because I sure am tired of writing about it.  But how could I not?  I can’t tell you how many years I had to go without having a great conversation about sales tax and now we have President Trump tweeting about it at the same time the Supreme Court is about to hear a landmark case on that very same topic.  It’s a great time to be a sales tax enthusiast!

Readers, let’s sum up where we have been and where I think we are going in these tumultuous times.  

  • Our federalist system of government was established, bestowing in many ways equal power on both the centralized federal government and the individual states. Hence the reason why clients, especially those from overseas, simply can’t fathom why they have to file so many different tax returns with so many different sets of rules.
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TAX TALK: Key Q2 Tax Calendar Deadlines for Businesses and Other Employers

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Apr 3, 2018 9:20:00 AM

Here are some of the key tax-related deadlines affecting businesses and other employers during the second quarter of 2018. Keep in mind that this list isn’t all-inclusive, so there may be additional deadlines that apply to you. Contact us to ensure you’re meeting all applicable deadlines and to learn more about the filing requirements.

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Topics: TAX TALK

T&E TALK: Prevent Power of Attorney Abuse

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Apr 3, 2018 7:00:00 AM

A financial power of attorney — sometimes called a “power of attorney for property” or a “general power of attorney” — can be a valuable estate planning tool. The main disadvantage is that it is susceptible to abuse by scam artists, dishonest caretakers, or greedy relatives.

Help or Harm?

The most common type is the durable power of attorney, which allows someone (the agent) to act on behalf of another person (the principal) even if the person becomes mentally incompetent or otherwise incapacitated. It authorizes the agent to manage the principal’s investments, pay bills, file tax returns and handle other financial matters if the principal is unable to do so stemming from illness, advancing age, or other circumstances.

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Topics: T&E TALK

SALT TALK: My (E) Baby Wrote Me a Letter

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 26, 2018 10:26:13 AM

I always knew I could help prevent forest fires, but until I recently checked my eBay email, I was totally unaware that “[I] can help prevent Internet Sales Tax.” The Ad Council TV campaign of my youth used a friendly, sad looking bear to remind us to be careful, and it all seemed altruistic at best and harmless at worst. But somehow I failed to get that warm fuzzy feeling from the recent note sent to me by the “eBay Government Relations Team.”

I wasn’t aware that so called “internet sales tax” is some kind of viral disease infecting online purchasers of goods and (specifically enumerated) services. As stated below, the “Team” is convinced that the New York State Legislature formulated the virus in some secret lab and is looking to spread it to you, you, and you through legislation.

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TAX TALK: Home-Related Tax Breaks Valuable for 2017 Returns, Less so for 2018

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 26, 2018 9:48:51 AM

If you own a home, you may be eligible for several valuable breaks on your 2017 tax return.  However, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, your home-related breaks may not be as valuable when you file your 2018 return.

2017 vs. 2018

Here is a look at various home-related tax breaks for 2017 vs. 2018:

Property Tax Deduction. For 2017, property tax is generally fully deductible — unless you’re subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT). For 2018, your total deduction for all state and local taxes, including both property taxes and either income taxes or sales taxes, is capped at $10,000.

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T&E TALK: Keeping a Trust a Secret Could Violate State Law

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Mar 26, 2018 9:35:05 AM

If your estate plan includes one or more trusts, you may have a good reason for wanting to keep them a secret. For example, you may be concerned that, if your children or other beneficiaries knew about the trust, they might spend recklessly or neglect educational or career pursuits. Despite your good intentions, however, the law in many states requires trustees to disclose certain information to beneficiaries.

Disclosure Requirements

One example can be found in the Uniform Trust Code (UTC), which more than 20 states have adopted. The UTC requires a trustee to provide trust details to any qualified beneficiary who makes a request. The UTC also requires the trustee to notify all qualified beneficiaries of their rights to information about the trust.

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Topics: T&E TALK

SALT TALK: Stealing Bases–Which State will take the Lead?

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 19, 2018 12:27:35 PM

Taking a lead is not always a good thing. Case in point; yours truly playing Little League Baseball as a sixth grader, decides that after getting one of his few and far between singles, to stand way ahead of the comfort zone of first base, practically touching second. Those of you who know me, especially way back in sixth grade, know my nickname was never Flash, Mercury, Speedy Gonzales, or Hermes. You can guess the result, can’t you? The pitcher leisurely tossed the ball to the second baseman, who tagged me out without much fanfare.

Stealing the tax base, at least as perceived by state and local taxing authorities has resulted in similar outcomes for taxpayers as well as the taxing authorities, however usually with a great deal of fanfare and wasted dollars on both sides. As I read the Daily Tax Report one day last week,[1]
I thought for sure some jurisdiction tried to steal home by imposing a new tax on Major League Baseball. 

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TAX TALK: Casualty Losses Provide a 2017 Deduction, but Rules Tighten for 2018

Posted by Michael Eagan, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 19, 2018 9:09:45 AM

If you suffered damage to your home or personal property last year, you may be able to deduct these “casualty” losses on your 2017 federal income tax return. For 2018 through 2025, however, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act suspends this deduction except for losses due to an event officially declared a disaster by the President.

What is a casualty? It’s a sudden, unexpected or unusual event, such as a natural disaster (hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake, etc.), fire, accident, theft or vandalism. A casualty loss doesn’t include losses from normal wear and tear or progressive deterioration from age or termite damage.

Here are some things you should know about deducting casualty losses on your 2017 return:

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Topics: TAX TALK

T&E TALK: Four Estate Planning Tips for the “Sandwich Generation”

Posted by Scott T. Ditman, CPA/PFS on Mar 19, 2018 7:02:00 AM

The “Sandwich Generation” accounts for a large segment of the population. These are people who find themselves caring for both their children and their parents at the same time. In some cases, this includes providing parents with financial support. As a result, estate planning — which traditionally focuses on providing for one’s children — has expanded in many cases to include aging parents as well.

Including your parents as beneficiaries of your estate plan raises a number of complex issues. Here are four tips to consider:

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Topics: T&E TALK

SALT TALK:  Refund Claims – Don’t Make a Leap of Faith on What Difference a Day Makes

Posted by Wayne K. Berkowitz CPA, J.D., LL.M. on Mar 12, 2018 11:38:00 AM

Buzzing through the tax dailies every morning, one can’t help but notice the sad but frequently repeated stories of taxpayers being denied refund claims because of late filed returns. Usually I skip over them. Who wants to read about clerks testifying about mailing procedures, postmarks, blurred envelopes, and the like. As if Civil Procedure weren’t tedious enough, Tax Procedure adds an additional layer of monotony to the mix. I can’t get the image out of my head of a room full of tax attorneys and accountants counting days on their fingers and toes to make sure a refund claim is timely.

Something however made me stop and look at a recent New York City Tax Appeals Tribunal Opinion[1] addressing the timeliness of a Real Property Transfer Tax refund request. First, this is one of the most onerous taxes around, second, we deal with it frequently at Berdon, third it’s a Tax Appeals Tribunal decision (citable as precedent) and fourth, the statute of limitations to request a refund is only one year, while virtually every other tax provides a three year time frame.

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About Berdon Blogs

Our experts examine the latest trends, economics, business conditions and industry issues to provide timely information you need to maximize your tax advantages and meet your financial goals.

SALT TALK: Hear an insider’s perspective on the business issues, legislative updates in state and local tax, and tax aspects behind today’s headlines.

T&E TALK: Gain insights into how changes in tax laws, shifts in the financial markets, and regulatory concerns will impact assets and affect preserving and transferring wealth.

TAX TALK: Get an all-inclusive perspective on regulatory changes, industry issues, and trends from our team of multidisciplinary tax professionals – many of whom also hold J.D. and LL.M degrees.

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