Feature Article

2017 Tax Law Changes

So far this calendar year there has been very little action by Congress involving tax matters. Maybe I should say there has been no final action by Congress on tax matters. Lawmakers have discussed and introduced many small bills, but nothing that has reached joint committee. The one exception is the Disaster Tax Relief and Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2017, which is discussed in the cover article. The items that were last exte... David Mellem, EA

Tax Court

Can a Taxpayer Rely on Tax Preparation Software to Claim Deductions Recommended by the Software?

Barry Leonard Bulakites, Petitioner v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, Respondent Many taxpayers prepare their own tax returns, without professional help, by using off-the-shelf retail software programs. These programs often offer recommendations based upon the information that is inputted by the taxpayer and may also provide one-toone answers... Steven R. Diamond, CPA

Feature Article

How Education Can Save You Money on your Income Taxes

Education is perhaps the single best investment that a person can make during his or her life. According to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bachelor degree holders earn $1 million more over t heir lifetimes t han high school graduates. The Internal Revenue Service allows several tax benefits that help to defray the cost of education. These benefits are not just for the taxpayer, but they are also for the spouse and/o... Anthony Santullo, EA

Feature Article

Preparing an Accurate FBAR: Ten Common Mistakes

The failure to file an accurate and complete Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) 114, (Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR)) can result in serious penalties and consequences for a taxpayer. Unfortunately, the FBAR is one of those deceptively simple forms that does not appear to be complex due to the limited number of entries required. However, those unfamiliar with the form are prone to mistakes, as detailed rules ex... Randall Brody, EA

Feature Article

Section 165 Casualty & Losses

With the devastating impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria still fresh, we need no reminder that August through October is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season (which occurs from June 1 to November 30). High winds, heavy rain, tornadoes, and subsequent flooding can all wreak havoc on coastal residents, including destroying billions in property every year for individuals and businesses alike. Taxpayers who live far from the oc... Stephen Mead

Capitol Corner

Tis the Season

We each have our own sign that the holiday season has officially begun. For some, it is going to the mall and battling the crowds on Black Friday or seeing the decorations popping up like mushrooms. For others, it ’s the sound of holiday music piped into public spaces. On Capitol Hill, the season to be jolly officially began on October 1: the start of the new fiscal year for the federal government. Why October 1? Because ever... Jeffery S. Trinca, JD