Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Al-Qaida Loves To Do Accounting

IRS could face blame for Obamacare’s unexpected tax bite
Rachael Bade of Politico wrote on December 28: “A key piece of the health care law gives Americans making less than 400 percent of the poverty line subsidies to buy insurance. But if buyers don’t alert the insurance exchanges to big life changes throughout the year – like a divorce, promotion, or new job for them or a spouse – they could wind up with sticker shock at tax time.”

Bade added the IRS must make sure consumers don’t get blindsided – or the agency will face a bunch of angry taxpayers who didn’t realize they would owe Uncle Sam money back.

Sixty cents for cake: Al-Qaida records every expense
In a December 30 article in the Associated Press, Rukmini Callimachi wrote that al-Qaida is obsessed with documenting the most minute expenses.

“In more than 100 receipts left in a building occupied by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu earlier this year, the extremists assiduously tracked their cash flow, recording purchases as small as a single light bulb,” the article stated. “The often tiny amounts are carefully written out in pencil and colored pen on scraps of paper and Post-it notes: The equivalent of $1.80 for a bar of soap; $8 for a packet of macaroni; $14 for a tube of super glue.”

Multiple levies on digital goods targeted by House bill: Taxes
Marc Heller of Bloomberg reported on December 30 that Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is planning a renewed effort to bar multiple taxes on digital goods and services, offering a revised bill that seeks to overcome objections that stalled a past legislative effort.

Earlier this month, Smith, a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who remains on the panel, introduced the bill to prohibit discriminatory taxes on music, pictures, and other digital goods and services sold over the Internet. Smith said the legislation “promotes tax fairness and ensures that consumers are not discouraged from purchasing digital goods.”

“Smith’s earlier bill was approved by the House Judiciary panel in 2012, when he served as chairman,” Heller wrote. “The bill failed to advance, and Smith and its other backers crafted the new version to address what they agreed were shortcomings.”

Did Tenth Circuit help KPMG weasel out of liability to Buy.com founder?
Forbes contributor Peter Reilly wrote on December 26 about the “story behind the story” pertaining to Buy.com founder Scott Blum and his tax shelter court case.

2014 outlook: Accountants competing heavily for new clients, new business
A new survey from CPA Trendlines has found that firms of all sizes are planning to increase their sales and marketing programs in the coming year.

The number of tax and accounting firms vying for new business will rise to about 73 percent in 2014, up from 65 percent in 2013, according to the survey, which polled more than 670 practitioners nationwide. Also, approximately 84 percent of firms with more than 100 employees ramped up marketing efforts in 2013, including 32 percent that reported they made “significant” new efforts. In 2014, 88 percent plan to be more aggressive, with 44 percent “significantly” more aggressive.

Four big questions (and predictions) for social media in 2014
Because most of us are using some sort of social media platform – whether Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram – here’s an article from Forbes contributor Alex Kantrowitz, who wrote about four big social media questions for 2014 – and some predictions to go along with them.

Accountants pack Times Square for fiscal new year
I thought I’d close out 2013 with a funny article from The Onion.

I hope everyone has a safe, happy, and prosperous 2014!

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