My trademark as a tax blogger is “stuff I find interesting”. Not surprisingly a bit of that stuff is not that interesting to a very large number of people. Much as I appreciate the discerning elite of my readers, I sometimes like to reflect on what seems to be of the most interest. Here is what my readership found most interesting in 2021.
Excitement over stimulus checks infected the blogosphere and seemed to be a surefire way to get traffic. I was tempted to do a post about how my barber who knows a congressman thinks the next stimulus check will be a prime number. I followed my principles nonetheless and only wrote about them when I thought I had something worthwhile and was rewarded with reader interest.
In Stimulus Checks And Filing Your 2020 Tax Return-Hurry Up Or Wait?, I scoped out the unique situation we found ourselves in where you could affect your overall outcome by whether you filed your 1040 early or later. Related and possibly relevant in the 2022 is The $1,100 Per Child Tax Rebate Bonus For Divorced And Unmarried Parents. Many people who expect refunds will file as soon as possible, but they may want to take a breath this year particularly if they share a child with a partner they are not currently married to.
The Al Capone Syndrome
My post on an odd reaction to whatever it was that happened on January 6, 2021 – Congressional Democrats Want It Made Clear That Insurrection Is Not A Tax Exempt Activity – proved popular. I had a bad feeling about January 6 and spent the morning and afternoon watching a variety of news feeds. The notion that the IRS needed to caution exempt organizations that they shouldn’t be overthrowing the government if they wanted to maintain their exempt status really seemed a bit silly. It struck me as an instance of what I call the “Al Capone” syndrome, which has people who did all sorts of other crimes being convicted of tax crimes.
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The Endless Tax Season
There is a running joke among people on #TaxTwitter that the 2020 tax season never ended. I retired from active direct client service practice at the end of 2018 and am extremely thankful as I have been watching what has been going on for tax pros. There is a new twitter feed that refers to the endless tax season as Marchternity.
Regardless my coverage of the 2021 tax season did garner some interest with Cooling Breeze For The Tax Season From Hell – IRS Does Not Want Amended Returns Right Away and Income Tax Due Date Goes To May 17 and Estimated Tax Payments – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff,
The Brokenness Of The IRS
A lot of practitioners and regular people get upset about IRS inability to provide reasonable service. I share this concern. I am also concerned about their failure to get people into compliance. It has actually become a viable strategy to just not pay the tax that you owe with the hope of waiting out the ten year statute of limitations as I discussed in IRS Collections Appears To Be Broken. Besides attracting a good number of eyeballs this post also made a good impression on my son who did a review of the year’s output which I published on Your Tax Matters Partner. He wrote:
The IRS assigns tax debt to private collectors? Those companies whose number my phone will tell me is a scam caller? Should be no surprise then that of the 30 billion dollars of tax debt The IRS has assigned to collectors, they have only received 500 million in return.
I also did a story on how hard it can be for regular people to be compliant – IRS Automatic Notices Alienate Taxpayers – A New Scandal Looming?
The Once And Maybe Future Tax Bill
A long time ago I made it a rule to not seriously study tax provisions until they have passed out of fear that I will remember things that end up not being in the ultimate law. Once again I broke my rule as a couple of provisions in various versions of Build Back Better piqued my interest. And the interest of my readers was also piqued. Since I still remember proposals that did not make it into the final Tax Reform Act of 1986, I am sure some of these will stick with me. I explained my favorite BBB proposals in Time To Change Your Estate Plan – Again, S Corp to Partnership Conversion Under Build Back Better and Part of Build Back Better Could Be Disaster For Trust Owned Life Insurance.
I declared an end to Young Earth Creationist Kent Hovind having a Forbes worthy story in 2015 after his codefendant Paul Hansen was sentenced in the 2015 trial that lit up the alt-right blogosphere. He keeps coming back, though, and readers find him interesting. In 2021, there was the wrap-up of his half-billion lawsuit against the federal government and his arrest on a domestic violence charge in Kent Hovind Half Billion Dollar Lawsuit Dies With A Whimper and Kent Hovind Half-Billion Dollar Lawsuit Ends As He Faces Domestic Assault Charge. I gave him a cameo as his one time trustee from his Pensacola days entered into a plea agreement – Judge In Tax Protester Case Pushed IRS To Investigate Promoter.
There was also a bit of interest in my coverage of dubious tax schemes – Monetized Installment Sale – IRS Finally Says It Does Not Work and CPAs Should Steer Clear Of Syndicated Conservation Easements. Remember Reilly’s Second Law of Tax Planning – Sometimes it’s better to just pay the taxes.
A Never Fully Covered Story
I will close with a note on a story that I will not be able to cover as well as I hoped. It has an indirect relationship to my Hovind coverage. One of the most viewed Hovind debates was one he had with Aron Ra on The Non Sequitur Show.
I ended up doing some coverage on the dispute over ownership of the NonSequitur Show. I had expected that there was going to be some really interesting stuff in the case about how the Uniform Partnership Act would apply to an unwritten partnership agreement. I kept waiting as it turned into a sort of exercise for Kyle Curtis gathering the material to do a book called What Not To Do When Your Partner Sues You. It ended up being all about how he was served and whether he was in contempt. The case did come to some sort of end as Steve McRae is now running a revived NonSequitur Show, but the details of the settlement are confidential. You can get a lot of commentary on the dispute in NonSequitur Show: Fools and Bools, which is a sort of reboot of the show after a hiatus of over two years.