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Week in Insights: Returning to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Sept. 25, 2022, 2:00 PM

As I put together this week’s edition of the newsletter, I catch myself periodically looking out of the window. I’m on an Amtrak train—we just passed over Gunpowder River—heading back to Philadelphia after a busy week in our Virginia offices.

I love traveling by train for this exact reason. I’ve been able to get work done—and some vicarious sightseeing—while on the way home. And I’ve missed it during the pandemic. There’s something about being on the train today that feels so … normal. And that’s a wonderful feeling.

An Acela train is seen at an event marking Amtrak’s 50th Anniversary at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Penn. on April 30, 2021.
Photograph: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

I know that we’ve all been missing a little normalcy. While I’m not in the mood to jump at every travel opportunity that I’ve been offered, I am grateful to be in a place where, more often than not, I’m giving it a second look.

In April, my family took our first trip abroad since 2019. We went to the UK, where I was able to meet our London team and attend my first Premier League game. (It was incredible.) We’re finally able to follow that up. Next month, we’re heading to Zurich for a legal conference and a little sightseeing. Yes, I’m already dreaming of cheese and chocolate. After that, I’m planning a quick jaunt to Salt Lake City to speak about developments in the tax world. And somewhere in between, we’re hoping to get in a few college visits.

This rhythm is familiar. And as hectic as it can be, I love it. It can be easy to sit inside and manage your Zoom and Teams calls. And I realize that some of you are still at that place—no judgment. But there’s something extraordinary about being able to jump on a plane, train, or automobile again. I’ve missed this.

If you need a little inspiration, stay tuned. At Bloomberg, we’re planning some virtual and in-person events in the next few months, and we hope you’ll join us. And be sure to check out our listings below for more events.

We’re fortunate to be in a profession where community is meaningful. And that can take many forms, from meeting up at conferences to sharing information online. We’re here to help. While we hope to meet you in person—eventually—you can always rely on us for great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues on The Exchange—no planes, trains, or automobiles required.

The Exchange ... It’s where great ideas intersect.

Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Trivia

My Washington, D.C., hotel was required to tack on a whopping 14.25% lodging tax—but that’s not the most expensive lodging tax in the country. Excluding local lodging taxes, which state holds the honor for the most costly lodging tax?

Answer at the bottom.

State Insights

State and local tax workarounds such as pass-through entity income tax options have received their share of news coverage. But their impact on business valuation is often overlooked, creating traps such as complications in “tax affecting” earnings, says Brady Ware Arpeggio’s Bruce C. Wood.

Federal Insights

When choosing a retirement plan for yourself, your client, or your company, start by asking a fundamental question—what are you trying to accomplish?—then meet with your tax adviser and a fiduciary specializing in the retirement plan space, says EisnerAmper’s Michael A. Abate.

As educational institutions continue facing growing tax compliance and reporting requirements, they should understand some key risks and how to mitigate them through proper planning, say FORVIS’ Amy Bibby, Lauren Denton, and Jeremy Naess.

While some fines and penalties can qualify as a tax deduction, the $10 million fine imposed by the NBA on Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver falls short of the standard for deductibility, says attorney Richard L. Fox.

US corporations that sell vacation ownership intervals are entitled to installment sale deferral on their retail customer sales, generating large GAAP earnings in excess of taxable income. In Part 1 of a two-part series, Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.'s Alan S. Lederman describes these special VOI-industry tax deferral rules, using the example of Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. In Part 2 of the series, Lederman explains why it seems unlikely that many of these VOI sellers will be subject to significant CAMT or OECD Pillar Two tax soon.

The research and development tax credit provides important fuel for the US economy. But ongoing IRS scrutiny of credit applications means it’s important to claim credits only where they’re properly due, says ADP’s Brandi Price.

The filing deadlines for the 2019 and 2020 tax years were pushed back because of the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting slower processing of tax returns. Holtz, Slavett & Drabkin APLC’s Richard Gano looks at how the IRS’ woes affected the penalty relief process.

Changes to Internal Revenue Code Section 174 that took effect early this year have raised concerns, but most companies shouldn’t see a major upheaval to their tax picture, say Sycamore Growth Group’s Rick Kleban, Dainer Reinier, and James Bean.

Global Insights

Amish Patel and Rod Smith of RWK Goodman set out some important tax and other issues US nationals should consider before coming to work in the UK.

Jane MacKay of Crowe considers the potential tax changes likely to be on the agenda of the new UK government, ahead of the fiscal statement to be delivered on Sept. 23.

Alex Smith of Sovos reviews potential VAT measures the new UK government may take, including a temporary cut in the tax, and considers how any cuts may be deployed.

Fleecy clouds are seen in the sky as an airplane prepares to land at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018.
Photographer: SILAS STEIN/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

A Closer Look

Remote work can make a company look more attractive to current and future employees, but it’s also a gateway into an intricate maze of tax rules. In this edition of “A Closer Look,” Baker McKenzie’s Erik Christenson and Imke Gerdes look at the international cross-border taxation issues posed by remote work.

Columnists

With the end of the year on the horizon, now is the time to think about the coming tax year. Here are some of the projected tax brackets, deductions, and credits for 2023 as predicted by Bloomberg Tax.

With Charles Rettig’s term as IRS commissioner set to expire, what does the new IRS commissioner need to know? I asked former commissioners for their takes.

The Inflation Reduction Act has some electric vehicle provisions, chiefly a sourcing requirement for battery materials. But tax policy shaping automobile production is not a new phenomenon says Andrew Leahey. French automobile taxes, for example, heavily shaped development of the industry with cars such as the Citroën 2CV.

Reader Responses

At The Exchange, we welcome responses from our readers and encourage diversity and civil discussion. We are especially interested in responses that add to the conversation, or introduce a different point of view. If you have a response to one of our published Insights, we’d love to hear from you.

Listen In

Richard Jones took the helm of the board charged with writing US accounting rules the same year the coronavirus pandemic upended the economy.

Jones and the six other members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board had to act quickly to tackle questions on how to use accounting standards during such an uncertain time. Two years later, the FASB is plotting its next big moves, including writing rules for buzzy topics like cryptocurrency and figuring out how the new tax-and-climate law will impact its work.

On this episode of Talking Tax, Jones speaks with Bloomberg Tax reporter Nicola M. White about the FASB’s agenda and how the standard-setter works with a Securities and Exchange Commission that’s increasingly active in accounting issues.

Get Caught Up

It’s been a busy week in tax news from state capitals to Washington. Here are some stories you might have missed from our Bloomberg Tax news team.

*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to access Tax News.

  • Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent letters to Prudential Inc., Zurich Insurance Group, and the American Council of Life Insurers, furthering his investigation into the use of private placement life insurance arrangements as a way for wealthy individuals to avoid taxes.
  • South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol was overheard insulting American lawmakers after briefly meeting President Joe Biden to discuss issues including US electric-vehicle subsidies that South Korea wants to change.
  • The IRS is open to further changes to improve new, much-criticized filing requirements for partnerships’ foreign income, an agency official said.
  • Twenty-two companies that may have engaged in questionable intercompany transactions to lower their New Jersey tax obligations have registered for a voluntary program to resolve disputes with the state, according to a spokeswoman for the state Treasury Department.

Spotlight

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on attorney Mitchell Trager, a director in the tax practice of FORVIS, where he focuses on incentives and credits.

A black taxi cab makes its way over Westminster Bridge on March 28, 2012 in London, England.
Photographer: Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

Career Moves

Faust Bowerman has joined Holland & Knight as a tax partner in both the New York and Austin, Texas, offices, the firm announced.

Jennifer Thornton has joined the Business Roundtable as vice president, trade and international, the organization announced.

Sharon Katz-Pearlman has joined Greenberg Traurig as a shareholder in the global tax practice in the New York City office, the firm said in a statement.

Jennifer Exum has joined Baker Donelson as of counsel and a member of the tax group in the Chattanooga, Tenn., office, the firm announced.

If you are changing jobs or being promoted, let us know. You can email your submission to TaxMoves@bloombergindustry.com for consideration.

Events

Tax Foundation, which bills itself as the nation’s leading independent tax policy nonprofit, will host its annual “Tax Prom” starting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

If you’re hosting an industry-wide event, let us know. You can email your submission to TaxEvents@bloombergindustry.com for consideration.

Tell Us

What’s so great about being a tax professional? We want to hear your story. We’re soliciting short essays of no more than 200 words about the best parts of being a tax professional. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 30.

Quick Trivia Answer

Connecticut imposes a staggering 15%, although there are no city or county taxes.

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What Did You Think?

Your feedback and suggestions are important to us, so don’t hesitate to reach out on social or email me directly at kerb@bloombergindustry.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at kerb@bloombergindustry.com