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A Look Back at Some Favorite Tax Stories in 2021

Dec. 30, 2021, 9:45 AM

What a year.

A lot happened in the tax world in 2021. Sometimes, I wrote about it. And sometimes, my colleagues wrote about it. And other times, my fellow tax professionals wrote about it. But our goal—every time—was to make sure that we put good, timely information in the hands of our readers.

Popular Taxgirl Articles

It’s always fun for me to look back over the stories that resonated with readers. This year, you cared a lot about stimulus checks and the plan to report your bank information to the IRS. And in an era where TikTok tax advice wasn’t always—er—completely accurate, articles dispelling tax myths and explaining how job perks and fringe benefits actually worked were popular. And planning tips, including year-end moves to make in 2021 and what you needed to know about making charitable contributions, also appealed to readers. Those articles were among my most widely read and talked about of the year.

But the stories that attract the most attention aren’t always my favorites, nor the ones that I thought were most important. I get it. Sometimes you’re looking for something very specific—like how long to keep your tax records—or something gets picked up on social—like tax facts on National Beer Day. The most-viewed articles aren’t always the ones that I had hoped my readers would enjoy or benefit from the most, though they sometimes are—thanks, fellow Schitt’s Creek fans.

My Favorites

Some of my favorites were those that you may have skipped in 2021. Perhaps you’re a Kevin Durant fan—in which case I get that you wouldn’t want to be reminded of Game 7 in the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals—but writing about sports and tax is always fun for me. Stories about marital debt are personal to me since I have represented so many clients who would have benefited from that sort of information before they got married—and not when they were headed for divorce. And I was overwhelmed by your own stories about fatherhood and the workplace.

The same applies to the Taxgirl podcast: you can’t judge the best by the most popular. This year, you really tuned in to hear about working from home and how cryptocurrency impacts your tax bill. That was to be expected, I guess, since those topics also dominated tax news headlines. But two of the podcast episodes I enjoyed taping the most landed lower on the list this year. I love learning new things in the tax world, so I was chuffed to find out how you can craft your health savings account, or HSA, to work like an individual retirement account, or IRA. And as a woman in the tax profession, it was terrific chatting with PwC’s Kathryn Kaminsky about shaking up leadership in tax.

Insights and Commentary

When we launched the new Insights and Commentary channel midyear, it made it easier to share those Taxgirl podcast episodes alongside Bloomberg’s Talking Tax podcast. You can easily find your favorite Talking Tax episodes on the channel’s home page—and in 2021, those included stories about tax and cannabis, California donor disclosure laws, and how the tax profession can learn to love the robots.

The new channel also made it easier to share stories about and written by my fellow tax professionals. We did that in many different ways, including our popular Spotlight series, and, of course, practitioner-authored Insights.

You told us what was important to you—and we listened. You clicked on Insights written by your fellow tax professionals on topics from Form 1099 reporting to calculating the amount of the Employee Retention Credit subject to tax. You cared a lot about state and local tax, or SALT, this year—including stories focused on Hawaii and Texas tax litigation rules and of course, moving to tax-friendly Florida. But your top tax concern this year? Potential capital gains increases. It didn’t happen in 2021—but stories about it garnered a lot of attention.

Reading and editing Insights were a highlight of my year. I learned a lot about cryptocurrency this year, including a look at the structure and tax implications of a newly-created exchange-traded fund, or ETF, designed to provide investors exposure to Bitcoin—and the potential regulation of stablecoins. OECD-led tax changes dominated headlines, so I appreciated the explainers, including this one on the two-pillar plan to tax large multinational businesses. And since getting ahead of divorce and custody tax issues has always been a planning point in my practice, I gravitated towards pieces focusing on the child tax credit and divorce.

We collaborated closely with our international team in London this year, which was a boost for our coverage and our team. Kathy Butler, one of my Insights counterparts across the pond, offered up some of her favorites of the year that were also on my list. Tops, of course, was a fun Messi soccer story, as well as explainers on the impact of new EU VAT rules, and how fintech is transforming the development of Islamic finance.

Join Us

I was fortunate enough this year to work with hundreds of authors from all over the globe. It was both humbling and motivating. And if you’re feeling a little inspired, and want to write for us, check out our submission guidelines—or drop me an email. I’d love to talk to you about it.

Subscribe

But if you’re content to simply read our great stories, that’s okay, too: We love having you.

If you’re not yet a subscriber, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter—it’s free. It’s a great way to find all of our great content in one place—in addition to links to Taxgirl articles, Insights, podcasts, Spotlights, and news, you can find fun numbers trivia and information about tax-focused events like our 5k and student writing competition.

Before You Go

One more thing.

It’s been a great year—for Taxgirl, for Bloomberg Tax Insights and Commentary, and for the tax and accounting profession. I often say—and I truly believe—that I have the best readers in the world. I love that I get up every day and get to do this job. And I couldn’t do that without you. So thank you for reading. I’ll see you in the new year!

This is a weekly column from Kelly Phillips Erb, the Taxgirl. Erb offers commentary on the latest in tax news, tax law, and tax policy. Look for Erb’s column every week from Bloomberg Tax and follow her on Twitter at @taxgirl.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergindustry.com