REM Cycle Review

REM Cycle Review: Unexpected DNA kits and spousal support

At last, the moment you’ve been waiting for all week—the latest installment of the REM Cycle Review, the only weekly tax roundup compiled by a penguin who consumes nothing but Red Bull and burritos. (You’ve got to lay off the Red Bull, Crystal. It’s starting to get weird.) We’ve got lots of tax tidbits to get you through these cold winter nights, plus this week’s staff video picks. Join us, won’t you?

Spousal support after a divorce? There’s a new tax rule for that. A more in-depth, less pun-laden look at the new divorce rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) than last week’s article on the Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos split. [Business Insider]

Withholding and estimated tax payments fall short? The IRS may waive your penalty. In a move sure to relieve many, the IRS announce this week that it will waive the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year. [IRS.gov]

Surprising absolutely no one, student loan debt keeps young people from buying homes. The Federal Reserve commissioned a long-term study to figure out why millennials weren’t buying houses. As it turns out, $1.5 trillion ($1,500,000,000,000—that’s eleven zeroes, for those playing along at home) in education-related loans is an “important factor.” [CNBC]

Unexpected DNA test kits + hackers + $10 Amazon gift cards = FRAUD. It’s weird enough to receive a DNA test kit in the mail you didn’t order. Weirder still if you discover the kit was ordered by someone you don’t know, who used a stolen credit card number in order to do it. The weirdness reaches M.C. Escher levels when it’s revealed all this nefarious naughtiness was committed in the name of… getting a ten-dollar gift card for Amazon? Uhhh… seriously? [USA Today]

Today, January 18, is National Thesaurus Day. National Thesaurus Day is observed annually on January 18 in honor of Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. Today, the thesaurus is also celebrated, appreciated, valued, treasured, esteemed, and held in high regard. [National Day Calendar]

This week we’re watching…

The REM Cycle editorial staff recommends one professional development video and one funny or thought-provoking video each week.

Former FBI hostage negotiator Christopher Voss created his company Black Swan based on the skills learned as a negotiator in hostage situations.

DNA tests you can take with do-it-yourself kits sent right to your home are more popular than ever, but how well do they really work?

Thanks to astute reader Greg Lavin for pointing out the correct number of zeroes in a trillion. We send him a trillion thanks and good wishes.

The REM Cycle Review is a weekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general.

Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.

REM Cycle Review: Amazon divorce and a GILTI proposal

Ahhhh, Friday. The work week is almost over, the weekend is almost upon us, and it’s time to lean back in your chair and relax with another edition of the REM Cycle Review, the only weekly tax roundup written on an Apple MacIntosh. (The last part of this statement is not true.) We’ve got tax news that might have slipped under your radar this week, as well as this week’s staff video picks. Let’s dive in!

When Amazon founder Jeff Bezos couldn’t re-Kindle Fire into his marriage, the entire world took note—including tax professionals. One thing Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos may not have Primed themselves for is the new divorce rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)... [Fox Business]

There is no average taxpayer anymore—not that there was an average taxpayer to begin with. But now that the TCJA has turned filing requirements upside down, New Yorkers will find their requirements even more complex, as NYS has decoupled its tax policies from the new federal laws. [Rochester Democrat & Chronicle]

A GILTI proposal. The American Institute of CPAs has requested that the IRS and Department of the Treasury change proposed regulations to the Global Intangible Low Tax Income provision in the TCJA. [Tax Pro Today]

Cryptocurrency markets plunge 11% in a single day. As of this writing, the biggest losers are Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Tron, and Cardano. So…not a super-great day to be a crypto investor. [Ethereum World News]

This week we’re watching…

The REM Cycle editorial staff recommends one professional development video and one funny or thought-provoking video each week.

Craig Wortmann shares five elements to running a high-impact business meeting.

Did Pepsi really run a commercial promising drinkers a military aircraft? Uhhh…

The REM Cycle Review is a weekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general. Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.

REM Cycle Review: Cell phone tax, test your altruism, and marijuana CPAs

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of the REM Cycle Review, your weekly roundup of all the tax news that’s fit to print. We’ve got a few tax tidbits that might have slipped under your radar this week. If you’re reading this on your mobile device, our first story will be of special interest to you…

Cell phone users are paying more in sales and use tax than ever before. According to a new study by the Tax Foundation, wireless tax rates have been on a steady increase since 2006—to an average current rate of 19.1%. [www.taxfoundation.org]

This December, you can test your altruism! Because that charitable contribution might not be tax-deductible after all. [Forbes]

Could raising taxes on alcohol save lives and prevent crime? The answer is complicated (it usually is), but sobering. A worthwhile read, especially during the festive season. [Vox]

Accountants are increasingly finding that pot is a proverbial pot of gold. A brand-new, multi-billion-dollar global industry is in desperate need of number-crunchers: marijuana. The pros for accountants: higher fees due to highly specialized knowledge of accounting practices. The cons, well… [Business Insider]

This week we’re watching…

The REM Cycle editorial staff recommends one professional development video and one funny or thought-provoking video each week.

What makes a great leader? Management theorist Simon Sinek suggests it's someone who makes their employees feel secure and draws staffers into a circle of trust. But creating trust and safety means taking on responsibility.

A misplaced cell phone leads to unexpected consequences. Featuring Vine and YouTube star Darius Benson.

The REM Cycle Review is a weekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general. Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.

REM Cycle Review: amnesty, virtual currency, and a rude awakening

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It’s Friday afternoon, and you know what that means… yes, it’s time for the REM Cycle Review, your weekly tax news roundup. So pull up a chair, grab some coffee, and prepare to be dazzled.

New Jersey launches extensive tax amnesty program. We’ll be diving deep into this topic in next Tuesday’s blog post, but here’s a quick primer to whet your appetite. [www.nj.com]

IRS Advisory Council says taxpayers should be permitted to pay taxes using virtual currency. Considering the rising number of taxpayers who use or invest in virtual currencies, this isn’t unreasonable. [Forbes]

U.S.-based tech companies may be in for a rude tax awakening. French Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the European Union member nations to raise taxes on tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon: “I cannot accept to have Google, Amazon, or Facebook paying less taxes ... than my butcher or my bookshop.” [FastCompany]

Check your wallet. No, not that one. If you use cryptocurrency, you probably use a virtual currency wallet app to manage your money, send and receive payments, etc. It’s a simple, real-time way to keep track of your funds. Except when the wallet’s a fake and you’ve been scammed. [Ethereum World News]

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT VIDEO: “How to become more productive at work | Harvard Business School.”

INTERESTING VIDEO: “Former CIA Chief Explains How Spies Use Disguises.” Former Chief of Disguise for the CIA, Jonna Mendez, explains how disguises are used in the CIA, and what aspects to the deception make for an effective disguise.

The REM Cycle Review is a weekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general. Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.