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Week in Insights: The End-of-Year Holiday Chaos Edition

Dec. 25, 2022, 3:00 PM

The Christmas season kicked off with a bit of chaos in our house, and it started with trees. We have a few trees each year, themed for different rooms. My office has—you guessed it—a Bloomberg-themed tree, white with blue and black ornaments.

In our den, our tree is decorated with beer coasters that my husband and I collected from bars when we were in law school. (Don’t tell my mom—she thinks they’re just paper ornaments.) We couldn’t afford to buy decorations, so I punched holes in the coasters and attached curly ribbons—the results are decorations for what we affectionately call our beer tree. We’ve kept the coasters because they’re a good reminder of our beer, er, salad days.

A few years ago, I found a seller on Etsy with retro Christmas ornaments from Eastern European and former USSR countries. I bought a few Polish ones—my husband’s family is from near Poznań, Poland—and fell in love with them. I didn’t make the connection until this summer that the seller lives in Ukraine. She’s still selling and shipping, so I bought more ornaments and exchanged messages with her—it made the last few ornaments all the more special. The tree sporting those ornaments is in our bedroom.

The tree in the basement is the most casual. Until this year, it didn’t even have lights. But I insisted on some Christmas cheer because that’s the room where we watch Christmas movies. It’s a proper tree now and even has a tree topper.

A view of Rockefeller Center during the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 1, 2021 in New York City.
Photographer: Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

Last but not least is our family tree, which is usually quite big—one year, it topped 15 feet. But last year, with scarce inventories, we couldn’t find an affordable live tree over 5 feet tall. We broke down and bought a fake one that was just 9 1/2 feet tall that we debated using again this year. But our daughter insisted on a real tree, and we were lucky enough to find a good one.

A few weeks ago, we pulled the fake trees out of storage. The plan was to put up the smaller trees in their respective rooms and buy a real tree for the family tree—don’t worry, we always recycle it for the wildlife.

My office tree was easy. But when my son put the tree up in the basement, it didn’t look quite right. And when we pulled the tree for the bedroom out of the box, it looked grander than I remembered. The one in the family room was way too scrawny.

Apparently, the elves weren’t on their toes when they put away the decorations last year, and the storage got jumbled. It took a few days to take down the trees, put them back up in the right places, and find their corresponding decorations.

It wasn’t a massive disruption, but it was enough to complicate things in an already chaotic season. Work can be like that, too. One or two things that are out of place can throw your plan off schedule—even if you get there in the end.

At Bloomberg Tax, we want to make it easy for you to avoid the chaos. Our experts offer great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues to help you stay focused on your work day—no tangled lights or misplaced boxes included.

The Exchange… It’s where great ideas intersect.

—Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Trivia

Christmas tree growers may be entitled to a tax deduction under Section 631, which notes that the term “timber” includes includes evergreen trees that are more than six years old at the time severed from the roots and are sold for ornamental purposes. What is the average growing time for Christmas trees in the US?
Answer at the bottom.

State Insights

Gary C. Bingel of EisnerAmper previews some of the areas of state and local taxes that are most ripe for guidance and litigation in the coming year, including nexus and apportionment, pass-through entities, cryptocurrencies, and sales taxes, as part of our look ahead to 2023.

Federal Insights

Getting through tax season shouldn’t have to come at the cost of your mental and physical health. Effective time management strategies can reduce stress, increase efficiency, and put you in control of your schedule, says productivity specialist Amber De La Garza.

While Rev. Proc. 2023-8 provides welcome guidance that will simplify adoption of new rules for many, there are some pitfalls that taxpayers should avoid, say Plante Moran’s Caitlin Slezak, Emily Murphy, and Kurt Piwko.

Rising Section 7520 rates do not spell doom for good planning, and there is plenty of silver lining to be found even in inflation. Lathrop GPM’s Edward Tully and Jim Thomson offer four key planning concepts that may help make the new year a little brighter for estate planners and their clients.

Global Insights

Andrew Kelly and Lee Coccaro of BDO consider the shift in working practices caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, giving employees more say over where they perform their roles, and discuss the options for businesses in addressing the tax, management, and payroll issues that may arise from this change.

Marco De Leo and Francesco Parlatore of BonelliErede discuss the introduction of a corporate income tax in the United Arab Emirates and consider how this will align the UAE with international tax standards.

Francesco Bonichi and Lorenza Traccitto of Caiazzo Donnini Pappalardo & Associati explain the new guidelines issued by the Italian tax authority, which clarify the taxation of trusts to remove uncertainty around their tax treatment.

A Closer Look

Cannabis industry participants face a tough battle under a litany of regulations that may not change much in the near future. Transfer pricing rules must be considered and acted on properly to avoid even more tax problems for these businesses, say AB FinWright’s Simon Menkes, Abraham Finberg, and Rachel Wright in this edition of “A Closer Look.”

Columnists

‘Tis the season for making—and receiving—gifts. Whether you’re delivering sweaters and socks or hoping to see a sizable check in your stocking, it’s a good idea to understand how gifts can affect your taxes this holiday season. This week, I shared some of the myths you might have heard about making personal gifts.

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.

Fresh snow from a winter storm covers hundreds of sapling and growing fir trees that line a field at Harrod Tree Farm in Shirley, Mass. on Dec. 6, 2020.
Photographer: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images

News

It’s been another 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.

  • The IRS is delaying a requirement for e-commerce platforms, including Venmo, PayPal, Cash App and Etsy, to send tax forms to customers who have transactions of more than $600.
  • The IRS and Treasury laid out what requirements crypto brokers will have to meet when turning over information on client transactions in guidance Friday.
  • The outlook for tax provisions left out of this year’s spending package is dim for 2023, as gridlock over a deal on an expanded child tax credit and business provisions casts a shadow over the potential for any other tax measures to pass.
  • The massive bipartisan bill to fund the government trims IRS funding by $275 million over last year’s annual appropriations level, in a win for Republicans who sought cuts after Democrats gave the agency $80 billion in multiyear funding earlier this year.
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected attempts by the state to apply Wayfair retroactively and impose sales tax on a California-based internet vendor that only had “cookie nexus” with the state.

Career Moves

Hutchinson and Bloodgood LLP has promoted Christopher Hardy to partner, the firm said.

Nikki Dobay has joined Greenberg Traurig as a shareholder in the Portland, Ore., and Sacramento, Calif., offices as part of the state and local tax as well as government law and policy practices, the firm said.

Martha (Marty) Groves Pugh has joined K&L Gates as a partner in the tax and energy, infrastructure, and resources practices in Washington, D.C., the firm said.

Frost Brown Todd LLP announced that Brian Masterson has joined the firm as a partner with its tax practice group in the Nashville, Tenn., office.

Duane Morris LLP has added James Beebe as a manager and Keyon Lau as a senior staff accountant to its tax accounting group, the firm said.

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

Spotlight

Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals around the world. This week’s Spotlight is on Aditya Singh Chandel, a tax partner with AZB & Partners, a full-service law firm based in India.

Quick Trivia Answer

According to the National Christmas Tree Association, while it can take as many as 15 years to grow a tree of typical height, the average growing time is seven years.

A worker at Holiday Tree Farms throws a freshly harvested Christmas tree onto a pile of trees that are ready to be shipped at the Beaver Creek shipping yard on Nov. 18, 2017 in Philomath, Ore.
Photographer: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Our Team

We talk about tax a lot. But there’s a lot more that you might hear us talking about if you popped into one of our Teams meetings. Here’s a quick look at what some of us are watching, reading, and listening to this week:

Watching:

  • Melanie Cohen (Editor, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): I really enjoyed “Hanukkah on Rye,” a Hallmark movie about a matchmaker connecting two rival deli owners during Hanukkah. It was surprisingly very cute!

Reading:

  • Andrew Leahey (Columnist, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “Sick in the Head” by Judd Apatow. It’s more like a compilation of interviews with various comedians. Great end of the year, easy reading.
  • Rachael Daigle (News Director, Bloomberg Tax): “On the Rooftop” by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton.

Listening:

  • Kelly Phillips Erb (Team Lead, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): I’ll be listening to Christmas songs for the rest of the year! My playlist has 146 songs on it, which is slightly under eight hours of music.

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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.