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Week in Insights: More Is Merrier at Thanksgiving

Nov. 20, 2022, 3:00 PM

In a few days, my house is going to be loud. I am totally looking forward to it.

It won’t start as a roar but more of a gradual turning up of the volume. My daughters will arrive home from college at the beginning of the week. Shortly after, my brother and his family will drive in from Connecticut, while my parents will take a little longer to arrive from North Carolina.

By the time Thanksgiving arrives, I’ll be hosting 26 people for dinner. Yes, 26.

Cheers to this great Thanksgiving dinner!
Stock photo via Getty Images

It’s not all family. We also welcome international students to our home over the holidays. My law school alma mater (shout out to Temple U!) coordinates a Thanksgiving dinner program every year. Recognizing that it’s difficult for international students to travel home over the break—and that the dorms will likely be empty—they match as many students with local host families as they have spots available.

For the past several years, we’ve hosted two or three students. Sometimes, they come back in subsequent years; we made great friends with a family who returned and brought their young son. But this year, we’re hosting seven—you’re allowed to cap the number of students you can comfortably host, and we didn’t submit a limit.

When I saw the list, I was a little overwhelmed. But then I realized that I couldn’t say no. We have the space. We have the resources to provide dinner. We have a great family who loves to meet new people. And I thought about my girls in college and what it would be like if they were alone during the holidays. So, I called our local party rental company, ordered an additional table and some chairs, and started reworking my menu. I don’t regret it for a minute.

Over the years, some of our best conversations have been across those dinner tables. I love hearing about what it’s like to grow up in other cultures and what other countries may think about the US and its various government systems—of course, I ask about tax whenever I can. I never walk away without learning something new.

I think we always learn the most from each other, whether that happens over a dinner table, in an office, or on the internet. I hope you’ll do that in your own life, too, whether it’s taking the time to talk with a colleague, pen an article for us, connecting on social media—or even inviting students into your home. (Check to see if there’s a program in your area.)

At Bloomberg Tax, we aim to make it easy for you to share and receive information. Our experts offer great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues to keep you in the know—and that’s definitely something to be thankful for!

The Exchange… It’s where great ideas intersect.

—Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Trivia

True or false: If your employer gives you a Thanksgiving turkey or gift card to buy a turkey, it’s excludable from taxable income.
Answer at the bottom.

Save the Date

How much should your firm or practice get involved in political issues, if at all? Should your business contribute to an elected official, political candidate, or a political cause or take a political candidate or official as a client? If you do, what questions could you face from your stakeholders?

Find the answers to that question and more by joining Bloomberg Tax and Bloomberg Law Insights & Commentary teams on Wednesday, Nov. 30, from noon to 1 p.m. ET for “Should Your Company Take a Stand on Political and Social Issues?” part of our free virtual Lunch & Learn series. Two attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP will lead a discussion about political and social issues in the workplace,

You can join us for this event, no registration required, by signing on here at noon ET on Nov. 30 or by calling +1-929-205-6099 US and entering the meeting ID: 975 6437 0979.

Sgt. Brian Ellis of Mt. Airy, Md. (L) shares a laugh with Sgt. Cesar Romero of Brentwood, N.Y. during a Thanksgiving lunch, Nov. 27, 2003, at field base St. Mere near Fallujah, Iraq.

Federal Insights

When the pricing and financial performance of a sports franchise are misaligned, external financing may not be advantageous or practical. But understanding the tax impact of the terms of a deal is simply adhering to the strategy that the best offense is a good defense, say RSM US LLP’s Amanda Hodgson, Jamie Sanders, and Justin Krieger.

President Joe Biden has nominated Daniel Werfel as its next commissioner. With the right leadership and oversight, the agency can deliver the 21st century service that all taxpayers have the right to expect while taking a big bite out of the $600 billion-plus annual tax gap, say former IRS commissioners Fred Goldberg and Charles O. Rossotti.

Cloud-based software-as-a-service business models are enabling rapid growth, and the accounting industry needs to adapt. Stout’s Steve Sahara, Jeremy Krasner, Brad Burch, Kevin Pierce, and Joe Randolph share some important aspects of SaaS revenue recognition.

The IRS has been using John Doe summonses in its digital asset enforcement since 2016, when it first attempted to identify crypto exchange customers. Taxpayers usually lost in court objecting to the summonses, but Ropes & Gray attorneys discuss a novel strategy in a federal appeals court.

The IRS’ new compliance program gives any retirement plan sponsor targeted for examination a 90-day review period to determine if they satisfy all tax law requirements. Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Susan Neethling and Helen Byrens detail the pilot program and share some next steps for plan sponsors.

Incentive stock options provide executives with various tax benefits, but how do you know when to exercise and sell the underlying ISO stock? Alyssa Rausch of EisnerAmper summarizes the basic tax rules and common tax strategies.

Global Insights

Foreign-incorporated cruise lines based in US ports have often been exempted from US income tax due to Section 883. In a two-part article, Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.'s Alan S. Lederman discusses whether US corporate alternative minimum tax could apply to these cruise lines or whether the proposed OECD Pillar Two minimum tax will impose a minimum tax regime on such cruise lines.

Christos Theophilou of Taxand explains that multinational enterprises need to have adequate preparation in place to satisfy the scrutiny of intra-group services by tax authorities, and he provides a practical example and case study to illustrate the issues.

As discussion of how to tackle the global challenge of climate change continues at COP27, Chris Morgan of KPMG considers current national approaches, including tax measures, and suggests more flexibility for countries to decide what approach is most suited to their individual needs.

Rob Janering of Crowe looks at the value-added tax compliance considerations for UK organizations supplying digital events and discusses the impact of the upcoming changes in the EU’s position on supplies of live online services.

Commentary

A profit-per-employee tax could go a long way to support the American workforce and to ensure that Big Tech factors the human cost of business into their plans as much as profits, says writer Hassan Tyler.

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.

A Closer Look

Nonfungible tokens hold intrinsic value due to their digital properties and traits. In this edition of “A Closer Look,” Stout’s Fotis Konstantinidis looks at the challenges of valuing NFTs, as well as the methods and data used for valuation.

Journalists make a Thanksgiving toast at the UN Club Nov. 22, 2001, in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Photographer: Paula Bronstein via Getty Images

Our Wish List

What’s on Bloomberg Tax Insights’ wish list right now? For December, we’re hoping to end the year on a high note with a wrap-up of the year and a peek ahead. We’re interested in: What did you think was newsworthy in tax in 2022? What should we look out for in 2023? What should tax professionals do now to prepare for next tax season? We’re looking for a thoughtful take that will get tax professionals talking about next year...even before the calendar flips over.

Our Insights articles—about 1,000 words—are written by tax professionals offering expert analysis on current tax practice and policy issues, tax trends and topics, and tax and accounting firm practice and management. If you have an interesting, never-published article for publication, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact our Insights team at TaxInsights@bloombergindustry.com.

Columnists

Private equity firm Cinven’s recent $720 million acquisition of tax preparation service TaxAct is the latest example of the changing landscape around mergers and acquisitions. But filing your taxes should be free and not involved with entities motivated by profit—full stop, says columnist Andrew Leahey.

Despite numerous controversies, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to generate billions of dollars. I take a look at where the money comes from, where it goes, and how it might be taxed.

As boiler room schemes gather steam across the globe, it’s important to remain alert. In my column, I explain some tips to consider during International Fraud Awareness Week.

News

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.

  • The Treasury Department proposed long-awaited new measures aimed at reassuring companies that some foreign taxes they pay are still eligible for the US foreign tax credit—a status the companies have feared might be in jeopardy.
  • Proposed foreign tax credit rules will be released “very soon,” an IRS official said at a Philadelphia conference hosted by the American Bar Association Tax Section.
  • New York’s tax collections are surging well ahead of estimates, thanks in part to some big inheritances.
  • Multinational companies in Europe are under pressure to make year-end tax decisions that best reflect the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic.
  • The OECD expects to issue a slew of consultations and guidance in December on key issues surrounding the scope and implementation of the global tax agreement, an OECD official said.

Career Moves

Carlos Martinez has joined White & Case as a partner in the tax practice in Mexico City, the firm said.

Martín Guzmán has been appointed to the role of commissioner by the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, according to a news release.

RKL LLP has added Thomas Romano and Jennifer Witmer as managers in the tax services group in Pennsylvania, the advisory firm said.

Leila Vaughan has rejoined Faegre Drinker as a partner in the investment management practice group in Philadelphia, 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 across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Caroline Cao, a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP in Sacramento, Calif.

A Chicago Police officer carries pre-Thanksgiving meals to guests Nov. 21, 2002, at the Columbus Park Refectory in Chicago.
Photographer: Tim Boyle via Getty Images

Quick Trivia Answer

False. If your employer gives you a turkey, ham, or other item of nominal value at Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays, that is excludable from income. However, if your employer gives you cash, gift card, or a similar item that you can easily exchange for cash—even if you promise to buy a turkey—that’s taxable regardless of the amount.

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): “The White Lotus” on HBO.

Reading:

  • Rebecca Baker (Editor at Large, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” by Mary Roach, a book about how societies deal with animals that assault, steal, and otherwise commit crimes against people.
  • Andrew Leahey (Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “Woody’s Last Laugh - How the ‘Extinct’ Ivory-Billed Woodpecker Fools Us into Making 53 Thinking Errors.” While I’m a terrible birder, I enjoy ornithology quite a bit and harbor hope that the ivory-billed woodpecker is still hiding out somewhere in the woods of Arkansas.

Listening:

  • Kelly Phillips Erb (Team Lead, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): “The Sound of Music” soundtrack. In October, I have a Halloween playlist, but, as of Nov. 1, there’s a gap. Since we don’t generally start up the Christmas playlist rotation until Thanksgiving, we need a soundtrack. (Yes, I need a soundtrack to my life.) I love “The Sound of Music"—"My Favorite Things” is a great song—and the message is so positive for the run up to the holidays. Now, every year, the lead-in to Thanksgiving is known in our household as Sound of Music season.
  • Alison Lake (Team Lead, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Law): Mehdi Mozayine is my current favorite singer. Take a visit to Morocco.

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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 editor responsible for this story: Kelly Phillips Erb at kerb@bloombergindustry.com