Bloomberg Tax
May 7, 2023, 2:00 PM

Week in Insights: Spotting Fakes and Knowing When You See Truth

Rebecca Baker
Rebecca Baker

If you spend any time on social media (outside of #TaxTwitter, I mean) you’ll see a growing number of posts that blur the line between what’s fake and what’s real. From an AI-generated image of Pope Francis wearing a puffy white coat to phony photos of former President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron running from or through people, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to know if what you’re looking at is reality or someone’s ginned-up fantasy.

For now, there are a few ways to spot these “deepfake” images. Look closely for blurry backgrounds or unnaturally repeated patterns; zoom in to see if there are distorted body proportions (too many/two few fingers, odd-sized feet); and study people’s faces to see if they look overly smooth and glossy (even by Hollywood standards). You can search online for “spot the deepfake” to take a variety of free quizzes to test your fake-finding skills.

Mostly, if a photo makes you go, “Oh, come on,” it might be worth doing a bit of internet sleuthing to see if someone whipped up that image to elicit that exact reaction. A healthy dose of skepticism about too-good- or too-bad-to-be-true images can go a long way.

Here at Bloomberg Tax, we believe in skepticism, and we work hard to bring you the truth about the world of tax through our insightful analysis and commentary on federal, state, and international tax issues. We examine the issues from all sides, turning them this way and that, to help you separate what really matters from what’s merely a deep distraction.

The Exchange—It’s where great ideas intersect.

—Rebecca Baker

This photo illustration taken on Jan. 31, 2023 in Tokyo shows an artist who goes by the name “Rootport” demonstrating how he produces AI manga.
Photographer: Richard A. Brooks/AFP via Getty Images

Quick Trivia

In a recent survey, how many Americans said made-up or altered videos and images create a great deal of confusion about the facts of current issues and events?
Answer at the bottom.

State Insights

The recent NFL draft saw some rookies score salary deals in the tens of millions of dollars, but what they get to keep will depend in part on the state where their team is based, says McGuireWoods’ Addison Fontein.

Ballard Spahr’s Christopher A. Jones summarizes recent tax developments in Pennsylvania, including cases involving the state Attorney General’s office, several school districts, and hospitals owned by Tower Health.

Federal Insights

The IRS’ plan to target large corporations, large partnerships, and high-net-worth families for enforcement means taxpayers in those categories need to start preparing for increased scrutiny in fiscal year 2026, says Miller & Chevalier’s Robert J. Kovacev.

E-invoicing allows tax authorities to see every transaction, so there’s no room for error in tax calculations. As a result, businesses should create a plan and adopt technology to ensure accuracy from the start, says Avalara’s Alex Baulf.

Skadden’s Shalom D. Huber and Genia Gokhmark describe the implications of a Securities and Exchange Commission decision to halve the settlement timeline for most broker-dealer securities transactions.

CFOs and accounting leaders need to start preparing for changes proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to expand disclosure of expenses on financial statements to investors, says Patrick Garrett of Riveron.

Global Insights

Tatiana Amba and Rachit Agarwal of DLA Piper highlight significant transfer pricing issues and trends that multinational enterprises should be considering now.

As the EU moves closer to approving the first import tax to combat climate change, Jodi Ader of RSM US describes what industries are targeted, what the new reporting requirements would be, and the challenges that the law would pose.

Canada’s federal budget proposal seeks to overhaul the country’s general anti-avoidance rule, which aims to prevent abusive tax dodging. But the new rules raise questions and may create uncertainty for taxpayers, says Osler’s Pooja Mihailovich.

The European Commission has proposed a multilateral framework agreement for social security covering cross-border telework in the EU. Daida Hadzic of KPMG looks at the measures in the framework, and what they mean for employers and employees.

Influencer marketing campaigns have become part of key advertising strategy for businesses. Aleksandra Bal of Stripe explains how this may trigger value-added tax obligations for both influencers and the companies that engage them.


Harlan Crow, a friend and benefactor to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has citizenship in St. Kitts and Nevis through a golden visa—a type of passport that grants citizenship for a price and are often used as tax shelters. The US needs to start cracking down on these “cashports” that allow the wealthy to hide their assets, writes Andrew Leahey.

Career Moves

Danielle Rolfes has been named partner-in-charge of the Washington National Tax practice of KPMG LLP.

Keith McLaren has been promoted to partner at Shepherd & Wedderburn in the private wealth and tax team.

Chris Lutz and Kathleen Quinn have joined Jones Walker as partners with the state and local tax team in Washington, D.C., and New York.

Jacqueline Connor has joined Barnes & Thornburg as a partner in its private client services practice in New York

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has appointed Jill Gatehouse as tax practice group leader, succeeding David Haworth.

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


This week’s Spotlight is on Yu-Ting Wang, a tax adviser in San Jose, Calif., who started her own practice in January, specializing in cryptocurrency and digital assets tax consultation. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her 16-year-old son play goalkeeper on his high school soccer team, as well as reading and listening to classical music.

If you’d like to recommend a tax pro to be featured in Spotlight, send your suggestion to Please include the tax professional’s name, title, email address, and geographic area (city/state/country).

News Roundup

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.

  • IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel is perfecting his elevator pitch as he seeks to hire tens of thousands of new employees with fresh funding from Congress and says you don’t have to love the agency to get a worthwhile job at the tax collector.
  • The IRS released rules affecting intangible property repatriations, or transactions in which companies bring intellectual property such as patents and trademarks back to the US.
  • Two senators are looking into KPMG’s relationship with three recently failed banks, asking the firm for a wide range of documents for their initial inquiry.
  • New York would close a tax-cheat loophole in a whistleblower law and allow the state tax agency to challenge independent tax tribunal decisions in court, as part of a multifaceted budget deal Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has struck with legislative leaders.
  • Global standard setters now will allow some small firms a temporary exemption from some tax reporting requirements, amid confusion over changes resulting from OECD-led global minimum tax plans.
  • Ernst & Young’s decision to scrap a plan to spin off its consulting business and much of its tax practice is good news for law firms facing increasing competition from the Big Four accountancies. The split would have allowed EY to ramp up its legal services offerings.
Werfel at his Senate Finance Committee nomination hearing Feb. 15.
Photographer: Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg

Talking Tax

Werfel has a lot on his plate. The new IRS commissioner is tasked with effectively spending the IRS’s new $80 billion in Inflation Reduction Act funds and ensuring the agency has smooth tax-filing seasons, while also needing to respond to questions and concerns from Congress.

In the latest episode of Talking Tax, Werfel talks to Bloomberg Tax’s Naomi Jagoda in his first podcast interview since his confirmation in March. Werfel talks about his goals for his first six months on the job, how he plans to keep Congress informed about the agency’s work, how he plans to improve trust in the agency, and more.

Our Wish List

What’s on our Bloomberg Tax Insights wish list right now? For May, we’d like to see pieces that focus on nonprofits, including best practices and Form 990 updates. We’re also looking for insights on charitable giving incentives, donor-advised funds, donor privacy issues, and estate and gift planning techniques. And, of course, we’re interested in charity and government-related concepts such as unrelated business income taxes and payments in lieu of tax.

Our Insights articles—which are 1,000 words or fewer—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 idea, we’d love to hear about it. You can contact our Insights team at

Our Team

We talk about tax a lot. But there’s much 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:


  • Andrew Leahey (Columnist, Insights and Commentary, Bloomberg Tax): I just got caught up on “Succession.” It remains compelling television, even if it has been eclipsed by recent weirdness at actual broadcast media outlets.


  • David Jolly (Senior Content Editor, Bloomberg Tax): I’ve been listening to the Chinese Whispers podcast. I’ve always been interested in 19th century East Asian history, and the episode on Japan’s role in the making of modern China is fascinating.


  • Alex Clearfield (Senior Content Editor, Bloomberg Tax): I’ve been working my way through author Greg Iles’ Mississippi-set thriller novels, I read the standalone trilogy (about 2,500 pages) last summer and knocked out the prequels (another 1,800 pages) over the past month.

Quick Trivia Answer

Nearly two-thirds of Americans—63%—told the Pew Research Center that fake or altered videos and images create a great deal of confusion, with another 27% saying they create some confusion.


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To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Baker in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Butch Maier at

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