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Weekend Insights: Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Aug. 1, 2021, 2:01 PM

It’s been relatively quiet this week—and not just at the office. Even my texts from friends and families have slowed down, peppered with the occasional photo of a fruity drink or beachfront. It’s clear that it is officially vacation season in many parts of the world.

I think tax professionals, in particular, are relieved to take a day or so off after what felt like the longest tax season ever. And I hope that the silence means that folks really are taking time off to breathe.

A white sand beach decorated by red umbrellas at the Anantara Rasananda resort on June 18, 2012, on the island of Koh Phangan off the coast of Koh Samui.
Photographer: Paula Bronstein via Getty Images

Statistically, Americans aren’t very good at taking vacations. Pre-pandemic, American workers left a remarkable 768 million vacation days on the table in 2018—up 9% from the previous year. That translates to more than half of Americans—a whopping 55%—who are not using all their paid time off.

Hopefully, this year will buck the trend, and we’ll take some time to recharge so that we can get back to doing what we love. I was struck by that earlier this week when members of our tax team sat down with Paul M. Schmidt, Chairman of BakerHostetler, to talk about a return to work and the future of tax and the legal professions. At one point, Schmidt, who is a tax attorney, said, “I love being a tax lawyer.” He added, “I think to do tax, you have to really love it.” I couldn’t help but nod.

For every time we’ve been on hold with the IRS for—let’s face it—hours, we’ve also had those “aha” moments when we’ve been able to save a client money or help them out of a jam. And for every petition that has sat pending for months on end, there’s a letter advising you about a win at Appeals or in Tax Court that you get to share with your clients.

And, of course, there’s a tremendous sense of community. As a lawyer married to a lawyer, there’s a lot of shop talk in my house. And I can attest that the tax community is one of the most congenial. It’s a profession where we can—no matter our title or specific niche—learn from each other. And that’s pretty great.

That’s what we aim to do this week, as always, with the latest federal, state, and international tax analysis in our Insights Roundup.

Kelly Phillips Erb

Quick Numbers Trivia

According to the BLS, workers in which industry were most likely to have access to paid vacation leave?
(Answer at the bottom.)

Our Roundup

This week, our experts touched on a wide range of topics from low-interest loans to sales tax. To bring you up to speed, here’s our Roundup:

With vacation and travel on our minds, it may be time to think about expense reports. Employee expense reporting, especially for travel and work-from-home expenses, looks different after the pandemic. In Expense Reporting Looks Different Post-Pandemic, Alan Tyson of DATABASICS explains what this means for accounting in 2021 and the future.

Two children wait near their parents for the beginning of fireworks near Washington Monument during the 2020 “Salute to America” event in honor of Independence Day in Washington, DC.
Photographer: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images

And while traveling from state to state may be a breeze, selling across state lines isn’t necessarily so simple. Many small businesses are falling short of complying with out-of-state sales tax requirements. In How Accountants View the Impact of Wayfair Three Years Later, Liz Armbruester of Avalara summarizes a recent survey of accountants that highlights the situation. Armbruester also joined Bloomberg reporter Michael Bologna on this week’s edition of Talking Tax to discuss the trend toward real-time compliance in sale tax collections.

Businesses are dealing with similar issues abroad. Sarah Shears of Andersen reviews the wide-ranging and complex rules introduced in the EU VAT e-commerce package and considers the practical effect they will have for domestic and international sellers in New EU VAT Rules and their Impact on Businesses.

If you’re vacationing with family, you may be thinking—or rethinking—your position on transfer taxes. That’s not so unusual: Wealth taxes are a popular topic right now. In Wealth Taxes Can’t Satisfy Constitutional Requirements, Erik Jensen of Case Western University explains why any such tax would face and very likely not survive a constitutional challenge.

Sometimes, the passage of time can make you consider things in a new light. The Italian government introduced the cooperative compliance regime into the domestic tax system with effect from 2016. In Cooperative Compliance Regime in Italy—Five Years After Its Introduction, Giuliana Polacco and Annarita De Carne of Studio Legale Bird & Bird review the last five years of its operation and assess the impact the regime has had on participating taxpayers and the tax authorities.

As summer heats up, so, too, are discussions about infrastructure. Several infrastructure programs offer government loans to public-private partnership developers and to private developers. In Infrastructure Plans Build Interest in Low-Interest Government Loans—Part 1, Alan S. Lederman of Gunster discusses Section 7872(b)(1), which generally applies to loans with an interest rate below the IRS AFR and related guidance. In Part 2, he looks at IRS guidance intended to except or exempt government loans from the tax consequences of the provision.

And it isn’t just individuals who may need a break. In Part 1 of a new series from CMS, Stéphane Gelin, Head of Global Tax with CMS, discusses tax losses, and how tax policy can help with recovery after a global crisis, including a look at measures in various European countries.

A tourist stands in front of the Ancient temple of Parthenon on the Acropolis hill in Athens on June 4, 2021.
Photographer: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images

Even if you’re not a tax person, you can’t go far this summer without hearing some kind of discussion on global tax. The topic continues to dominate conversations as the G20 countries to tackle issues related to the global minimum corporate tax and profit reallocation of multinational enterprises. A global minimum corporate tax rate would impact some of the world’s largest multinational corporations. Mimi Song, Chief Economist at CrossBorder Solutions, talked about what this means and what tax advisers should know on the Taxgirl Podcast.

Write for Us

Bloomberg Tax Insights articles are written by tax professionals offering expert analysis on current issues in tax practice and policy, 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. Contact our Insights team by emailing TaxInsights@bloombergindustry.com.

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on nonprofit lawyer Kayci Petenko, founding partner of Fleming Petenko Law. Petenko speaks frequently on legal matters related to the operation of nonprofit organizations and is an adjunct professor at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.

Beyond Tax

Vacation won’t last forever—eventually, we’ll have to go back to work. But what will that look like? Employers can take an infinite number of approaches to hybrid work arrangements, says Mintz employment law attorney David Barmak. In Hybrid Return-to-Office Plans: Infinite Possibilities—and Problems—for Employers, Barmak discusses legal and HR issues, many that lack clear answers, including taxes, performance management, and workplace safety.

Quick Numbers Answer

Workers in the information industry were most likely to have access to paid vacation leave at 93%. Those in the “financial activities” industries were close behind at 92%. In comparison, only 80% of those in professional and business services reported access to paid vacation leave.

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More Great Tax Content

This is a weekend roundup of Bloomberg Tax Insights, written by practitioners and featuring expert analysis on current issues in tax practice and policy. For a full archive of articles, browse by jurisdiction at Daily Tax Report, Daily Tax Report: State, Daily Tax Report: International, Transfer Pricing Report, and Financial Accounting.

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What Did You Think?

We hope you found Weekend Insights valuable. We’d love to hear your suggestions for making it more enjoyable. Here’s our email: TaxInsights@bloombergindustry.com. Thank you for reading!

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

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