The AAA-CPA Weekly Update
Apr. 8, 2015

Reserve Your Room Today for a Fantastic Weekend in May
AAA-CPA
The 2015 Northeast Regional Education Conference will be held at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel in Baltimore. Located in the heart of Baltimore alongside the city's picturesque Inner Harbor, this four-diamond hotel brings refinement, charm and laid-back style to the waterfront and puts you at the center of everything the city has to offer. And it just completed a $10 million renovation, so you will experience the lap of luxury during your stay. The AAA-CPA has secured a block of rooms at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel for Friday and Saturday. Rates are $165 for single or double occupancy. Reservations must be made by April 17 in order to guarantee our group rate. When making your reservations, please mention that you are with the AAA-CPA.

Click here to reserve your room online, or call 410-234-0550 to reserve your room at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Hotel.

Click here for details about the conference and to register today! More

Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs Files Amicus Curiae Brief in Florida Supreme Court Sales Tax Case
AAA-CPA
The Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs has filed an amicus curiae brief in Florida Department of Revenue v. American Business USA Corp Florida. James Sutton, CPA, Esq., of Moffa, Gainor & Sutton, P.A. is the lead counsel. The taxpayer in this case is an online florist with no inventory of flowers. The company merely takes orders online and relays the flower orders to florists all over the world for them to fill and deliver.

The taxpayer collected sales tax on flowers delivered in Florida, but not for sales delivered by florists outside of Florida. Upon audit, the Florida Department of Revenue assessed more than $100,000 of sales tax under the theory that the taxpayer was a florist and should have collected tax on all out-of-state sales.

Under Florida law, all sales made by a Florida florist are subject to Florida sales tax, regardless of where the flowers are being delivered. This is commonly known as the origin method of sales tax sourcing, and 36 other states have similar sourcing laws for florists. However, this method is very different from the method used by virtually all other industries, where the destination state taxes the transaction. This is called the destination method.

The fourth DCA held that Florida's special sourcing rule on florists is unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because it taxes transactions that are completed entirely by out-of-state florists. The Department of Revenue appealed. The Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs, together with the AAA-CPAs, filed the amicus curiae brief in support of the taxpayer, upholding the fourth DCA opinion. The amicus brief states that Florida's law violates the Commerce Clause because the regulation of interstate commerce is squarely within the domain of the federal government. Alternatively, the brief hinted that perhaps the court should consider the taxpayer as something other than a florist since the taxpayer never owns flowers. Such holding would cause the taxpayer to fall under the normal destination sourcing rules. A destination sourcing resolution would make the constitutional challenge moot as to the appellee, and the sales tax would not apply.

Nick Lioce, past chair of the tax section, is current president of the Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs. All members of the Florida Association of Attorney-CPAs are members of the AAA-CPA. Regular members must currently be, or have previously been, both attorneys and CPAs. Affiliates of these organizations may be either attorneys or CPAs who have one other credential from a specified list of credentials. For information about membership or Affiliate status, telephone Kimmy Livingston at 1-888-ATTY-CPA. For information on the amicus curiae brief, contact James Sutton, CPA, Esq., of Moffa, Gainor & Sutton, P.A. at JamesSutton@FloridaSalesTax.com or Sydney S. Traum, Esq., of Law Offices of Sydney S. Traum P.A. at SydTraum@Attorney-CPA.com. More

CCH Books of the Month
CCH
For the month of April only, purchase the following softcover or e-book titles at 40 percent off:

"U.S. Master Tax Guide®," 2015
Regular price: $97.25
In April: $58.35

"CCH® Federal Tax Perspectives: 2014 Update to Final Repair/Capitalization/MACRS Regulations"
Regular price: $19.95
In April: $11.97

"GAAP Guide®," 2015
Regular price: $385.95
In April: $231.57

"GAAP Handbook of Policies & Procedures," 2015
Regular price: $235.75
In April: $141.45

Click here to purchase them at the discounted rate. More

University of Florida Law Student Reception
AAA-CPA
The AAA-CPA will be holding a law student reception April 10 at the University of Florida Law School. Come learn about the unique opportunities for those trained in both accounting and law, and about how membership in the AAA-CPA can help your career. University of Florida alumnus and AAA-CPA member Richard B. Comiter, Esq., will address these questions. Register online for this free event by clicking here or emailing klivingston@attorney-cpa.com.More

Bruce H. Gaynes
Kitchens Kelley Gaynes P.C.
Bruce Gaynes, a founding shareholder of KKG, has over 35 years of experience helping clients. Prior to practicing law, he worked in the tax department of a national accounting firm and became a CPA. His law practice focuses on corporate, estate planning and tax matters.

Gaynes' work involves all sizes and forms of entities. He handles matters concerning the full business life cycle, beginning with organizational structuring and formation. As business and professional practices develop and grow, Gaynes helps them properly document and protect themselves, in ways such as operating agreements, shareholder agreements, independent contractor agreements, employment contracts, nondisclosure agreements and commercial transaction agreements. As clients look for exit strategies, Gaynes negotiates merger and acquisition documents, advises families on gifting techniques, formulates reorganization strategies and spearheads family and tax planning. As part of his work for business owners, executives and professionals, Gaynes maintains an estate planning practice, counseling individuals and families in their tax-reduction and asset-transfer strategies. As a consequence of his involvement in trust and estate law, Gaynes also has extensive experience helping clients with probate matters.

Gaynes is married with three children. When he is not in the office, he can often be found volunteering with various community and philanthropic institutions. He has served on the board of directors for several associations, has served as president of the Atlanta Jaycees and presided over and chaired many other organizations. Gaynes is often called upon to speak to groups about matters ranging from taxation to estate planning to fundraising. More

Federal Tax Update — March
By David S. De Jong, Esq., CPA, Stein Sperling Bennett De Jong P.C.
In Howard v. Commissioner, the tax court determined that a long-distance truck driver who lived in his truck but used his mother's home as a mailing address had no "tax home" and could not deduct travel expenses. The court did allow a deduction for "truck stop electrification" expenses, which allowed powering the truck without diesel fuel while taking mandated rest breaks.More

What Americans Pay in Taxes Compared to Other Nations
The Week
Americans may think their taxes are high, but compared to lots of other places, we have it pretty good. According to data collected by conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation and mapped by BrixCreative, America has the 63rd highest taxes as percentage of gross domestic product in a list of 179 nations and territories surveyed.More

Swiss Private Bank BSI SA Admits Aiding US Tax Cheats, Will Pay $211 Million
Forbes
In a deal with U.S. prosecutors, Swiss private bank BSI SA agreed to pay a $211 million penalty and hand over leads on more than 3,000 accounts with U.S. ties, as well as the actual names of an undisclosed, but presumably much smaller group of U.S. account owners. The nonprosecution agreement, which allows BSI to avoid criminal charges in the U.S., is the first to be sealed under a controversial amnesty program the U.S. Department of Justice announced in August 2013 for all Swiss banks, except the 14 already under criminal investigation at that time. More

IRS Chief: Tax Agency's High-profile Errors Are in Past
Bloomberg via Accounting Today
The Internal Revenue Service has fixed its errors, such as improper extra scrutiny of Tea Party groups, and they won't happen again, the tax agency's commissioner said. "The changes are so significant throughout the agency that you could hang a sign out at the front of the headquarters saying 'Under New Management,'" IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.More

How to Make Americans Love the 'Death Tax'
Slate
By all rights, the federal estate tax should be an extremely popular piece of policy. Most Americans believe that the wealthy should pay more of their money to the Internal Revenue Service. And while not everybody agrees on what constitutes affluence these days, the government only taxes estates worth at least $5.43 million dollars. More

Accountants Tell Congress That Tax Reform Must Come Soon
CPA Practice Advisor
The nation's largest society of professional accountants is telling Congress that tax reform isn't just something to think about, it's something needed soon. The American Institute of CPAs submitted eight recommendations to the Senate Committee on Finance Tax Reform Working Group on Savings and Investment that would simplify employer-sponsored retirement plans and individual retirement accounts.More

How Taxes and Debt Upend the 4 Percent Retirement Rule
MarketWatch
The overused and oversimplified 4 percent rule is misused so often that it's important to understand what it means, particularly as it relates to inevitable large single event expenses or tax and debt payments. The 4 percent rule implies that a new retiree can spend 4 percent of the retiree's savings the first year and increase that amount by last year's inflation until death, at which point the savings will be nearly exhausted. More