Archive for Michael DeBlis, III

Simplifying “Tax Speak” So That It Captivates The Audience & Brings Them To The Edge of Their Seats


Have you ever gone to a technical talk or presentation excited about the topic, only to be frustrated by the speaker’s technical jargon and stiff delivery?

If you’re a tax professional, you’ve likely been to more of these presentations than you care to remember (perhaps even reluctantly if you have waited until the eleventh hour to earn your CPE credit).

Let’s face it.  Tax is not one of the most enthralling topics to listen Read more

Unintended Consequences


Some basketball fans may remember the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul when, for the first time since the earth cooled, Team USA did not bring home a basketball gold medal. But NBA Commissioner David Stern had a plan: assemble a roster stocked with future Hall of Famers and allow them to run roughshod over any backwater country that dared show up for the opening tip. Read more

Foreign Account Disclosures Soar To Over 1 Million


The IRS published a News Release on March 15, 2016 entitled, Foreign Account Filings Top 1 Million; Taxpayers Need to Know Their Filing Requirements that readers of this blog might find interesting.

Below are some snippets:

WASHINGTON — Strong and sustained growth of taxpayers Read more

Penny Wise And Pound Foolish


Philip Wrigley had a problem. As the notoriously parsimonious owner of the Chicago Cubs in the 1970s, Mr. Wrigley did not want to spend big money to attract top players. But as the savvy owner of a successful confectionary business he also knew that no one would buy tickets to see a perennially second-division ball club. So he came up with the idea of the “loveable losers” a slightly-above average team that could win 80 or 85 games in a season.

The point of this story is that Mr. Wrigley did not want to be penny Read more

Cheap Shelf Or Top Shelf?


Many people make purchase decisions based on cost, and little else. “Motor oil is motor oil,” they insist. In the minds of many, it is pure folly to pay X dollars per month for auto insurance when another company provides the same service for a mere Y dollars. Or, they ask rhetorically, what moron would pay X dollars per gallon for gasoline when the station a quarter-mile down the road only charges Y dollars?

But, as the corporate shills at Valvoline were quick to remind Earl, cost is only one element in a purchase decision. As many of us Read more

Antonin Scalia’s Legacy

TaxConnections Member Michael DeBlis

If any lawyers you happen to see this coming week look a bit more depressed than usual, it may be due, at least in part, to the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. His sudden death was especially jarring for all of us who have ever experienced the completely unanticipated loss of a friend or loved one.

The pride of Trenton, New Jersey passed away at age 79 while on vacation in Texas. He was a government lawyer for President Richard Nixon, and was subsequently appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. What’s the old joke…the definition of “federal judge” is a lawyer who knows a senator? From there, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the High Court in 1986. Read more

Sample Reasonable Cause Letter


Attached is a sample reasonable cause letter in support of a client’s request that all penalties and interest arising out of his unintentional failure to file and pay Form 941 withholding taxes be waived.

This is a heavily redacted version and should not be relied upon in any way, shape, or form in dealing with the IRS.

I. General Facts

Mr. X is the former president of Read more

Double Trouble! Employment Taxes & The Trust Fund Recovery Penalty


Lord, hou schulde God approve that you robbe Petur and gif is robbere to Poule in ye name of Crist?”

John Wycliffe, Selected English Works, c. 1380

In medieval England, the Christian Peter and Paul were two peas in a pod. They were both apostles and both martyred in Rome. They even shared the same feast day (June 29). So, the idea behind the phrase “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is that the victim and payee are similar in wisdom and stature (to borrow a phrase). The modern-day equivalent is taking a cash advance from one credit card to make the minimum payment on another one, assuming that they both have a similar interest rate. Read more

Knowing When To Say When

TaxConnections Member Michael DeBlis

During its previous term, in a case that definitely took a back seat to the Affordable Care Act, same-sex-marriage, and the other high-profile disputes that the Supremes attempted to resolve, the High Court might have changed the way that doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals have done business for decades. In North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners vs. Federal Trade Commission, the Court may have ended a para-state professional organization’s ability to regulate nonmembers.

It seems that an inordinate number of beige-toothed Tarheels were flocking to their local teeth-whitening clinics to get a bleach job. The state dental board decided to fly to the rescue and put an end to this nefarious practice, ostensibly because these country-fried rubes couldn’t possibly do the job right and thus put innocent Polly Pureheart consumers at risk, but really because they wanted to charge $1,000 for teeth whitening Read more

It’s All In The Name


Some events are so seminal that they need no explanation. When someone says “Holocaust” or “9/11” or “Hindenburg,” no further explanation is needed. Some sports stars share similar fame. There is only one Michael, one LeBron, and one Wilt. While he admittedly does not rise to that level – some scouts shake their heads and say his left-handed layup needs work – James Moore’s rather commonplace name may someday reach that upper echelon.

Part I

A few months ago, I posted on the curious case of Moore v. United States. That article has an exhaustive discussion of the facts and also of FBAR. In a nutshell, Mr. Moore did not file an FBAR for 2003-2008; he filed late in 2009. The IRS conducted an investigation and sent Mr. Moore a memo in 2011 which curtly informed him that, after due Read more

What A Thoughtful Gift

Mike DeBlis Blog2


If you receive a $50 check in the mail from your Nana in the UK a few days before your birthday, it is fairly easy to deal with the income tax consequences of this transaction, especially if the check comes in one of those generic puppy-dog cards from the supermarket. That being said, most accountants would advise you to cash that check at first opportunity, or else Nana might close the account, the check will bounce, she’ll go to the wrong address to straighten things out, and… well, it may be easier if you just watch the clip below. Read more