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William Rutter is no dummy. A world-renowned scientist in the field of biotechnology, he earned a degree from Harvard and PhD from the University of Illinois before performing postdoctoral work at the Nobel Institute in Sweden. He has published over 400 scientific papers, holds over 25 patents, and has earned millions upon millions of dollars developing HIV and Hepatitis vaccines.

Late last week, however, all of Rutter’s accomplishments and accolades served only to validate a suspicion Albert Einstein voiced decades ago: the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. After all, if a genius like Rutter can wind up on the losing end of a Tax Court decision, what hope do the rest of us have?

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

As you may have read in one of your uncle’s late-night Facebook missives, President Donald Trump stands accused of having colluded with Moscow to make America not Great Again, but rather the largest province in the Russian empire.

There are more to these accusations than the social media ramblings of a distraught family member, however; the FBI found enough smoke around the Trump campaign to convince the Bureau there may well be fire, launching a federal investigation into possible collusion by the current administration in early 2017.

In May, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was tabbed as special counsel to head the investigation, a sign that things had turned towards the serious. The decision to bring in Mueller was made in response to the President’s dismissal of the standing FBI Director, James Comey, a move that came as Comey was reportedly intensifying his investigation into Trump’s affairs.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

As April 15th nears, the pace, anxiety, and general chaos that overtake the typical accounting office is rivaled only by that of the local emergency room. Of course, we’re preparing Schedule Cs rather than saving lives, but hey, the tax industry is defined by nothing if not its sense of self-importance.

Amidst all of that chaos, it is easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. And that’s a damn shame, because while a preparer can put in a heroic effort to get a particular tax return done on time, those long hours and late nights do little to no good if you the preparer doesn’t actually, you know…remember to file the return.

It happens more than you can imagine; weeks or months of hard work undone by the seemingly simple process of dropping an envelope off at the post office. Of course, electronic filing has reduced the role of traditional mail in the filing process, but then as every tax preparer has learned, e-filing presents its own batch of potential landmines.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

There’s a lot of politically-fueled hate in this country right now. Democrats hate President Trump. Republicans hate CNN and Colin Kaepernick. The alt-right hates everyone.

But can’t you see that harboring all of that hatred over what, really — when you take a step back — are small ideological differences, is both misplaced and misguided? After all, you — Mr. Diehard Democrat — had you been born in a different state and grown up on a farm, could easily have become a conservative. And you — Mrs. Resolute Republican — had you grown up with a parent who needed Medicaid, may well have become a liberal snowflake. While the chasm between the two parties seems impassable when we focus on the staunchest of the two sides, the reality is that most of us fall somewhere within that chasm, embracing a few sentiments from each party as part of our ever-evolving personal ethos. So why hate someone that could easily be you in a few years? It’s a wasted emotion.

Now, I’m not asking you to stop hating; that would be lunacy. Rather, I’m simply suggesting we see past our petty differences and unite to hate the same thing. A group of people so reprehensible that all of us — Democrat and Republican, black and white, gay and straight — can become one in our shared repulsion.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

There are no shortage of tax preparers in this country. Most are very good. Some are very, very bad. As a student of the law with twenty years of preparation experience, I’ve developed a discriminating eye, allowing me to easily differentiate between the two ends of the spectrum.

For many of you, however, separating the solid tax pro from the scam artist may prove a touch more difficult. That’s why I’m going to lay out some basic warning signs:

  • If a preparer guarantees they can get you a refund before you’ve given them your tax information, be afraid.
  • If a preparer guarantees you the exact amount of the refund they can get you after seeing only your W-2, be very afraid.
  • If a preparer requires you to pay a fixed percentage of your projected refund over to them as their fee, walk away; and
  • If a preparer plans to generate your refund by offsetting your wages with a substantial business loss — and you, you know…don’t actually own a business, for the love of God, run away.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

It’s been a while since we did a Tax Geek Tuesday, but boy do I have a doozy planned for you today. It delves into partnership tax law, so even before we begin, you can rest assured that the subject matter is needlessly complicated and nearly impossible to communicate in any logical and practical manner.

But that’s never stopped us before; after all, we’ve previously ventured into subchapter K to take on Section 754 adjustments, technical terminations, and even partnership book-ups. So why not take a stab at Section 704(c), an area of the Code that most practitioners ignore until it becomes an immediate and important issue, at which point they have a whoooolllle lot of catching up to do.

What is Section 704(c)? It’s a provision with complex application but a simple goal: to prevent a partner from contributing appreciated property to a partnership and then shifting that pre-contribution gain to a non-contributing partner or partners.

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.

Admit it. As the battle over the future of healthcare divided our nation throughout the past few months, you remained squarely on the sideline. It’s not that you didn’t have an opinion on whether Obamacare should remain the law of the land or be replaced by one of two Republican offerings — the American Health Care Act or the Better Care Reconciliation Act — it’s just that you felt, well…stupid.

There was so much to understand and keep up with, and when that one guy in your office would give an impassioned defense of the preexisting conditions clause or rail against Medicaid, you felt like perhaps you weren’t quite informed enough to get involved.

Well, I’ve got news for you: that guy in your office? Total fraud. Nobody understands healthcare in this country. Not the people who receive it, not the people who provide it, and certainly not the lawmakers who determine its fate. Perhaps that last great bastion of journalism in this country — The Onion — put it best with this headline:
Man Who Understands 8% of Obamacare Vigorously Defends it from Man Who Understands 5%

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Authored by Tony Nitti, Withum Partner and writer for Forbes.com.