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August 24, 2016 - Phil Hodgen

Why Tax Practitioners Cannot Cash Your Refund Check

People who file Form 1040NR (as nonresidents of the United States) will sometimes receive a tax refund.  Sometimes it is large, sometimes it is small.

The IRS, by default, issues a paper check for refunds.

It will shock you to discover that sometimes paper checks take a long time to reach their overseas destination.  Sometimes the paper checks never arrive.  Or sometimes it is a big hassle to deposit the U.S. dollar denominated check into a bank account overseas.  Or it costs a significant amount in bank fees to get this done.

In short, paper checks are an abomination.

It is possible to have refunds deposited directly to your bank account.... continue reading

Nonresidents with US Activities Random
June 10, 2016 - Phil Hodgen

My correspondents make me jealous

I traded emails earlier this morning with a tax lawyer friend who happens to be in Istanbul right now.  This is the view from his balcony.  I am deeply jealous.


... continue reading

November 7, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

New Mailing List – CalCPA International Tax Events

There is a new mailing list on our page, started today:  the CalCPA International Tax Events list.

The purpose of the list is to increase the number of people who attend the CalCPA International Tax Conference. I am the chair of that conference. We had a great event yesterday in San Francisco — our best yet in terms of quality of presentations.  Great attendance, and a great mixer after the event.  Free alcohol!  Heh.

(Hint:  come next year and attend in person, or watch on the web if you cannot).

The list will provide information about upcoming CalCPA events — live events, webcasts, etc.... continue reading

May 8, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

Live Now. Procrastinate Later

Seen yesterday in a classroom at Cathedral High School in downtown Los Angeles. Happy Friday.... continue reading

April 10, 2015 - Phil Hodgen

W. Edwards Deming knows where the problem lies

The IRS whines mightily about Americans abroad and how they are not filing FBARs or doing all of the other myriad of things that the system requires.

W. Edwards Deming had a thing or two to say about situations like this. In Out of the Crisis (1982), page 315 we find this little gem:

“I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management), 6% special.”

By “special” he means the people within the system (employees) or external factors.

If we apply this logic to the tax system:

  • 94% of the compliance failures can be blamed on the managers of the system itself, and
  • 6% of the compliance failures can be blamed on the humans who are required to follow the system.
... continue reading