Week in Insights: Tax Work Is a Picture Perfect Profession – Bloomberg Tax

By Kelly Phillips Erb
A few years ago, I was watching the original version of “Ghostbusters” with my kids. There’s a pivotal scene—filmed in The Millennium Biltmore Hotel—where the Ghostbusters catch up with Slimer. They aim their proton packs and begin firing. Chaos ensues, and the chandelier crashes onto the table, breaking dishes and furniture.
When it was all over, my middle child said quietly, “They’re going to get sued.”
She gets it honest. I’m a lawyer married to a lawyer. My kids hear plenty of chatter, read a lot of articles, and carry those perspectives with them.
I’m the same way. When I watch a film, my brain almost always goes to tax—even movies that don’t use tax as a premise. I often complain about a lack of understanding of Section 61 or worry about the tax consequences of splitting lottery or other prize winnings. (You probably don’t want to go to the theater with me.)
Fortunately, some tax-focused movies are worth the watch, and I can almost watch them without complaining. Here are some of my favorites:

I know I’m missing some of your favorites. But I had to draw the line, and some popular tax movies like “The Blues Brothers” didn’t make the cut. (I’m sorry, I can’t get past why the orphanage wasn’t exempt from property tax.)

But even when the movies aren’t terrific, I love seeing tax issues on screen. It’s a great reminder that tax isn’t one-dimensional, and neither are tax professionals—that’s something that we think about a lot at Bloomberg Tax.
This week, we’ll be thinking about it even more than usual. On Monday, Oct. 24, we’re kicking off Tax Pro Week. We’ll be focusing on and celebrating tax professionals—from preparers to auditors, litigators to compliance officers—with featured essays and a dynamic career panel.
And while I’m no Scorsese, I’m offering you the chance to tell your story. Keep an eye out for the opportunity to comment on social about your career—who knows who you might inspire? We’re looking forward to a fantastic week.
In the meantime, grab your popcorn and enjoy our great commentary and insightful analysis on federal, state, and international tax issues.
The Exchange … It’s where great ideas intersect.
Kelly Phillips Erb
In the Matter of the Claim for Refund under the Sales and Use Tax Law of Century Theatres, Inc., the movie chain successfully claimed a refund by arguing that its popcorn was not intended to be sold as a “hot food product.” They argued that their “cornditioner” was not intended to heat the popcorn, but to do what?
Answer at the bottom.
This November, Massachusetts residents are voting on an amendment for an additional 4% income tax on annual taxable income exceeding $1 million. Davis Malm’s Philip S. Olsen looks at the bill’s intricacies and the public debate surrounding its fairness.
Because state statutes can be inconsistent when determining the tax base for resident and nonresident owners, determining eligibility for pass-through entity tax benefits requires careful analysis of various factors, say Plante Moran’s Tony Israels, Jason Parish, and Ron Cook.
Business and tech deals in the cryptocurrency industry often lack formal agreements and are finalized with a simple handshake, explain Wilson Elser attorneys John Cahill and Jana Farmer. They caution this approach often leads to protracted litigation, liability risks, and even adverse tax consequences.
Exchanges, protocols, and tax tools all must work to help taxpayers obtain the crypto tax data they need to file returns. At the same time, regulators must offer clear guidance to help taxpayers be proactive when reporting their crypto gains and losses, says Accointing’s David Canedo.
The uncertainties of crypto taxation are magnified because of recent distress in crypto markets over the past several months. Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Anthony Sexton highlights some key issues.
The tax executive’s role will become even more vital as access to cash tightens and inflation shrinks profit margins. Tax departments can help their organizations by pursuing tax transformation, says BDO’s Haley Dobre.
Poul Erik Lytken and Gluay Dam of Accura Law Firm discuss the proposed digital streaming service “cultural levy” in Denmark, and the mixed response it has received so far.
The long-awaited reforms in tax litigation procedures in Italy have now been approved and will have wide-ranging effects. Giuliana Polacco and Annarita De Carne of Bird & Bird Italy look at the purpose and detail of the new measures.
In the fourth part of a series looking at the introduction of corporate tax in the United Arab Emirates, Parwin Dina of Global Tax Services considers more potential issues that may arise for multinational enterprises. If you missed out earlier, you can catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the series.
Aiki Kuldkepp of Grant Thornton Netherlands discusses a decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union that under EU law, an indirect customs representative is jointly and severally liable with the importer only for customs duties and not for import VAT, and considers the practical implications of the ruling.

The purpose of the Child Tax Credit has shifted over the decades, but allowing its expansion to expire has caused child poverty to spike. Lawmakers should consider using the credit as a tool to combat child poverty in America, says AccounTAXstic’s Sabrina James.
It’s no secret that delaying the start of Social Security benefits typically means you’ll get more money in retirement. And waiting just got even more worthwhile thanks to the program’s big cost-of-living adjustment set for next year, writes Bloomberg News’ Alexis Leondis.
At The Exchange, we welcome responses from our readers and encourage diversity and civil discussion. We are especially interested in responses that add to the conversation, or introduce a different point of view. If you have a response to one of our published Insights, we’d love to hear from you.
It’s Tax Pro Week! Beginning on Monday, Oct. 24, we’ll feature essays about the best parts of the tax profession. And don’t miss out on our “Why Tax?” panel on Oct. 27 from noon to 1 p.m. EDT. We’ve put together an all-star lineup of leaders from a wide variety of professional tax associations to spark the discussion and answer your questions.
Nonfungible tokens hold intrinsic value due to their digital properties and traits. In this edition of “A Closer Look,” Stout’s Fotis Konstantinidis looks at the challenges of valuing NFTs and the methods and data used for valuation.
When Congress passed a new law targeting retirement accounts in 2019, we hoped it would make saving for retirement easier. But 2022 proposed regulations and recent guidance from IRS have muddied the waters for some, raising new questions. Here’s my take as I try to sort it out.
Gambling policies targeted at problematic games rather than gamblers will encourage the gaming industry to make changes that are less likely to lead to addiction. Taxing such a fluid business will require nimble strategies only possible through a targeted revenue tax, says Bloomberg Tax columnist Andrew Leahey.
The Employee Retention Credit was intended to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payrolls. But as the economy tightens, the IRS is warning about fraudulent schemes. I asked tax professionals what they’re seeing—and how taxpayers can avoid being taken advantage of.
It’s been a busy week in tax news from state capitals to Washington. Here are some stories you might have missed from our Bloomberg Tax news team.

*Note: Your Bloomberg Tax login will be required to access Tax News.
Our Spotlight series highlights the careers and lives of tax professionals across the globe. This week’s Spotlight is on Martin “Marty” Edwards, managing director of Accruit, a service provider of 1031 exchanges, a real estate investing tool.
Daniel Bunn will assume the role of president and CEO of the Tax Foundation, according to a news release.
John Barrie has joined Mclaughlin & Stern as a partner and co-chair of the firm’s tax practice group in New York.
William Freeman has joined Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP from ExxonMobil Corp. to be a tax partner in Dallas, the firm said.
KPMG UK has appointed Jonathan Boyers as vice chair of the firm and executive chair of corporate finance while Rob Baxter assumes Boyers’ previous role as head of corporate finance, the firm said.
Stacy E. Wilhite has returned to Baker & Hostetler LLP as a partner in its tax practice group and a member of the employee benefits and executive compensation team at the Columbus office, the firm said.
If you are changing jobs or being promoted, let us know. You can email your submission to [email protected] for consideration.

We’ve all had that client—the one who calls at night or on weekends, makes last-minute demands, forgets to send you the documents you need, and generally is unpleasant to deal with. But at what point is it more trouble than it’s worth, and how do you pull the plug on the relationship?
We’ve recruited two certified financial planners to help you figure out when it’s time to cut ties with a problematic person or organization. Join Bloomberg Tax and Bloomberg Law Insights & Commentary teams on Oct. 26 from noon to 1 p.m. EDT for “How to Know When to Fire a Client,” part of our free virtual Lunch & Learn series.
The movie chain argued that the purpose of the cornditioner was to dehumidify the popcorn, not to heat it. The California State Board of Equalization agreed that the incidental warming of the surrounding ambient air in the effort to produce a dry product did not constitute “heating” within the meaning of the regulation.
I know we talk about tax a lot. But there’s a lot more that you might hear us talking about if you popped into one of our Teams meetings. Here’s a quick look at what some of us are watching, reading, and listening to this week:
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Your feedback and suggestions are important to us, so don’t hesitate to reach out on social or email me directly at [email protected].
To contact the reporter on this story: Kelly Phillips Erb in Washington at [email protected]
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