Tax Season Tribune

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Court rules this town is, in fact, big enough for the both of us

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

Block, Inc., which rebranded from Square in 2021, is a financial service product company started by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The company dipped its toe into the tax preparation arena when it purchased Credit Karma Tax (now renamed Cash App Taxes). While Block, Inc. was already treading on thin ice with a name similar to H&R Block, the Cash App Taxes logo was the last straw: a green square. In late 2021, H&R Block sued Block, Inc. for trademark infringement.1

In April 2022, a federal district judge granted H&R Block’s motion for an injunction that Block, Inc. could not use advertising, press releases, or social media to communicate its relationship to Cash App Taxes. Block, Inc. appealed the injunction, saying that if it had to change its name again it would cause irreparable damage.

But at the end of January 2023, the Eighth Circuit ruled that H&R Block had failed to provide evidence of “actual consumer confusion” — or, that anyone had used Cash App Taxes thinking it was an H&R Block product. Cash App Taxes is a phone app, while H&R Block has in-person, online, and retail tax software services. The court found that H&R Block needed more than just social media posts and media articles as evidence of actual consumer confusion over the two brands.2

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

Police deal blow to drug smugglers’ delivery system

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

You may have heard of the Great Pacific garbage patch (aka, the Pacific trash vortex), the swirling 620,000 square-mile mass of around 100 tons of mostly plastic garbage in the central North Pacific Ocean.1 But off the coast of New Zealand, police located another patch of floating debris: 3.2 tons of cocaine that had been dropped in the ocean by an international drug smuggling syndicate.2

The South Pacific cocaine patch was comprised of 81 bales of the white stuff held together in a net and buoyed by flotation devices. It was likely headed for Australia.

The value of the patch is estimated at half a billion New Zealand dollars ($318 million American dollars), and is the largest seizure of illegal drugs in New Zealand history. Police guessed that it was more cocaine than New Zealand would use in 30 years (yet would only service the Australian market for about one year).  

Survey says

In last week’s issue of Spidell’s Tax Season Tribune®, we asked for your top tax legislation suggestions. Here are some of the responses we received:

  1. Every elected state official should have to prepare his or her own tax return using TurboTax or other do-it-yourself tax software. The hope is they will realize how making ridiculously complex tax laws is counterproductive to their constituents. I realize we will never have a “flat tax,” but maybe this law would prevent ridiculous complexity.
  2. A bill should be drafted that would mandate sending every tax preparer maple syrup and candies in amends for the serious offense and insult of Victoria Mayer’s bill.
  3. For every taxpayer that gets caught understating their income, the tax preparer gets a bonus reward of 25% of the assessment if they can show they did all in their power to practice due diligence obtaining the data and had no knowledge of the understated income the taxpayer hid.
  4. A retroactive tax law that automatically entitles each tax preparer to a $100,000 grant from the state for pain and suffering.

A few fun facts about this week’s writer:

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

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