Tax Season Tribune

Spidell’s Tax Season Tribune: Farewell until 2025!

This is it: the final issue of Spidell’s 2024 Tax Season Tribune. Hopefully we have provided you with some levity during this filing season, and maybe a few new jokes to tell at parties. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram — you’ll get great information there, too.

We’ll continue to provide you with more analysis, seminars, and breaking tax news. Next Sunday, Spidell’s California Minute® podcast returns for its ninth season, and Spidell’s Federal Tax Minute® podcast will be back starting April 23.


TikTok tax advice

By Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Federal Tax Editor

The IRS is warning taxpayers of the inaccurate and misleading tax advice coming from social media, including TikTok among other sources. Before you roll your eyes at me, let me say up front that the IRS’s warning is less about Chinese disinformation and more about faux experts run amok.

Who would have thought that a group of people whose lives depend on “clicks” would provide anything but sound professional tax advice? To save you the time, I watched a TikTokker (wearing cut off jean shorts and a tank top) explain that all you have to do is start an LLC, and you can deduct all your cell phone, car, and other expenses against your other income — no actual business purposes needed. Why didn’t I think of that?!? Oh yeah, because it’s tax fraud, you dolt!

So, as I end my last Tribune article of this tax season, let’s raise a glass to TikTok tax influencers and artificial intelligence creators alike! They will give real professionals plenty of job security to last (... at least until I’m ready to retire).

Until next year!

IRS backpedals on medical expense deductions

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

In March 2023, the IRS issued new FAQs on their website addressing whether certain costs related to nutrition, wellness, and general health are classified as medical expenses under IRC §213.1

The FAQs reminded individuals about the deductibility of expenses like smoking cessation programs, therapy, weight loss programs, and gym memberships.

However, it seems that people were taking the IRS’s advice too far because almost exactly a year later, the IRS issued an alert reminding taxpayers that personal expenses for general health and wellness are not considered medical expenses under the tax law.2

Specifically, general welfare expenses that are not specifically for the purpose of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease are not deductible or reimbursable under health flexible spending arrangements, health savings accounts, health reimbursement arrangements, or medical savings accounts (FSAs, HSAs, HRAs, and MSAs).

The IRS noted that some companies were misrepresenting the circumstances under which food and wellness expenses can be paid or reimbursed under FSAs and other health spending plans. FSAs and other health spending plans that pay for, or reimburse, nonmedical expenses are not qualified plans. If the plan is not qualified, all payments made to taxpayers under the plan, even reimbursements for actual medical expenses, are includible in income.

A new look on the horizon

We are excited to announce that in May, Spidell will begin to roll out a new look and feel for our brand! This includes a new logo and a fresh look for our marketing and subscription e-mails. But you can be sure that behind these visual upgrades, there will be the same high-quality tax analysis that you have come to trust and expect from Spidell.

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M., is an Orange County native, and you can find him around his backyard smoker, working in his garage, or sipping lemonade at either a baseball or soccer game for this three children.

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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