Fake News and Fake Expertise:

Misinformation in a “Post-Truth” World

We’ve all seen the proliferation of lists and comparisons designed to grab our attention on the internet:

 
3 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to do this Holiday Season (Forbes.com)

Someone in the communications department makes a short 3,5 or 7-step list of things to do and points to a blog post on their website. The notion is that if you can reduce planning and decision-making to a simple list of to do items, the strategic planning required for your business or personal life, can be simplified.

The value of the advice is implied by the placement of well-known corporate logos on the website. This would seem to imply that the advice has been ‘blessed’ by all of the large companies whose logos grace the website.

fake-news

 

http://grasshopper.com/ is an online service that “lets you run your business using your cell phones!

They offer a resources section on their website that provides comparisons of popular online services designed for startups. Let’s take a look at their evaluation of Business Income Tax Software.

tax-software-comparison

Take a quick read of the article and I’m sure it will become quickly apparent that it took more time to build the accompanying graphics than it did to write the content.

After more than 30 years as a tax accountant and a tax auditor, I’ve learned that the most important thing to do when asking questions of a small business owner, is to ask the right questions.

So how would a tax professional start in determining a business’ need for tax software?

1.       Determine what jurisdiction the business operates out of. Almost all online resources assume that the business is US-based. This is true because they are operating from the centre of the universe – and noone else matters.

2.       Determine the nature of the business. Is the company operating a small retail store or a contractor providing painting and drywalling services? Is it a Canadian technology startup creating digital electrical metering systems?

3.       Determine what kind of entity business is. There are a variety of different types of entity. Grasshopper.com sells to small, home-based businesses.  So they’ve written this guide for their customers. The US Small Business Administration distinguishes between 6 different types of business organization:

US Small Business Administration

a.       Sole Proprietorship

b.       Limited Liability Company (LLC)

c.        Cooperative

d.       Corporation

e.       Partnership

f.         “S” Corporation

It’s pretty clear to us at least that “Grasshopper isn’t a tax expert” – but they write a very attractive post!