Thursday, December 28, 2006


As I have mentioned in earlier postings, each morning (except during the actual “tax season”) I review several tax-related “blogs” and news sites to keep up-to-date on federal tax issues and to look for items of interest to my readers.

There are many other tax-related weblogs out there. In addition to a THE WANDERING TAX PRO the internet also has a TAX MAN, TAX MAMA, TAX GIRL, TAX PROF, TAX PLAYA, and TAX GURU. Several of the better offerings belong to the site, of which I am a founding member.

Yesterday morning (Wednesday, December 27th) I found three blogs with postings worth passing on:

(1) Business Law and Taxes by Mark Minassian reports “IRS To Target Schedule C Filers”.

“In a recent telephone conference, IRS commissioner Mark Everson said that they will be conducting more audits on individuals running unincorporated businesses (i.e. self-employed individuals).”

Mark goes on to provide some very wise advice (my Schedule C clients – are you “listening”?) – “If you are self-employed and file Schedule C, always keep detailed and organized records, don’t deduct your personal (non-business) expenses on your Schedule C and make sure you report all of your income. You are already on the IRS radar; there’s no need to make their job easier.”

(2) Mauled Again by Prof. James Edward Maule offers “A Proposed Congressional New Year's Tax Resolution” regarding the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

“To me, the AMT is nothing more than a patch on a very flawed regular income tax. In other words, if the regular income tax were properly designed, there would be no need for a "fix" to deal with the consequences of taxpayers whose regular income tax liabilities are reduced because they take advantage of the deductions available in the tax law. If the regular income tax causes some taxpayers' tax liabilities to be less than what people think they ought to be, and yet those tax liabilities are computed properly, then the problem is in the design of the regular income tax. In other words, the existence of the AMT is proof positive of the flaws of the "regular" tax. Fix the regular tax and there's no need to fix the fix.”

(3) In “Ford and Taxes” the blog Roth & Company Tax Updates discusses the major tax law enacted during the term of recently deceased President Gerald Ford.

“There was one significant piece of tax legislation in the Ford administration, the Tax Reform Act of 1976. The current structure of the estate and gift tax dates from the 1976 act, as do the $3,000 capital loss cap, the limits on vacation home losses, and the “at-risk” rules of Section 465. President Ford left behind a top tax rate pf 70% (starting at $100,000 on joint returns), a top capital gains rate of 35%, and a top corporate rate of 26%. No wonder there were a lot of C corporations then.”

A word of caution as you read tax or other financial blogs - be advised that most postings are written for a general audience. You must remember that the application of any tax or financial planning technique or strategy is dependent on the special “facts and circumstances” of each particular situation. You must evaluate any technique or strategy considered in the context of your own individual situation.

If you read something interesting in a tax blog that you think might apply to you discuss it with your tax preparer before taking any action. Remember - one man’s tax savings may be another man’s overpayment.


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