* My lack of love for members of the legal profession (aka barraters – no I do not mean barristers) is well known (sorry Kelly Erb, Jim Maule and Jim Grisi). Paul Caron, of the usually scholarly TAX PROF blog, has posted a video of the Weird Al Yankovic song “I’ll Sue Ya”. As Paul says, “great commentary on the legal profession”.
One favorite line in the song goes -
“I sued Delta Airlines.
They sold me a ticket to New Jersey.
I went there and it sucked!”
Speaking of song parodies, here are some new lyrics to John Lennon’s “Imagine” from the website of Neal Boortz, “America's most under-rated and over-paid radio talk show host”. Neal hates the John Lennon song and asked fans to salvage the tune and provide better lyrics.
“Imagine there's no taxes,
And before I leave the subject, here are some real lyrics from Fagin’s instructions to his minions in the classic musical OLIVER! by Lionel Bart (I saw future MONKEE Davy Jones as the Artful Dodger on Broadway over 40 years ago).
“Why should we break our backs
better to pick-a-pocket or two.”
* Trish McIntire of OUR TAXING TIMES points out a tax-related proposal on the list of Hillary Clinton's Top Ten Campaign Promises from the otherwise unfunny “Late Show with David Letterman” in her posting “Taxes- Double or Nothing”. The Top Ten List is probably the only funny bit on the overrated show. I especially liked Hillary’s promise #6 - "My Vice President will never shoot anybody in the face."
* GLG over at GINA’S TAX ARTICLES answers a question that I have not heard in a while, but certainly one that I have been asked by clients, and non-clients looking for free advice, over the years in “Son Pays Rent”. As usual she gives the correct answer.
In another posting, “Avoid AMT At All Costs?”, Gina makes an important point regarding the Alternative Minimum Tax, no matter how “dreaded” it is – “The calculations you should be doing, with your CPA, is what combination of income over the next few years will allow you to legally pay the least amount of tax required by law. Stop worrying about whether the tax is computed based on the "regular" system or the "AMT" system and just look at the numbers and see what combination of income will allow you to keep more of your money.” I wholeheartedly agree – except for the phrase “with your CPA”.
* The Tax Foundation’s TAX POLICY BLOG points out that “Contrary to Political Rhetoric, Tax Code Is Already Helping the Poor”. To quote the post, “Over the past few decades, lawmakers have turned the IRS into an ATM machine for dispensing all manner of social and economic benefits. For example, the IRS will dole out roughly $50 billion in refundable tax credits—$35 billion in refundable EITC checks and another $15 billion for the refundable portion of the child credit.” Check out my comments on the Earned Income Credit.
It goes on to say, “Indeed, roughly 44 Million Americans will pay zero Federal income taxes after they take advantage of all of the credits and deductions (such as the $1,000 per-child credit) available to them. The number of these non-payers has grown 50 percent since 2000 because of the expansion of the child credit, the new 10 percent tax bracket, and marriage penalty relief. Add to these non-taxpayers an additional 15 million Americans who earn some money, but not enough to have to file a tax return, for a total of nearly 60 million Americans outside of the income tax system.”
I do believe I once posted that we should have a true “minimum tax” – every American taxpayer should pay at least $100.00 in income taxes.
* It appears that Congress has read and taken to heart my recent posting “Congress - Get Off Your Duff” (I can dream, can’t I). Anyway, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that providing another year of relief for middle-income taxpayers from the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and renewing some 40 expiring tax provisions is "fundamental" legislation that must be completed by the end of 2007.
* Will Wright of NYC has used my posting on “Is An MBA Deductible?” as a source in his expanded posting on the subject “Is Your MBA Deductible?” at his appropriately titled WILL’S BLOG – now at a new address.
* NATP’s TAX PRO WEEKLY reports “Several of the hardest hit counties have been declared disaster areas by the president, giving taxpayers extra time to file and make tax payments. A frequently updated and current list of disaster areas is located on the IRS website”. The IRS site includes a discussion of relief for Queens County, N.Y. storm victims.
* We return to TAX PROF Paul Caron, who provides an extensive list of links to coverage on the Congressional hearings I mentioned in my posting “Congress – Get Off Your Duff!” in “More on Yesterday's Congressional Tax Hearings”.
* A weekly Buzz would not be complete without something from Joe Kristan of ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATES. He continues to keep up updated on newly certified hybrid vehicles eligible for the Energy Tax Credit in his posting “2008 Malibu, Aura Hybrids Qualify for Credit”.
* And finally, the CCH daily Federal Headlines tax email newsletter reports some good news from Congress in "House Set to Vote on Measure Banning Tax Strategy Patents". There apparently are some occasions when Congress actually shows some common sense. As House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Jim McCrery (R-LA) so wisely (uncharacteristic for Congressmen) put it, "The tax laws belong to all of us and we all have an obligation to comply with them. We shouldn't have to pay a royalty to do so."