* KPE of TAX GIRL points out that New Jersey is #1 on yet another list concerning tax rates in her post “So Exactly How Much Do You Want To Smoke”. The “Garden State” has the highest cigarette tax in the country at $2.57 per pack.
* George W has signed into law the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendment Acts of 2007 (H.R. 3678). This Act prohibits “multiple and discriminatory” taxes on internet access until Nov. 1, 2014. A moratorium on charging taxes for internet access or applying multiple taxes to a single online transaction was first enacted in 1998 and was extended in 2004.
* Joe Kristan of the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG provides an on target response to Warren Buffet’s recent complaint that his tax rate is too low in his post “That’s a Funny Way of Tilting”.
Joe also reports that the IRS may allow taxpayers to access their personal tax data through the IRS website starting as early as next summer in his post “Taxpayers To Get Access To Their IRS Accounts?”.
* The IRS reports that a new record for electronic filing was set in 2007 with just under 80 million tax returns e-filed, an almost 9 percent increase over 2006. Tax professionals electronically filed over 57 million returns and approximately 22.5 million returns were e-filed by taxpayers doing their own returns. Over 57 percent of all returns filed in 2007 were e-filed.
Tax refunds that were directly deposited in 2007 also set a new record of almost 61.5 million, an increase of 8 percent over 2006.
FYI, for the 35th consecutive tax season I have prepared all my 2006 1040s by hand, and all returns were submitted via postal mail. I did, however, as I am required to do, filed my 2006 NJ resident returns online via NJWebFile whenever possible, and when the client did not elect to “Opt-Out”.
* Presidential election season is off and running. Candidates from both parties have recently announced some ridiculous targeted tax proposals, obviously in attempts to attract voters from specific groups.
The Tax Policy Center’s TAX VOX blog reports that Barack Obama wants to exempt seniors making less than $50,000 from paying any federal income tax. Kelly Phillips Erb, the TAX GIRL, reports that Mitt Romney has said publicly that parents who home school their children should get a federal tax credit to help offset the expense of teaching.
Instead of thinking up more ways to complicate the Tax Code I wish more candidates would propose ways to simplify it.
* My post “Here’s Something New” at the NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG discusses a new balance due letter a client received from the NJ Division of Taxation. If you receive such a letter, send it to your tax preparer ASAP!
*The Tax Foundation’s TAX POLICY BLOG reminds us not to forget a unique tax deduction allowed as a “Moving Expense” if you relocated due to a new job in its post “More Strange Tax Deductions: Shipping Pets”. According to IRS Publication 521:
“You can deduct the cost of packing, crating, and transporting your household goods and personal effects and those of the members of your household from your former home to your new home. For purposes of moving expenses, the term ‘personal effects’ includes, but is not limited to, movable personal property that the taxpayer owns and frequently uses.
If you use your own car to move your things, see Travel by car, earlier.
You can deduct any costs of connecting or disconnecting utilities required because you are moving your household goods, appliances, or personal effects.
You can deduct the cost of shipping your car and your household pets to your new home.”
* Joe Kristan’s response to the news item “IRS Translates Tax Law Into Chinese, Korean, Russian & Vietnamese” was “MAYBE THEY'LL GET TO ENGLISH SOON”! I doubt it.