* Jay Lotz does a good job of “Comparing the Roth 401(k) and Traditional 401(k)” at PERSONAL FINANCE HACKS and provides a detailed example based on his particular situation. He also makes a fine point regarding a common misconception of retirement tax planning – “I never understood why people plan to be in a lower tax bracket when they retire. I want to get RICH. I’d be THRILLED to be in the 35% tax bracket at retirement!” The post also has a link to a “Traditional vs. Roth 401(k)/403(b) Analyzer” so you can do your own comparisons.
* Bloggers love to make lists. The INTERESTING MONEY blog, written by a 20-something married grad student, gives us “5 Reasons Why You Should Open a 529 Account Right Now”. He points out that “You don’t need kids to open a 529 account. In fact, you can open an account for yourself, for your spouse, or for whomever you please. With a few clicks, you can change the beneficiary at any time.”
* A TAX CONSULTANT FOR ALL SEASONS asks the question “Do You Know Your Taxpayer Rights?” – and then goes on to explain them to you.
* Have you seen the “1040-DOG US Individual Canine Income Tax Return” yet? The 1040-DOG is a new one for me. I heard about it from Trish McIntire’s TAX DOG blog. I wonder if there is a 1040-CAT.
* Kay Bell brings us up-to-date on the issue of Refund Anticipation Loans – or RALs – at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES with her post “Anti-RAL Efforts Continue” (as they should! - rdf). To repeat what I have said all along – RALS are bad and tax preparers should not be allowed to offer RALs! We have enough to do to properly prepare a tax return - we should not also be loan sharks.
* The Tax Foundation’s TAX POLICY BLOG provides some interesting “Tax Facts”.
* National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has delivered her mid-year report to Congress to identify the priority issues the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate will address in the coming fiscal year. Included in the areas the report identifies for particular emphasis in FY 2009 are tax-related identity theft, cancellation of debt income, IRS collection practices, monitoring the private debt collection program, working with the IRS to help taxpayers with “disproportionate tax liabilities” due to AMT resulting from the exercise of incentive stock options, and working with the IRS to address problems in the “correspondence examination” program
According to the IRS press release, “The National Taxpayer Advocate is required by statute to submit two annual reports to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The statute requires these reports to be submitted directly to the Committees without any prior review or comment from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Secretary of the Treasury, the IRS Oversight Board, any other officer or employee of the Department of the Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget. The first report is submitted mid-year and must identify the objectives of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate for the fiscal year beginning in that calendar year. The second report, due on December 31 of each year, must identify at least 20 of the most serious problems encountered by taxpayers, discuss the 10 tax issues most frequently litigated in the courts during the prior year, and make administrative and legislative recommendations to resolve taxpayer problems.”
* FYI, I have begun a 3-part (at least) series of posts on “Choosing the Best Legal Form For Your Business” over at my THE FLACH REPORT blog, which deals with Schedule C issues. Check it out.