* Madame X, a 30-something single woman living in Brooklyn, NY, gives some good advice in her post “Do It Now” at MY OPEN WALLET. I made sure I took care of all these items before moving my parents into an assisted living facility.
* I mentioned this post in an earlier posting on my recent Blog Carnival inclusions, but it bears repeating. Mr ToughMoneyLove suggests “Let’s Make the Politicians Take Economics 101” at, where else, his TOUGHMONEYLOVE blog. Mr TML says “politicians just don’t know anything at all about economics”. As I told him in my comment politicians also don’t know anything at all about taxes.
* Peter Pappas, who helps us to make taxes less taxing at THE TAX LAWYER’S BLOG, has a good point in his post “Flip Flop or Change of Mind: Obama May Defer Rescission of Bush Tax Cuts” – “We simply must learn to honor and reward politicians who are willing to regularly review their policy positions and change them if necessary based on current circumstances”.
I agree with Pete when he asks, “do we want leaders who stick to positions that prove to be unwise? Do we want leaders who fail to recognize that facts and circumstances dictate policy? A tax increase might be wise in one circumstance and unwise in another. Nation building might be wise in one circumstance and unwise in another.”
My concern is with a politician how can you tell if the position change is indeed a heartfelt one based on an honest review of the situation or just, as Pete puts it, “based on which way the political winds are blowing” and done simply to avoid losing votes.
* Peter took time off from “Making Taxes Less Taxing” to provide some alternative interpretations to Shakespeare’s famous line “The first thing we do, lets kill all the lawyers” in his post “Did Shakespeare Really Hate Lawyers?”.
This has always been one of my favorite quotations from the bard, along with “brevity is the soul of wit” and “neither a borrower nor a lender be”. I thought it to be a find sentiment, and a good suggestion on how to cure many of the ills of society. However over the years I have softened a bit – perhaps not all the lawyers!
* And before I leave Pete, the “newbie” offers some kind words for some fellow tax-bloggers in “The Tax Lawyer Says Thanks to Joe Kristan, Robert Flach and Bruce “the tax guy”. Thanks for the thanks!
* Here’s a new one – WALLY’S WORLD OF TAXATION. It is one of the growing number of tax blogs by preparers connected to Effectur, which appears to be a tax representation company dealing with IRS collection issues. Wally provides a series of posts on the topic of IRS Appeals.
* The National Society of Tax Professionals has published its 2008 Tax Professionals Survey. Under the question “Do You Use Tax Preparation Software?” the answers were YES = 99.7% and NO = 0.3%. I am in the .3% - I don’t know how many others are in there with me. I have never used tax preparation software, and never will – unless the IRS provides it to me for free. As, as it would naturally follow, I am also in the 11.7% of paper-only (non-electronic) filers.
* Last Tuesday I commented on the tax proposals in the official Democratic and Republican platforms in “Dueling Tax Planks”. The Tax Foundation provides a “Presidential Candidate Tax Plan Comparison” tool for all of the Presidential candidates – including the Libertarian and Green Parties and perennial spoiler Ralph Nader.
* And the Tax Foundation’s TAX POLICY BLOG provides more examples of how politicians continue to showcase their ignorance of tax law in the back-and-forth of the campaign here and here. One wonders - if they are this uninformed when it comes to basic tax policy how ignorant are they on every other item they legislate?
* Joe Kristan sets us straight on just who to blame for the deficit in his post “They’re Both Right” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.
* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb provides the correct answer to a oft-asked question in her post “Ask the Taxgirl: School Uniforms” – and then goes on to show a “back-door” way to get a partial tax benefit for an otherwise non-deductible item. Good work, Kelly!
* AccountantsWorld.com had an article on Congressman Rangel’s tax troubles. The Chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee failed to report $75,000 in rental income from his villa in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
The article, titled “Rangel Cites Language Barrier on Unpaid Taxes”, states that Rangel had trouble getting detailed financial statements from the resort's managers in the Dominican Republic, saying, ''Every time I thought I was getting somewhere, they'd start speaking Spanish”.
Pardon my French, but what pure horseshit! For one thing, do you think Rangel actually prepares his own tax returns? I am sure he has an expensive CPA firm (is there any other kind?) on retainer to handle his finances and tax filings.
Either Rangel thought because the source of the money was offshore he would not get caught or his accountants are incompetent.
One would expect that the chairman of the committee that tells the average American how to report income and expenses and pay taxes would make damned sure that his own tax returns were letter perfect!