Friday, October 3, 2008


They did it – finally! Passed the tax “extenders”, including the annual dreaded AMT “fix”, that is.

These provisions were part of the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008” which has just passed the House by a vote of 263-171 and has already been signed into law by George W.

In order to get the bill passed in the House it was apparently necessary to include, as TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb put it, “Everything but the Kitchen Sink”. Including a provision regarding chicken shit (see “Brother, Can You Spare a Tax Credit?” at the Tax Policy Center’s blog TAXVOX), “wooden Practice Arrows Used by Children, which are defined as arrows measuring 5/16 of an inch or less and unsuited for use with a bow with a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or more” (see “Getting Shafted by Arrow Tax Break” by Kay Bell at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES – did you know that Congress had passed the “Archery Excise Tax Simplification Act” in 2003?), and a long list of other extraneous “stuff” thrown in to apparently make the bill appeal to enough specific Congresspersons to gain passage.

To be honest I am glad that the Senate tacked on at least the extender and AMT provisions. Who knows when Congress would have gotten around to passing them on their own? At least now, for the first time in years, the IRS can “go to press” with truly final 2008 tax forms and instructions and not have to deal with “after-the-fact” changes. The only Congressional-provided problem that the IRS will have to deal with during the upcoming tax-filing season is the millions of errors that will occur on tax returns related to the economic “stimulus” rebates.

And I am extremely “pleased as punch” to report that one of the extraneous provisions of the bill will require broker reporting of customer’s basis in securities transactions!

As for the actual “don’t call it a” bail-out, I am not informed enough to make an educated decision, but I do believe something needed to be done promptly, and, as many trusted economic minds agreed that it was a good thing, I guess it “couldn’t hurt”.

Speaking of “trusted economic minds” - yesterday’s Star-Ledger included a feature in which “financial experts from Buffett to Trump offer their wisdom” on the bailout. Trump a “financial expert”? Trump having “wisdom”? I would take hair styling advice from “the Donald” before I would listen to his financial “expertise”. Of course his comments made no sense. The question asked was not about him, so why bother to answer intelligently.

As soon as I get a chance to review the Act in detail I will let you know how it affects 2008 Form 1040s (and 1040As).


No comments: