Saturday, October 11, 2008

WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’

I couldn’t stay away – even for a week!

* A special thank you to Bruce of TAX GUY, Trish of OUR TAXING TIMES and Michael of the TAX RESOLUTION UNIVERSITY for providing guest posts here at TWTP during my GD extension hiatus. I hope you all had a chance to check out their posts.

* Oi vey! In the WebCPA article “Palin Releases Tax Returns” it is reported that “H&R Block prepared the returns”! No wonder the returns have caused problems.

* Check out my post “It Sucks To Be New Jersey” at the NEW JERSEY TAX PRACTICE BLOG. The items reported in the post should come as no surprise to NJ residents.

To add to the info in the post - AccountantsWorld.com recently reported “Property Taxes Remain Highest in NY and NJ”. Constipation, Mr. Holmes!

* Kay Bell of DON’T MESS WITH TAXES brings us up-to-date on the topic of state sales tax “holidays” in her post “Sales Tax Holidays, Fall Editions, Underway”.

* In “Bailout Breaks for You and Me!” Kay reports that the energy-efficient home improvements that were eligible for a total cumulative tax credit of up to $500 in 2006 and 2007 are back through 2009. She points out “This means that projects such as adding insulation, installing thermal windows and doors or putting film on your windows could once again get you a $500 credit. Upgrades to your heating and air conditioning systems also count, as well as do the more extensive energy upgrades of solar and, new this year, wind energy systems.”

* And finally - for self-employed taxpayers who have filed extensions Kay points out that there is “Still Time to Save on Taxes with Self-Employed Retirement Accounts”, although not much.

* William Perez of WILLIAM’S TAX PLANNING BLOG at About.com continues on the topic of extended energy credits in “Tax Provisions in the Bailout Legislation” and tells us that the Act “
adds two new types of improvements that qualify for the credit:

· biomass fuel stoves with a thermal efficiency rating of 75% or more
{huh? – rdf}, and
· asphalt roofs with cooling granules
.”

* TAX GUY Bruce continues his discussion of mistakes made when choosing a paid tax preparer by adding “Picking A CPA With Too Much 'Accounting' Experience That Doesn’t Relate To You!” to the list.

It is a sad fact that, as I mention in my comment on the post, most uninformed individuals continue to automatically connect income taxes with the initials CPA – when in reality it is a rare occasion when a CPA is the right choice for the average, or even slightly above-average, 1040. The purpose of a CPA firm is to compile audited financial statements for businesses. As Bruce puts it having a CPA prepare your 1040 is like using “a sledge hammer to hang a picture frame”.

The series continues on Wednesday with a guest post from the “re-married mother of one who lives in the southwestern U.S.” that writes the blog BLUNT MONEY. The post makes some excellent points (the highlight is mine) -

It’s also important to realize that preparers only have the information that you provide them to work with. If you provide them with inaccurate or incomplete information, you’ll get less than stellar results. They cannot make up missing data, or suggest deductions that you don’t appear likely to qualify for. It’s your responsibility to provide truthful and accurate information so that your return can be completed correctly and thoroughly. Remember that having a paid tax preparer complete your return does not absolve you of this responsibility or protect you from audits.”

We are not mind readers!

* The Tax Foundation was quick to point out the tax-related FUs in Tuesday’s debate in the post “Fact Checking the Tax Talk: Economic Policy Dominates Second Presidential Debate” at its TAX POLICY BLOG.

* Over at THE TAX LAWYER’S BLOG Pete Pappas gives us another blog list – “10 Interesting Tax Facts: Three Cheers to Tax Complexification!

#10 comes as no surprise to residents of New Jersey – “Taxpayers spend more on taxes than they do for food, shelter and clothing combined”.

* I am glad that there are honest individuals like Pete Pappas, and my guest-blogger Michael Rozbruch, out there to provide honest and competent help resolving individual tax collection problems – an alternative to the scam artists who advertise they can resolve your IRS debt for “pennies on the dollar”. Check out their postings on the IRS Offer In Compromise program (click on their names above).

* Can you guess who Joe Kristan of the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG is talking about in his post “They Can’t Vote, But They Win Most Elections”? It seems to me that a lot of them vote in New Jersey, considering the same crooks are returned to office year after year.

* TAX GIRL Kelly does a good job of outlining the tax provisions of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, both the “mainstream" provisions as well as the items that were included solely to benefit a specific Congressperson and/or their supporters, in her post “You Get a Tax Perk! And You Get a Tax Perk!”.

The NATP has also compiled an excellent analysis of the Act. Click here to download.

* Kelly has also brought back her FIX THE TAX CODE FRIDAY series, asking “Should Congress have allowed taxpayers whose mortgage debt was forgiven to exempt that debt from income? And, should Congress have taken it a step further and exempted all forgiven debt including credit cards and personal loans from income?” This is a post that should be read more for the comments than for the actual body of the post.

Check out my Monday post here at TWTP to get an idea of my thinking on the subject.

* Always leave ‘em laughing – Yesterday I received the following official announcement:

The government today announced that it is changing its national symbol to a condom because it more accurately reflects the government’s political stance. A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you are actually being screwed. It doesn’t get more accurate than that!”

TTFN

2 comments:

Bruce said...

I have said it before and will again and again,

You are the best.

Robert D Flach said...

Bruce-

You'll get no argument from me!

TWTP