Saturday, December 27, 2008


* We begin the BUZZ, instead of ending it, this week with comic strips from TAX GURU Kerry Kerstetter. Let’s be honest – “No Ponzi Scheme Is Bigger Than Social Security”. It takes the money from new investors to pay benefits to older investors.

* Kerry’s blog has introduced me to a website that provides e-cards for Tax Day (and other obscure holidays). Click here.

My favorite Tax Day e-card message is “
Sorry your self-respect has disintegrated to the point of using H&R Block”! Click here to discover Kerry’s favorite – another good one.

* FYI - President Bush signed the Worker Retiree and Employee Recovery Act of 2008 (HR 7327) into law on December 23.

* Here is one way to deal with an IRS audit – although not the recommended way. A WebCPA article reports, “Man Convicted of Plotting to Kill IRS Agent”.

* FYI the Tax Foundation provides some “Holiday Tax Trivia”. Did you know “Retired schoolteachers in Puerto Rico receive an income-tax-exempt $400 Christmas bonus from the state general fund”?

* A generous gift from Kristine McKinley of EBIZ TAX TIPS - “The Tax Q&A Teleclass Recording is Ready!”. You can download her “teleclass” free!

* An Associated Press study discussed in a Yahoo!News item titled “AP Study Finds $1.6B Went to Bailed-Out Bank Execs” reports -

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.
The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.
The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines

* Joe Kristan reminds us that "The Tax Law: It's Not Rocket Science. That Would Be Too Easy” in a post at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG that discusses a recent Tax Court case that concern a real-life rocket scientist who invested in a tax shelter scam. As Joe points out – “The moral? No matter how smart you are, a flaky tax shelter is a flaky tax shelter.”

* Joe also reminds us that tax planning should considered in all aspects of your life with his post “Extreme Year-End Tax Planning: Tie (or Untie) the Knot”. You should consult your tax professional not just when considering a financial move, but when considering any ‘life event” like marriage or having children (a child born on December 31 provides all the same tax benefits as one born on January 1).

* TAX PROF Paul Caron reports that “IRS Enforcement Fell in 2008”.

*The Winter 2009 issue of the Tax Foundation’s quarterly newsletter TAX WATCH is available to download. Click here. One of the articles warns that a “Small Business Tax Hike May Be on the Way”.

* So the IRS is not really being generous for the holidays. Michael Rozbruch of the TAX RESOLUTION UNIVERSITY blog tells us that the “
IRS Plan To Help Taxpayers Refinance Their Homes Offers Little Relief For Distressed Homeowners”.

* Roni Deutch provides us with another blog list – “Ways to Prevent an Audit“ - at her TAX HELP BLOG. She gives 8 excellent ways to avoid trouble with "Uncle Sam”.

* And finally, before bidding farewell to Christmas 2008 be sure to check out Peter Pappas’ take on the famous holiday poem at THE TAX LAWYER’S BLOG – “‘Twas the Night Before an Obama Christmas”.

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