Saturday, January 3, 2009


* Bob Williams provides some “Holiday Cheer” at TAXVOX, the blog of the Tax Policy Center. Check out his version of “My Favorite Things” from THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

* TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb discusses the new rules for RMDs (required minimum distributions from pension accounts and plans) for 2009 in her post “Retirement Account Rules Tweaked for 2009".

* Kelly also continues her series on state taxes with “State Tax Primer from A to W: Arkansas”.

* While it is too late for this post from Kelly to do any good for 2008 now, she prefaces her “23 Ways to Cut Your 2008 Business Income Tax Bill” with the most excellent advice that applies any time of the year – “The best course of action is to always check with your tax professional for more information”.

Her #23 is also “timeless” (the highlight is mine) – “Hire a tax professional. This is simply one of the best investments that you can make. Yeah, it sounds self-serving, but I’m totally serious. It may not save you money immediately - but it will in the long run.”

* An article from the home page of tells us that “Time Running Out for Honda Hybrid Tax Credits”. Hey look, the author of the article is Kay Bell!

* Gina deals with a surprisingly common misconception in answering a question about a traditional to ROTH conversion in her post “
IRA to Roth Rollover” at the TAX TIPS BLOG.

* According to the Tax Foundation’s TAX POLICY BLOG “WSJ Columnist Cites Our State & Local Tax Studies, Urges Obama Not to Repeat New Jersey's Mistakes”.

The post tells us that a Wall Street Journal columnist urges President-Elect Obama to make a specific New Year's resolution: "I will not allow America to become New Jersey."

Great advice! As many sources, including the Tax Foundation, continually point out the Garden State is among the most highly taxed, if not actually #1, states in the US. The columnist rightfully calls New Jersey "the perfect bad example".

*The IRS has issued Fact Sheet 2008-27 highlighting recent tax law changes made by the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2008 for victims of the severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes that occurred in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin (the Midwestern disaster area) where the government declared a disaster during the period beginning May 20, 2008, and ending July 31, 2008.

* Russ Fox of TAXABLE TALK has announced the winner of the “2008 Tax Offender of the Year”. As Russ puts it, “To be considered for the Tax Offender of the Year award, you must do more than cheat on your taxes. It has to be special; it really needs to be a Bozo-like action or actions.” No, the winner is not the guy who hired the hit man to kill his IRS auditor. Check it out.

* Sorry I missed this Christmas item in last week’s BUZZ. Last week I told you about Peter Pappas’ tax-related version of “Twas the The Night Before Christmas”. Here, from TAX PROF Paul Caron, is “'Twas the Night Before Christmas, Legal Version”.

* The Yellow Rose of Taxes, Kay Bell, discusses how your date of birth affects your tax return in her post “The Jan. 1 Effect on Your Taxes”. One of the items she points out is that, “You are considered 65 on the day before your 65th birthday. So if your 65th birthday is today, Jan. 1, 2009, in the eyes of the IRS you were age 65 in 2008.”

* Bruce the taxguy starts 2009 off. And I end this week’s BUZZ, with “
New Stuff at the IRS”. I am looking forward to being able to access the “My IRS Account” pages of my clients. Now when will the IRS provide free online filing of 1040s and 1040As at their website, as NJ does with NJWebFile? That is what they will have to do to get me to file federal tax returns “electronically”.


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