Saturday, June 6, 2009


* TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb reports that, like NJ, “CT and MD Offer Tax Amnesty”.

* And speaking of the TAXGIRL, Kelly answers a true “frequently asked question” in her post “Ask the taxgirl: Cancellation of ‘Debt’”.

My comment on the post tells how the mucking fess described in the question could have been avoided altogether.

* Yellow Rose of Taxes Kay Bell tells us that homebuyers are using the $8,000 “gift” from Sam as a down payment on a home in her post “Housing Credit Becomes Down Payment” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

Kay also tells us “FHA loans will continue to require a minimum 3.5 percent down payment”.

If all you have to put down on a house is the $8,000 credit or 3.5% you shouldn’t be buying a house!

As I say in my comment – “This kind of nonsense caused the current financial mucking fess in the first place".

BTW, Trish McIntire also discusses this issue over at OUR TAXING TIMES.

* Speaking of Trish McIntire – a word to Kansas taxpayers. Trish tells us of “Kansas Tax Refunds Delay – Again”.

Looks like Kansas has put a hold on tax refunds again. Tax revenues are down due to the economy. Current estimate is about a month delay.”

* And, speaking of Kay Bell’s post on FHA loan requirements, Joe Kristan of the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG seems to agree with me – as per his post “Governmental Dimentia”.

* The latest tax FU tied to a Democratic legislator or appointee concerns the John Kerry for President Campaign. Most of the tax blogs discussed this issue, including Peter Pappas in his post “IRS Files $800K Lien Against John Kerry for President Campaign” at THE TAX LAWYER’S BLOG.

Peter also received a personal response to his post from John Kerry’s press secretary, Whitney Smith, which he provides in a follow up post “John Kerry Responds, Says Tax Problems Due to IRS Glitch”.

I can certainly understand a politician or legislator making a FU when it comes to taxes. They have proven time and again, with foot firmly in mouth, that they don’t know their arse from a hole in the ground when it comes to tax law (and a lot of others things, too). But you think that they would be smart enough to hire a competent tax professional to handle these matters properly.

* And while we are thinking about politicians and taxes, self-proclaimed TAX GURU Kerry Kerstetter has posted a cartoon with shows exactly what was the first question on my mind when I first heard of BO’s appointment to fill a gap on the Supreme Court.

* Roni Deutch tells us “
Everything You Need to Know About Taxes After Death” at her TAX LADY blog. Well, obviously, not everything – but it is a good overview of the topic.

Roni had sent me a complimentary copy of her book “Beating The IRS” during the season. While recuperating in Beach Haven I just about finished my latest Margaret Truman mystery. I think I will begin Roni’s book next.

* Dan Meyer reports on IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman’s call for “a new set of regulations by the end of 2009 to assure ‘uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax preparers’ as a tactic to increase tax compliance and decrease the ‘tax gap’” in "
IRS Ready to INCREASE (?!) Regulation on Tax Preparers (Be Scared, be very scared)" at TICK MARKS.

Click here for the official IRS news release.

Dan points out that “Shulman stated that tax preparers should be ethical, qualified and provide good service” (are you listening, H+R?).

While Dan comes out against IRS regulation of the tax preparation industry, saying that Shulman’s proposal “looks like an insult to the large majority of honest, hard-working tax preparers”. But I do favor some kind of “registration” of and minimum continuing education requirements for “unenrolled” preparers. Nowadys anyone can hang out a shingle as a “tax professional” without any kind of training or credentials or ethics.

My only concern with past Congressional proposals has been the requirement that all existing preparers take a competency test to be able to continue to practice. There must be a “grandfathering” of long-time tax pros like myself. For one thing, after 38 tax seasons without incident I have no intention of taking a test to prove that I know what I am doing. And for another, it would be literally impossible for the IRS to administer such a test to the humongous number of current unenrolled preparers.

My suggestion, presented on several occasions here at TWTP, is – “all current tax preparers – for example who have prepared at least fifty (50) 2007 federal individual income tax returns – who have been preparing tax returns consistently for at least five (5) years, and who have earned a minimum average of 20, or even 40, hours of continuing education credits per year for the past five years, be exempt from any kind of test and ‘grandfathered’ in.”

* Case in point about anyone hanging out a shingle – “Jersey City Man Sentenced to 8½ Years in State Prison for $573,000 Homestead Rebate Scam” (it ain’t me!). Hey, would you trust a guy called “Butz” to prepare your tax returns?



Bruce said...

Great Buzz,

I'd like to add to the points concerning tax pro and regulation:
The added cost for the preparer licensing is going to be passed down to taxpayers by way of prepares raising prices to their clients, so not to lower their income. Not to mention look for compensation for the additional time and effort spent to continue their practice.

Don’t miss-understand, I am all for such a thing, preparers should be licensed or regulated. I have been saying this myself for years. I just see that the cost of this new plan is ultimately going to cost Joe and/or Joan Taxpayer/s.

Robert D Flach said...


If done properly the registration/licensure of unenrolled tax preparers should not be costly to established tax pros.

The only cost to a “grandfathered” preparer would be the price of the required CPE classes and perhaps a nominal annual registration fee.

In my case I expect that I already attend more CPE classes than would be required – so the only additional cost would be the registration fee.