Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ - WED EDITION

Because much BUZZ is time sensitive, and there appears to have been lots from late Friday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon lately, I have decided to make the Wednesday installment a permanent fixture so you can keep current.

* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb once again correctly answers an oft-asked question in her post “Ask the Taxgirl: Income Tax on Gifts”.
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* Bill Perez provides a brief overview of the potentially partially refundable American Opportunity Tax Credit in “Planning for the American Opportunity Tax Credit” at WILLIAM’S TAX PLANNING BLOG.
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* Bill also provides some detailed “Tax Planning Tips for Working Abroad” in another post.
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* Bruce the taxguy returned to his weekly BUZZ-like “Passing the Week” post on Sunday (I wasn’t complaining, Bruce, just making a comment). As usual it “turned me on” to some interesting and informative posts from the Personal Finance blogs Bruce reads.
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Most notable was “Seven Ways to Avoid Banks Taking Your Money in Fees and Charges” by Andy at SAVING TO INVEST.
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And Bruce’s link to NO DEBT PLAN’s “Interesting Links for July 21, 2009” led me to “How Much House Can I Afford?” at FRUGAL DAD. “Dad” answers a question that should be asked by anyone considering the purchase of a home, and that should have been asked by a lot more people in the past few years.
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As “Dad” puts it – “Unfortunately, many people are still rushing out to sign up for a mortgage without considering the years of financial obligation they are taking on, and what impact that will have to their overall financial plan down the line”.
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* NJ tax professionals should check out “It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again”, and the follow-up post, over at my NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG.
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* While I reported on this topic in an earlier BUZZ, Kay Bell keeps us up-to-date on “back-to-school” sales tax holidays, including a great chart, in “Back-to-School Tax Holidays On Tap” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
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* New tax blogger TomK, whose blog THE MTBIKING TAX PRO I first introduced to you last week, must have been looking over my shoulder this past week-end. He has beat me to the punch with his two-part series that began with Monday’s “TdF, Tax Talk & the Cake Lady” by tackling a subject that I will also discuss in great detail in my Thursday and Friday posts this week. Under the “Tax Talk” portion he discusses the various types of tax preparers – “CPA’s, EA’s, un-enrolled tax preparers, your cousin Guido, and you. You could also throw in tax lawyers”.
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It is always good to find a colleague who agrees with you (highlight is mine) –
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I know some CPAs and also have fixed some CPAs messes that they made for some of my clients. In my book, CPAs are just what the letters stand for – certified public ACCOUNTANTS who main business is accounting not taxes. In fact if you go to any college and look at the courses you need to become a CPA – you’ll see it to be about 98% accounting stuff (ledgers, accounts receivable, accounts payable, profit & loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow, etc.) and 2% taxes courses. But yet for some strange wacko way of thinking, the general public thinks that CPAs are top notch tax people. Yes, you have some who do take the time and up-date themselves on new tax laws, etc. but in my book them are far and few between. I know some personal friends who are accountants and they will tell you right off THEY HATE DOING TAXES! So if they have that attitude do you really think their going to do the best they can for you?
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And regarding we “unenrolled” practitioners – “The mass majority of them are honest, hardworking people who go to constant yearly tax up-dates and schooling, etc”.
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Right on – TomK! BTW – when your title mentioned TdF I thought you were going to talk about the half-price TKTS booth at Times Square.
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* Thanks and a tip o’ the hat to TAX RASCAL for including my TWTP “What A Country!” post in his “Free Money, Expensive Raises, School Shopping, and Cheap Guns” list.
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The Rascal’s post led me to a related item - “Where are the First Time Home Buyer’s Checks?” at the RAPIDTAX BLOG.
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* I came cross an excellent “bottom line” on our current tax system in the “Smart Money 2009 Tax Guide” (highlight is mine) -
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The purpose of our federal tax system should be to raise revenue in a reasonably predictable, efficient and fair manner. The current system doesn’t do any of these things – mainly because it’s too complicated to work right. The problem has reached scary proportions, but don’t blame the IRS. It’s the politicians’ fault. Now is a great time to tell them you want a simpler tax system if they want to keep their jobs.”
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* Joe Kristan has provided his 2+ cents on my “Manual Labor” discussion in his post “Last of the Mohicans”. As always, be sure to check out the comments.
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* Tuesday’s news update at The Small Business Taxes and Management website cites a Tax Court case to remind us that “Deductions for auto use and meals and entertainment require more documentation than other expenses”.
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* While it has absolutely nothing to do with taxes I just plain enjoyed GEEKDAD’s nostalgic “100 Things Your Kids May Never Know About”.
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I can certainly attest to the fact that the “pay phone” is something that “will not be passed down the line to the next generation of geeks”.
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TTFN

2 comments:

Kelly said...

Ooh, I can't wait! I am looking forward to the series!

TomK said...

Thank you, sir! I don't know how this will all end up for us preparers, just hoping they treat us with the respect we and our work deserve as front line troops for a very convoluted system...

I too am looking forward to what you also have written...