Click here to download the 130-page book or here to request a hard copy of the book.
One of the essays is by fellow tax blogger Daniel Shaviro of START MAKING SENSE.
* Mary O’Keefe posts an interesting article by Martin Vaughan of Dow Jones Newswires titled “White House Tax Panel Stays Out Of Public Eye” at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE.
Basically – “A task force appointed by President Obama to recommend changes to the tax code by December has held no public meetings, and the White House is not revealing with whom the group has met in private.”
* Bill tells us of the latest IRS-related email scam in “Latest Bogus IRS Email” at his APRIL15.COM blog.
This warning always bears repeating – “In any event, the IRS does not use email to inform taxpayers of potential audits or changes to their tax liability. If you receive such an email, the IRS requests that you forward the email to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
* Richard Close, the IRS HITMAN, reports on “The IRS's Latest Failure: $10 Million Spent on Abandoned Project”.
Rich is talking about the much anticipated “My IRS Account”, a great idea that would have provided taxpayers with online access to their federal tax return and account information. The project “was abandoned close to completion, due to poor planning”. We had been told by the IRS back in 200 that “My IRS Account” -
• would be available around the clock, every day,
• would provide a secure online environment to ensure privacy,
• would allow users to view and download their account by tax years, and
• would have the ability to view and print tax return and account information for the current and previous three years.
There is hope. Richard points out that, “The IRS intends to reuse most of the hardware developed so far. This means it could be available anywhere between 2009-2013.”
I, for one, was looking forward to such a system, and hope that IRS can eventually get it up and running (before I decide to retire).
* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb returns from vacation, and a week of guest posts at TG, with two good timely (considering that school is starting) entries – “School Uniforms, Other Expenses Not Deductible” and “529: As Easy as A-B-C”.
* Speaking of 529 plans, the Treasury Department and the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families has issued a report titled “An Analysis of Section 529 College Savings and Prepaid Tuition Plans”.
* Kelly the TAX GIRL is on a roll this week. She ends it with an analysis of the “Hope Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit”. Kelly refers to the new AOTC as “the Hope Tax Credit on steroids”.
* Trish McIntire continues her series of “taxpayer tips for working with a tax professional” at OUR TAXING TIMES with “Buyer Education III”. In this entry Trish discusses “Signing the Return”.
* The internet’s TAX MAMA, Eva Rosenberg, devotes one of her “Tax Quips” to “Obama and His Health Care Plan”, which summarizes the high points of President Obama’s recent Health Care speech.
Here is the area in which I am most interested -
“Folks who don’t presently have health insurance will have affordable choices:
... There will a health insurance exchange offering competitive prices.
... There will be tax credits to help those who cannot afford even those lower rates. (How will we be paying for this?)
... However, just as with auto insurance, buying coverage will be mandatory for all Americans.
... Those who still cannot afford any coverage whatsoever and cannot get it work will get a hardship waiver.”
If the goal is to make sure every American is covered what good is a “hardship waiver”. Why not provide free subsidized coverage for these individuals, once the hardship or low income can be proven.
And as for the credits for “those who cannot afford even those lower rates” – I expect this will be “after the fact” on completed tax returns. A person who cannot afford insurance needs the money now to pay for the premiums. They are not able to pay “up front” for the insurance and then wait a year or more to get “reimbursed”. Here, too, instead of credits how about a subsidy to be applied directly against the premium.
Another example of using the Tax Code to provide benefits that should be done so elsewhere.
* According to the TAX POLICY BLOG post “Beatles' Friend: Taxes Helped Break Them Up” – “Long-time Beatles' friend Tony Bramwell blames the high British taxes of the time for contributing to the break up of the famed group.”
The friend, Tony Bramwell, says in his book “Magical Mystery Tours” that the Beatles were “told they had to make £120,000 in order to keep just £10,000”.
The post says that - “In 1970, the year that Paul McCartney struck out on his own, the top British income tax rate was 83 percent, before other taxes”.
* As part of its Summer Tax Tips series the IRS gives us “Five Facts about the Making Work Pay Tax Credit”.
I first discussed the problem with the Making Work Pay credit in my post “THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 – WHAT’S NEW FOR 2009 – PART II”.
PS – Next week will be “Totally 1040 Free”, so there will be no Wednesday or Saturday BUZZ. I may do a special Monday BUZZ on September 21st.