Even though I completely forgot to submit a post I managed to close out the Carnival in a unique way.
Anyway – make sure you do not miss “Tax Carnival #59: Standard Tax Time” compiled by Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, over at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
* Bruce, the MISSOURI TAX GUY, has resurrected his regularly Sunday BUZZ-like “Passing the Week” post, which has been renamed “Reads From Last Week”.
Bruce visits a lot more personal finance blogs than I do, and this post links to some good reads, tax-related and not, from that part of the blogoshpere.
Thanks, Bruce, for including TWTP. BTW, good picture of you and Stacie!
* Bruce’s weekly review took me to TAXABLE TALK, where Russ Fox correctly tells us that the obvious answer to the question “Do Businesses Base Decisions on Taxes?” is YES.
The legislature of the State of New Jersey should read this post. I would also point out to the cafones in Trenton that individuals also base decisions on taxes, hence the mass exodus from NJ, and other highly taxed states, over the past years
* And the tax guy from Missouri also “turned me on to” a post from Dan Meyer at TICK MARKS last Friday that I missed in my “wanderings”. Dan tells it like it is about the extension of the First Time Homebuyers Credit in “Fool Us Once, Shame on You; Fool Us Twice…”.
As Dan puts it – “given the fraud history and expansion of qualifying parties--thus adding to the revenue loss at a time where new taxes and tax hikes are being floated as trial balloons almost every day--it is hard to see how this extension could be a good idea for the taxpaying public as a whole.”
* TAX PROF Paul Caron quotes from a report by Lawrence A. Zelenak of Duke University titled “Complex Tax Legislation in the Turbotax Era” that makes some good points.
“When tax returns were prepared with pencil and paper-in an era now gone forever-Congress did not impose income tax provisions of great computational complexity on large numbers of taxpayers, in the belief that it was unreasonable to require average taxpayers (or their paid preparers) to struggle with computationally complex provisions.”
But, according to Zelenak as a result of the advent of tax preparation software, Congress now imposes “unprecedented computational complexity on large numbers of taxpayers, primarily through the expanded scope of the alternative minimum tax and the proliferation of phase outs of credits, deductions, and exclusions”.
I agree with the author when he says -
“Unfortunately, computationally complex provisions generally constitute bad tax policy, even apart from computational concerns.”
Just a note – I take exception to “tax returns were prepared with pencil and paper-in an era now gone forever”. The era has not yet gone for me. Although I use a pen and not a pencil.
* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb reports that TIGTA (the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration) thinks that "‘Complexity of Tax Law’ Not a Challenge for IRS?”.
TIGTA recently released a report on the most serious management and performance challenges confronting the IRS today, and “Complexity of the Tax Law” was not among the top 10.
* Over at WALLET POP Kelly tells us that “The Taxman Cometh: IRS Audits Likely on the Rise”.
“As if you don’t already have enough money worries. This is the year to double, no triple-check your taxes before filing. The IRS is looking for the money it’s owed with renewed vigor, and that means a lot more people can expect to be audited.”
Read Kelly’s post to see if you will be among the “lot more people”.
* Just got an email from Steven Zelin, The Singing CPA.
Steve would love to see you at his upcoming Holiday Comedy Show at Don't Tell Mama, located at West 46 Street (bet 8-9th Avenues in NYC), at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, December 9, 2009. He will be singing songs from his newest CD "No Accounting for the Holidays". $10 + 2 drink minimum.