Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I am off to Atlantic City to attend the annual National Association of Tax Professionals’ year-end tax update seminars. The seminars are at CAESAR’S PALALCE again this year, but I am being frugal by staying at the TROPICANA for much less. Besides, there are many more choices for dining, entertainment and activities at the TROP.

I return home Saturday afternoon, and I will be posting on items of interest from the seminars next week. FYI – this week’s usual Saturday BUZZ entry will appear on Sunday.

I haven’t had the time to write and schedule posts to appear while I am away on Thursday and Friday. If you need your daily fix of RDF you can go to the INTERNET GUIDE TO IRS SCHEDULE E, where posts are scheduled through the end of the week.

Lots of BUZZ again today!

* Have you checked out THE INTERNET GUIDE TO IRS SCHEDULE E yet?

* Rob Teuber’s “Friday’s Tax Quote – November 27, 2009” at his TAX LAW FORUM blog missed the cut for Saturday’s BUZZ – so I will use it to start this edition -

"If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don’t teach him to subtract. Teach him to deduct." -Fran Lebowitz

* The AMT BLOG is currently at Week 5 in its series of posts titled “It’s Fall: 10 Weeks of Alternative Minimum Tax Planning Ideas”. The series discusses a list of things you can do to reduce your dreaded AMT bill, if will be a victim, and all of them are very simple.

* MISSOURI TAX GUY Bruce had a full “Reads from Last Week” this past Sunday. As usual we seem to read the same tax blogs, but he brings to our attention several good reads from personal finance blogs.

* Kelly TAX GIRL Phillips Erb tells us about Arnold’s tax woes in her post “The Governator Blames Tax Lien On ‘Snafu’”

* Our TAX GIRL also puts a tax spin on the recent gate-crashers at BO’s first White House state dinner in “White House Party Crashers Forgot Invites… And Tax Returns”.

BTW – congrats to Kelly TAX GIRL being nominated for the ABA Journal’s 2009 Blawg 100, selected from more than 2,500 blawgs!

* NASDAQ tells us that “US House To Vote On Permanent Estate Tax Bill Next Week”. The article anticipates that the House will be voting today (Wednesday) on a bill from Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.).

The Pomeroy bill would make permanent a 45% rate on inherited wealth, with the first $3.5 million exempt from the tax. Without congressional action, the tax will be repealed in 2010 and return in 2011 at a 55% rate with a $1 million exemption.”

The bill is apparently backed by BO.

* Jim begins a series of “focused” posts on an annual financial review at BARGAINEERING, covering banking, credit, investing, and taxes. He starts the ball rolling with “10 Reasons Why Credit Unions Kick Ass”, pointing out that “Credit unions exist to help its members. Commercial banks exist to enrich their shareholders”.

* Stacie Clifford Kitts gives us her 2 cents + on taxing cosmetic surgery in her post “Let's Talk Fuller Lips, Larger Breasts, Slimmer Thighs, and H.R. 3590 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.)” at STACIES MORE TAX TIPS.

Stacie tells us – “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act now in the Senate has declared VANITY as the eighth deadly sin punishable by the imposition of a 5% excise tax.”

Her bottom line is –

I fear that this type of legislation opens the door for a whole litany of WTF taxes. I mean why not tack on an additional tax for hair coloring, nail salons, or makeup. These are also vanity products. Frankly where does it stop?

I am all for affordable health care, balancing the budget, and reducing debt. But come on lawmakers, I find it hard to believe that you can't do better

While I don’t know about fuller lips, but I am for patient protection, affordable care, and larger breasts!

* Mary O’Keeffe has an interesting response to Stacie’s post on taxing cosmetic surgery in her post “Taxing Cosmetic Surgery?” over at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE.

* And Stacie responds to MOK’s response in “Still Talking About Fuller Lips, Larger Breasts, Slimmer Thighs, And H.R. 3590”.

A good blog tax debate, with both sides remaining civil and respectful, and staying "on topic". As it should be!

* Speaking of “sin taxes”, TAX PROF Paul Caron turns us on to the subject of “Projected Revenues From Marijuana Tax”.

He tells us – “CNN has published a 50-state ranking of the potential tax revenues that could be raised by legalizing and taxing marijuana, based on state-by-state marijuana consumption.”

According to this report New Jersey could raise $19.3 Million by taxing weed. California would increase its revenues by $105.4 Million. Wyoming would benefit least, with only $1.2 Million. It doesn’t say how much would be raised in Washington DC, but I expect it would be a lot. Congress must be on something to do some of the crazy things that it does.

* Getting back to Mary and her Bed Buffaloes, she tells us about the the IRS on-line tutorial on 2009 tax returns for participants in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program

I checked it out briefly and it appears to have lots of good information. You should especially read the section on “What’s New This Year”.

Mary has promised –

I'll highlight some particularly tricky common issues and post commentaries in a series of posts to this blog. Hopefully this will help readers in general--as well as my students--check their mastery of tax law.”

* Roni Deutch gives us some “Holiday Gift Advice for Employers and Employees” at her TAX HELP BLOG.

* Professor James Maule discusses a Quinnipiac University poll on the NJ budget crisis in the post “Poll on Tax and Spending Illustrates Voter Inconsistency” at MAULED AGAIN.

As a life-long resident of New Jersey (with a very brief period living in New Rochelle NY) I can tell you that it is indeed possible to reduce government spending and reduce taxes without reducing necessary services. The NJ budget is chock-a-block with pork, with politicians and their family members holding two and three paid show and no-show jobs and double and triple-dipping in the state benefit pool.

Education funding can be cut without hurting the classroom. A large chunk of education spending does not provide any benefit to students. There is no way in any world to justify a $700,000 + severance package for Superintendents of Schools. Sick pay is an accommodation and not an entitlement – unused sick pay should not be accumulated beyond one year. Apparently no Superintendent of Schools in NJ has ever taken a sick day – they choose to “work at home” on occasion.

And now is no time to have created the position of a do-nothing Lieutenant Governor with all of the corresponding expensive bureaucracy. There are also plenty of other unnecessary local and state government jobs that can be done away with without hurting the delivery of essential government services.

* REUTERS reports that “U.S. Tax Reform Panel Delays Recommendations”.

The tax panel of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) had been set to release an "almanac" of ideas for tax reform on December 4. But the board's chairman Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said the panel needs more time to review the public comments.”

It seems that the panel has received more than 500 comments thus far, including mine. To be honest, if the reason given for the delay is true I am pleased.

* I can’t have a BUZZ without at least one item from Kay Bell, the Yellow Rose of Taxes. She discusses “529 Plan Dropouts” at her EYE ON THE IRS blog at


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