Saturday, December 12, 2009


I somehow lost my first draft of today’s BUZZ (a real PITA). I hope I haven’t forgotten anything good in my attempted recreation, although something tells me that I have.

* TAX PRO Paul Caron, the most scholarly of all tax blogs, gives us an interesting side item on the recent online debate on taxing plastic surgery in “Jerry Springer & Chesty Love Discuss Tax Court Decision Allowing Depreciation of Her Breast Implants”.

FYI, Ms “Love” appeared as her own counsel in the Tax Court.

* The Center for Tax Justice discusses an item from the just passed House extenders bill that I had originally missed in its post “Study in House "Extenders" Bill Would Provide Valuable Info on Many Tax Breaks” at the TALKING TAXES blog.

While multiple theories exist as to why these provisions aren't simply made permanent, it is clear that relatively little thought has been given to their effectiveness in promoting the multitude of goals for which they've been supposedly been enacted. The House bill seeks to remedy this problem by requiring that the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) conduct studies of each of these provisions using 10 different criteria explained in the bill's language.”

This is surprisingly intelligent of the House. The criteria, which the post identifies, would be good for the periodic review of the Tax Code I talk about in my Friday TWTP post “TO EXTEND OR NOT TO EXTEND (TAX LAW NOT TAX RETURNS THAT IS)”.
* A tweet led me to the post "Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) - The Facts" at the PAYDAY RESOURCE BLOG.
Here are some of "the facts" (pay close attention to the last one) -
• “Consumers paid an estimated $833 million in RAL fees in 2007 to get quick cash for their refunds

• In addition to RAL fees, consumers paid another estimate $68 million ‘application’, ‘administrative’, ‘e-filing’, ‘service bureau’, ‘transmission’ or ‘processing’ fees — an estimated 20% of RAL borrowers are charged this fee. The price of a typical RAL of $3,000 can range from $62 to $110.

• The effective APR for RALs based on a 10-day loan period ranges from 50% (for a loan of $10,000) to nearly 500% (for a loan of $300). The APR for a typical RAL of about $3,000 can be from 77% to 140%.

• An IRS study found a significant correlation between RALs and “noncompliance” – RAL users are 27-36% more noncompliant than taxpayers who do not use a financial product
Let us hope that when the IRS releases its final proposals for regulating tax preparers it includes a ban on offering these usurious RALs.
* The money printing machine may be turned on again soon. The government apparently has more to throw around. YAHOO.COM reports “Cash for Caulkers Could Mean $12K Per Home”.

Let’s hope, if it is done, it follows the example of the Cash for Clunkers program and is not administered as a refundable tax credit. Otherwise it will be just an open call for tax fraud.

* New York State has passed an Amnesty Program for older tax debts. Check out my post about it at the NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG.

* Kay Bell gives the word to waiters/waitresses, bartenders, and other tipped employees in her post “Food Server Tip: Report Your Gratuities” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

Many folks may be new to the job, though, having signed up for a part-time gig to make some extra cash during the holidays. So I want to make sure they understand their tax obligations when it comes to gratuities.”
* And Kay also provides those of you who still exchange gifts (I do not) some ideas on what to get your tax pro (I take checks - but cash is good, too) in her post "Holiday Gifts for Tax Geeks".
* Want to know “How Much Stimulus Funding is Going to Your County?”. You can find out at PRO PUBLICA (journalism in the public interest).

* Mary O’Keeffe keeps us up to date on the working single mother from Seattle who got screwed by the IRS in her post “More Information on Rachel Porcaro in Seattle” at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE.

Mary provides some interesting information on the settlement. And I was “interested” to learn that the tax professional who represented her, and who did not keep the IRS from overstepping its boundaries and who did not secure a proper resolution of the matter, was “both a CPA and a tax attorney”.
* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb provides us with a "Lesson Learned: Even Madams Pay Their Taxes”. Some even issue 1099s“!

While I do not find the fact that Tiger Woods shags every blonde who smiles at him, or more appropriately catches some of the gold-diggers who throw themselves at him, is not newsworthy, I agree with KPE that this is an interesting tax-related item.

As I have tweeted – who gives a rat’s arse if TW is getting some on the side? It is a private matter between him and the wife.

* Joe Kristan warns businesses about “The Mid-Quarter Trap” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.

* The tax blog quote of the week, from Prof Jim Maule of MAULED AGAIN’s post “Tax Law Going to the Dogs in a Fishy Proposal” –

It’s high time that members of Congress stopped using the tax law as a pawn in their trolling for votes. It’s tawdry. It’s offensive. It’s wrong. It endangers the republic.”


1 comment:

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