Wednesday, December 23, 2009


* A “tweet” from taxtweet (aka Kay Bell) led me to “How to Make Your Home Based Business Look More Professional” by Upon Request at EHOW.COM.

As a person with a “home-based” business I especially like item #6. You don’t want clients, or potential clients, wanted or unwanted, knocking on the door of your home at all hours of the night without warning.

* Remember the online debate on taxing unnecessary plastic surgery. Well the Los Angeles Times reports in “Senate Plan Would Tax Tanning Services”, stating that “Democrats replace the 'botax' on cosmetic procedures with a 10% sales tax on the use of tanning beds, citing skin cancer concerns”.

So they have replaced a tax on an unnecessary indulgence of the wealthy with a tax on an unnecessary indulgence with a wider usage.

* Speaking of the online debate on taxing plastic surgery, Stacie Clifford Kitts, who started the ball rolling on that debate, weighs in on the change of target in “An Interesting Rewrite for the Vanity Tax H.R. 3590 Looks As if Congress Found a Vanity Product with Enough Sin to Justify a Tax” (now there’s a mouthful!) at STACIE’S MORE TAX TIPS.

In response to my argument, it would appear that our lawmakers did find a vanity procedure that fits the sin criteria. The new vanity target - tanning salons.”

* Before we leave Stacie and her MORE TAX TIPS, congrats to her on being named one of Dan Meyer’s 2009 “Twelve Blogs of Christmas” at TICK MARKS - “Stacie's Got It Going On (in a Tax Sense): Stacie's Tax Tips is the Fifth Tax Blog in the ‘Twevle Blogs’

Four of the first five (of eventually seven) tax blogs that Dan will honor are written by women – in addition to Stacie there is Linda Beale’s A TAXING MATTER, Mary O’Keeffe’s BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE, and Roni Deutch's TAX LADY BLOG. The “thorn among the roses” is Jack Townsend of FEDERAL TAX CRIMES.

* TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb answers an oft-asked question this time of the year in her post “Ask the taxgirl: Reporting Year End Income”.

Even though the paycheck is for work performed during the two-week period ended December 30, 2009, if the check is dated January 2, 2010 it is taxed in 2010. It will be included in the 2010 Form W-2 and not the 2009 Form W-2.

* New York resident and non-resident taxpayers – check out my post “What’s New For 2009 For New York State Income Tax Returns?” over at the NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG.

* I just got an email telling me that TWTP is included in a list of the “Top 50 Blogs for Accountants” at the BIZ-LEARNER blog of the Online Accounting Colleges site. I am in good company in the “Tax Issues” category. Check it out.

* Earlier this year, in the course of my “wandering” the internet, I came across the blog. I think I was originally led there via a “tweet”. I seem to recall that I referenced a post from the blog here in the BUZZ.

I have not been able to access the blog for a while. When I tried I was informed by that access to was restricted to “members” or “followers” or some such category.

Now I discover, from Russ Fox in “April 15th No More”, that, “according to an affidavit from an IRS Special Agent, the proprietor of the blog has admitted to embezzling $8.5 million”.

You can get all the details from Russ at TAXABLE TALK.

* The title of Russ’ post on the Senate version of the health care “reform” bill sums up the behavior of Congress in general, and not just with regard to health care – “It’s Unpopular, Unworkable, and Insane, So Naturally They’re in a Hurry to Pass It”. Sometimes what they pass is popular, but the rest of the description still applies.

The post tells us what new taxes we may be faced with if/when the law is finally passed.

* Did I miss another Tax Carnival? I came across “Tax Carnival #61: Stocking Stuffers 2009” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES yesterday morning, again via a “tweet”.

Wait – my post “Deducting Expenses for Rental of a Mixed Use Vacation Home” from the INTERNET GUIDE TO IRS SCHEDULE E, which I had submitted to the last Tax Carnival but got “lost in the shuffle” due to a system FU, is here. I guess it finally did find its way to Kay after all.

Lots of good “stocking stuffers” indeed in this Tax Carnival.

* Another item discovered through a “tweet”. Freelance writer Bruce Fraser discusses his recent experience with an IRS audit of his tax return in “Manhattanite Bruce Fraser 'Selected' for Audit, Then is Face-to-Face With Tax Man” at the DAILY NEWS.

His biggest mistake – “I waved away my tax preparer when he offered to accompany me. Oh, no, I can handle it.”

Bruce was questioned on his home office deduction. He was lied to about the home office rules by the IRS agents conducting the audit and was told his deduction was disallowed.

But his tax pro came to the rescue, explaining, “The examiners had misinformed me, he said, about having to have a separate room with a separate entrance”. “Misinformed” sounds nicer than “lied to”. But, unless the agents really did not know tax law, lying to Bruce is exactly what they did. Anyway, Bruce went back to the IRS, this time with his tax pro, and was eventually allowed his home office deduction, although the Service did manage to get their pound of flesh elsewhere.

* As this is the time of the year for gift giving, let’s end the BUZZ with TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb’s post “Taxes, Donations and Lending a Hand”.