Saturday, January 9, 2010


Sorry for such a short BUZZ this time around. Taking care of processing my father’s estate the last few days has not left me with much time for web wandering.

There were many posts on the new IRS recommendations for tax preparer regulation, and Nina Olsen’s report. I will be discussing these two topics in detail next week.

* We welcome back Bruce, the MISSOURI TAX GUY, who returns to posting after a month’s hiatus with “Five Filing Facts for Recently Married or Divorced Taxpayers”.

* Be sure to vote for the “Taxpayer of the Year” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG. Not that I want to influence anyone, but my vote goes to “Turbo Tax Timmy”, who seems to be the front-runner.

* Another victory for taxpayers! WEBCPA tells us that “H&R Block to Refund up to $19.4M of IRA Fees” to “settle a lawsuit brought by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo over the tax prep chain’s marketing of high-fee individual retirement accounts to customers”..

The article tells us (the highlights are mine) -

The agreement requires Block to refund the fees paid by all of its customers nationwide who purchased the company’s Express IRA product, and convert all of the existing accounts to a new program that does not charge onerous fees. Cuomo had accused Block of fraudulently marketing the IRAs to low- and middle-income families.

The lawsuit alleged that Block, the No. 1 tax service provider, had steered hundreds of thousands of customers, including more than 30,000 New Yorkers, into IRAs that were virtually guaranteed to lose money due to a combination of hidden fees and low interest rates. Customers who are eligible to receive the refunds will be contacted by a court-appointed administrator

If you wonder why Henry and Richard’s fees are so high in relation to the quality of service it is because they need to generate money to pay off the many, many lawsuits and settlements like this one.

* Kay Bell reports that “For some, {the first paycheck for 2010} will be less than they got in their final 2009 check.” In her post “New Year, New Withholding Amounts” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

The federal withholding tax tables have been adjusted so there is not a repeat of the surprise that many taxpayers will get when filing their tax returns in the next few months as a result of BO’s “Making Work Pay” credit.

* TAX GURU Kerry M. Kerstetter makes good sense in his post “Let's All Try 71% Worth...”.

As a fellow twit has similarly suggested in a tweet, I would not have lasted 38 years as a professional tax preparer if the returns I prepared were only 71% accurate.

* Thanks to a “retweet” I learned of another NJ tax blog (I thought I had the only one) – NJ TAX REVOLUTION. Does anyone know of any others?

The blog tells us that “NJ is a Leader in Outbound Migration” – which is certainly not a surprise to me.