Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Sorry I have not posted this week so far – but I have been working away on the GD extensions. I hope this meaty edition of the BUZZ makes up for my absence.

*Right on Christopher Bergin! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Writing about the mucking fess that is the various First-Time Homebuyers’ credits, which Nina Olsen has credited for making the past tax filing season the worst yet at TAX.COM, Bergin, in "What's Wrong With the Tax Code? Those That Write It", says –

The truth is that a Congress that would pass such a provision may be made up of the worst lawmakers yet. And please don’t tell me our representatives were trying to do the right thing. That excuse has worn-out its welcome.

The Internal Revenue Code should do what it says: collect revenue. And the IRS should do what it is meant to do: collect revenue, not administer social programs. The politicians want to make the voters think they care. Fine; do it somewhere else. Because they have given us the worst tax code yet.”

I have been saying for the past couple of years that the members of Congress are idiots. Glad to hear someone else agrees.

* Happy Anniversary to Professor Annette Nellen! Her 21st CENTURY TAXATION blog turned 4 on May 14th. I look forward to many more years of insightful posts.

TWTP will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary next month!

* Kay Bell asks the question “How Did $250,000 Become the Tax Definition of Rich” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES, and provides some interesting answers.

She very wisely comes to the following conclusion -

The figures that politicians use are as often as not for appearances rather than for any real bottom line effect.”

I have always pointed out that income levels have different meanings based on geography. A family earning $250,000 in, say, Kansas is sitting pretty, while the same couple in New Jersey, New York or California may be just getting by.

* Trish McIntire continues her series on Starting a Business at OUR TAXING TIMES with “Do Your Homework” – good advice indeed. She lists some good online resources and provides a good required reading list.

* BOSTON.COM has a good article on “What to Do If You Inherit an IRA” by Cheryl Costa a few weeks back.

I came across the item from the blog post “Inherited IRAs Demystified” from CUT YOUR TAX, the blog of the Illinois firm of Hedeker & Perrelli, Ltd, which mentions a recent court case on the issue. I came across the blog post at

* Peter Reilly summarizes the Richard Hatch story in “U.S. v. HATCH, Cite as 107 AFTR 2d 2011-XXXX” at PASSIVE ACTIVITIES AND OTHER OXYMORONS.

Peter quotes the comments of the Court in the appeal decision -

Hatch's approach appears to be that if he reiterates long enough and loud enough his misguided belief that he is innocent of his tax offenses, his claims may somehow be deemed true. He is mistaken. As the First Circuit noted, the record contains compelling evidence of Hatch's guilt on the offenses for which he was convicted.”

Hatch, by definition of a person who willingly participates in a reality tv show, is a self-absorbed idiot. Reality television, regardless of the premise, purposely steers and edits its proceedings to highlight and reward the most egregious participants – so winning the “competition” on Survivor is nothing to brag about. Reality tv may be “unscripted” - but that does not mean it does not have a “book”.

This fool has had way much more than his undeserved 15 minutes of fame.

* Jean Murray reports on a new spam scam in “Fraudulent Emails from NACHA” at ABOUT.COM: US BUSINESS LAW/TAXES.

Her advice if you find this email in your in-box (highlight is hers) -

If you receive a suspicious email from NACHA, forward it to them at

And DON'T OPEN the file in the email!

* Thank God for small favors. TPM reports the news that “Donald Trump Is Not Running For President”.

Tronald Dump, as the Capital Steps comedy troupe would call him, is a self-absorbed, arrogant arsehole. This is evidenced by his statement- “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election." But while he may be an idiot, he is not necessarily stupid. There is no benefit to him personally in running for President.

His ego is better stroked by the arrogance that he would win if he ran, but he elects not to do so. This is better than being utterly “trumped” in his first primary election, and eventually laughed out of the race, as would certainly be the result.

Political cartoonists and comedians all over the world are, I expect, saddened by the announcement.

* You may be receiving a 2010 Form 5498 information return in the mail around now. Do not be concerned – you do not have to amend your 2010 tax return. This is a purely information return.

William Perez has created a good piece explaining “Form 5498” at ABOUT.COM TAX PLANNING:US.

Bill has a good idea in introductory post “What’s Form 5498” –

I like to cross check the Forms 5498 I receive.”

You should compare the information on the 5498(s) to your records to make sure that any contributions are credited to the correct tax year.

Recently I discovered on a Form 5498 a $400 contribution to an IRA that the client did not mention anywhere in her explanatory notes. When first questioned she said she did not make any contributions for 2010; but upon further research she discovered that this represented a “cash-back” award from a credit card that was automatically deposited to her IRA account. She could not deduct the contribution due to her level of income and employer plan coverage, but it meant that I had to prepare an 8606 to identify a non-deductible contribution.

* TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb, writing for FORBES.COM, provides a laundry list of what to do now that it has been a month since April 18th in “The Month After: Refund Status, Lost Checks, and Tax Planning".

Just one comment – for me there is definitely NOT “a little bit of a lull in business right now”. And, while I did partake of a brief “well-deserved post tax season vacation”, I am not tanned and looking for something to do. I am working away on the GD extensions and do not want to be bothered.

* A “Fiscal Fact” from the Tax Foundation reports what those of us who live there are well aware of – “New York, New Jersey Lead Nation in Property Tax Burden”.



Peter Reilly said...

Gee don't hold back so much on your feelings about reality TV. Tell us how you really feel.

Robert D Flach said...


Reality tv makes millionaires out of ignorant, self-absorbed, no-talent dolts - rewarding them for lack of intelligence, self-control and self-respect – while legitimate actors, writers, directors, etc, with real talent and something to contribute to society, struggle to make ends meet.

Do you disagree?


Peter Reilly said...

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you enjoy the play ?

I've given up on TV so I don't have strong opinions. Watched some while I was travelling this summer.

Do you class "Pawn Stars" as reality TV ? Or Cops ?