Saturday, June 9, 2012


* Trish McIntire saves me the trouble of providing a reminder in her post "The Odd Estimate" at OUR TAXING TIMES.

* Trish also addresses the issue of the IRS initial competency test for “previously unenrolled” tax preparers in “RTRP Procrastination”.

I am one of the 340,000 who have not yet sat for the test.  There are several reasons for my procrastination. 

First, I was not going to be among the first to rush to take the test.  There was no doubt that there would be some initial problems with the testing, as there always are, and, if I am forced to sit for the damned thing, I want to make sure the IRS, or rather the test giver, gets it right.

I continue to strongly believe that long-time preparers like myself, with a history of extensive annual CPE in taxation, should be “grandfathered” the RTRP designation without having to take the test.  To be perfectly honest - after preparing taxes professionally continually for 40 years without incident I have no desire to have to take a test to prove that I know what I have been doing all those years.  I am hoping that the IRS will come to its senses, or the process of testing all non-enrolled PTIN holders will prove difficult, and will allow grandfathering.

I expect I will sit for the GDT in either early 2013, before the beginning of the tax season and after I have attended the year-end tax update classes, or right after the end of the season. 

One final word on the test.  The Tax Code is always changing.  Who’s to say that one year after I pass the test the Tax Code will be totally rewritten and most of what I was tested on will no longer apply?

* And Trish earns a BUZZ trifecta by warning us about “A VA and IRS Phishing Scam”.  She repeats what I am always saying here at TWTP (highlight is hers) –

The IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails or request personal or financial info like PINs and passwords from taxpayers.”

* As I anticipated, the do nothing Congress will do even less this year, as it is an election year, and most likely simply extend the expiring, and I expect expired, tax laws for one more year. 

ABC NEWS reports that “GOP Urges Extension of All Tax Rates For One Year”. 

As lawmakers brace for the fiscal cliff that has widely become known in the nation’s capital as ‘Taxmageddon’, Congressional Republicans set out today to present a unified front as the top leaders from both chambers urged Democrats to extend all of the current tax rates for at least one year.”

Former President Bill Clinton had called for the same thing earlier in the week.

It is better to do it now than to wait until December, as has been their custom.

The item quotes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell –

It’s pretty obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the extension of the current tax rates for at least a year. That would also give us the time to begin to grapple with something we all agree we need to do on a bipartisan basis, which is to reform the whole tax code. That hasn’t been done in a quarter of a century and I think Republicans and Democrats agree that we need to do that once again.”

Let us hope that McConnell is not lying when he says the idiots in Congress will begin to grapple with tax reform next year.

* The INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE continues its attack on the IRS tax preparer regulation regime with a web release titled “IRS Celebrates Anniversary of Unlawful Power Grab”.

As you know, I support efforts to “professionalize” previously unenrolled tax preparers via an RTRP designation.  While I would certainly prefer, as I have blogged before, that the tax preparation industry self-regulate, like the AICPA and ABA, via an organization like an American Institute of Registered Tax Return Preparers, I would much prefer that regulation be conducted by the IRS as it now is (despite my disagreement with some of the basics) then have the idiots in Congress legislate regulation.

I do not believe that “tax preparers could pay over $1,000 in annual fees to the IRS just to satisfy the continuing education requirement imposed by this new licensing scheme”.  And I cannot understand how intelligent tax professionals like Joe Kristan can continue to say that the new requirement would force excessive costs on tax preparers, so excessive as to force smaller firms out of business. 

The NATP’s annual 2-day pairing of “The Essential 1040” and “Beyond the 1040” would satisfy the minimum requirement (including the ridiculous 2-hr annual ethics preaching) nicely for only $349.00 (or at most $391.00)!  And the 3-day IRS Nationwide Forum costs only $211.00 for early registration.

And, as I have been saying since the beginning of the program - any serious tax preparer who does not already take at least 15 hours of CPE in taxation per year, regardless of regulation requirements, should be, so there would be ABSOLUTELY NO additional cost for satisfying the requirement!

* Jason Dinesen tells us that “DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional (Again) in an Estate Tax Case” at the DINESEN TAX TIMES.

But, as Jason explains, “Like with the other cases where DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional, this case doesn’t change anything yet, as it will almost certainly be appealed”.     

As this case shows, it is the Estate Tax where same-sex couples would benefit by being able to be treated as “married”.  However, a majority of such couples would most likely pay more federal income tax if permitted to file as married.


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