Saturday, August 25, 2012
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
* Jason Dinesen of DINESEN TAX TIMES ends his series on the experiences of a client who was victim of identity theft in “Taxpayer Identity Theft – Part 7”.
* And on the same subject, Bruce McFarland, the MISSOURI TAXGUY, gives some good advice in his comprehensive post “Avoid Identity Theft”, who also had a client that fell victim to this crime.
Fortunately, and thankfully, I have never had a 1040 client with an identity theft issue.
Bruce makes an important point that I have been saying for years and that needs constant repeating –
“Generally, the IRS does not send unsolicited e-mails to taxpayers. Further, the IRS does not discuss tax account information with taxpayers via e-mail or use e-mail to solicit sensitive financial and personal information from taxpayers. The IRS does not request financial account security information, such as passwords and PIN numbers, from taxpayers.”
I would be stronger in the statement and say that the IRS never sends unsolicited emails to taxpayers.
* Joe Kristan discusses the Tax Court problems of fellow tax blogger Kerry Kerstetter, aka the TAX GURU, in “Even Tax Bloggers Need Good Records for Their 1040s”.
I used to follow Kerry’s blog years ago, but haven’t visited in years.
Joe always has a good bottom line to his posts –
“Regardless of the ultimate outcome, we can draw some lessons from this case:
- File your return on time. There is little or no additional risk of being audited for filing an extended return, but the chances of getting examined go way up when you blow the extesion deadlines.
- Keep your old records. The taxpayers failed to produce records of their loss carryforwards to the court’s satisfaction. Keep the tax records for loss years as long as the carryforward years to which you applied the losses remain open.”
* A good question was raised at the ROMNEYOMIC$ blog (All about Romney's Plans for your Money) in “Advice to Republican Congressmen: Shut Up”.
“Which makes be wonder, is there no minimum IQ requirement to be elected to public office? A rhetorical question, I know there isn’t. Too Bad.”
BTW - the lack of intelligence in the idiots in Congress is not limited to Republicans.
* More reason for the idiots in Congress to actually do something for a change before it is too late - CCH reports “Fiscal Cliff Will Cause Recession Next Year, CBO Warns”:
“The U.S economy will enter into a recession in 2013 unless Congress and the White House address the so-called fiscal cliff of expiring Bush-era tax cuts and lower defense and entitlement spending, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned in a report released on August 22.”
* Joshua Wilson, a CPA, has some good tips for “Choosing the Right Tax Professional”.
Unlike many of his brethren (and sistern) he acknowledges RTRPs and EAs as qualified tax preparers, and a viable option, and does not tell you the lie that CPA = tax expert.
* A recent court decision causes Professor Jim Maule to reminisce about my favorite historical tax break in “Where Are You Income Averaging?”.
Income Averaging was a little advertised tax calculation method that allowed us, as tax preparers, to literally pull a rabbit out of a hat back in “the day”. Its use on a 1040 would usually result in guaranteeing us a client for life. It was a casualty of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
In the “good old days” the Tax Code was more complicated in many ways, but actually less complicated in others. There were no phase-outs or sunsets or temporary deductions, and the applicable version of today’s dreaded AMT was very much less of a problem (I did not see any AMT activity among my clients until the early 1990s).
* And WithumSmith Brown’s DOUBLE TAXATION” A TAKE ON ALL THING TAXES blog uses a court case to teach an important tax lesson – “You’d Better Start Saving Those Home Depot Receipts”:
“The lesson is obvious. When reporting a sale from real estate, save all documents supporting not only your acquisition cost (such as a closing statement), but also those establishing the cost of any and all improvements made to the property. After all, it’s up to you to prove you spent what you say you did; it’s not up to the IRS to prove you didn’t.”
* A final reminder for tax pros to check out my “Summer Tax Savings”.