Saturday, September 15, 2012
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
Back from a relaxing visit to LBI. Must finish the last of the GD extensions before the end of the month!
* In case you haven’t done so yet - check out my article “Uncle Sam Wants to Help You Pay for College: Tax Tips” at THESTREET.COM.
* Kelly Phillips Erb’s regular “Getting To Know You Tuesday” series introduced me to Christopher J. Wittich from Minnesota, Tax Supervisor at Boyum & Barenscheer PLLP.
Christopher writes for the firm’s blog, and has been running a series on “Taxes A to Z”, which he describes as “randomly meandering through tax topics, but at least for 26 posts in an alphabetical order”.
* TAX PRO TODAY’s “Tax Stats: September 2012” installment shows us via charts that “the growth in amended returns is far outstripping the growth in overall returns filed”.
The item points out that -
“Between 1990 and 2012, the number of amended returns increased 409 percent, compared to a mere 26 percent increase in individual returns filed over the same period. There are many reasons for this increase, including Tax Code complexity, late changes to tax laws, more information statements, and more post-filing compliance activity.”
Back when I was accepting new clients I always asked to see the 3 prior years’ tax returns to see if I could find any errors made by the former preparers that would justify filing an amended return to get an additional refund. My mentor and I found that if we could amend the prior year return of a new client to get a sizeable refund we would have a client for life, who would in turn sing our praises to his family and friends.
Sorry, but I can’t resist – over the years we found more errors on returns prepared by CPAs then we did on “self-prepared” or even Henry and Richard prepared returns.
* In “Small Businesses and the U.S. Election” at the WAVE ACCOUNTING BLOG Rob Maurin tells us – “Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican party are the preferred ticket for most U.S. small business owners”.
* CCH has prepared a Tax Briefing on “2012 Tax Policies Of The Major Presidential Candidates”. Click here to download.
* An excellent reminder from the IRS via a “tweet” – “No matter who prepares it, YOU are responsible for your #tax return information”.
* Trish McIntire talks about “Gift Tax” at OUR TAXING TIMES.
* Jason Dinesen expands on my “Reimbursed or Reimbursable” discussion with “Never Do Something Just Because It’s Tax Deductible” at the blog formerly known as DINESEN TAX TIMES.
* One of my pet peeves concerning travel, and business conferences, is that the advertised daily hotel room, often reduced for conference attendees, is never correctly stated. We are told that the special conference rate is $145 per night, when in reality it is closer to $170 when you add in the various local taxes and fees.
Kay Bell explains that “Chicago Visitors Pay the Most Travel Taxes” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES. The “combined single-day travel taxes” paid by visitors to Chicago is $40.31, beating out New York City at $37.98. However, I expect that the basic room rate for a hotel is higher in NYC than in Chicago. I only stayed in Chicago once, to attend the IRS Nationwide Forums several years ago. Boston, where I visit often for both business and pleasure, is third with $34.83.
The amounts are calculated by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation, and include taxes on hotel stays, car rentals and restaurant meals.
Kay’s piece lists the cities with the lowest total tax burdens. Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and West Palm Beach tie for the lowest at $22.21 per day. I was surprised to see Honolulu on the low list at $24.38.
NATP and other education providers please take note – PLEASE tell the truth when quoting room rates at host hotels!
* And in “Congress Gets Ready to Clock Out” Kay tells us that –
“The bottom line is that the House is planning to show up for work for a total of 27 days these last four months of the year.
The Senate hasn't issued its work schedule, but you can bet it's on a similar abbreviated timetable.”
Other than the fact that what other job would pay so much for showing up (and actually doing) so little, this means that the idiots in Congress will only have 27 days to pass the various tax extenders (the AMT patch and other regularly-extended temporary tax breaks expired on 12/31/11, and “Bush” tax cuts will expire on 12/31/12) so American taxpayers can know “where the fakawi” and the IRS can “go to press” with 2012 forms and instructions.
As Kay predicts, being the idiots they are, “the necessary legislative work likely will be done, as has been the case in recent years, as December is winding down.”
THE FINAL WORD
People have told me I will not be able to deal with the quiet of rural PA after living almost all of my life in Jersey City.
Here is a headline from a local newspaper about a recent incident in my new home town - “Police: Naked, Bloody, Screaming Man Gnawed Woman's Head”. I do not recall ever seeing such a headline in a Jersey City paper.