Friday, October 26, 2012


The BUZZ intended for Saturday is so “chock-a-block” with good stuff so far that I decided to post a day early!    

It is hard to think of a bigger arsehole than the Dumpster.  Does the fool realize that nobody with any intelligence takes him seriously? 

* Have you taken advantage of my “October Half Price Sale” yet? 

* Peter J Reilly agrees with me that the problem with the Tax Code is the fault of the “idiots in Congress” and “steals” my description of the Tax Code in his post “Same Sex Couples - Registered Domestic Partners - Community Property -What A Mucking Fess” at FORBES.COM.

I did not create the term “mucking fess”, but I guess I have made it mine in referring to the Tax Code.

Peter is welcome to “steal” any of my trademark descriptions – which also include “GD extensions” and “dreaded AMT” (and identifying reality tv programs like “The Jersey Shore” and anything with a Kardashian as “steaming piles of excrement”).

I agree with Peter’s suggestion that we “take our system of individual filing statuses – Married, Married Filing Separately, Single, Head of Household and chuck it”. 

In a fair and simple Tax Code, as Peter recommends - “There would be only one filing status for an individual.  We could call it something really clever like maybe – Individual.

* Jason Dinesen begins a new series of posts on the “Small Business Health Insurance Credit — Nice in Theory But Not in Execution” at the DINESEN TAX TIMES.

That description could apply to a multitude of tax and other items enacted by the idiots in Congress.  

Jason begins the first post in the series –

Like a lot of tax credits, the credit available to small businesses that provide health insurance is nice in theory but is horribly executed.”

* Howard Gleckman discusses “The Ten Biggest Differences between the Romney and Obama Tax Plans” at TAX VOX, the blog of the Tax Policy Center.

One important difference of note where I am concerned –

Obama has shown little interest in broad-based tax reform. Romney wants to fundamentally rewrite the revenue code.”

* You’ve got to be kidding!  Kay Bell reports on a recent Gallop Poll that suggests “We Think Congress is Doing a Better Job” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

Gallup says Americans now have the most positive view of Congress that they've had in more than a year.

‘Twenty-one percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing’, reports Gallup on its website.

That's substantially more than the 13 percent Congressional approval measured in September, according to Gallup, and the highest rating in any month since May 2011.”

Kay is as shocked as I am, but thinks she knows why –

The only explanation I can come up with for Gallup's results is that the House and Senate have been in recess since Sept. 21.”

She may have a point.  The members of Congress are idiots – and certainly do a better job when they are not working then when they are.

* The results of a recent Tax Foundation study are not surprising - “State and Local Tax Burdens Highest in New York”.

The Annual State-Local Tax Burden Ranking report estimates the average total tax burden for residents of each state, including both the in-state taxes they are subject to as well as taxes they pay to other states, such as those paid by virtue of working in, traveling to, or buying products from other states. This method takes the point of view of the individual taxpayer, counting all taxes they pay, no matter to which state they are paid.”

As a point of information, a resident of New York City could have a marginal combined city-state income tax rate of over 10%, added to a 25% - 35% federal marginal rate.  If the top federal rate goes back to 38%, and you consider the 1.45% Medicare tax, high income individuals could be paying at least half of each additional dollar earned in taxes.  Still say the rich do not pay enough taxes?

It is also no surprise that my former home state of New Jersey is #2 (no pun intended – but if the shoe fits . . .).  Pennsylvania, where I currently live, is #10 – so my move was a good one.

Russ Fox gives a good overview, listing the top and bottom ten, in “Tax Foundation Releases State & Local Tax Burdens” at TAXABLE TALK.

Russ ends his post with an interesting observation –

One interesting observation I have is that almost all of the low-tax states are ‘Red’ states (they tend to vote Republican) while almost all of the high-tax states are ‘Blue’ states (they tend to vote Democratic). I suspect that this is not a coincidence.”

* The Tax Foundation also explains “The Economic Impact of High-Earner Tax Hikes” (the highlight is mine) -

President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on individuals earning more than $200,000 would slow economic growth and reduce future incomes across the board, according to a new analysis by the Tax Foundation. The amount of income that would be lost over the next ten years because of higher taxes varies by state, ranging from $2 billion in Vermont to as much as $241 billion in California.

‘President Obama’s campaign to raise taxes on high-income earners presents an overly simplistic view of the economy, as if tax increases only affect those people who write checks to the IRS’, said Tax Foundation chief economist William McBride. ‘When high income families are hit with additional taxes, they reduce spending on goods and services and invest less. All of this hurts economic growth over the long run, resulting in fewer jobs and lower wages.’

In dollar terms, the states most affected are large, high-income states. California stands to lose $241 billion over ten years as a result of the president’s tax policies, followed by New York at $186 billion, Texas at $131 billion, Florida at $104 billion, and Illinois at $74 billion.”

* The CCH daily tax headlines for Wednesday included the item “No Extension of RTRP Examination Deadline, IRS Spokesperson Confirms”.

In recent weeks, there has been some discussion at accounting and tax conferences about a possible extension of the December 31, 2013, deadline. ‘There are no plans to extend the deadline for competency testing’, the IRS spokesperson told CCH.”

As I point out in my post “There MUST be Grandfathering” at THE TAX PROFESSIONAL –

There are only about 14½ months left before the December 31, 2013 deadline for ‘provisional’ tax return preparers to take and pass the RTRP competency test.  Will that be enough time for the 325,000+ to do so?  To be perfectly honest, I doubt it very much.  It may be a logistic impossibility.

So what will happen if on December 31, 2013, there are still 250,000 or more tax preparers have not taken the test?   Will the IRS put them, many if not most of whom will no doubt be veteran experienced and highly competent and ethical tax professionals like me, out of business?

As I state in that post – the solution is not to extend the deadline, but to initiate a grandfathering exemption for veteran preparers.

I have written to the new regulation regime “czar” on this issue (click here), but my letter has apparently been totally ignored.

* In addition to writing the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG, with a daily BUZZ-like Tax Roundup that frequently references my TWTP posts, and speaking out against the IRS preparer regulation regime, CPA Joe Kristan also writes for IOWA BIZ.  His latest item there – “Payroll Taxes: Once is Enough” - provides some good advice, which I believe I had highlighted from another source in an earlier BUZZ installment.

Outsourcing payroll administration is common for good reasons, but most taxpayers don't realize how much risk they are taking when they make that decision. That's why even when you outsource your payroll taxes, you should still monitor the provider. 

Fortunately, you can do so. Taxpayers enrolled in the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) can go online and check that their payroll taxes are being remitted by the third-party payroll service.”   

* Over at the online STREET JOURNAL David Wessel gives us “Campaigns Pave the Way for Tax Reform”.

Like so many presidential campaigns, this one is criticized for confusing voters more than elucidating issues, for turning more on trivia and debate zingers than on competing policies.

Yet is it possible that this campaign has softened the ground for one of those overhauls of the federal tax code that comes along every 25 years or so?

David believes –

There is more widespread understanding that, in a phrase that deficit-fighters Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson popularized, there is a lot of ‘spending through the tax code’."

And that -

An overhaul of the tax code remains a long shot. But if it actually occurs, the conversation that Simpson-Bowles began in late 2010 and that Mitt Romney pursued in 2012 will have made it possible.”

So there is some hope!



Peter Reilly said...

Thanks for being so free with your intellectual property, Bob. I think I have used gd extensions, but only when writing about you. Many of the rest of us, who can't work 168 hours a week for a couple of months actually like extensions.

Robert D Flach said...


I realize that there is no real logic for despising GD extensions so. The GD extensions would allow me to prepare more tax returns and make more money. It is just one of my "few" eccentricities from 40+ years in "the business".