Saturday, December 15, 2012


* Still looking for stocking stuffers?  Click here and here and here and here.  Hey, it is ok to buy them for yourself (and they are tax deductible)!

* We are told by the Wall Street Journal’s WASHINGTON WIRE that “Sen. Baucus Committed to ‘Comprehensive Tax Reform’”.

In comments that could cheer supporters of a big tax overhaul, the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee said he still supports ‘comprehensive tax reform’ next year. And Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) said he hopes to set up an expedited process for a tax rewrite through the year-end fiscal cliff deal.”

They would “cheer” me, but there is a condition –

“. . . it depends on Congress approving higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a fiscal cliff deal in the next few weeks”.

The “commitment” of the Senator (and I believe all current Senators and Representatives should be “committed”) is not without political motivation. 

We have a major opportunity here to rebuild the tax code for the 21st century. My hope is that an expedited process for tax reform is put in place by year-end legislation and that we lock in more revenue from high-income households now as part of a deficit-reduction deal.”

Read my lips – the required year-end legislation has nothing to do with tax reform.  As Max says, we need to “rebuild the tax code”.  That task must be done, but cannot be properly done until next year.  Rushing something through at this late date is not proper governing. 

Extend everything currently in effect (except for maybe the 2% Social Security reduction) for one more year NOW.  Patch the dreaded AMT for 2012 and 2013 NOW.  There is no thought involved.  Worry about rebuilding the code in January of 2013, where there is plenty of time for serious debate and consideration.  The new Tax Code can always be made retroactive to January 1, 2013.   

* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb continues her “12 Days of Charitable Giving 2012” at FORBES.COM with the “School of Harmony”.

Former U.S. Congressman Wester Cooley {a Republican who represented Oregon’s Second Congressional District from 1995 to 1997 – rdf} was sentenced to a year and a day in prison following his guilty plea last year to hiding $494,000 in income from the Internal Revenue Service.”

The current idiots in Congress all belong in prison – their inability to accomplish anything is criminal!

BTW – why was this Congressperson sent to prison and tax cheat Chuck Rangel just slapped on the wrist and told he was a bad boy in front of the class?  I guess the exemption from punishment for not following the law only applies while you are a sitting member of Congress.

While there are obvious estate tax benefits, I still say that more often than not same-sex couples will pay more as a married unit than as two singles, thanks to the marriage penalty (which may become worse if “Bush” tax cuts not extended).  Although I do understand that it would make things a bit simpler in community property states (I have no experience with community property issues, nor do I want any).

In any case, thanks to Jason for keeping us on top of the issue. 

* Kay Bell provides an “infographic” to remind us of what will be different for taxes for 2013 if the idiots in Washington do not extend the “Bush” tax cuts in “A Look, Literally, at Expiring Tax Laws” over at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

* Over at OUR TAXING TIMES Trish McIntire talks about the need for “Saving Electronic Records” in this new age –

While we all need to have good records, too many taxpayers have not changed their thinking, and saving, to account for electronic records. Someone who saved every paper pay stub now doesn’t even look at the electronic pay record in their online employment account until there’s a problem.”

* Kimberly Kislak has been running daily Tax Tidbits at KISLAKS TAX AND NOTARY SERVICE BLOG.  Tuesday’s was for tips for “Just Got Marrieds”.

Her first tip is very important, one that I have been telling you for years now –

Notify the Social Security Administration (SSA)

If one of you has taken on a new name, report the change to the SSA. File Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.  It is important that your name and Social Security number match on your tax return.”  

* Charles Rubin of RUBIN ON TAX warns “Don’t Exaggerate Your Income on CreditA pplications”, and gives a good reason why.

* I welcome Enrolled Agent David Fazio to the “tax blogosphere”.  His new blog is EAT...TAX... LOVE: INSIGHTS FROM A TAX PRO.

His first substantive post discusses “That First 2013 Paycheck”.

His bottom line –

Unless the IRS takes the bold step to freeze the withholding tables at the 2012 levels, we need to brace ourselves for less money when we open that first paycheck next year.”  

* A post by Jim Blankenship of GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW from earlier this year lists “5 Facts You Need to Know About Your Retirement Plan”.

* Prof Jim Maule agrees with me that you should “call a spade a shovel” in his MAULED AGAIN post “When a Tax Argument is Nonsense, Why Not Say So?”.  Jim discusses a court case about the first-time homebuyer’s credit.

I like his bottom line -

Though it may have been a matter of judicial tact to state the reasons for rejecting the argument in the manner that the court did, there are times, I think, when calling nonsense what it is, nonsense, is valuable. Otherwise, the producers of the nonsense will generate even more nonsense. If one thing is clear, it is that the world doesn’t need more of this sort of nonsense.”


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