Wednesday, December 5, 2012
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – WEDNESDAY EDITION
* Kay Bell starts a recent post on December tax moves with some Christmas comments –
“All I want for Christmas is a fiscal cliff deal. Silent night as tax talks between Congress and the president stall. I'll have a blue Christmas without some tax rate agreement.”
* Did you check out my THE TAX PROFESSIONAL post on ridiculous IRS regulations for tax pros? Tax pros – your comments solicited.
* Over at ACCOUNTING TODAY Michael Cohn reports that “AMT Hit 4 Million More Taxpayers in 2010” -
“With the alternative minimum tax still unpatched for this year and estimated to spread to an additional 28 million households next tax season unless Congress acts to avert the fiscal cliff, recently released statistics from the Internal Revenue Service reveal that even the patched AMT hit millions more households in 2010 than in 2009.
The IRS’s Fall 2012 Statistics of Income Bulletin, released last week, describes the trends in individual income tax returns in 2010. Among them was a sharp increase in tax returns subject to the AMT. The number of returns with AMT liability increased 4.0 million from 3.8 million in 2009, a 5 percent spike.”
* Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, advises you to “Use or Lose Your Flexible Spending Account” at her BANKRATE.COM blog.
* For true tax geeks only – “History of the Death and Taxes Quote by Benjamin Franklin” from BACKTAXESHELP.COM.
* While we may not agree on everything when it comes to tax reform, I certainly agree with Prof Jim Maule that phase-outs and deduction caps are not good tax policy, as he discusses in detail in his post “Tax Rates and Deduction Caps” at MAULED AGAIN.
Where we part company is his alternative solutions, though I do agree with “repealing special interest deductions”. And I do agree “It is time to start talking about genuine cures rather than playing around with attempts to hide the problems and mask the solutions”.
* Jeff Rose identifies the “4 Options for Retirement Accounts When Switching Jobs” at EQUIFAX.COM.
He makes a good final point –
“And remember that while cashing out is an option, it should usually be avoided.”
* And still on the subject of retirement savings, EQUIFAX.COM provides a Q+A with Certified Financial Planner Rick Rodgers on converting a traditional IRA to a ROTH in the post “How to Protect Yourself from Possible 2013 Tax Hikes”.
* Say it isn’t so! Kelsey Snell tells us “Dems May Revive PEP and Pease Tax Rules” at POLITICO. Didn’t Jim Maule and I tell you that phase-outs and deduction caps are not good tax policy?
* A timely article from JK LASSER – “10 Things to Remember about Year-End Charitable Giving”.
The most important –
· You must itemize to deduct any charitable giving.
· Deductions are allowed only for IRS-approved charities.
· Deductions require substantiation.
* Joe Kristan’s Tuesday “Tax Roundup” over at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG gives us two pieces of excellent advice (highlight is his) -
“Pro tip: never trust the State.”
“File your returns, even if you have an overpayment. If you let the statute of limitations expire, they get to keep it. And they don’t have to warn you that they will.”
THE FINAL WORD
It seems that members of Congress have formed a Christmas chorale.
On Monday night Jay Leno’s weekly HEADLINES bit ended with a notice about a concert given by the “Moron Tabernacle Choir”.
Of course the headline that most of us want to see is “Congress Patches AMT and Extends Tax Cuts before Adjourning for the Year”. And choirs throughout the US are singing “All I Want for Christmas is an AMT Patch”.