Friday, January 25, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – FRIDAY EDITION
“No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session” - Unknown
* They like me! They really like me! I have been named as #10 on the list of “Top 30 Accounting and Finance Blogs of 2012” issued by BEST ACCOUNTING SCHOOLS! I am in good company on the list.
* Have you seen my reaction to the IRS response to the court case that shot down its tax preparer regulation regime – “Just Say No to the Stay of the Injunction”?
* A reminder at MAINSTREET.COM that “Processing of Most Returns Is Delayed, IRS Says”.
* Speaking of MAINSTREET.COM, an item in the Tax Center suggests “IRS E-Filing Could Be to Blame for an Uptick in Tax Identity Theft”.
“In the past several years, the number of incidents of identity theft related to consumers’ tax returns has surged, and there seems little the Internal Revenue Service can do about it. Some experts say a major reason for this increase in fraud could be the result of the agency’s e-filing option.”
I do not e-file the federal returns of my clients, because I do not use flawed and expensive tax preparation software. Perhaps this is one reason why none of my clients have ever had a problem with tax-related identity theft.
* Have you been following the online discussion of the shut down of the IRS RTRP program and the idea of a voluntary RTRP certification program?
“FurtherT houghts on Preparer Regulation” by Jason Dinesen at DINESEN TAX TIMES.
“Attorney Who Bested IRS In Tax Preparer Regulation Case Speaks Out” by Kelly Phillips Erb at FORBES.COM.
“Alphabet Soup” by Russ Fox at TAXABLE TALK.
“Voluntary Licensing?” by Trish McIntire at OUR TAXING TIMES.
And “Tax Pros Speak Out on Voluntary Certification” by me at THE TAX PROFESSIONAL.
Kelly Phillips Erb has since "tweeted" her thoughts -
"I think it has legs. I do worry about grandfathering (as was noted on FB). But I think a voluntary designation is smart."
* Jason Dinesen makes a good point in his reminder “Home Office Deduction: IRS Offers a Simplified Calculation Option, But the Qualifying Rules Haven’t Changed” at DINESEN TAX TIMES (the highlight is his) –
* I didn’t forget! I am included in Kay Bell’s “Tax Carnival #111: Countdown to Filing” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
* William Perez provides a good review of the recently extended tax benefit and the 2 special options in “Qualified Charitable Distributions from IRAs for 2012” at ABOUT.COM.
* Over at TAX FACTOR Jamaal Solomon continues his ongoing series with “Tax Organizer for Clergy”.
* Jen Carrigan asks the question “Should Capital Gains Be Taxed Differently?” in a guest post at THE MI.SSOURI TAXGUY.
* You are kidding, aren’t you? This is what H &R Block spokesman Gene King said in response to the court case shutting down the RTRP program -
"We've always held our tax professionals to some of the industry's highest standards and will continue to do so this tax season and every tax season."
Yeah, right. And the check is in the mail.
* Former IRS Commissioner Mark Everson speaks on “Tax Reform: Where Are We Now?” at TAXPRO TODAY.
* Let me end this installment by sharing some excellent advice for Schedule C filers from EA David Fazio’s post “The Tax Court Gave This Schedule C an ‘F’” at EAT...TAX... LOVE: INSIGHTS FROM A TAX PRO.
“What I want my self-employed clients to take away from this post is that I can't stress enough the importance of documentation of income and expenses.
· Get used to saying "can I get a receipt for that?" Your canceled checks and/or credit card statements are not enough if you are audited. You need proof of payment and proof of what you paid for.
· Fill out those mileage books I give you every year and be sure you are noting the business purpose of your travel! Want an app for that? I use MileBug for iPhone.
· Keep track of all of your income (checks, credit cards and cash received).
· Use separate bank accounts for your business and dedicate a credit card for just business expenses. It just makes things easier for everyone.
· Travel, meals and entertainment always have stricter documentation requirements than other business expenses.
· Ask questions of your Enrolled Agent if you are unsure if something is deductible. Hint: the expense needs to be both ordinary and necessary for your business. While a DJ would be allowed to deduct his iTunes downloads, that same expense wouldn't fly on my tax return.
Remember, you can never have enough paperwork. I tell my clients all the time that I've never lost an audit because the IRS said I gave them too much documentation.”