Wednesday, January 30, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – WEDNESDAY EDITION
“Politicians certainly must be considered the most formidable barrier to fundamental tax reform.” - David A Hartman
Amen to that!
Welcome to the last BUZZ installment until after the end of the tax filing season. It is “chock-a-block” with good stuff.
* Time is running out to take advantage of the special offer for my “2012 Guide to Schedule A”! Get your check in the mail by tomorrow!
* So what name would you give to my voluntary tax preparer certification program designation? Click here for the discussion.
* Get a “Tax Organizer for Entertainers” from Jamaal Solomon EA at TAX FACTOR.
*The Tax Center of DAILYFINANCE.COM correctly suggests that “2013 May Be the Year You'll Need to Hire a Professional”.
Notice that they, also correctly, said “Hire a Professional” and NOT “Hire a CPA”. I am glad someone was listening.
* The NSA “tweeted” a good question – “What's 4 million words long and 1 foot tall printed?” I bet you can guess the answer.
* Ken King of the SHEYBOGAN PRESS warns you to “Beware of Tax Season Tricksters”.
“One old familiar scheme is getting taxpayers to apply for a short-term tax refund loan at a tax preparation business. Most people, if they read the paperwork, are surprised to learn that the company, without their consent, had filed a return on their behalf. The company then charged exorbitant fees, which it took from the taxpayer's refund.”
* Tax lawyer Jerry Meek is “Raising a Glass to the Income Tax, on its 100th Anniversary” at the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER.
* Kristine McKinley of BEACON FINANCIAL ADVISORS wants you to know - “Got Retirement Questions? Chat with an Expert for Free on Feb 7 and Feb 12”.
“Kiplinger magazine and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) are teaming up for the annual Jump-Start Your Retirement Plan Days to bring you free one-on-one personal finance advice.
NAPFA members (including me!) from across the U.S. will be standing by to answer your questions from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, February 7 AND Tuesday, February 12, 2013.”
* Trish McIntire of OUR TAXING TIMES reports “Form 8863 Held” -
“On Sunday, the IRS added Form 8863, Education Credits, to its list of late season holds.”
As Trish points out – “This is a major form and will effect a lot of clients.”
* Trish also gives great advice on what to do “Before You Sign” -
“Whether they do it themselves on paper or with tax software or use a tax pro, the taxpayer has to understand that they are responsible for everything on the return. It’s their return and they will answer to the IRS (or state tax authority) if there is a problem. They will be the one responsible for paying the extra tax, penalties and interest.
So, take the time to review your return before you sign anything. Check dependents, income and deductions. Is there something wrong or missing? Find out why. Don’t assume that the software or tax pro is right. Ask questions.”
I would just add – also don’t assume that the tax pro is wrong if there is something you do not understand. Indeed – ask questions.
And, unless you are very knowledgeable about the Tax Code, do not use a software package to “self-prepare” your return!
* TAX MAMA Eva Rosenberg discusses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in “A New Year, A New FAFSA” at EQUIFAX.COM.
* Over at BARGAINEERING Jim Wang explains “What to Do If Your W-2 or 1099 Is Stolen”.
* The continuing saga of As the IRS Turns. Jason Dinesen presents “Taxpayer Identity Theft, Part 11” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.
* TODAY SHOW contributor Herb Weisbaum correctly warns that “These Tax-Time Refund Offers Should be Avoided”.
Herb points out that Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel recently issued the following Consumer Alert about the pitfalls of both RALs and RACs -
"We would encourage consumers to think twice before paying the excessive fees and interest associated with borrowing money that already belongs to them, anyway.”
Herb’s bottom line bears constant repeating during tax time (highlight is mine) –
“You’d be smart to avoid Refund Anticipation products of any kind.”
* Let me end by quoting the opening item of Joe Kristan’s Tuesday “Tax Roundup” –
“A Tax I can support! Tax the Revolving Door (Glenn Reynolds)
‘In short, I propose putting a 50% surtax — or maybe it should be 75%, I’m open to discussion — on the post-government earnings of government officials. So if you work at a cabinet level job and make $196,700 a year, and you leave for a job that pays a million a year, you’ll pay 50% of the difference — just over $400,000 — to the Treasury right off the top. So as not to be greedy, we’ll limit it to your first five years of post-government earnings; after that, you’ll just pay whatever standard income tax applies.’
Plus make them wear clown clothes to work.”
Write your Congressidiot today and ask that this be included in any tax reform package enacted in 2013!
THE FINAL WORD-
As I said at the beginning - this will be the last BUZZ installment until AFTER the end of the tax filing season.
If you suffer from BUZZ-withdrawal you can check out Joe Kristan’s weekday-daily BUZZ-like “Tax Roundup”.
And don’t forget to follow my series of Tax Tips at the MAINSTREET.COM Tax Center.