Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Is it time for a change?  Or do you prefer I keep WHAT’S THE BUZZ as the title?  Let me know.  

* Russ Fox has announced the winner of the prestigious “Tax Offender of the Year” for 2012 at TAXABLE TALK.

To be considered for this award you must do more than cheat on your taxes. It has to be special; it really needs to be a Bozo-like action or actions.”

I was disappointed to see that the idiots in Congress were the runner up this year - #2 (and yes, you can imply the appropriate comment regarding Congress being #2).  Congress was the 2011 The Tax Offender of the Year.  I felt that their actions, or rather inactions, and especially the fiscal cliff nonsense they perpetuated, certainly qualified them for the 2012 award as well.

Who was #1?  Steven Martinez.  Why is he such a bozo?  You will have to read Russ’ post to find out.

* CCH has published a Tax Briefing of the Senate’s “Fiscal Cliff Legislation”.

* Dr. Jean Murray identifies “#1 Most Important New Year's Resolution for Your Business” at ABOUT.COM -

"I resolve to keep excellent records in my business this year."

Look for my suggestions for 2013 New Year’s resolutions at the MAINSTREET.COM Taxes page coming soon!
* Some good advice from a “tweet” by @scheumanncpa (if I may be permitted a slight correction) - yourself and your {tax pro – rdf} a favor and go outside and write down your odometer reading on your vehicles."
* A great post caught my eye last week as I was waiting for BO and his fellow idiots in Congress to perform a miracle.  It was “Your Tax Accountant's Top 10 ‘No’ Responses for 2012” by EA David Fazio at his EAT...TAX... LOVE : Insights from an Tax Pro blog.

For the most part his clients are like mine – “They're honest, hard-working Americans who faithfully file their taxes every year”.  And it seems they ask similar questions.  Here are some of special interest, with Dave’s correct answers, which echo what I have posted here over the years (as Dave put it in a “tweet” – “Great tax minds truly do think alike!”) –

Q. I just got married.  Human Resources sent me a new W-4 to fill out.  Should I check "Married"?

A.   NO.  Assuming your spouse is also working, you need to discuss this with your tax professional or continue as ‘Single’ for the remainder of the year.  Note that unless you take the time to fully complete the ‘Two Earners/Multiple Jobs’ worksheet on the back of the W-4, you could find yourself under withheld when you have your return prepared.  Remember, unless you complete the worksheet, ‘Married’ tricks the payroll company's computer into thinking that you are the only one working.  If you file a joint return, your incomes and deductions get combined.  I have too many sad stories of newlyweds whose first interaction with the IRS as a married couple is to go on an installment plan because they screwed up their W-4 form.

Q.  My mom is 90.  So she doesn't need to file, right?

A.  NO.  Whether or not to file depends on your gross income.  There is no age cut-off (despite rumors to the contrary).  For a single person 65 or older, a return is not required if their income (excluding Social Security) is less than $11,200.  For a married couple who are both 65 or older, the income limit is $21,800 for 2012.  Note that even if their income is below these amounts, their tax forms (particularly Form 1099-R and 1099-SSA) should be checked for federal tax withheld.  If taxes were withheld they can file simply to get this refunded to them even if they are not legally required to file a tax return.

Q.  I need to wear a suit and tie to work.  If I don't I'll be fired.  Can I deduct the cost of buying business clothes and having them dry cleaned?

A. NO.  Clothing is a personal and therefore non-deductible expense.  There are generally 2 exceptions.  If the clothing is not suitable for outside wear, it can be deductible.  This would include things like nursing scrubs, police uniform or an article of clothing with a company logo on it (think of the old Century 21 jackets the real estate agents used to wear).  The other exception is protective clothing such as steel-toed boots, work gloves or a hardhat.  I often have men and women in skilled trades (construction, painting, plumbing) noting that they go through scores of jeans for work because they get ripped, stained, etc.  Jeans are suitable for outside wear and are therefore non-deductible.

Q. I know I will owe. There is NO WAY I can pay the IRS what I owe them, but I should be able to pay them in full in a year. My best bet is to just file next year when I have the money.

A. NO! NO! NO! I can't stress enough the importance of filing a return on time. Even if you owe thousands of dollars. The penalty for not paying the tax by the due date is 1/2% per month (0.50%). The penalty for not filing the return is 5% per month. The cost of not filing the return is literally 10 times higher than the cost of not paying the tax. So get the return filed by April 15th (or October 15th if you are ‘on extension’) and work (or have me work) with the IRS to setup a payment plan.

* I hope it isn’t, but I will not be surprised if “2013 May Be the Year ofPerpetual Fiscal Crisis”, as Howard Gleckman suggests at TAXVOX.

* According to comedian Andy Borowitz in his satirical BOROWITZ REPORT at The New Yorker “Al Qaeda Disbands; Says Job of Destroying U.S. Economy Now in Congress’s Hands” -

“The international terror group known as Al Qaeda announced its dissolution today, saying that ‘our mission of destroying the American economy is now in the capable hands of the U.S. Congress’.

In an official statement published on the group’s website, the current leader of Al Qaeda said that Congress’s conduct during the so-called ‘fiscal-cliff’ showdown convinced the terrorists that they had been outdone.”

* Jason Dinesen takes a look at his predictions for 2012 in “6 Tax Predictionsfor 2012 — How Did I Do?”.  

* Joe Kristan’s comments on the lack of progress in the fiscal cliff negotiations that led off his Monday "Tax Roundup” are worth repeating (yes, I agree with Joe) -

Rest assured, though, that even when they cobble together a lame and harmful deal, as they will today or weeks from now, they won’t even begin to address the real fiscal calamity — the government’s incontinent spending.

The unforgivable sin of the current president, and the last one, and their Congressional enablers, is spreading the idea that the government can buy us all free stuff, and the rich guy will pick up the tab.  Sorry.  The rich guy isn’t buying.”

* Over at OUR TAXING TIMES, Trish McIntire suggests some “IRS Prevention”.

* It seems I have won MISSOURI TAXGUY Bruce McFarland over to the cause of GRIP (Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians).  In an extended “tweet” he suggests –

So I say to you, next time a vote for Senators and Representatives, if they have been in office, don’t vote for them, let’s get a whole new group of folks in there. ‘The Good ol’ Boys’ have lost their way.”

Bruce points out –

It shouldn't be ignored that lawmakers had 507 days to address this problem (since the August, 2011 debt ceiling agreement).”

Regarding the so-called “Bush” tax cuts - the idiots in Congress have had 12 years to deal with their expiration!


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