Saturday, January 5, 2013


Well - Is it time for a change?  Or do you prefer I keep WHAT’S THE BUZZ as the title?  I have not heard anything from youse guys yet.  Please let me know which title you prefer – either via comment to this post or by sending an email to (with BIRDIE OR SUPERSTAR in the “Subject Line”).  
* My annual tax season series of “Tax Tips” has begun at MAINSTREET.COM.  The first entry – “Tax Tip: What's New on theForm 1040?”.

* And I am also represented at THESTREET.COM with "Everyone Got a 2% Cut in Pay". 

* As seems to be a regular occurrence, I am once again included in TAX PRO TODAY’s BUZZ-like “In the Blogs: Ring in the New” – “Highlights from some of our favorite tax bloggers this week, and their various signs of the times.”

* Russ Fox gives us some good advice at TAXABLE TALK – “Your Mileage Log: Start It Now!”.

You may have resolved to keep good records this year (at least, we hope you have). Start with keeping an accurate, contemporaneous written mileage log.

Why, you ask? Because if you want to deduct all of your business mileage, you must do this! IRS regulations and Tax Court rulings require this. Written is defined as ink, so that means you need a paper log.”

* NBC NEWS discusses the winners and losers in the tax compromise bill in “Big Policy Losers in Tax Deal: Deficit Reduction and 'Certainty'”.

Unfortunately for the country, here is one of the winners (highlight is mine) -

Winner: The Washington, D.C. culture of tax breaks for special interests.

Despite much rhetoric from Obama, Boehner, Bowles and Simpson, and others about abolishing tax preferences and simplifying the tax code, the bill passed by the House and Senate preserves and extends 60 specific credits, preferences and other benefits for targeted groups and industries.

In one sense, this is a tribute to the interests and lobbyists who have worked diligently to advocate for these provisions; in another sense it reflects the desire of members of Congress to use their power to shape the tax code for the benefit of favored groups.”

* Peter J Reilly discusses Court cases where the issue was the dependency deduction for divorced parents in “Form 8332 - Don't Let The Kids Live In Another Home Without One” at FORBES.COM.

His point is well made, and important to remember -

If you don’t attach a Form 8332 signed by the custodial parent to the non-custodial return, that parent’s chance of winning vary from extremely slim to none.

* The EXAMINER.COM reminds us of “Tax Breaks for Pet Foster Parents...Make Sure You Claim Yours”.

“The Internal Revenue Service today {January 3rd – rdf} released updated income-tax withholding tables for 2013 reflecting this week’s changes by Congress.

The updated tables, issued today after President Obama signed the changes into law, show the new rates in effect for 2013 and supersede the tables issued on December 31, 2012. The newly revised version of Notice 1036 contains the percentage method income-tax withholding tables and related information that employers need to implement these changes.

In addition, employers should also begin withholding Social Security tax at the rate of 6.2 percent of wages paid following the expiration of the temporary two-percentage-point payroll tax cut in effect for 2011 and 2012. The payroll tax rates were not affected by this week’s legislation.”

* Over at OUR TAXING TIMES Trish McIntire reports on one of the provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 in “Disclosing Prisioner Returns”.

* Jason Dinesen issues his “Tax Predictions for 2013” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.  Last year he made 6 predictions, but this year he has only 3 –

1.   No tax reform at all in 2013.  

2.   Some sort of gimmick tax break will be enacted to make up for the payroll tax holiday expiring.

3.   The IRS won’t extend the RTRP testing deadline.

I agree with #1.  A certainly hope #2 does not come true, and do not think it will.  Look at the previous gimmicks – Dubya’s rebate checks were a disaster and the Making Work Pay Credit totally FU-ed withholding for retirees and others.  As for #3, Jason probably is correct.  But I do not necessarily want an extension – I want grandfathering.

* Jamaal Solomon, EA offers a “Tax Organizer for Real Estate Professionals” at TAX FACTOR.  

* For those of you who are interested, here are the IRS “2013 Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding”.


The ads from the fast-food tax preparation chains have begun.

Jackson-Hewitt tell you they can prepare your return “without a W-2”.  Don’t believe it.  You cannot prepare or file a Form 1040 (or 1040A) without a W-2. 

For one thing, the wages reported on your last pay stub may not be the federal or state taxable wages reported on the W-2.

Don’t buy into it.  Wait until you receive all your W-2s and 1099s and then go to an independent tax professional.


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