Friday, July 12, 2013


* Trish McIntire addresses a false “Gambling Rumor” at OUR TAXING TIMES -

Bottom line, there has been no change to deducting gambling losses on your personal 1040 return that I can find. If I find anything different I will post it here.”

I, too, am not aware of any change in the deductibility of gambling losses.  And I, too, will report here anything I hear to the contrary.

FYI, you can read my article on “Not Keeping Track Turns Gambling Winners Into Tax Losers” at

* IRS FUs keep on coming.  The latest, according to ACCOUNTING TODAY, is “IRS Accidentally Exposed Tens of Thousands of Social Security Numbers”.

The Internal Revenue Service has reportedly posted the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of people on the Internet before taking down the information when a whistleblower pointed out the mistake.”

Clearly the IRS must not be allowed to regulate tax return preparers!

The answer, correctly provided by JKL -  

While life insurance proceeds received on the death of the insured are tax free, you may owe taxes when you cash in the policy early. What’s taxable: the excess of the cash surrender value over the premiums you paid. The insurance company can provide you with this information before you take any action.”

* I have been saying this for many years now – “Don’t Toss Your Tax Returns”.  It seems that Kimberly Lankford of KIPLINGERS.COM agrees with me, proving that great minds do think alike.

. . . there are plenty of reasons to keep your tax returns indefinitely and no reason not to.”

One reason not mentioned by Kimberly – as a record of your personal financial history.

* Interested in the “Vital Statistics on Congress”?  A joint effort from Brookings and the American Enterprise Institute by Norman J. Ornstein, Thomas E. Mann, Michael J. Malbin and Andrew Rugg provides such statistics.

FYI, from the category “Legislative Productivity in Congress & Workload – during the 112th Congress (2011-2012) 6,845 bills were introduced in the House and 561 were actually passed.  The numbers for the Senate were 3,767 introduced and 364 passed.  This is the lowest number of bills passed by the House since 1947 (when the statistical analysis begins).  The only time the number of bills passed by the Senate were lower was the 111th Congress – when the number was 176.

* As promised, MO TAXGUY Bruce McFarland’s Tuesday “McTax Hangout” dealt with the “Death of DOMA”.

* A “tweet” introduced me to a new tax blog, coincidently titled “THE BUZZ ABOUT TAXES”, written by Enrolled Agent Manasa Nadig of Canton, Michigan.

The “tweet” touted her post "Charity Begins at Home . . . & Other Thoughts . . .", which provides some tips on how to be a ‘Smart Giver’”.  

I wonder where she got the name of her blog?

* In an editorial at the WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE former Republican senator Phil Gramm suggests “A GOP Game Plan for Tax Reform”.

I agree with much of what he has to say, especially –

First, under no circumstances should Republicans agree to make the tax system even more progressive than it already is, or to increase the number of people who do not pay income taxes. In 1980, the top 1% and 5% of income earners in America paid 19.1% and 36.9% of total federal income taxes. Today, the top 1% and 5% pay 37.4% and 59.1%. Meanwhile, 41.6% of American earners now pay no federal income taxes.”

* The COMMERCE CLEARNING HOUSE daily headline e-letter reports that in response to the multiple recently discovered IRS FUs “House Panel Proposes $9-Billion Budget for IRS for Fiscal Year 2014” –

The fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget for the Internal Revenue Service would be cut 24 percent to $9 billion, under legislation set for consideration by the House lawmakers on July 10.”  

* TAXGIRL Kelly Philips Erb introduces us to “Charitable Vacations: Have Your Fun and Deduct it Too” at SHE KNOWS.  

* Just got the word from TAXPRO TODAY that “New York State Works through Tax Refund Backlog” -

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance outsourced the responsibility of refunding money to a new contractor this year and many taxpayers who filed paper-based returns still have not received their refunds.”

Can TPT tell me why NJ refunds have been delayed?


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