Tuesday, July 16, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ - TUESDAY EDITION
“You can lead a man to Congress, but you can’t make him think.” Milton Berle
Sorry for the lack of non-BUZZ posts this week. Lots of work to do.
* My post on DGBs made in on TAXPRO TODAY’s BUZZ-like list of “highlights from some of our favorite tax bloggers this week” – “In the Blogs: Taking Evasive Action”.
* PROTAX provides some “Tax Tips for Newlyweds”.
Most important is the first –
“Not always, but quite often, getting married means taking your partner's last name. It is important that your name and the Social Security number that you put on your tax return matches your Social Security Administration records. So if you’ve changed your name, you need to report the change to the SSA. The easiest way to do that is to go to their website - SSA.gov - and file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can also do this by visiting your local SSA office.”
* “Ohio Tax Man Giveth, then Taketh from Gamblers” from TAXES IN THE BACK may identify the source of the erroneous rumor about deducting gambling losses on the federal return that I mentioned in an earlier BUZZ (highlight is mine) -
“Gambling losses are no longer deductible as an itemized deduction for purposes of the Ohio income tax, effective immediately.”
This is for Ohio state income taxes only, and not the federal 1040!
* Here is the word on “2013 Sales Tax Holidays for Back-to-School Shopping” from Cameron Huddleston at KIPLINGER.COM.
I do not see PA or NJ on the list.
* Jason Dinesen reminds us “Have an HRA? Make Sure to Pay Your 'Patient-Centered Outcomes Trust Fund Fee'”.
My reaction to the title was the same as Jason predicted would be that of most people-
“Most people reading this blog post are probably saying, “What the heck is that?”.”
Apparently this is another of the nickel and diming of “Obamacare”.
As Jason correctly points out in an example of a one-employee small business –
“This is insane, of course. An abject waste of a small business’s time. But it’s what the Affordable Care Act calls for.”
* Tongue firmly placed in cheek, Russ Fox exclaims “I’m Shocked to Find Another Enrolled Preparer Committed Tax Fraud!”.
He is correct when he says –
“The IRS would like the public and Congress to believe that if every preparer were regulated by the IRS that preparer tax fraud would magically vanish. The reality is that as long as money is involved in an industry–and there’s always money involved with tax preparation–some preparers will be tempted to commit tax crimes. The fact that they are an attorney, CPA, EA, or RTRP won’t change the reality that money always tempts criminal activity.”
As I have continually pointed out – the authors of the Enron tax fraud, which started the debate on tax preparer regulation, were CPAs.
Along the same lines as Russ’ post (again as I have continually pointed out) – forcing tax preparers to sit through 2 hours of ethics preaching (which in reality ends up being closer to 4 or more hours – I will explain if asked) each and every year ain’t going to turn a crooked preparer honest!
The purpose, and benefit, of a tax preparer credential designation, which CPA or JD is definitely not, and which should be voluntary and not mandatory, is not to stop fraud, but to indicate to the taxpayer public that the holder is competent and current in 1040 preparation.
* MISSOURI TAXGUY Bruce McFarland is shocked - “Really, You Don’t’ Know What an Enrolled Agent (EA) Is?” – and adds to the discussion on who is really a tax professional.
For additional information, I have an item on What is an EA that should soon be appearing at MainStreet.com.
* Oi vey! “Special Mailings Going to Taxpayers Following Notice Issue” (highlight is mine) -
“The IRS alerted taxpayers and tax professionals about an interest calculation error on certain notices mailed the weeks of July 1 and July 8.
The IRS discovered errors in the CP2000 notices during a two-week period this July. The notices contained an incorrect calculation on the interest owed on proposed taxes from under reported income. The interest figures were lower than they should be. The IRS has corrected the issue for future mailings.”
* In case you are tired of hearing about US celebrity tax issues, here is the word from the UK from RT.COM – “Prince Charles' Tax Status Comes Under Scrutiny”.