Friday, July 19, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” –Mark Twain
You see, great minds do think alike!
* THE HILL reports that “Social Security Starts Accepting Same-Sex Marriage Claims”.
* Julie Garber, ABOUT.COM’s “Wills and Estate Planning” blogger, tells us that “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013 Introduced in House and Senate” –
“The House and Senate are at it once again, introducing identical bills that would permanently repeal the federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax.”
Surprisingly, the bill keeps the federal Gift Tax –
“What about gift taxes? They wouldn't be repealed, instead the current $5,000,000 lifetime gift tax exemption would remain in place as indexed for inflation beginning in 2011.”
This makes absolutely no sense. The only reason the Gift Tax exists is so that individuals cannot avoid estate tax by distributing their estate prior to death. Without a federal Estate Tax there is no need for a federal Gift Tax.
While I am not against the death of the “death tax”, my only concern lies with what happens to the step-up in basis for inherited property if there is no estate tax. I do not want that to disappear.
* KIPLINGER.COM gives us a “State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees”.
Although I am not retired yet, I am ready. Last year I moved from New Jersey, on Kiplinger’s list of the 10 least tax-friendly states for retirees, to Pennsylvania, one of the 10 most tax-friendly.
* And the beat goes on. Jason Dinesen’s tale of woe and frustration is up to “Taxpayer Identity Theft — Part 16” and “Part 17”!
* FYI - TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb announces “IRS To Remain Open For Business As Furlough Day Is Canceled” -
“The Internal Revenue Service will remain open for business next Monday, July 22, 2013, despite a previously scheduled furlough day.”
* An IRS tweet reminds us – “Hire a veteran before Jan. 1, 2014, and you may get an #IRS #tax credit worth up to $9,600.” Click here to read more.
* Bruce McFarland, aka the MISSOURI TAXGUY, goes into detail on the different designations of tax preparers in “Choose Your Tax Pro?” as a follow up to his previous post (referenced in earlier BUZZ) “Really, You Don’t’ Know What an Enrolled Agent (EA) Is?”
* Some good advice from Joe Kristan over at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG – “If You Are Going to Forge Your Travel Calendar, At Least Get the Year Right”.
Joe correctly points out –
“The tax law has strict rules for supporting travel expenses. You need to be able to document your travel with records showing the date, amounts, and business purpose. For mileage, the tax law likes a contemporaneous diary.”
* If you think the income tax is a convoluted mess, take a look at the state sales tax rules. For example, Gail Cole posts about “Pennsylvania Sales Tax: Strange But True” at the TAX RATES.COM blog.