Friday, August 23, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
“The Congress is a circus. To the music of braying donkeys, each elephant is led in circles by the tail of another. While they have the peoples’ attention, the clowns write the tax laws.” – Jim Boren
An excellent description of Congress!
There is a lot of BUZZ today. I need to finish the remaining GD extensions – so I may not post next week- BUZZ included.
* Check out my response to Jamaal Solomon’s post “Confessions of A Mad Tax Accountant #5: Arrogance of Some (Not All) Old Tax Accountants (30+ years’ experience)” at THE TAX PROFESSIONAL.
* TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb shares “What I've Learned In 1,000 Tax Posts” at FORBES.COM (that is 1000 posts at host Forbes.com – she had many, many more at her old TaxGirl site).
* Ed Slott reviews the pros and cons of “Obama's 6 Retirement Proposals” at FINANCIAL PLANNING.COM. I do not support any of them.
Actually as a rule I do not support any of BO’s tax proposals.
* A “tweet” from @JKLasser asked the question “Is There a First-Time Homebuyer Credit for Someone Who Buys a House in 2013?”.
The answer is no. This disastrous program ended in 2010. And JK believes –
“There’s probably no chance that Congress will change its mind anytime soon because the housing market has picked up”.
Let’s hope JK is correct, and we have seen the end of this mistake.
* And JK gives us “Three Things Grandparents Can Do to Help Their Grandchildren”. Three very good ideas indeed.
* The TAX FOUNDATION’s “Monday Map” shows “Migration of Personal Income”, which “illustrates the interstate movement of income over the past decade (from 2000 to 2010)”.
The biggest losers are high-tax states like NY, NJ, CA, and IL. The winners are low-tax states like FL, TX, and AZ. I would certainly never move to these too-hot states regardless of my tax situation. I was surprised that PA was also a loser - #40 on the list.
As I have mentioned before, my move to PA was motivated by savings in health and auto insurance (almost 50%) and occupancy costs, and other personal considerations, and not by state tax savings – although the real estate and sales taxes are less than I would pay in NJ.
* I am a bit late in bringing you this: TAXPRO TODAY reports “IRS Opens Site to Explain Health Care Tax Provisions” –
“The Internal Revenue Service has launched a new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions site at www.IRS.gov/aca to educate individuals and businesses on how the health care law might affect them.
Topics include premium tax credits for individuals, new benefits and responsibilities for employers, and tax provisions for insurers, tax-exempt organizations and certain other business types.”
* On Tuesday TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb got to know Ashley J Wright of Virginia – a CPA and an EA.
* Rick Newman of US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT lists “11 Things Wrong With Congress”. Among them -
“Members of Congress sometimes reveal a dangerous degree of ignorance on vitally important issues they have considerable power to regulate.”
“Politicians manipulate voters every day with half-truths—or outright lies—about taxes, spending, and many other issues that directly affect the nation's prosperity.”
What is wrong with Congress? They are self-absorbed idiots, incapable of independent thought, whose primary concern is keeping themselves, and members of their party, in office and certainly not the proper administration of the government or the interests of the American public.
* No surprise here. As reported in the Bulldog Reporter’s DAILY DOG - “New Corebrand Study Ranks Ten Most and Least Respected Brands Of the Year: Pepsi, Coke and Hershey’s Earn Top Accolades, While Delta, Philip-Morris and H&R Block Reap Most Disfavor” (highlight is mine).
Henry and Richard are the 3rd least respected brand.
“Those who are well known but have the lowest Favorability are considered the least respected under the Brand Respect methodology.”
Click here to learn more about the methodology of the study.
H+R Block certainly does not deserve any respect.
* According to the US Department of Justice atheism is a religion. USA TODAY explains “Feds Say OK to Atheists on Religion Tax Break” –
“In a brief, the Justice Department argued leaders of an atheist group may qualify for an exemption. Buddhism or Taosim don't include a belief in God and are considered religions, the government's lawyers argued, so why not atheism?”
How did this come about? Read the story.
* Trish McIntire discusses “Back-to-School Expenses and Receipts” at OUR TAXING TIMES.
Trish is correct when she says –
“The burden of proving you qualify for the programs rest with you and you need to keep records.
It doesn’t matter if you might qualify for a credit or deduction or need to show that withdrawals are for educational expenses, you need to be proactive about keeping records. Don’t rely on the 1098T that the college will send out. Schools have gotten more accurate completing the 1098T but they can be misleading.”
To be honest, I have found that more often than not the Form 1098T is as useful as tits on a bull!
Trish ends with -
“Believe me; it’s better to put the info aside as you get it than to try to find it in February.”
I certainly do believe Trish, and echo her words. This does not just apply to education expenses – but to any deductible expenses.