Tuesday, September 24, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ - TUESDAY EDITION
Today is the day! The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Court hears oral arguments in the Loving v. IRS case at 9:30 AM, and, hopefully, the mandatory RTRP regulation regime will be buried for good.
* I found Professor Jim Maule’s post “Deductions Require Evidence and a Bit of Care”, at MAULED AGAIN, very interesting. The reason – it involved “the attempt of a tax return preparer to deduct a vacation as a business expense” -
“She explained that she operated her tax return business from her home, and explained that ‘living in her neighborhood was stressful and that she felt harassed by her clients who would call her home at any hour’. Accordingly, she concluded that she needed to travel ‘just to get rest so that . . . [she] could function’. The Court, not surprisingly, denied the deduction, characterizing the cost of the vacation as a personal expense.”
While I obviously agree with the decision of the Court, I do sympathize with my fellow tax preparer’s argument. A post-tax season vacation is a mental health necessity (maybe she should have tried to claim her vacation as a medical expense).
I, too, need to get away for at least a few days beginning April 16th just to get rest so that I can continue to function. And I never answer my telephone “cold” (I use my answering machine to screen all calls), and do not disclose my home address (even though I work out of a home office) to most clients, using in NJ a Private Mail Box and now in PA a Post Office Box as my office address.
The occasional client, who knew where I lived, would not only call me at all hours, but also show up unannounced at my apartment building. Luckily visitors had to be “buzzed in” and I never did so for anyone (I did not even inquire via intercom, and thereby announce that I was home) unless I was expecting someone.
Now that I live on average 100 miles away from my NJ clients I don’t have to worry about that anymore.
* We’ve all seen the tv ads with RJ Wagner, Law & Order’s Fred Thompson, and the Fonz touting reverse mortgages. I learned from a “promoted tweet” that back in May of this year ERATE.COM’s Nancy Osborne discussed the “Drawbacks to a Reverse Mortgage”.
* For those who want more on the subject, Roger Wohlner has a guest post on “Reverse Mortgages – The Basics” at THE CHICAGO FINANCIAL PLANNER.
* 360 DEGREES OF FINANCIAL LITERACY poses the FAQ “Pay Down Debt or Save and Invest?”.
I tend to favor the “pay down debt” option - especially considering the current interest rates on savings vs those on credit card, home equity, and mortgage debt. And the fact that investment income is taxable, but personal credit interest is not deductible.
The article lists some other things to consider when pondering the question.
* Attention tax pros – “CCH Tax Briefing Focuses on Final ‘Repair’ Regulations”. Click here to download the report.
* “Separate Checking for a Small Business?” Duh! Trish McIntire gives the correct answer – of course – at ANSWERS.COM.
In all my years of tax blogging I have only come across one advisor who said that you did not need a separate checking account for a Schedule C business – and she actually berated me for advising that this was a necessity. At the time I recall that about half the tax blogosphere came to my support.
THE FINAL WORD:
Did you know that Dr. Joyce Brothers, who went to her final audit earlier this year, first appeared on television as a game show contestant?
Wikepedia explains – “In 1955, she became the only woman ever to win the top prize on the American game show ‘The $64,000 Question’, answering questions on the topic of boxing, which was suggested as a stunt by the show's producers.”
In 1958, she was given a television show on which she dispensed psychological advice. Her show was the predecessor of today’s certainly much inferior Dr. Phil Show.