Tuesday, October 22, 2013


My “VOID Pledge” campaign has proven a bust.  Oh well.  I have removed the petition link.  However, I still urge you to take, and be true to, the pledge.

* Check out my article “Flexible Spending Accounts: Are They for You? at MAINSTREET.COM.

* An item I missed last week.  Professor Annette Nellen of 21st CENTURY TAXATION deals with the question “Can the IRS Regulate All Return Preparers?” at CPA2BIZ.

In a blog post plugging the article Professor Nellen says -

I'm guessing that the preparers will win again on appeal, but that Congress will enact legislation to make it clear the IRS and Treasury have authority to regulate all paid preparers of federal tax returns.”

I agree that the preparers will win on appeal, but I do not see Congress enacting any legislation giving more power to the IRS. 

* The IRS is back to work, and Kelly Phillips Erb, the FORBES.COM TaxGirl, keeps us up-to-date on the post-shutdown IRS in “IRS Asks Taxpayers for Patience as They Tackle Shutdown Backlog.

Kelly anticipates my, and I expect your, initial reaction -

I know, I know. You want me to make a snarky comment about how the IRS doesn’t wait for taxpayers. I’m not going to do it, though. There’s lots to be annoyed with IRS about from time to time – but the shutdown isn’t one of them. That’s all on Congress.”

* At THE BUZZ ABOUT TAXES Manasa Nadig talks about “The Science Behind A Home Mortgage Interest Deduction!

I do agree with Manasa that the deductibility of home mortgage interest should not be a significant factor in one’s decision to buy a home. 

I also believe that you should not even consider purchasing a home until you have a full 20% to put down.  Buying a house with 5% down, or allowing someone to buy a house with 5% down, is ridiculous and certainly not fiscally responsible.

And I believe that, especially in states like New Jersey (and New York, etc) where the cost of homes are highly inflated, the mortgage interest deduction (for acquisition debt) is truly a help to new homeowners (the first few years the monthly P+I payment is almost all interest).  And I also believe that the mortgage interest deduction coupled with the deduction for real estate taxes is a way of “geographically equalizing” taxpayers.  See “Defending the Deductions for Taxes and Mortgage Interest”.

* In case you haven’t heard - fellow tax blogger Jamaal Solomon, EA of THE TAX FACTOR has published "A Good Guy's Tax Journey Part 1: Tax Tips on How to Deal With the IRS and Live to Fight Another Day". 

Look for my review coming soon! 


In case you are having a rough day, here's a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and will make you smile.

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

4. No one knows your secret place.

5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.

6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

7. The water is so clear that you can make out the face of the Congressman you are holding underwater.

See it worked. You're smiling. You feel better already.


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