Friday, December 6, 2013
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
A meaty BUZZ today!
* Have you seen the December “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING yet? If not, why not. If you have, please tell your family and friends about it.
* Taxpros, I want to hear your comments on my TAXPRO TODAY editorial “Who Speaks for the Tax Preparer?".
Here is an excellent comment that was submitted to the post regarding the IRS excessive due diligence requirements for taxpayers who claim the EITC on a client’s return –
“The IRS needs to implement some safeguards of their own, such as not sending 10+ EITC refunds to the same address! They could practice some due diligence and professional responsibility.”
* PNC Wealth Management has released the “Christmas Price Index 2013: Cost of '12 Days of Christmas' Items”.
* A MAINSTREET.COM item of mine from last December that bears repeating – “How to Give at the Holidays With Tax Day in Mind”,
* A timely post for the holiday season from YAHOO FINANCE last month by Adam Levin - “4 Ways to Avoid Charity Scams”.
* Jason Dinesen keeps us up to date on the tax consequences of same-sex married couples after the death of DOMA at DINESEN TAX TIMES. His latest post on the subject, “Same-Sex Marriage, IRAs and After-Tax Basis”, deals with an issue that had not occurred to me.
Another negative affect, for the taxpayer, of the requirement that same-sex couples legally married in a state that permits such marriages must file as married filing joint or separate is the fact that the deduction for IRA contributions may be reduced. On the other hand, it opens up the possible availability of a deductible spousal IRA.
Thanks and a tip ‘o the hat to Jason for continuing to report on this topic via his “Life After DOMA” series.
* Speaking of Jason, he also offers a review of year-end moves involving “Stock Losses and Taxes”.
* Fellow twit @Eligabiff from Bloomington, Indiana recently tweeted –
“Stopped at the gas station this morning where they cashier was giving out incorrect tax advice. He didn't appreciate my corrections.”
I often hear members of “the great unwashed” spouting incorrect, and often bad, tax advice, and clients often pass along to me incorrect tax advice they received from friends, family, and co-workers.
This just enforces the best tax advice I can give anyone - DO NOT ACCEPT TAX ADVICE FROM ANYONE OTHER THAN A PROFESSIONAL TAX PREPARER!
* Deborah L. Jacobs year-end tax post “12 Smart Money Moves To Make Before The End of 2013” at FORBES.COM contains the usual advice, which I have provided earlier this year at MainStreet.com. However it does include two items that I have not mentioned and that needs repeating –
“4. Take required distributions from your own IRA.”
“5. Take required distributions from an inherited IRA.”
It is very important that, if you are required to take a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for 2013, you actually take the RMD before the end of the year to avoid a substantial penalty.
And, as I point out in “Year-End Tax Advice: Essential 2013 Knowledge” at MAINSTREET.COM, if you are required to take an RMD in 2013 -
“Taxpayers age 70½ and older can directly transfer up to $100,000 tax-free from an IRA account to a charity. This charitable transfer can be used to satisfy your required minimum distribution for the tax year.”
* In “Shopping for Tax Extenders" at the TAX ANALYSTS BLOG Clint Stretch observes – “Like children asking if Santa is coming, taxpayers want to know whether expiring tax provisions will be extended by the end of the year.”
Clint goes on to list “Five factors suggest that the answer is almost certainly no”.
* CCH has published a special Tax Briefing on “Final Net Investment Income, Additional Medicare Tax Regulations”.
* RUBIN ON TAX reminds us that “Recording of Mortgage Necessary for Qualified Residence Interest Deduction”.
Author Charles Rubin references a Tax Court case -
“Two individuals borrowed money from the mother of one of them. A mortgage was prepared to secure the debt, but it was not recorded in the public records.”
The deduction was denied because -
“Code Section 163(h) prohibits an interest deduction for personal interest, but provides an exception for qualified residence interest. The statute requires that to be qualified residence interest, the debt must be ‘secured by the residence’.”
“Treas. Regs. § 1.163-10T(o)(1), which requires that a mortgage be “recorded, where permitted, or is otherwise perfected in accordance with applicable State law.”
If you are getting a home mortgage from a family member be sure to officially record the mortgage with the county!
* An older post from Jim Blankenship (discovered via a tweet) at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW about “Boosting Your Social Security Benefit” answers a question often asked of me.
* To end this installment, “Here's What Congress Actually Accomplished This Year”, according to YAHOO NEWS.
My first reaction was “absolutely nothing!”. But I was wrong. The idiots did actually pass some legislation. According to the piece (the highlight is mine) –
“Congress' numbers are bad on all fronts. In addition to the most recent Gallup poll that put public approval of Capitol Hill at just 9 percent, Congress is poised to pass the fewest number of laws in 66 years.
As the last month of the year begins, Congress has passed fewer than 60 new laws since January.”
One of the bills they did pass was “To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins."
Do we need any more proof that they are truly idiots?
THE FINAL WORD –
The HUFFINGTON POST reports “'Ironside' Canceled: NBC Pulls Plug On Blair Underwood Series”.
This show was not a “remake” or even an “update” of the original iconic Raymond Burr series. As I had mentioned in my “Ramblings” item in the “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING, “except for the title and the disability, this new ‘Ironside’ has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the original show”. It was a totally different, and certainly inferior, program.
The reason for the existence of this new “Ironside” was the success of the new “Hawaii Five-0”, also a totally different program from the original. The new HF0, however, again as I said in TLRS “is a good show that could stand alone without reference to the classic. The main attraction is the interactions of the close-knit “team”, especially Alex O'Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett and Scott Caan’s Danny Williams.”
The new “Ironside” was an average, uninteresting police procedural with an uninteresting cast that did not have any real charisma or chemistry. It’s only selling points were the title and Blair Underwood.
The original “Ironside” currently appears mornings at 11AM on the MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television) nostalgia cable station. It is followed on MeTV by the original “Hawaii Five-0”, and preceded by Burr’s equally iconic (perhaps more so) “Perry Mason”. An unsuccessful “The New Perry Mason” with Monte Markham, true to the original series, appeared on tv for one season in the mid-1970s.
Let us hope that the failure of the new “Ironside” puts an end to unnecessary “re-imaginings” of classic 60s and 70s tv shows.