Friday, January 3, 2014


Welcome to the first BUZZ of 2014!

* I began my series of Tax Tips for the TAX CENTER with “Tax Tip - Your Small Assignment for Today”. 

For January and February I should have three (3) Tax Tips per week.

* Following the lead of my 2-part review of the year in taxes, “Top 10” tax topics lists for 2013 were posted by Kay Bell of DON’T MESS WITH TAXES (“10 Top Tax Events of 2013”), Kelly Phillips Erb, the FORBES.COM TaxGirl (“Top Tax Stories Of 2013”), and  The JOURNAL OF ACCOUNTANCY (“Top Tax News Developments in 2013”).

PARKER PUBLISHING expands its list to the “Top 15 Tax Developments of 2013”.

* Russ Fox has announced the “2013 Tax Offender of the Year” at TAXABLE TALK.

An interesting choice.  My continuing annual choice for Tax Offender, the idiots in Congress, were relatively inoffensive this year, compared to the last few years.  They continue to be unable to accomplish anything other than shut down the government, but they were not the biggest tax offender of 2013.

Want to know who has “won” the title for 2013?  Check out the post.

* And Russ starts the year off with an excellent post on keeping track of business mileage titled “Your Mileage Log —Start It Now (2014 Version)”.

He explains the importance of keeping a mileage log if you use your car for business (the highlight is his) –

Start with keeping an accurate, contemporaneous written mileage log.

Why, you ask? Because if you want to deduct all of your business mileage, you must do this! IRS regulations and Tax Court rulings require this. Written is defined as ink, so that means you need a paper log.”

* Jason Dinesen has identified the “Most-Popular Blog Posts of 2013” – “a rundown of the top-5 most-popular stories” at DINESEN TAX TIMES in 2013, although all actually appeared in a prior year.

I am surprised that none of his same-sex tax issue posts are on the list.

I have never kept track of my most popular posts.  Maybe I should take a look sometime. 
* Robert W Wood of FORBES.COM also has a list.  His contains 9 “Savvy New Year's Resolutions IRS Hopes You Won't Keep”.  All of them are good resolutions to make and keep in 2014.

* Jimena Cortes also has some good resolutions, which she outlines in “Year End Musings of a Burbank CPA: A Quick List of New Year’s Resolutions” at the BRIAN STONER CPA BLOG.  

* I talk a lot about the various “designations” of tax preparer.  Jim Blankenship, who wants everyone to GET YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW, expands the discussion to include other finance and investment initials in “A Note About Designations”, a post from earlier this year that he “tweeted”.

Obviously, when it comes to taxes I do not agree with his suggestion that –

Your advisor should have a qualified designation as a minimum requirement before you start working with him or her.”

* And Jim reminds us of the “Retirement Plan Contribution Limits for 2014” in another recently “tweeted” earlier 2013 post.

* Tony Nitti of FORBES.COM gives us the word that “Yes Virginia, There Is A Tax Extender Bill In Congress”.

However, as Tony points out “ . . . don’t get too excited; the extensions would only be through the end of 2014, which means we’ll be right back in this will-they-or-won’t-they mess next December”. Remember - the members of Congress are idiots.

On the list to be extended are the “usual extenders”.  But, thankfully, Tony does not include the ridiculous deduction for mortgage insurance premiums (life insurance) in his listing.

* FYI, the instruction booklet for the 2013 Form 1040 is now available at  Click here to download.   


I skipped back and forth between ABC, CNN, and FOX NEWS on New Year’s Eve (the only time of the year I would ever watch FOX NEWS – I did flip elsewhere when the DUCK DYNASTY idiots appeared).  Nothing very exciting – not interested in the musical acts (except for Billy Joel).  I miss Dick Clark.  Hey, I still remember New Year’s Eve with Guy Lombardo and brother Carmine from the Waldorf Astoria on CBS (1956-1976)!  Surprisingly, CBS does not have a NYE special – just Dave (who is nothing special – BTW, I noticed while channel surfing on NYE that he has stolen Jay Leno’s trademark “Headlines” bit).

I did three years of NYE in Times Square in the early 1970s – but would not go back anymore.  I remember that once the ball had dropped nobody wanted to hang around.  Whether you wanted to move or not you were swept up in a wave and carried toward 42nd Street.

I used to always know where one of my 1040 clients would be on New Year’s Eve, but not anymore.  He was the technician who actually dropped the ball at One Times Square.


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