Friday, January 17, 2014


* Over at the TAX CENTER I talk about “What's New on the 2013 Form 1040?”. 

* MISSOURI TAXGUY Bruce McFarland suggests “Let’s Talk About Tax Software”.

Bruce is spot on when he says -

when it comes to software, the software is only as smart as the person using {it}”.

Bruce makes a lot of good points – including verifying that even tax preparation software for the tax professional is flawed.

The takeaway for taxpayers is what I have been saying for years – no software package is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code, and no tax software package is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.

* And Bruce’s TAX TALK TUESDAY covers “Afffordable Care Act: Now it is Personal”.

* Isaac M. O'Bannon lists the “Top Tax Credits & Benefits for Members of the Military” at CPA PRACTICE ADVISOR.

* Here is an odd post from ACCOUNTING TODAY whose title caught my attention – “Bronx Laundromat Offers Tax Prep Services”.

It reminded me of the following anecdote I have often used to illustrate that any Tom, Dick, or Harriet can hang out a shingle as a tax preparer –

One morning, not too long ago, while walking on Central Avenue in my former home town of Jersey City I saw a sign in the window of a barber shop that read “tax returns prepared here”. You could apparently get a haircut and a manicure and have your 1040 prepared all in one sitting! Many years ago, before I had my own office, I had considered renting a desk in an insurance or real estate office – it never occurred to me to rent a chair at a barbershop.

While the tax preparers working at the laundromat are supposedly legitimate, one statement in the article is truly suspicious -

The company said customers’ taxes will take between 30 to 45 minutes to prepare, about the time of a wash or dry cycle, provided customers bring the proper identification and the necessary paperwork.”

It is only the simplest 1040A that could be prepared in 30-45 minutes, especially for a client about whom you have no prior knowledge.  The actual client interview and review of the prior return would take almost 30 minutes.

New data from TD Ameritrade Holding Corp reveals the worrisome state of the retirement savings of independent workers. The brokerage company's Self-Employment and Retirement Survey found that 28 percent of the self-employed were not saving anything at all, and another 40 percent were only saving occasionally, when they said they were able.”

* Susan B Weiner has a “Blogging Q&A with Jim Blankenship” (of “Getting Your Financial Ducks in a Row” fame) at her INVESTMENT WRITING blog.
* Trish McIntire is posting again at OUR TAXING TIMES.  She offers some advice on “Choosing A Tax Pro”.

* Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, tells us “California Has $16 million in Undeliverable 2012 Tax Refunds” –

Were you due a refund last year from the Golden State's tax collector? Did you get it?

Nearly 48,000 Californians didn't. The state is holding around $16 million in snail mailed refund checks that were returned as undeliverable.

The returned refund checks range from $1 to $54,000. However, Most of the returned tax refunds (nearly 45,000) are for $1,000 or less.”

* Jason Dinesen asks “Got 1099s to Issue?” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

* ACCOUNTING TODAY reports “Court Rules in Favor of IRS on Obamacare Tax Credits”.


1 comment:

Susan Weiner, CFA said...

Thank you for incluing my Q&A with Jim Blankenship!