Tuesday, August 26, 2014
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ - TUESDAY EDITION
* Did you see the “Message from My Cat” yet?
* Barbara Weltman’s BARBARA’S BLOG post “Small Business and Politics” brings us some good news.
According to a recent Manta survey of small business owners –
“81% plan to vote out sitting incumbents.”
Barbara reminds us (highlight is mine) –
“November 4 is Election Day, which is less than 3 months away. On this day, all members of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for election.”
Many people believe that the 113th Congress is the worst Congress in history, and certainly the least productive.
Since the current batch of idiots in Congress have not been doing the job they were elected to do we should “vote the bastards out” in November by getting a “GRIP” – Get Rid of Incumbent Politicians.
An important reminder – whatever you do, DO NOT replace incumbent Congresscritters with candidates who belong or pander to the Tea Party Movement! I realize it is hard to believe that Congress could be worse than it is now, but with more Tea Party voices in the mix it certainly would.
* Laura Saunders provides an example of “Tax-Smart Philanthropy Made Easy” at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL. She tells us “Many Donors Should Consider a 'Charitable Gift Trust' or 'Donor Advised Fund'” -
“Charitable-gift funds enable investors to earmark funds for gifts and get an immediate tax deduction, while allowing them to postpone making decisions about specific recipients. Meanwhile, the money is invested and grows tax-free until it's disbursed.”
This is great for those who need a bigger current tax deduction, but do not want to make a direct gift to a charity or charities this year. You can contribute $5,000 to a “Donor Advised Fund” today, or in December, and get a 2014 tax deduction, but you do not have to identify the specific charities until 2015.
* Kay Bells tells us about the “Coverdell Education Savings Account's Pre-College Options” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES –
“That's right. Unlike many Internal Revenue Code education tax breaks, the use of Coverdell funds also includes qualified costs incurred from kindergarten classes and through high school diploma day.”
* In my annual warning about not using fast-food tax preparation chains to prepare your 1040 (DON'T ASSUME) I say –
“With commercial preparation chains I expect that the actual cost of preparing the return - salaries paid to the seasonal preparers and the training of these preparers - is one of the smallest items in the budget.”
I recently came across a post from EDUCATION CAREER ARTICLES – “Salary Information for Tax Professionals” – from November 2013 that apparently confirms this -
“The leading tax preparation companies, H&R Block, Liberty Tax and Jackson Hewitt pay an average wage of $9.50 an hour.”
The LAW DICTIONARY, in “How Much Do Tax Preparation Firms Pay Their Employees During the Peak Tax Season?”, says –
“On average, H&R Block pays its temporary employees about $12 per hour.”
And it also says –
“ . . . and may also pay commissions on sales of certain non-essential products.”
And MONSTER.COM says in “Seasonal Tax-Preparation Jobs” –
“H&R Block tax professionals are paid based on a commission formula. In addition to an hourly rate (average starting rate is $9 per hour), consideration is given to such factors as the number and complexity of the tax returns you prepare . . .”
So the base wage of the average tax season employee of Henry and Richard is pitifully low (based on the level of education and training that should be required to properly do the job of correctly preparing 1040s), but they can increase their earnings based on the fees they charge to clients (the more they charge a taxpayer for a return the more they put in their pocket) and by forcing unnecessary and “non-essential” products on clients.
* Tax pros – still waiting to hear your comments on “THE SOLUTION TO THE QUESTION OF A VOLUNTARY TAXPREPARER CREDENTIAL”!