Friday, September 5, 2014
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
* Once again THE WANDERING TAX PRO is a finalist for a PLUTUS AWARD for “Best Tax Blog”. The PLUTUS AWARDS honor the best of the personal finance blogosphere. The winners will be announced live at the FinCon Expo in New Orleans on September 20, 2014. I will not be there (I am going to NOLA next year for the NATP Annual Conference). Maybe I will ask Kay Bell to accept on my behalf if I win (and if she is going this year).
Wish me luck!
* Tax pros – have you seen the new September “issue” of my free online newsletter “The Tax Professional”? If no, why not?
I sincerely want to hear your comments on the topics I discuss therein.
And if you liked the issue, please spread the word to other tax pros.
* Have I told you about this yet – “Massachusetts Launches 2-Month Tax Amnesty Program” (via WCVB.COM)?
“Labor Day marks the launch of a two-month tax amnesty program in Massachusetts.
The state Revenue Department says residents who owe taxes face no penalties if they pay during the period that begins Monday and ends Oct. 31.”
* This week’s “Guide to Business Law / Taxes: U.S” from Jean Murray at ABOUT.COM deals with Employer ID numbers –
“ . . . we'll sort out the confusion about the different types of tax ID numbers, discuss when you need an EIN, and how to get one fast online.”
* Professor Jim Maule provides “The Frequent Flyer Flap Follow-Up” about a recent court case at MAULED AGAIN -
“The narrow holding of the case simply confirms a position the IRS expounded several years ago, namely, that frequent flyer miles received for opening a bank account were taxable.”
The Court in this decision treats miles received for opening a bank account, and subsequently used for air travel, like any other “premium” received for opening a savings or checking account. If you receive a free toaster when you open an account, or a $10.00 cash bonus deposited to the account, the value of the toaster or the $10.00 is reported to the depositor on a Form 1099-INT and must be included in taxable income.
This decision does not apply to true “frequent flyer miles” received via a program like Continental’s
* And the Professor takes a look at corporate taxes, one of many tax messes, in his post “Fixing Tax Messes”.
I agree with Jim’s bottom line –
“The lesson here is simple. Let’s stop with the special treatment for a favored few. Though those favored with special tax breaks can throw together arguments why they are so much more important to the economy than anyone else, careful consideration and thought generates the conclusion that they’re no special than anyone else. If the citizens of this nation stand up to demand an end to the economic bullying that afflicts federal, state, and local tax systems, as well as the not-so-free free market, the nation will thrive in ways that presently are unattainable.”
* ASK JK answers the question “I named my grandchild as the joint owner of my brokerage account. What will her tax basis in the account be when I die (she didn’t contributeanything)?”
* Did legalizing marijuana provide the tax windfall that was predicted? FOX 13 tells us “Colorado’s Missing Marijuana Taxes” –
“Pot smokers are still buying on the black market: The state thought more people would migrate out of the black market. But only 60% of people who want pot in Colorado this year will buy it through legal channels, according to an estimate from the Marijuana Policy Group.
One big reason: Legal pot costs a lot more than illegal pot — mostly because of taxes and fees.
Legal retail marijuana is taxed more than 27%, so it’s easily cheaper on the black market.”
* Attention NJ tax pros – click here to find out about upcoming evening CPE events sponsored by the Essex-Hudson-Union chapter of the NJ Association of Public Accountants.
FYI, the speaker providing the NJ Update on September 30th, Jacob Foy, is an excellent, effective, and well informed instructor.
And click here for information about the 2014 Tax Practitioner Institutes held in various counties throughout NJ.
* Jim Blankenship answers “8 Questions: Social Security Survivor Benefits” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.