Friday, October 10, 2014
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
* I am still waiting to hear from fellow tax preparers on the topics discussed in the October “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL!
* For NY, NJ, and PA tax pros – the NY Department of Taxation and Finance has announced the dates and locations of free 4-hour federal and state update CPE sessions in October and November that would qualify for the CPE requirement for tax pros preparing NYS returns (although deadline for meeting the requirement is December 31, 2015).
Even though it is not necessary to take any of these courses, because the CPE is free these classes are a good source of NY state tax updates.
Click here for information on these sessions.
* Michael Cohn reports “IRS Offers Tax Relief to Drought-Stricken Farmers and Ranchers” at ACCOUNTING TODAY –
“The Internal Revenue Service is providing more time to farmers and ranchers in 30 drought-stricken states to defer taxes on any gains from forced sales of livestock.
Farmers and ranchers who previously were forced to sell livestock due to drought, like the drought currently affecting much of the nation, will have an extended period of time in which to replace the livestock and defer tax on any gains from the forced sales, the IRS said Tuesday.”
* And Michael also tells us “IRS Chief Warns Congress about Possible Delay to Tax Season from Unresolved Tax Extenders” -
“Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen has written a letter to the leaders of Congress’s main tax committees urging them to decide soon on what to do about extending dozens of expired tax provisions, or else next tax season and the processing of tax refunds could be delayed.”
If I may paraphrase Mr Koskinen – idiots in Congress, shit or get off the pot!
* Julian Block make a good point about timing year end payments in “How to Take It to the Brink with Year-End Payments” at ACCOUNTING WEB
“Whether a deduction falls into this year or next depends on a check's date of delivery, which isn't necessarily the date written on the face of a check. Fortunately, "date of delivery" doesn't mean that you have to depend on the sometimes unpredictable United States Postal Service to actually deliver your checks by Dec. 31.
Just as long as you put payments in mailboxes in sufficient time for letters to be postmarked by midnight Dec. 31, you nail down deductions for this year, even if your checks reach recipients next year. That applies to payments of business expenses, charitable contributions, medical bills, interest expenses, state and local taxes, and all other deductions.”
It would appear that checks dated in late December (as late as December 31) that are hand delivered to payees by December 31st would be deductible in the current year.
If we look at the reverse of what Julian says – income is reported in the year it is received (again “date of delivery”) and not in the year it is deposited in the bank. So a business cannot push income into 2015 by just holding on to cash and checks actually received in-hand in 2014.
* Over at ABOUT.COM William Perez explains “How to get copies of missing documents needed for your tax return” in “What if You Don't Have All Your Tax Documents?”
* William also provides a “Chart of Rules for Filing State Tax Returns for Same-Sex Couples”.
* From Ellen Stark at TIME.COM – “5 Things to Know If You Still Haven’t Finished Last Year’s Taxes”.
Don’t forget – October 15th is the final deadline for timely filing your 2013 Form 1040 (and corresponding state returns) – and this date is very important if you owe any of your “uncles” tax on your returns.
THE FINAL WORD:
The answer to balancing the federal budget, or any government budget, is not to raise taxes or lower taxes. The answer is to effectively manage expenditures.
We need an truly independent government ombudsman-like agency that would read completely every piece of legislature and provide to Congress, and publicly publish for the American public, a “report card” on the fiscal responsibility of, and paperwork, financial, and other burdens created by compliance for, the legislation.