Tuesday, December 2, 2014
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – TUESDAY EDITION
* It’s here! The December “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL, that is. Tax pros - check it out. And PLEASE let me know your comments on my “Soapbox” editorial.
* Michael Kitces provides a detailed post on “Understanding the Mechanics Of The 0% Long-Term Capital Gains Tax Rate: How To Harvest Capital Gains For A Free Step-Up In Basis!” at NERD’S EYE VIEW.
Good year-end planning advice for taxpayers who can take advantage of this special capital gains rate.
* My previous free online monthly newsletter THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING, which I gave up about a year ago, has “morphed” into BOB’S BABBLINGS - “A weekly blog of ramblings on entertainment, popular culture, travel, and other ‘stuff’ - anything but taxes - from the internet's Wandering Tax Pro, now enjoying a more relaxed life in the Lake Region of Northeast PA after spending most of his life in Hudson County NJ.”
Please check it out and let me know what you think of it.
* Daisy Barton from ACCOUNTING-DEGREE.ORG emailed me a new infographic on “How Business Structure Affects Taxes”.
* Looking for "stocking stuffers"? How about a tax guide from My Dollar Store.
* A Thanksgiving morning “tweet” led me to “The 403(b) and 457(b): A One-Two Punch for Retirement”, a 2012 post at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW by Sterling Raskie.
Sterling tells us –
“There is a select group of people that may have access to both the 403(b) and the 457(b). For these chosen few, there is an opportunity to save even more money.”
Many of my NJ clients, who were firefighters, police officers, teachers, and municipal employees, had access, and contributed to, both a 403(b) and a 457(b).
* Sterling also gives us a current post on “An Exception to the RMD Rule”.
He ends the post with a statement that really should end all tax posts, and he gets it right (tax professional, not CPA). –
“As always, before employing any strategy, consider talking to a competent financial or tax professional to ensure you’re making the right decision.”
I would, however, change “consider talking to” to “consult”. Don’t just consider it – do it! And I would not say “or”. You may also want to consult a financial professional, but you should always consult your tax professional.
* Jim Blankenship, Sterling’s partner (or boss?) at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW, gets his 2 cents about retirement accounts in with a list of “Five Things You Need to Know About Retirement Plans”.
I especially like the first “thing” –
“Each dollar you defer is worth more than a dollar.”
And I agree with Jim’s #5 – “Don’t Take A Loan”.
* Tony Nitti explains “The Four Tax Breaks (And Two Senators) That Killed the Tax Extender Deal” at FORBES.COM.
It seemed that “at long last, a deal had been struck to extend all 55 expiring provisions. More notable, however, was the indication that while the majority of provisions would be extended for two years — retroactively for 2014 and through December 31, 2015.”
“Any optimism was quickly quelled, however, by a statement that President Obama would veto the deal, despite the fact that the lead writer of the bill was a Democrat- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).”
Why would BO veto the extender bill, a rare example of actual cooperation among the idiots in Congress?
“Nowhere in the legislation, however, was any discussion of what to do about the EIC and CTC once the enhancements made to each credit expired at the end of 2017.”
This shows that BO is not at all interested in true, substantive tax reform. He wants to keep the Tax Code complicated by maintaining refundable tax credits, which are a magnet for extensive fraud. Don’t expect any real tax reform legislation to pass during the balance of BO’s term.
Tony’s analysis indicates that with politics, as with almost everything else, timing is everything –
“Oddly enough, if the President’s speech on immigration reform had been only a week later, we may have gotten a deal done that made everyone happy, with the R&D Credit, the enhanced Section 179 deduction, and the EIC and CTC being made permanent.”
* Chuck Rubin warns that a “Stamps.com Date is Not Proof of Mailing Date” a RUBIN ON TAX.
While I don’t advocate paying for registered mail, although it couldn’t hurt to so do, it is clear that if you are mailing a tax document on the actual due date you should personally take the envelope to the post office and purchase the postage at the window, or, if it is already stamped, personally hand the envelope to a postal clerk at the window and watch him/her affix the postmark stamp.
* The 1040 GEEK tackles 25 “Questions and Answers on the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision” of “Obamacare”.