Friday, December 5, 2014


* Tax pros, have you seen the December “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL yet?  Please check it out.  And PLEASE let me know your comments on my “Soapbox” editorial.

* One down, two to go.  It looks like the bulk of the “tax extenders” will be extended through December 31, 2014 – so these breaks will probably be available on the 2014 tax return.  So says POLITICOPro Kelsey Snell in “House Votes to Renew ‘Tax Extender’ Breaks” –

The House voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to renew more than 50 expired tax breaks for individuals and businesses through the end of this year, with the Senate looking increasingly likely to follow suit.”

The post tells us -

The majority of members who spoke in favor of the bill said they would vote for the extension because it was the only option, not because it was a good one.”

And quoted Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee -

To not act would disrupt the coming tax-filing season for millions of American workers and businesses, which have relied on Congress to extend these provisions and will, in a matter of weeks, begin filing their 2014 tax returns.  As a result I will support this measure.”

Hey Sander, you and your fellow idiots in Congress have already disrupted the coming tax-filing season for millions of American workers and businesses by once again waiting to the last minute to deal with this issue.

The only real “extender” that matters to individuals during the last month of the year is the ability to make tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans by individuals age 70-1/2 and older for charitable purposes.  Although I expect most of the retired taxpayers who would benefit from this have already received their 2014 RMD.

And perhaps the increased Section 179 numbers could cause businesses to go out and purchase new equipment in the last weeks of 2014.

Let’s hope this is promptly passed by the Senate and signed by BO.

For a list of the “extenders” that are extended in the House bill click here.

* My rant “Oops, They Did It Again” is referenced in this weeks “In The Blogs” post themed “Start Your Engines” at TAXPRO TODAY.

* Jason Dinesen lists “5 Things You Didn’t Know About Enrolled Agents” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

Jason’s item #2 concerns perhaps the biggest public misconception about the Enrolled Agent – “We don’t work for the IRS”.  The poor name of this designation often leads the uninformed public to believe that EAs are “agents” of the IRS, which is certainly not true.

I disagree with item #5 – “In the tax world, we are 100% equal to CPAs and attorneys”.

In the tax world Enrolled Agents are far superior to CPAs and attorneys.  While Jason correctly states, “There are 3 groups of licensed professionals who have unlimited practice rights when handling tax matters for taxpayers: CPAs, attorneys … and Enrolled Agents”, of the 3 designations only the EA has passed a test on “knowledge of the tax code and IRS procedures”.  Therefore EAs have demonstrated knowledge and competence in matters related to the preparation of 1040s, while CPAs and attorneys have not.

* Jason also begins a series of posts on a long-term project he has been working on regarding the history of marriage in the tax code with “A Brief History of Marriage in the Tax Code: Introduction”.

At the end of the post he makes a statement that I have certainly found to be true - “. . .getting married does not always mean big savings at tax time”.

* 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.

BTW – I have fixed my settings for BOB’S BABBLINGS so it is now accessible by the public.  Sorry for the FU – and for delaying your ability to check out this new blog.

* Manasa Nadig provides a basic primer on “Learning The Mechanics Of A Foreign Tax Credit!” at THE BUZZ ABOUT TAXES (great blog title).

I have found calculating the Foreign Tax Credit on Form 1116 to be a real PITA.  And if you are a victim of the dreaded AMT you may have to calculate it twice!  I wish the IRS would increase the numbers for the below referenced exemption from having to file a Form 1116 to perhaps $1000 and $2000.

Your qualified foreign taxes for the tax year are not more than $300 ($600 if married filing a joint return).” 

* Tony Nitti is right when he says “Sorry Mr. Ryan, But Corporate-Only Tax Reform Doesn't Work” at his FORBES.COM blog.

And he is also right when he says –

When as simple a task as passing an extenders package leads to infighting, revenge tactics, and claims of betrayal within Congress, you know we’re a long, long way from comprehensive tax reform becoming a reality.”

While I will never giving up calling for true substantive tax reform, I do not hold out any hope for it becoming a reality as long as the idiots in Congress continue to remain idiots – and any change to this situation is also a long way from becoming a reality.

Tony does a good job of explaining the differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to 1040 tax reform.  Based on the below description of the Republican position it appears I am Republican, at least when it comes to taxes –

Republicans, on the other hand, would prefer to take a flamethrower to the current system.”

My parents would be happy!
My first vote as a PA resident was for President.  I walked into the polling place and, having recognized that I was a new voter, the Republican "challenger" came up to me and announced -
"Here is PA the Republicans pay $20.00 for each vote."
As you may know, I moved to PA from Hudson County NJ, where it is pretty much illegal to vote anything but Democrat.
I responded to the Republican challenger -
"Where I came from the Democrats would pay $25.00 for a vote."
This is, very seriously, a true story.


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