Tuesday, January 5, 2016
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – TUESDAY EDITION
Welcome to the first BUZZ of 2016! An especially “meaty” one to start the New Year off.
* Four items for my fellow tax pros to begin today’s installment. Please spread the word about these items to fellow tax pros -
1) The January 1, 2016 TAXPRO BUZZ is now available at my website for tax pros.
2) Also available there is a free view of the premiere issue of my new e-magazine THE TAX PROFESSIONAL.
3) I ask my fellow tax pros to join me in my crusade to advocate and promote serious and substantive tax reform by joining TAX PROFESSIONALS FOR TAX REFORM.
4) And for tax pros who prepare New Jersey payroll and income tax returns the “Famous State Tax Seminar” offered by the NJ chapter of NATP every January in Iselin NJ is a must attend.
* Russ Fox has announced the “winner” of the coveted “2015 Tax Offender of the Year” Award at TAXABLE TALK!
* And Russ begins the New Year with an excellent, and timely, recommendation – “Yes, Start Your 2016 Mileage Log Now!” (the highlight is his) –
“Monday is the first business day of the new year for many. You may have resolved to keep good records this year (at least, we hope you have). Start with keeping an accurate, contemporaneous written mileage log (or use a smart phone app–with periodic sending of the information to yourself to prove that the log is contemporaneous).
Why, you ask? Because if you want to deduct all of your business mileage, you must do this! IRS regulations and Tax Court rulings require this. Written is defined as ink, so that means you need a paper log or must be able to prove your smart phone log is contemporaneous.”
Russ ends the post with some good tax information –
“And yes, your trip to the office supply store to buy a small memo pad is business miles that can be deducted.” Assuming you are self-employed and will the use the small memo pad in your business, of course.
* I made TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb’s list of “The 100 Must-Follow Tax Twitter Feeds In 2016” at FORBES.COM!
I am #57 under “Tax and Tax-ish Gurus”.
BTW – I ended the year with 1050 Twitter followers (I am @rdftaxpro) – my goal was 1000. Plus I am on several tax-tweet related “lists”. I will be interested to see how my follower number grows based on Kelly’s recommendation.
* Do you have any questions you want to “Ask the TaxGirl” (aka KPE)? Click here to find out how to do so.
* Patrice Johnson brings us “Beyond the Extenders: The Tax Legacy of 2015” at ACCOUNTING TODAY, discussing “critical legislation and court decisions from last year”.
* Lee Reams II discusses the question “Big Box Tax Mill versus Independent Tax Professional: Which Should You Choose for Tax Preparation?” at TAX BUZZ NEWS.
Duh! The answer is obvious to both Lee and me. As Lee explains -
“Unlike the big box tax mills that will flood the airwaves with advertisements in the coming months, an independent tax professional is interested in getting to know you and your business personally and forming a mutually beneficial relationship.
Big box tax mills specialize in churning out cookie-cutter tax returns. This might be fine for people with simple finances who don’t need anything more than a Form 1040 with maybe a Schedule A and D. If your finances go beyond the basics and/or you are self-employed or own a business, however, there’s a very good chance you will not receive the quality of service or level of attention and expertise you need from a big box tax mill.”
The item also includes a sampling of online reviews for “big box tax mills”.
My advice is more strong- I cannot think of any taxpayer in any situation who would benefit from using a, as I call them, “fast food tax preparation chain” over an independent tax professional. In my opinion, you should not use Henry and Richard or any other of their ilk to prepare your 2015 tax returns.
You can start your search for an independent tax professional at my website FIND A TAX PROFESSIONAL.
FYI, I no longer accept new 1040 clients, and am actually trying to “thin the herd”, so don’t look to me to prepare your tax returns.
* Jason Dinesen ended 2015 with the popular post “From the Archives” that explained “Taxation of Emotional Distress Payments”.
* And Jason begins 2016 with a continuation of his series on “Choosing a Business Entity” with a look at the “LLC”.
* FYI, if you are thinking about the upcoming primaries, the TAX FOUNDATION has created an interactive chart “Comparing the 2016 Presidential Tax Reform Proposals” that is updated frequently.
* Jean Murray gives small business owners a detailed lesion on “How to Prepare 1099-MISC Forms - Step by Step” at ABOUT.COM.
* The IRS lists “Eight Facts about New ACA Information Statements” – the new Form 1095-B and Form 1095-C.
You will probably be getting these forms late in the season. The IRS has moved the deadline to provide employees with these forms from 2/1/16 to 3/31/16. Don’t let this hold up getting your 2015 tax “stuff” to your tax pro.
* Kristen Lund deals with “Should Your Small Business Use a Personal Checking Account?: Why combining business and personal finances could spell trouble” at NFIB.
I have been telling small business owners they must have a separate business checking account for many years now. Years ago I was chastised and condemned for giving such advice by a fellow blogger and alleged “small business advisor” – and my advice was supported and defended by just about every other tax and personal finance blogger at the time.
* Kay Bell reports on a truly unique situation that I have never come across before in “2 Sets of Twins Born Just Minutes, But Tax Years, Apart: New Year's Eve/Day deliveries offers parents child-related tax breaks for 2015 & 2016” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
As Kay points out, even though the first born was only alive in calendar year 2015 for just one minute, the parents get to claim a dependency deduction and child tax credit for that child for 2015. Unfortunately, thanks to the three minute delay between births, they do not get the exemption or any other tax benefits for the second born twin for 2015. Poor tax planning.
THE FINAL WORD-
Here’s a great new tool I discovered via a “tweet” - “Here's How to Remove Donald Trump from Your Internet”.
Now if only we could remove him from all media - and from the Presidential campaign!