Monday, January 23, 2017


Except for the first item, in this BUZZ I let the posts and articles I reference speak for themselves.

* Stacy Cowley of THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that, unfortunately, “Tax Refund Loans Are Revamped and Resurrected” - 

Fast, free money. That’s what H&R Block, the nation’s largest tax-preparation chain, is advertising on giant banners outside its storefronts and in TV commercials featuring Jon Hamm of ‘Mad Men’: ‘You could get a refund advance of up to $1,250.’

Two of H&R Block’s biggest rivals, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service, are hyping nearly identical offers — dangling up to $1,300 cash.”

The article acknowledges –

The loan offers are open to all customers, but they are particularly aimed at low-income Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and rely on their tax refund as their biggest annual cash infusion.”

None of the ads that the article talks about say anything about the qualifications or competence of the chains’ employees or their ability to properly and correctly prepare tax returns.  The quality and competence of tax preparation is not important, nor is the high cost of preparation.  The only thing that is important is that you can walk in with an empty pocket and walk out with a check.

Refund Anticipation Loans, or whatever you call them, are bad.  While there are apparently no interest or fees for the loan itself (the interest rates charged by H&R and others for the original RALs were truly usurious), low income taxpayers are forced to pay the high tax preparation fees of these commercial chains for minimal service and value.  As I say each year at tax time – Henry and Richard ain’t cheap!

I believe that tax preparers should be forbidden by law from offering RALs or any other kind of advance refund loan. 

If you need to borrow money go to a bank!

* Manasa Nadig talks about “Trust Fund Recovery: Penalties & Pitfalls” at THE BUZZ ABOUT TAXES.

* Also for employers - Jean Murray tells you Where to Get W-2 Forms and 1099-MISC Forms: Annual Report Forms for Employees and Independent Contractors” at her U.S. BUSINESS LAW AND TAXES blog from THE BALANCE.

* Beverly Bird lists and discusses “Tax Mistakes Everyone Makes — and How to Avoid Them” at GO BANKING RATES.

* Kelly Phillps Erb, FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl, reviews “10 Quick Facts About The Upcoming Tax Season That You Need To Know”.

* Are credit card rewards considered taxable income that must be reported on your 1040?  As usual, the answer is “it depends”.  Kay Bell explains in “Are reward points taxable or not? Yes: Different rewards mean different IRS rules” at CREDIT CARDS.COM.

* Some good advice from MOTLEY FOOL’s “The Alert Investor” - "Have It Your Way" Retirement Accounts: 4 Things to Know About Self-Directed IRAs".

* The NSTP BLOG gives us the word on “The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016”.  

* Jason Dinesen answers an interesting question that has never been asked of me -“Can I Start a Not-for-Profit to Shield Income?  Read the post to find out the answer (hint – as usual it is “it depends”).

* Speaking of tax questions – I return to KPE, at her old TaxGirl blog site this time, for “Have A Tax Question? What You Need To Know Before You Ask The TaxGirl”.

* Sterling Raskie provides a brief preliminary “Tax Time To-Do List” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.

The Last Word –

Friday, January 20, 2017, a day that will live in infamy, will go down in the books as the worst day in the history of the United States.  Pray that this day was not truly the beginning of the end.

We must continue to vocally and aggressively denounce and oppose dangerous mentally unstable narcissist Trump.

Opposition to Trump has absolutely nothing to do with politics or political ideology.  It is NOT “sour grapes” by Democrats and Clinton supporters.

Republicans and Democrats and liberals and conservatives alike, with a conscience and concern about the future of America and the world, all oppose and denounce Trump.

Opposition to dangerous mentally unstable narcissist Trump is patriotism!


 NO tax software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code, and NO tax software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.
Do you need to find a qualified and competent tax professional?



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