Tuesday, July 11, 2017
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
* My THE TAX PROFESSIONAL blog is back! Check out this week’s post “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”.
* A good lesson to those looking for a tax pro in “Truth In Advertising Isn’t Always a Good Idea” from Russ Fox at TAXABLE TALK.
When shopping for a tax pro totally disregard advertising claims about refunds like ““The Largest Refund…Guaranteed!!!”. Concentrate on the experience, quality and competence of the preparer. An experienced and competent, and honest, tax preparer will work to make sure you pay the absolute least amount of federal and state tax possible – but will do it legally.
Start your search for a tax pro at FIND A TAX PROFESSIONAL.
* I prove reality is truly stranger than fiction and tell you about the proposed SWAMP Act in the July “issue” of THE LIBERTY TIMES. Check it out.
* Jean Murray provides a detailed lesson in “How to Pay Yourself from Your Business” at THE BALANCE.
* Kay Bell celebrated the 4th of July by reminding us of the “Cohan Rule” in “America's Yankee Doodle Boy gives us a tax deduction rule” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
Kay quotes from an archival post I had written about George M in her piece.
* The NEW YORK TIMES reports “Congress Moves to Stop I.R.S. From Enforcing Health Law Mandate”.
I do not oppose this move. While I do not support the current Republican healthcare legislation, the mandate – i.e. the “shared responsibility penalty” - is one of the “bad” things about Obamacare (see my THE TAX PROFESSIONAL post referenced above).
What needs to be done is not Republican “repeal and replace” but Republicans and Democrats working together to fix what is wrong with Obamacare while keeping what is right. But the words “working together” and “Congress” have not gone together for decades now.
Perhaps what we need to “repeal and replace” are the idiots in Congress.
* Elle Martinez deals with a timely topic with “Volunteering This Summer? Find Out if Your Work is Tax Deductible” at the TURBO TAX BLOG.
* The TAX FOUNDATION takes a look at “State and Local Sales Tax Rates, Midyear 2017”.
“Five states do not have statewide sales taxes: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon. Of these, Alaska and Montana allow localities to charge local sales taxes.
The five states with the highest average combined state and local sales tax rates are Louisiana (10.02 percent), Tennessee (9.45 percent), Arkansas (9.34 percent), Washington (9.20 percent), and Alabama (9.03 percent).
The five states with the lowest average combined rates are Alaska (1.76 percent), Hawaii (4.35 percent), Wyoming (5.26 percent), Wisconsin (5.42 percent), and Maine (5.5 percent).”
New Jersey is #26 and Pennsylvania is #33. New York is #9 and California is #10.
* The CHECKPOINT NEWSTAND week-day daily email newsletter from July 10th discussed the National Taxpayer Advocate’s legitimate concerns about the IRS use of private collection agencies –
“Finally, the NTA said that she believes IRS is misinterpreting Code Sec. 6306 by not requiring PCAs to solicit financial information from taxpayers, as they are supposed to do under Code Sec. 6306(b)(1)(C). That means PCAs will not collect financial information that could be shared with IRS to determine whether a taxpayer can pay the debt and still pay for basic living expenses. The NTA described the calling scripts for one of the PCAs as instructing the employee to give the taxpayer suggestions on how to come up with funds to pay their debt, such as borrowing from a retirement plan or taking out a second mortgage on a home. While IRS might make similar suggestions, IRS employees first gather financial information which reveals when a taxpayer is in economic hardship, and unlike PCAs, IRS has no financial incentive to ignore indications of financial hardship. PCAs do not gather this information, and their incentive structure doesn't encourage them to look for economic hardship.”
How many times do we need to say this – using private collection agencies is truly a stupid and inappropriate idea. Just further proof that the members of Congress are idiots. This program must be stopped!
* Jason Dinesen answers the question “How Does Business Bad Debt Work?” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.
The bad debt deduction is highly misunderstood, and JD sets us straight.
THE FINAL WORD
Truer words were never said – “The greatest threat facing the United States is its own president”.
This Washington Post opinion piece by David Rothkopf tells it like it is (highlights are mine) 0
“That is where we are now. The president’s tweeting hysterically at the media is just an element of this. So too is his malignant and ever-visible narcissism. The president has demonstrated himself to have zero impulse control and a tendency to damage vital international relationships with ill-considered outbursts, to trust very few of the people in his own government, and to reportedly rant and shout at staff and even at the television sets he obsessively watches.
Whether he is actually clinically ill is a matter for psychiatric professionals to consider. But when you take the above behaviors and combine them with his resistance to doing the work needed to be president, to sitting down for briefings, to reading background materials, to familiarizing himself with details enough to manage his staff, there is clearly a problem. Compound it with his deliberate reluctance to fill key positions in government and his wild flip-flopping on critical issues from relations with China to trade, and you come to a conclusion that it may be that Trump’s fitness to serve as president is our nation’s core national security issue.
Not only does the president diminish the office with his pettiness; he also shows disregard for constitutional principles including free speech, freedom of religion and separation of powers, and he operates as though he were above ethics laws. Daily he shows he lacks the character, discipline, intellect, judgment or respect for the office to be president of the United States.”