Tuesday, December 5, 2017
WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’
“A people that elect
corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors
are not victims... but accomplices.”
A day late, but let’s hope not a dollar short.
* Most of the BUZZ over the week-end concerns the Senate tax bill. Roger A McEowen provides a good summary of the key provisions of the bill in “Senate Clears Tax Bill – On To Conference Committee” at the AGRICULTURE LAW AND TAXATION BLOG.
FYI – I commented on the items that need to be reconciled by the conference committee here at TWTP in “Making One Bill Out of Two”.
* Drake Software recently surveyed 2800+ tax professionals throughout the US about their fees. It published the results in November in an “inforgraphic” titled “How Do Your Tax Prep Fees Stack Up?” (no free link available).
FYI – the national average tax preparation fees for a basic federal Form 1040 (does not include state return) is $139. For NJ and NY residents this is $146. And for “unenrolled preparers” (no “designation” like EA, CPA or attorney) the national average is $118. For a Form 1040 and Schedule A the corresponding numbers (again federal return only) are $191, $209, and $171.
Despite the above numbers, a return prepared by an “unenrolled” preparer does not have any less value, or is any less correct and complete, than one prepared by an EA or a CPA (in the case of a CPA, the most expensive category of preparer, the opposite can be true).
I hope my 1040 clients are reading this post!
* Kay Bell acknowledged Cyber Monday and the IRS “National Tax Security Awareness Week” last week by posting “7 online security steps to take this holiday season” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
* And Kay lists “10 tax moves to make by Dec.31 — and before Congress changes the tax laws”.
Some good advice here – regardless of what the final conference committee tax legislation will actually contain. They are just good traditional year-end tax moves. However most only apply if you can itemize for 2017. And pre-paying taxes of any kind will provide no tax benefit if you are a victim of the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The appropriate tax-planning strategies for you are dependent on the facts and circumstances of your specific situation.
BTW – I discuss year-end tax planning in detail in the November issue of ROBERT D FLACH’S 1040 INSIGHTS. A copy in pdf sent as an email attachment is only $3.00. Click here for details.
* Thanks to friend and fellow tax pro Jaimee Hammer of NJ, a member of national Board of Directors of NATP, for “turning me onto” the following upcoming state tax amnesty programs –
Ohio = 1/1/18 – 1/15/18 (click here for info)
Rhode Island = 12/1/17 – 2/15/18 (click here for info)
* Monday’s THE TAX PROFESSIONAL post was “Is A Puzzlement”.
* And the beat goes on. Jason Dinesen has posted “Part 12” of his ongoing series on “Revisiting a History of Marriage in the Tax Code” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.
* Professor Annette Nellen gives us some “Tax Reform Links and Examples” at 21st CENTURY TAXATION.
* A post on Spacebook led me to a list of “6 Dog-Related Tax Deductions You May Be Eligible to Claim” from January at the DOGINGTON POST.
The bottom line of this item is good advice for any tax topic –
“As always, discuss these potential deductions with your tax professional to confirm they are legitimate for your personal financial and tax situation.”
Another BTW – I wrote in detail about #6 on the list in “Doggie Deductions” back in 2009.
THE FINAL WORD
An ongoing puzzlement is why are there higher standards for members of the media than there are for elected officials?
Matt Lauer is NOT the "highest profile" face of sexual assault - Donald T Rump is! When will the multiple accusations against him be given the same credibility and response as those against individuals in the media and Hollywood?
Sociopath Trump revels gleefully in accusations against those who oppose, criticize and question him – but ignores accusations against himself and those who kiss his ring (and other body parts) and who can benefit him.
These acts are unacceptable regardless of who is accused. It is time we “fired” Donald T Rump!