Monday, January 15, 2018


* No surprise here. Howard Gleckman of TAX VOX reveals that “The IRS Private Debt Collection Program Once Again Looks Like A Failure”.

What’s the old line about ‘fool me once?’ When it comes to privatizing debt collections for the IRS, Congress has now tried to fool American taxpayers for the third time. According to a new report by the agency’s Taxpayer Advocate Service, the outcome is roughly the same as the last two episodes—the agency is spending far more on the program than the firms are collecting and remitting to the Treasury.

Just as troubling, the reports finds the debt collectors were mostly targeting lower-income taxpayers, some of whom are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)--a group that was supposed to be excluded from the program. Of the 4,100 taxpayers who made payments after their debts were assigned to private collectors, 1,100, or 28 percent, had incomes below $20,000. About 5 percent were receiving SSDI or Social Security retirement benefits. They had a median income of $14,365.

Howard’s obvious bottom line (highlight is mine) –so far, the evidence suggests it’s a much better deal for the debt collectors than for the rest of us”.

* The IRS has provided “Early Release Copies of the 2018 Percentage Method Tables for Income Tax Withholding”.

The IRS Notice says -

Employers should implement the 2018 withholding tables as soon as possible, but not later than February 15, 2018.”

So employees will begin to see the effect of the slightly lower tax rates beginning with February paychecks.

* Last week-end a client told me about California’s attempted scam to change income tax payments into fully deductible charitable contributions.  I told him it wouldn’t work – and that it was a scam.  It appears Russ Fox of TAXABLE TALK agrees with me – as he explains in “Why California’s Attempt to Make State Taxes a Charitable Deduction is Doomed”.

Other states are trying to think “outside the box” to find ways to make the state tax payments deductible.  None of them will work, for similar reasons.

* An interesting “Ask The Taxgirl” question for Kelly Phiilips Erb at FORBES.COM – “Charitable Deductions For Giving Away Free Stuff “.

As usual, KPE provides the correct answer -

Sorry, only donations to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductible.”

And -

Donations to individuals will not qualify for a tax deduction. You cannot deduct contributions to individuals no matter how deserving.”

* Jennifer Dunn tells us “When are the Sales Tax Holidays in 2018?” at TAX JAR, providing a state-by-state listing and description of the various scheduled sales tax holidays.

* At THE TAX PROFESSIONAL I provide my “review” of the annual NJ-NATP "Famous State Tax Seminar", which is truly famous.

* Jason Dinesen continues with his “Glossary” posts at DINESEN TAX TIMES by explaining the term “Independent Contractor”.  

* Michael Cohn reports "Taxpayer Advocate Worried About How IRS Will Handle New Tax Law" at ACCOUNTING TODAY.

* The TAX FOUNDATION explains “State Tax Changes That Took Effect on January 1, 2018”.

* Wow, NJ is only #10 on KIPLINGER’S list of “The Least Tax-Friendly States in the U.S."!  I guess the reduction and eventual elimination of the estate tax helped it to move downward on the list.

Still a fact – “New Jersey’s property taxes are the highest in the U.S.”.

FYI, Maryland is #1 – the least tax-friendly state.


It is an error to assume that opponents of shithole President Donald T Rump are limited to Democrats and “the left”. 

Every patriotic American, whether Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, MUST oppose and denounce Trump the MAN and not merely Trump a Republican President.  And many Americans of all political “persuasions” do.

The issue is with Trump the despicable, deplorable, unfit, and unstable individual and NOT Trump the alleged Republican or Trump the alleged conservative (he is neither). 

Opposing and denouncing Donald T Rump is opposing and denouncing Donald T Rump – and not the Republican Party or conservative politics.

Republican and conservative politicians who publicly support Trump and attempt to protect or “explain” him are traitors to both the Party and the country.


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