Tuesday, December 18, 2018


A “meaty” BUZZ as we approach the end of 2018.

* I hope you are up-to-date on all the breaking tax news I reported here last week - here, here and here.

* Did you see it yet?  The latest “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING that is.  Last "issue" of 2018.   

* I missed this last month.  Once again, the TAX FOUNDATION dispels the myth that the wealthy do not pay their fair share of income tax in its “Summary of the Latest Federal Income Tax Data, 2018 Update”.

Some of the highlights (highlight is mine) -

ü  In 2016, 140.9 million taxpayers reported earning $10.2 trillion in adjusted gross income and paid $1.4 trillion in individual income taxes.

ü  The share of reported income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers fell slightly to 19.7 percent in 2016. Their share of federal individual income taxes fell slightly, to 37.3 percent.

ü  In 2016, the top 50 percent of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 3 percent.

ü  The top 1 percent paid a greater share of individual income taxes (37.3 percent) than the bottom 90 percent combined (30.5 percent).

ü  The top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.9 percent individual income tax rate, which is more than seven times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (3.7 percent).

* A client suggested that I share “The Secret Way Seniors CanKeep Deducting Gifts to Charity” from the WALL STREET JOURNAL with BUZZ readers.

I posted about this “secret” in “Wunnerful, Wunnerful”.

* Kelly Phillips Erb, FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl, lists “14 Tips For Making Your Charitable Gift Tax-Deductible In 2018”.

* And KPE’s annual “12 Days Of Charitable Giving” has gotten underway with “The Women's Tax Resolution Center, Inc.”, “America's Vet Dogs”, and “First Book”.

* Jason Dinesen confesses “Sometimes I Wonder What I’m Missing” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

Like Jason, over the years I have seen lots of incorrect returns prepared, purposefully or through incompetence and ignorance, by other tax preparers, often CPAs, that went unaudited and uncaught.

Thankfully most of the preparers I come in contact with, via blogs and my association with NATP and NJ-NATP, are, like Jason, are honest and ethical.

Unfortunately, we honest and ethical preparers are forced to waste (and pay for) at least 2 hours per year sitting through redundant ethics preaching.  As I have said for years now – if after 45+ years in the business I am not ethical 2 hours of preaching ain’t going to change anything.  The fraudulent and incompetent preparers, who need to be schooled on ethics, do not find “revelation” from having to sit through this ethics preaching.

* At TAXBUZZ (I like the name – wonder where they got it) Lee Reams provides a handy “infographic” of the “Tax deadlines for filing 1099-Misc, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT and 1099-R”.

* Always good advice from Russ Fox at TAXABLE TALK – “Hug Your Tax Professional” (alternative title is “The Upcoming Horrible, Miserable, Rotten, and Delayed Tax Season”).

For me the upcoming tax filing season will NOT be horrible, miserable, rotten, or delayed.  Many taxpayers will no longer be able to itemize and I expect none of my clients will be victims of the dreaded AMT – so returns should be easier and smoother.  With perhaps 3 simple exceptions (all taxpayers under the income threshold for complication) I will not be dealing with the ridiculous new Section 199a deduction.  And for me the tax season will begin, as it has begun for the past 40+ years, on February 1st. 

* Enough is enough.  This nonsense is getting out of hand.  Annette Nellen explains “TCJA Expanded Preparer Due Diligence Beyond What Congress and IRS Highlight” at 21st CENTURY TAXATION.

Tax preparers should not be forced to become Social Workers.  As I have said before, soon we will be required to do random night time bed checks of client dependents during the year.

For years I have been saying that the tax preparation industry needs a vocal lobby in Washington to fight against nonsense like this.

* A timely post from Robert W Wood at FORBES.COM – “Universal Tax Lessons (Even for President Trump)In Michael Cohen Guilty Plea”.

Of course, we all know that moron Donald T Rump never learns any lessons.  He thinks he knows everything already.


Obviously, there will be no BUZZ installments on the next two Tuesdays.  I will post any tax-related “breaking tax news” – but other than that no more BUZZ till 2019.


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