Friday, May 22, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posting this week – I have been working away on the GD extensions, with acceptable success.

* Here is an interesting twit (tweat?) I received last week that should be RT to BO and NJ Gov Jon Corzine - “They tell us that high taxes on smokers will induce them to quit - so I guess they already know what high taxes on business will do.”

* It appears that the IRS realizes the mucking fess that BO’s Making Work Pay credit has made of the federal withholding tax tables, especially for retired taxpayers who use the tables to determine withholding from pensions.

NATP reports in its weekly email newsletter that, “The IRS released an optional procedure for adjusting withholding on pension plans in 2009. The changes to the withholding tables that the IRS made for the Making Work Pay Credit affected pension plan withholding even though pensions are not considered earned income for credit purposes. The IRS has issued Notice 1036-P, Additional Withholding for Pensions for 2009, that pension providers can use to calculate additional withholding for pension payments. A withholding adjustment calculator is available on the IRS

While I do give the IRS kudos for attempting to deal with the problem, the use of these additional tables, which are used to “calculate additional withholding amounts for pension payments” is a bit confusing for the average taxpayer. This “procedure” adds another step to the “normal” process, as the withholding amount determined from the tables is “added to the amount of withholding determined from the percentage method, the wage bracket method, or other allowable method”.

* My mother went to her final audit at the end of April. The funeral home notified the Social Security Administration of her passing. In the beginning of May her regular monthly Social Security benefit check was directly deposited to my folks’ joint checking account. On May 7th BO’s $250 “ERP” (Economic Recovery Payment) for both my mother and father was directly deposited.

I just noticed at the beginning of the week that a “DOTS” miscellaneous deduction was made from the account. This withdrawal equaled the total of my mother’s Social Security benefit check and the $250 ERP. I assume that “DOTS” refers to Department of Treasury S(omething).

I am confused why the ERP was returned to Social Security. My mother was entitled to this payment as she was eligible for Social Security benefits for all of the three months before February 17, 2009 (the date of enactment of ARRA) - only one month of eligibility is required.
I emailed my contact at SSA who told me he would look into it, but that SSA employees “have had little training on this”. I checked the appropriate FAQ pages on both the SSA and IRS websites, but could not find a question or answer that dealt a deceased SS recipient.

I suppose it is very possible that the bank returned both checks in error. I will have to check with Wachovia next time I am out and about.

Can anyone out there provide any guidance on this matter?



Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to read of your mother's passing. I enjoy reading your web site.
A NJ Reader

Robert D Flach said...

NJ Reader-

Thank you for your words of condolence.

I am glad you enjoy the blog and hope you continue to visit, and to comment.