Saturday, October 3, 2009


* THIS JUST IN - Attention NJ tax preparers! Have you heard what the DFBs in Albany are trying to get away with? Click here to read more.
* Mary O’Keeffe (apologies if I missed the double ff in past BUZZ mentions) suggests a new tv game show in “ESPN take note: a National Tax Bee?” at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE. She would base it on the current National Spelling Bee, one of the only two programs she watches on television each year (the other being the Times Square ball at midnight on New Year's Eve).

Thanks to Mary for the glowing description of my blog and practice – she is too kind. I don’t mind being called “flamboyant” (I have been called a lot worse), as long as this description is not misinterpreted (like my love of Musical Theatre).

I didn’t realize my very occasional use of an expletive was “jarring”. When I call reality tv “shit” (I try to use the word “excrement” instead of the s-word whenever possible) I am merely calling a spade a spade.

Anyway, getting back to her tv idea, she goes on to suggest – “Here's a contestant lineup that would make for an interesting show: Robert D Flach, Tax Girl Kelly Erb, The Tax Lawyer Peter Pappas”. I would be honored to appear on the show alongside Kelly, but I would prefer Joe Kristan of the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG or Monica Lawver of THE TAX CPA as the third contestant – Pappas and I aren’t speaking (like another tax blogger he cannot accept anyone who disagrees with his wisdom).

I would love to have Nina Olsen as the moderator, as Mary also suggests, and Professors Paul Caron, James Maule and Dan Shaviro among the judges.

And as for my “meticulous longhand”, my completed 1040s have indeed been literally called “works of art” by IRS personnel and fellow tax pros (or so a long-time client has told me).

A very serious thank you to Mary for her post. I am glad she enjoys THE WANDERING TAX PRO, as I do also enjoy reading BED BUGS.

Check out the post and give Mary your suggestions for the National Tax Bee.
* THE TAX POLICY BLOG informs us that “New Issue of Tax Watch Available”. TAX WATCH “is the Tax Foundation's quarterly tax policy newsletter, presenting our economic research and analysis in a simple, non-technical format—ideal for the non-economist looking for a clear explanation of current tax issues”.

Highlights from the Fall 2009 issue include –

• Are State Corporate Taxes Hurting Wages?
• Income Tax: Top 1 Percent Pay More than Bottom 95
• Ideas on the Web: Booming Web Traffic Reaches Millions
• Study: Tax Increases Cost Twice the Revenue Raised

Click here to download the issue or here to order a free hard copy subscription.

* The State of Virginia has instituted a Tax Amnesty Program. Pay what you owe between October 7 and December 5, 2009, and Virginia will waive half the interest and all your penalties!

Click here to find out more.

* FORBES.COM has a good article on the issue of 2009 required minimum distributions, and the recent IRS guidance on putting back distributions received in 2009, titled “IRS Cuts IRA Holders A Break”.

* Russ Fox brings our attention to what is indeed “An Interesting Gambling Case” at TAXABLE TALK.

The taxpayer reported her net slot winnings instead of the gross winnings as per Form W-2Gs as income on Page 1 of the Form 1040. What makes the case interesting is the taxpayer’s assertion –

“[T]he better view is that a casual gambler playing a slot machine, such as the petitioner, recognizes a wagering gain or loss at the time she redeems her tokens. The fluctuating wins and losses left in play are not accessions to wealth until the taxpayer redeems her tokens and can definitively calculate the amount above or below basis (the wager) realized. See Commissioner v. Glenshaw Glass Co., 348 U.S. 426 (1955).”

Russ tells us that – “The IRS did not dispute that the wins and losses were not based on the individual pulls of the slot machines but on the net win and loss during her trips.” The IRS originally claimed that the taxpayer could not prove that she really won the smaller amount she claimed and not the amount on the W-2Gs.

Russ also says – “I do need to point out that the Tax Court did not pass judgment on this issue, so it is possible they would disagree at some future date”.

* Jean Murray gives a good overview of “What Records Does the IRS Want to See?” over at JEAN’S BUSINESS LAW/TAXES: US BLOG.
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Once I finish the 2008 GDEs I will be reviewing in detail the testimony from the final Public Forum on the regulation of tax preparers and write a related post. I hope to have this up on Monday.

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