Wednesday, October 28, 2009


* Joe Kristan starts the ball rolling this week with the post “Top Scientists: Tax Simplification Fights Fraud!” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.

It seems that a scientific study has proven what we tax professionals have known for years –

Queensland University of Technology visiting Professor James Alm said economics experiments showed that a simple tax system led to more honest reporting in tax returns and thus greater revenue.”

But such a system is only a dream, for, as Joe points out –

Unfortunately, while tax simplification is only good for all of us, it is hell on the Iron Triangle of lobbyists, legislative fund-raisers, and those who have learned to game the system at the expense of the rest of us.”

* The weekly NATP member email newsletter brings us this information from the IRS –

IRS to Offer "Solution Saturday" on November 7

The IRS will offer a new outreach event called Solution Saturday at five IRS taxpayer assistance centers on Saturday, November 7, to help taxpayers in tough times.

Solution Saturday is primarily for individual and business taxpayers, but the IRS will accommodate tax professionals by scheduling appointments for up to two clients.

In addition, the IRS invites you to refer other clients experiencing tough times for help resolving tax issues during Solution Saturday.

IRS assistance on Solution Saturday will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (local time) on November 7, 2009, at the following taxpayer assistance centers:

Atlanta – Atlanta Summit Building, 401 West Peachtree St. NW, 404.588.5444
Dallas – Federal Building, 4050 Alpha Rd., Farmers Branch, 972.308.7997
Detroit – McNamara Federal Building, 477 Michigan Ave., 313.628.3120
Los Angeles – Federal Building, 300 North Los Angeles St., 213.576.4130
Philadelphia – William Green Federal Building, 600 Arch St., 215.861.1902

Tax professionals and taxpayers are encouraged to call for a Solution Saturday appointment at one of the above numbers. During Solution Saturday, a cross-functional team of IRS personnel will:

• Help resolve balance-due and delinquent return accounts.
• Answer offer-in-compromise and other tax law questions.
• Help with account inquiries.
• Prepare tax returns

The NJ-NATP website has more detailed information on the Philadelphia event.

* Fellow tax blogger John Sheeley “tweeted” me and his other followers that “IRS has launched a mulimedia website to explain tax changes”. The latest IRS video is on “How to Check Your Tax Withholding”.

* Russ Fox comments and expands on my 2-part series on the obligations, responsibilities and requirements of a tax preparer in his post “The Responsibilities of a Tax Preparer” at TAXABLE TALK.

Russ devotes much of TAXABLE TALK to talking about “Bozo” tax preparers and tax cheats, but feels, rightfully so, that –

Luckily, most members of my profession are ethical and are looking out for the interests of the client.”

A sincere thank you to Russ for the kind words about me in the post.

BTW, in case you were wondering, Russ also points out that “‘The Producers’ Doesn’t Work in Real Life”. FYI, the song “I Want to Be a Producer” from the musical version is my anthem.

* Kay Bell tells us about one option for the federal estate tax in “Estate Tax Exemption Hike, Rate Cut” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

* And the beat goes on! Stacie Clifford Kitts valiantly once again explains the true meaning of “What Is A Professional” to the deluded (aka offending) blogger in her post “For Heaven's Sake - Throw Down Response” at STACIE’S MORE TAX TIPS BLOG.

If I may be permitted to quote my own comment to "Missouri tax guy" Bruce’s much commented-upon post on the subject-

You, I, those who have submitted the above supportive comments, those who have submitted comments elsewhere, and other tax bloggers have all properly and eloquently pointed out that the common, and universally (except for one) accepted, definition of a “professional” is someone who is educated, trained and experienced in a trade, profession or activity, complies with the rules and regulations and standards of that trade, profession or activity, AND is paid for working in that trade, profession or activity.

Being a professional in a trade, profession or activity does not require licensure or certification or official acknowledgement from any government regulatory office. A professional does not need a third party to hold him/her to professional standards – a professional can on his/her own hold himself/herself to professional standards.

There is no basis in fact or practice for the opinion expressed in the offending blog post.

The offending post has nothing whatsoever to do with, and adds nothing to, the debate on regulating tax preparers.

The purpose of the offending post was to be contrary and to draw attention to the author, and not to provide any intelligent discussion on a controversial and important issue.

The offending post was an insult to about half the population, and an apology is called for.

That said, let’s not give the offending blogger any more 'attention'. Let us spend our valuable time discussing more important issues
Stacie - hope you are feeling better!
* “And You Didn’t Think Taxes Were Funny”. A “tweet” from fellow tax pro Hal Leahy of Florida led me to this post from CPA John Brian Fast.

My mentor Jim Gill used to say that we should write a sitcom about our storefront tax office, but we would probably never get on the air as the networks would think our stories were too unbelievable.

* I was going to end on an “Always Leave ‘Em Laughing” note with the tax jokes post. But instead let’s end with a non-tax but timely post from TAX LADY Roni Deutch on “How to Have a Recession Friendly Halloween”.


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