Saturday, December 19, 2009


Since I was unable to connect to the internet for 2½ days, and my “wandering” time was therefore cut way short, today’s BUZZ is limited to the old faithfuls.

* Joe Kristan asks the question “Should You Prepay Your Taxes Due Next Year?” over at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG, and proceeds to provide some help in coming to an answer. Of course we all know that, just like any other tax question, the answer is “it depends”.

* Joe also leads us to a great Christmas gift for your tax pro in his well-titled post “I've Seen Returns Where This Would Be Appropriate”.

* In between entries in her “The 12 Tax Tips of Christmas” and “Year-End Moves” series Kay Bell takes time to report that “Senate Pulls the Estate Tax Plug” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

Kay, who admits to having “witnessed a lot of curious {inept jaw-droppingly stupid} dubious Congressional actions” over the years, tells us –

Although almost all lawmakers agree it would be better for most taxpayers (not to mention the federal treasury) to keep the estate tax on the books rather than let it expire on Jan. 1, 2010, the Senate opted to let the tax die.”

Max Baucus has promised that the Senate will address the issue next year and make the Estate Tax reinstatement retroactive to January 1, 2010. If the law is reinstated retroactively in early 2010, there shouldn't be too many problems. My concerns involve the “step-up” in basis of inherited assets that will die with the Estate Tax on December 31st. Hopefully there will be no interruption in this concept. I also want Congress to once again make the Gift Tax exclusion equal to the Estate Tax exclusion.

* Trish McIntire, who is very involved in a local amateur theatre, discusses “A Business Melodrama?” at OUR TAXING TIMES.

The title of her melodrama, which deals with telemarketers, is “Know Your Vendors; or Just Because Someone Says They Are One of Your Vendors Doesn't Make It So”.

I never have to worry about telemarketers. During the “regular” year my phone is not on. And during the tax season, and on the occasional times it is on during the “regular” year, I never answer the telephone without first screening the call via my answering machine. I never pick up the phone unless I know it is someone to whom I want to talk.

* Dan Meyer of TICK MARKS also asks a question – “Income Tax Preparation: How Much Does a ‘Typical” Client Pay?”. He quotes a recent survey which determined that “the average charge for a Form 1040 plus Schedule A plus state tax return was $229; a return without the itemizing of deduction run exactly $100 less.”

The survey found that the cost varied based on the size of the firm preparing the return and the geographic region where the return was prepared.

Gee, I would love to get $229 for a basic itemized return!

BTW, thanks to Dan for dropping my name.

* More questions from a tax blogger! I sense a theme. This time it is Stacie Clifford Kitts, of STACIE’S MORE TAX TIPS, doing the asking in “Is Your Employer Provided Auto Creating a Tax Problem for You?

If you have an employer provided automobile Stacie tells you about some things you should know.

* Mary O’Keeffe’s last post on the Rachel Porcaro situation, which I referenced in Wednesday’s BUZZ, received a comment from who Mary believes was Rachel’s lawyer in her dealings with “Sam”. She quotes the comment in her post BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE post “Comment from Rachel Porcaro's Attorney?” (it seems all tax blog posts I read yesterday ended with a ?).

Included in the comment is the following (as usual, the highlight is mine) –

Rachel tried to get help from Block first, but they refused to help. Anyone relying on Block's "Peace of Mind" product should read the contract very carefully. IMO it protects Block as much as or more than the taxpayer.”
Let’s hope my internet connection FU, which apparently fixed itself, stays fixed so the next BUZZ is bulging with items from a wide variety of sources.