Wednesday, January 13, 2010


* I begin this BUZZ with a must read from Mary O’Keeffe at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE – “Dear Congress and Chairman Rangel in Particular”.

* Mary also tells us, in another post, that “The Bed Buffaloes in Our Tax Code Have More Than Doubled in Less Than a Decade!”.

Professor Graetz cited a figure of 1.4 million words in the IRC tax code in May 2000, based on a Joint Committee Taxation report released in 2001.

In preparing a report to Congress she delivered in January 2009, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson estimated the number of words in the IRC tax code had grown to 3.7 million.

That's far more than a doubling in less than a decade

* Michael Rozbruch of the TAX RESOLUTION UNIVERSITY blog has some good advice for business taxpayers that also applies to individuals in “Avoid IRS Penalties in 2010 By Keeping Good Record of Business Expenses”.

Avoid IRS penalties by making sure that your information is accurate and truthful on your tax returns. Always keep a careful record of your business expenses so that you can back up your tax return if the IRS requests evidence.”

* I just got an email from the producers of the documentary film “An Inconvenient Tax”, which, I believe, features an appearance by fellow tax blogger TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb.

An Inconvenient Tax” will be premiering at colleges, universities, through various organizations and at select theaters on Tax Day - April 15th, 2010. Visit the film's website for show times, venues and ticket information.

In addition, if you want to encourage a local theater or know a group or organization that would be interested in hosting a screening, please direct them to the screening request page

* New Jersey taxpayers and tax pros may want to check out my discussion of the recent NJ-NATP annual state tax update seminar at NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG.

* Donna Bordeaux, wife of Chad, introduces us to the MERP in "MERP’s the word – aka Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan", at the couple’s blog BEANCOUNTER RAMBLINGS.

The MERP is actually nothing new – it has been around as long as I have been in “the business” (and that is a long time!).

* And Chad Bordeaux follows his wife’s post that answers the question “When does the 5-Year Roth IRA Clock Start?”.

Chad points out –

Contrary to what one might think, this is not based on the date that you actually made the contribution, but rather the tax year you made the contribution. The tax code deems all contributions made during a year as made on January 1st of that year.”

With the new rules regarding ROTH conversions it is important that those considering converting fully understand all the ROTH rules and regulations.

* I don’t have a cell phone, let alone an ipod. But for those of you who do have one, TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb tells us that, “a new app for the iPhone, automilez™, now generates mileage logs for you after each trip – no more scrambling for a pen in your car” in her post “Mileage? There’s an App for That”.

* And Kelly wonders “Is the White House Banking on a Financial Industry Tax?

Let’s see if I get this. The government loans Paul (banks, etc) Peter’s (taxpayers) money. Paul won’t pay it all back, so the government taxes Paul to get the money to pay back Peter, and Paul passes the tax along to Peter, just as the tax on any business is ultimately paid by its customers. So the bottom line is Peter will pay Paul so Paul can pay back Peter. Have I got it right? Any way you look at it Peter is screwed (so what else is new?).

* The IRS has announced (in IR-2010-3) that it has “unveiled its first redesigned notices that are part of an on-going effort to improve the way it corresponds with taxpayers”.

According to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman –

One of my priorities is to ensure that we have clear and simple communication with taxpayers. In the past, our notices often looked more like legal documents and not an effort to communicate clearly. The differences between the old and new notices are like night and day. They show the potential of our on-going effort in this area.”

The IRS providing “clear and simple communication with taxpayers”? This I gotta see!