Monday, August 30, 2010


I’m back! Here is a compilation of “stuff” of interest.

(1) First – did you see Saturday’s post on THE REPORT ON TAX REFORM OPTIONS? If not be sure to check it out. I will probably be discussing the report further in future posts.

(2) In the August 21st BUZZ post I quoted TAX MAMA Eva Rosenberg’s blog as saying -

His proposal was rejected 57-42 on a party-line vote because, as one Senator explained, ‘passage of such a requirement would restrict home ownership to only those who can afford it.’”

A reader send me a comment (which I published at the BUZZ post) stating that according to SNOPES.COM, the internal quote from the Democratic senator is incorrect. The “mis-quote” came from “Semi-News”, a satire publication which draws upon the news of the day (a la The Daily Show). Here is what SNOPES had to say (highlight is mine) -

Senator Bob Corker had proposed an amendment (S.A. 3955) to the ‘Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010’ which would have (among other things) instituted a residential mortgage underwriting standard requiring a five percent down payment from prospective home buyers. Democrats did oppose the amendment, with one reason given by Dodd being that it would have disadvantaged home buyers who had good credit and solid incomes but lacked the cash to make required down payments.”

Duh – doesn’t not having the cash mean you can’t afford it?

No person or family should even think about buying a home unless they have enough cash saved for a 20% down payment! And I still say that Congress if full of idiots.

(3) I was indeed happy to see that practicing tax attorney, and fellow tax blogger, Kelly Philips Erb tells it like it is in her post “IRS Proposes To Amend Rules Regulating Tax Professionals”, in which she discusses the topic as it applies to Circular 230.

I know tons of attorneys who don’t know a thing about tax beyond what they learned in ‘baby tax’ in law school. And trust me, you don’t want those folks working on your forms 1040. But hey, if they have JD after their names, the IRS thinks it’s okay.”

(4) While I usually limit my internet “wanderings” to tax blogs, Bruce MacFarland, aka the MISSOURI TAX GUY, regularly visits several great personal finance blogs. I always find good reading in Bruce’s weekly Sunday “Reads from Last Week”.

Last Sunday’s installment led me to excellent “Education and Wealth: You Don’t Need a College Degree, But You Need an Education” by Ryan at CASHMONEYLIFE, which echoes my sentiments -

College is overrated. There, I said something you’ve probably suspected since you were in high school and may have confirmed several years after you entered the workforce. You probably know many people who excelled in college and can barely string together a cohesive thought. And you probably know many successful people who never went to college, barely made it through college, or work in a field unrelated to their degree.”
And -
An education is different from a degree. An education can be formal, informal, self-directed, on the job training, professional licenses and certifications, or any other form of education.”

I have always said that, contrary to what parents believe, college is not for everyone. A self-taught person or one who has studied at an alternative post-secondary institution deserves the same respect, and sometimes more, than a college graduate.

(5) According to “States (And Bill Gates Sr.) Look to Soak the Rich” by Ashlea Ebeling at FORBES here are the top ten states with regard to high top tax rates –

1. Hawaii: 11% (income over $400,000 (couple), $200,000 (single))
2. Oregon: 11% (income over $500,000 (couple), $250,000 (single))
3. California: 10.55% (income over $1 million)
4. Rhode Island: 9.9% (income over $373,650)
5. Iowa: 8.98% (income over $64,261)
6. New Jersey 8.97% (income over $500,000)
7. New York: 8.97% (income over $500,000)
8. Vermont: 8.95% (income over $373,650)
9. Maine: 8.5% (income over $39,549 (couple), $19,749 (single))
10. Washington, D.C.: 8.5% (income over $40,000)

The “kick-in” income is an important factor. Maine and Washington have a top tax rate of 8.5%, #9 and #10 on the list, but this rate kicks in at a very low level of income, as does Iowa’s 8.98%.

Please note that the above tax rates are for 2009. The article tells us – “Those increases all continue this year {2010 – rdf} with one exception--New Jersey’s rate hike was for 2009 only, which means that state has dropped three spots to No. 6 on our new list of the 10 with the highest individual state income tax rates”.

BTW – A new BUZZ installment will appear this Wednesday!

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