Wednesday, August 11, 2010


* From the “I couldn’t have said it better myself” department we have “Extend the Bush Tax Cuts? It’s the Wrong Question” by Howard Gleckman at TAXVOX.

The highlight in the below quote is mine-

Washington is about to spend months trying to answer the wrong question. Instead of reprising their partisan, tiresome, and largely unproductive argument about what to do with the Bush tax cuts, President Obama and Congress ought to be asking a very different question: How do we build a tax system capable of generating the revenues we need to fund the government we want in the most efficient and fair way possible?

* Some good news while I was away. The IRS has made it more difficult for tax preparers to offer Refund Anticipation Loans (aka RALs). Since I do not offer this questionable product I have no real idea just what the IRS has done – but it is good to see the IRS move against RALs.

TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb discusses it in “IRS Changes the Way RAL Providers Will Do Business”, and Trish McIntire goes into more detail in “Hat Trick” and “It’s Not Over”.

Tax preparers should be banned from offering RALs.

* And while I was away it appears that my post “It Ain’t Necessarily So” represented Kay Bells TAX CARNIVAL in “On The Moneyed Midways” – “the best posts we found in the best of the past week's money and business-related blog carnivals” – at POLITICAL CALCULATIONS.

* Here’s a concept that seemed strange to me – “High Taxes Discourage Childbirth”. That is the title of a DON’T MESS WITH TAXES post by Kay Bell. Kay refers to a column in the Washington Post by Robert Samuelson.

Samuelson's core argument in his ‘America's Parent Trap’ column today is that the United States' current fiscal and tax policies ‘punish parents, who are taxed heavily to support the elderly. Meanwhile, tax breaks for children are modest’."

I join Kay in her skepticism. The Tax Code is chock-a-block with tax benefits for children – the Child Tax Credit (partially refundable), the exemption for dependent children, the Earned Income Credit (partially refundable). The more kids you have the less tax you pay.

In 39 tax seasons I have never heard a client, or anyone else, tell me that they decided against having more children, or having children period, because taxes were too high.

* Joe Arsenault clears up some “60-Day Rollover Confusion” over at CAFÉ TAX.

* Bruce, the MISSOURI TAX GUY, talks about the “Form to Claim Payroll Tax Exemption for Hiring New Workers”. A timely post indeed – from my point of view. This new business tax benefit was discussed at the “What’s New” seminar this morning (Tuesday) at the IRS Forum in NYC (look for my review of the Form tomorrow) – and I made a note to look up the W-11 form and instructions.

* Professor Nellen comments on tax “Process and Policy” in a thoughtful post at 21st CENTURY TAXATION.

The Professor says – “Here, it is not only the tax system design (such as flaws with the AMT itself), but also the process that is causing complexity and some inequities”.

Troubling and odd indeed!


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