Wednesday, November 14, 2012
WHAT’S THE BUZZ? TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’ – WEDNESDAY EDITION
I am sure you are getting tired of “listening” to me whine about the idiots in Congress. Just as I am getting tired of calling the idiots out. It really accomplishes nothing.
We all know that it is a proven fact that the members of Congress are incompetent and ineffective idiots with no concern for the American public who are incapable of compromise or of independent thought. Saying it over and over ain’t going to make it not so.
The voting public knows all this – and yet still re-elected the cafones for two or six more years of doing nothing.
So I promise to say as little as possible about these fools from now on – here in the BUZZ or in “regular” posts.
* Check out the Tax Foundation’s weekly map of “AMT Filers by State”.
I moved from the #1 state – New Jersey, with 6.41% of residents falling victim – to the #10 state (Wash DC is included in the top 10 locations, though not a state) – Pennsylvania, with 2.57%.
“Following major disasters, it’s common for scam artists to impersonate charities to get money or private information from well-intentioned taxpayers. Such fraudulent schemes may involve contact by telephone, social media, email or in-person solicitations.”
The Service provides the following good advice –
• Donate to recognized charities (i.e. Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc – and a special word of warning based on a local scam here in PA, the Salvation Army does not solicit donations door-to-door or via telephone; do not give money for SANDY relief to any person who rings your doorbell).
• Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations.
• Don’t give out personal financial information — such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords — to anyone who solicits a contribution from you.
• And most important - Don’t give or send cash. Contribute by check or credit card only to provide documentation of the gift (you will need the documentation in order to claim a tax deduction).
* And on Veteran’s Day the IRS “tweeted” about its page of “Tax Information forMembers of the Military”.
As I have said before – whatever you think of the IRS, its website is chock-a-block with good information and resources.
* The Tax Foundation has published “The Fiscal Cliff: A Primer”, a Special Report that outlines what will happen January 1, 2013, if Congress does nothing (I am tempted – but will resist).
* Dan Bottner of the Bond Beebe accounting firm reports at the firm’s blog that “Virginia Announces Changes to Issuing Tax Refunds” –
“Virginia will begin to issue tax refunds via debit card or direct deposit only starting with refunds issued in 2013 for the 2012 tax year. Virginia is making the change in hopes of saving money by reducing check printing and mailing costs.”
This is actually a good idea. Many states offer the direct deposit option, which I encourage my clients to take advantage of. It saves the state money and gets the refund to the taxpayer faster.
In New York, if you do not elect direct deposit it will take months for a paper check to arrive (the refund is purposefully delayed).
Unfortunately in New Jersey the direct deposit option is only available if you use the online NJWebFile system, which I encourage clients to let me use, or file electronically (for which flawed and expensive tax preparation software is required). NJ taxpayers who file paper returns cannot elect direct deposit, which is a costly mistake on the part of NJ.
* Joe Arsenault continues the ongoing discussion of Long Term Care Insurance that I have included in various BUZZ installments by answering “Five Questions About Long-Term Care” at the Arbor Retirement Solutions, PLLC blog.
* Kay Bell tells of the tons of money wasted in the recent election in her post “SuperPAC Donations: $1.3 Billion, American Crossroads Winners: 0, Snarky Donald Trump: Priceless” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
And Kay, an astute judge of character, came up with something that seems almost impossible (highlight is mine) –
“One such dubious PAC observer is the
provocateur jackass Donald Trump, who for some reason got overly political
I never thought I'd find anything the New York loudmouth had to say worthwhile, much less worth repeating, but it's been that kind of election year.
And tRump nailed it when, via Twitter, he called out Karl Rove and his Crossroads GPS group the day after the election:
‘Congrats to @KarlRove on blowing 400 million this cycle. Every place @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money.’”
Believe me Trump knows a waste of money when he sees one. He fills his pockets via a total waste of money - the pile of excrement titled “The Apprentice” (hey - I never said I would stop bitching about so-called “reality tv”).
* TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb teaches a class in Taxes 101 in “Making Sense of Income and Tax Terms” at FORBES.COM, explaining the various tax terms.
* At ABOUT.COM Bill Perez gives us the word that “TIGTA Reveals Cause of Refund Delays that Occurred in Early 2012” –
“•The IRS experienced problems with its identity fraud detection filters, and
•The IRS experienced problems with the ability of its Modernized E-File system to create properly-formatted data files.”
There will be a different reason for the possible delay in refunds in early 2013.