Tuesday, December 10, 2013


* Check out the December “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING.  ‘Nuff said.   

* Taxpros, I still want to hear your comments on my TAXPRO TODAY editorial “Who Speaks for the Tax Preparer".

* Just a reminder – last Friday the IRS released the 2014 standard mileage allowance rates.  Click here.

* Don’t expect any more tax legislation this year – including the annual extension of the extenders.  CCH tells us “Camp Delays Release of Comprehensive Tax Reform Legislation to 2014” –

With just over a week before the end of the first session of the 113th Congress, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., has acknowledged that he will not introduce comprehensive tax reform legislation in 2013. Following a closed-door meeting with other lawmakers on December 4, Camp told reporters that work on reform legislation will continue in 2014, but no measure will be marked up this year.”

And last week’s TAXPRO WEEKLY email newsletter from NATP had the following item -

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp, R-Mich., told reporters not to expect a tax reform bill or legislation to renew dozens of tax provisions scheduled to expire at the end of 2013, including:

•The state and local sales tax deduction.
•The deduction for mortgage insurance premiums as interest.
•The deduction for qualified tuition and related expenses.
•The $250 deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers.
•The Work Opportunity Tax Credit.
•The increase and expansion of §179.
•The Research and Experimentation Tax Credit.
•The MACRS 15-year straight line cost recovery for qualified leasehold, restaurant and retail improvements.”

Also on the list is the ability to make a charitable contribution via direct transfer from an IRA to satisfy your RMD requirement.

* Jamaal Solomon of THE TAX FACTOR has posted the second installment of his “Things I Can Learn About Taxes from a Newborn Child” series.

This installment has important advice for both taxpayers and tax preparers. 
Tax preparers are not on “24-hour call”.  We are available for tax business during normal business hours.  As JS states – “There is no such thing as a ‘tax emergency’ that needs to be handle on a Sunday afternoon”.

And tax preparers must set guidelines and boundaries for their clients.  You do not need to be available to your clients 24/7.  Do not worry about losing a client.  Clients that will pester you on a Sunday morning or at dinnertime are not worth the agita.

* Barbara Weltman lists “5 Rules for Deducting Business Meals” at ENTREPRENEUR.COM.  

* Did I mention this in a previous BUZZ?  TAX PROF Paul Caron has a BUZZ-like “Weekly Tax Roundup”.  Unlike the BUZZ, and Joe Kristan’s daily tax roundup, Paul’s weekly post has no commentary – just links to Paul’s pick of tax-related posts of interest from the week.

* Speaking of Joe Kristan, over at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG Joe talks at length about the new final regulations for the convoluted 3.8% surtax on net investment income in “Self-rental, Business Sales Benefit from New Net Investment Income Tax Regulations”.

Just a reminder, in case this tax myth is still making the rounds of emails (I heard fellow patrons at a local bar spewing this nonsense a few months ago) – the surtax on net investment income for higher income taxpayers is NOT a 3.8% sales tax on the sale of your personal residence!

* Tom Herman gives us a good year-end reminder to “Be Careful With the 'Wash-Sale' Rule: It Applies Both Before and After a Stock Sale” in the ASK DOE JONES blog at the Wall Street Journal.

Let me add another reminder/warning – an automatic dividend reinvestment is a purchase and can trigger a wash sale.
And the wash sale rules do not apply if you sell an investment at a profit.

* TAXPROF Paul Caron reports that “ District Court Upholds IRS's Authority to Charge PTIN Fees”.

The question is not whether or not the IRS can charge tax preparers a fee to renew their PTIN (Preparer Tax Identification Number) – the question, as I ask at TAXPRO TODAY, is “Why Is There Still an Excessive PTIN Fee?” when it is no longer needed to fund the IRS mandatory RTRP regulation regime that was shot down by the court.  $10 maybe – but not $63.


I noticed a tv ad from our friends Henry and Richard recently.  They want you to come into their office now.

But they do not want you to come in to discuss year-end tax planning strategies, which would be a legitimate reason to visit a tax preparer at this time of the year.  They want you to come in to get an expensive paycheck loan, a variation on their usurious Refund Anticipation Loans of the past. 

Here’s some good advice – just say no to H+R’s, or anyone else's, paycheck loans.  And, during the upcoming filing season, just say no to overpaying H+R to prepare your tax returns.


1 comment:

Chris Johnson, EA said...

Regarding what you said about paycheck loans, refund anticipation loans and using the retail chain you named to prepare taxes - AMEN TO THAT!

I have more respect for pawn shops than any tax preparation chain that offers and pressures their customers to take a refund anticipation loan. I hope I'd never have to borrow money at a pawn shop, but everybody who walks into one made the conscious choice to borrow at their usurious rates - they don't get the fraudulent "but you can have your money today" pitch, not realizing how much of their tax refund is being sacraficed.

I must also add that I try to stress to all my clients who get huge refunds at the end of the year and are thrilled about it are suffering from what I call "intaxication" - drunk with happiness over getting money that was already theirs to begin with, and all they've done is give the government an interest-free loan. I always suggest that they have less money withheld during the year, but very few complete the paperwork to do so.