Tuesday, December 31, 2013


As you are reading the final BUZZ of 2013 I will be typing W-2s!

* Attention NJ tax pros – the Winter 2013 issue of NJ TAXING TIMES, the newsletter of the NJ chapter of NATP, is out!  Click here to download.

Be sure to check out my article on “K-1s and the NJ-1040”.

* William Perez provides his take on the “Top Tax News Stories of 2013” at ABOUT.COM – listing a baker’s dozen.

* The MOTLEY FOOL lists “8 States That Cut Income Taxes in 2013”.  None of them are in the northeast.

* Would you believe, as THE WIRE tells us, that “The FBI Considered 'It's a Wonderful Life' to Be Communist Propaganda”?  My answer = “yes”.

From the film’s release in 1946 until 1956, it was listed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as suspected Communist propaganda.”

* Manasa Nadig takes on the task of “Clearing Up Common Myths About Life Insurance Proceeds” at THE BUZZ ABOUT TAXES.  

* Oops, they did it again.  Here is the word from the NJ Division of Taxation –

The filing deadline for 2012 Homestead Benefit Applications has been extended to January 31, 2014. The original filing deadline was November 22, 2013. Applications were mailed to homeowners beginning in early October 2013.”

Click here for the press release.

I still say the application should be once again included in the NJ-1040 filing.

* Jean Murray explains “End of Year Employee Paychecks - Which Year's Taxes?” at ABOUT.COM.

Jean points out –

The rule is:  The paycheck is considered as taxable income in the year the paycheck is ISSUED (dated), even if the work was done and the pay was earned in a different year . . .

But there is an exception, which she identifies.

* Barbara Weltman considers “Tax Increases By Any Other Name” at BARBARA’S BLOG –

In 2014, there are new government fees that essentially raise taxes. After all, payments to the government, whether labeled taxes, fees, penalties, fines, or something else, all do the same thing, which is transfer funds from taxpayers to the federal coffer.”

A word of warning – the “shared responsibility” penalty “for individuals who do not have ‘minimum essential coverage’ at the start of the year” is not as simple as it may appear.  It involves a convoluted calculation.  As I have mentioned before, those who use a tax preparer to calculate the penalty are doubly penalized – they must pay the penalty and must pay a higher fee to their tax pro for calculating the penalty.

The item quotes BO –

And, my office is ready, willing and eager to engage both parties in having a conversation about how we can simplify the tax code, make it fairer, make it work to create more jobs and do right by middle-class Americans.”

I hope he is sincere, but so far BO has not demonstrated any indication that he wants true substantial tax reform.  He has clearly shown that he wants to continue to wrongly use the Tax Code to redistribute income, and wants to “tax the rich” simply because they can afford it.

The item also tells us –

In a related development, House Budget Committee Chairman and former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has officially expressed interest in succeeding Camp as Ways and Means chairman when Camp ends his term at the end of 2014.”

This is definitely not something I would support.

* Howard Gleckman presents “The Tax Vox 2013 Lump of Coal Award: Wait ‘Til Next Year Edition” for the top 10 “worst tax and fiscal policies of 2013” at, where else, TAX VOX, the blog of the Tax Policy Center.

Some interesting entries.  I certainly agree with #1 on the list - the government shutdown.

And an excellent bottom line -

If 2013 is remembered for anything—and perhaps it is best forgotten—it may be for all that didn’t happen.”

A result of the most unproductive and useless Congress in history.  Don’t forget to vote out any incumbents running for re-election in 2014!  

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 26, 2014 include:

·     Letters (1 oz.) — 3-cent increase to 49 cents
·     Letters additional ounces —  1-cent increase to 21 cents
·     Letters to all international destinations (1 oz.) — $1.15
·     Postcards — 1-cent increase to 34 cents

It appears that the new 49 cent rate is temporary and will last no more than two years. 

* REUTERS give us the news that “New York Regulates Tax Preparers as U.S. IRS Effort Drifts” -

New York will require independent preparers to pass a competency test and take continuing education classes.”

I expect this will not apply to the upcoming tax filing season, and will begin with the filing season for 2014 tax returns, and that this new development will be covered in detail in the NYS tax update presentation at the annual “Famous State Tax Seminar” given by the NJ chapter of NATP on January 11th.  I will let you know more information as I find it.

BTW – did you ever wonder what became of former IRS tax preparer regulation and electronic filing “czar” David Williams?  He is now “chief tax officer at Intuit Inc {TurboTax – rdf}, which sells tax preparation software”.

* Russ Fox addresses the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council’s 18th Annusl Small Business Policy Index in “Bring Me the Usual Suspects: Small Business Policy Index 2013”.

It is no surprise that my former home state of New Jersey is on the bottom of the list again - #49.  Only California is a worse state in which to do business.


Did you hear the DUCK DYNASTY Christmas carol?

May your days be merry and pleasurable.
And may all your neighbors be heterosexual!

BTW – there is also an Archie Bunker version.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.  May 2014 be less taxing!



Jean Wilson Murray, MBA, PhD said...

Thanks for including me in your list. By the way, I try to use the term "tax advisor" instead of CPA (I define it as "a financial expert with training in tax laws. But "tax professional" works well too.

Jean Murray (biztaxlaw.about.com)

Robert D Flach said...


Thanks for continually providing "BUZZ-worthy" posts!

"Tax advisor" is just as good as "tax professional" - as long as you do not use CPA. Thanks for doing it right!