Friday, July 18, 2014


* According to “National Taxpayer Advocate Identifies Priority Areas and Challenges in Mid-Year Report to Congress” National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress that identifies the priority issues the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will address during the upcoming fiscal year

In her continuing call for “minimum standards for tax-return preparers” Ms Olson (highlight is mine) –

reiterates her longstanding recommendation that a meaningful preparer standards program must contain four components:  (1) registration to promote accountability; (2) a one-time “entrance” examination to ensure basic competency in return preparation; (3) continuing education courses to ensure preparers keep up to date with the many frequent tax-law changes; and (4) a taxpayer education campaign to help guide taxpayers to credentialed practitioners (i.e., CPAs, attorneys, and Enrolled Agents) or preparers who have satisfied the above requirements”.

Nina, a CPA is NOT a “credentialed” tax practitioner.  Nor is an attorney. 

A CPA is a credentialed accountant who is authorized to certify financial statements.  An attorney is a credentialed attorney.  Nothing about the initials CPA or JD have anything to do with competence or currency in the preparation of 1040s! 

A CPA and an attorney can “practice” before all levels of the Internal Revenue Service – but not because they have proven competence or currency in taxation, like the Enrolled Agent has.  They can practice before the IRS because a law says they can.

If you want “minimum standards for tax-return preparers” these standards must apply to all individuals who want to prepare tax returns – be they CPAs, attorneys, or the previously unenrolled.

* While we are on the subject, ACCOUNTING TODAY brings us the news that “AICPA Sues IRS over Voluntary Program for Tax Preparers”.

I have said time and again that there are so many things wrong with the IRS voluntary Annual Filing Season program.  But, pardon my cynicism, the AICPA would be against any voluntary program that would identify competent non-CPA tax preparers, deflate the totally untrue urban tax myth that a CPA is automatically a 1040 tax expert, and provide serious competition to CPAs.

My “twitter buddy” Dan Alban of the Institute for Justice points out that the AICPA originally supported the IRS mandatory RTRP program and thinks it is odd that they oppose a voluntary program.  However, if all tax preparers are required to be licensed as RTRPs, and CPAs are exempt from licensing, this appears to support the myth that CPAs are 1040 experts.  The erroneous assumption is that because the IRS does not require testing and mandatory tax CPE of CPAs this means they have already proven competence and remain current in 1040 preparation by virtue of being a CPA.

* Did you get a change to check out my article on “When Should You Begin Collecting Social Security?” over at MAINSTREET.COM.

* Steven J Fromm is thinking about “Summer Weddings” and gives us a comprehensive “Quick and Easy Tax Guide For Those Getting Married and Newlyweds” at the PHILADELPHIA ESTATE AND TAX ATTORNEY BLOG.

His first item of advice is most important (highlight is mine) –

The names and Social Security numbers on your tax return must match your Social Security Administration (SSA) records. If you change your name, it is imperative to report it to the SSA.”  

* Miranda Marquit provides some “Tips for Keeping Your Taxes Organized All Year Round” at EQUIFAX.COM.

She has a good final paragraph of advice –

If you consistently keep up with your taxes, properly filing everything once you receive it (you can do this in less than 30 seconds), all you’ll need to do is gather your paperwork up once tax time rolls around. You’ll reduce your stress level and make the time you do spend filing your taxes much more efficient.”

* Russ Fox identifies one of the reasons why I NEVER call the IRS, or a state tax agency in “101 Minutes…” at TAXABLE TALK.  I always use written correspondence.

Another reason – I do not trust the person to whom I speak to (1) tell the truth or (2) do what he/she says he/she will do.  In the past both I and clients have been lied to over the telephone by federal and state employees.

* "Back To School Sales Tax Holidays Begin Soon For Many States” explains Kelly Phillips Erb, FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl.

* Kay Bell provides another reason that refundable tax credits, and federal welfare payments, should NOT be in the Tax Code in “$15.6 Billion in Bad EITC Payments” at her BANKRATE.COM Taxes Blog.

* Professor Jim Maule continues his series on debunking Tax Myths at MAULED AGAIN with “Part IX: The Tax Rate Confusion”.

The Professor is correct when he says, “Most people do not understand income tax rates.”

I dealt with this confusion here at TWTP in “Evaluating Tax Rates”.

I am waiting for Professor Maule’s debunking of the tax myth that a CPA is automatically a 1040 expert.


An item Kate Ackley at Roll Call’s BELTWAY INSIDERS blog quotes from a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform

The commission decries the inordinate amount of time that members of Congress spend raising money and worry about the effects of such fundraising on the legislative process,” the report stated. “In particular, we fear that the need to raise ever-increasing amounts of campaign funds is crowding out the time that members have to engage in legislating and government oversight, the job they were sent to Washington to perform.”

The post is titled “Who Has Time for Legislating Anyway?”.

Clearly the number one priority of the idiots in Congress is getting re-elected, and getting other members of their party elected or re-elected, and not legislating and government oversight – “the job they were sent to Washington to perform”. 




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