Tuesday, September 23, 2014


* I am working on the content for the October issue of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL.  Have you seen the September issue yet?  Why not?

* Philip Bump tells us “Americans Think 51 Percent of Every Tax Dollar is Wasted. Come On, Guys” at the Washington Post’s THE FIX blog.
While Philip points out examples of substantial federal government waste, he thinks that 51% is a ridiculously high number.

I don’t know about federal spending, but having lived in Hudson County NJ for most of my life I don’t think the number is too high for local and state waste (at least in NJ).

* Jean Murray deals with the frequently asked question “How Does a Sole Proprietor Get Paid?” at ABOUT.COM.

* And Jean’s ABOUT.COM colleague William Perez tackles “Taxable Refunds: Reporting Taxable Refunds on Form 1040”.

Bill points out –

If you itemized your deductions on your federal tax return last year and you claimed a deduction for State and Local Taxes, then you need to figure the taxable portion of your state refund.”

And -

However, if you claimed the standard deduction on your federal tax return last year, your state tax refund is not taxable. State refunds are also not taxable if you deducted state and local sales tax instead of state income tax on last year's federal return.”

* Kay Bell tells us about “Energy-Related Tax Holidays in Florida, Georgia & Virginia” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

It’s too late now for Florida, but the Georgia and Virginia events are in October.  

* Oi vey!  A milestone.  Professor Paul Caron tells us that The IRS Scandal has reached “Day 500” at the TAXPROF BLOG.  Paul quotes from an article on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

* Over at ROLL CALL Matt Fuller reports “Boehner Lists Tax Reform Among House GOP’s Top Prioritiesfor 2015”.

The item quotes Boehner as saying -

Our tax code is terrible.  Nobody understands it — not even the IRS.”

What we can gather from this is that, as expected, absolutely nothing will be done regarding any kind of “tax reform” in 2014.  As for 2015 – don’t hold your breath.

It appears Boner did not mention the “extenders” in the speech discussed in the item, as he was addressing the goals of the next (114th) Congress.

* A post by Jim Blankenship at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW from January explains “Why Watching the Stock Market Can Make You Sick”.

I have always said that (unless you are a legitimate day trader) if you need to check the stock market every day to see if it went up or down you should not be in the stock market.  I have a client who had stock-market based annuities and used to check the market every day and moan about losing money every time it went down a few points.  Luckily she got out of annuities and I eventually hooked her up with a good honest broker.   

* Jeffrey Levine of THE SLOTT REPORT, the go-to site for IRA information, advises “New Guidance Opens the Door to Tax-free Roth IRA Conversions of Certain Retirement Funds”.

The answer to the question “If someone has a 401(k) with pre and post-tax money, can they take a distribution and roll (convert) just the post-tax money to a Roth IRA tax-free, while rolling the remaining pre-tax money over to a traditional IRA?” is now YES.

* And, also at SLOTT, Beverly DeVeny responds to the question “Multiple Retirement Accounts and RMDs: Can I Take the Required Distribution From One Account?

The answer, no surprise here, is “It depends”.


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