Tuesday, September 9, 2014


I am off to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City for the National Association of Tax Professionals’ TAX FORUM.  Depending on the availability of sufficient free time, and if I get free internet access at my hotel room, I may post on items of interest learned or reminded of at the Forum during the week, and provide a Friday BUZZ.  If I encounter a problem, I will post on the Forum when I return.

* Tax pros – please check out the September “issue” of my free online newsletter “The Tax Professional” – and spread the word to your colleagues.

* Kelly Phillips Erb reports that “IRS Hit With Class Action Suit Over Tax Preparer User Fees” at FORBES.COM.
The suit, Adam Steele, Brittany Montrois et al versus United States of America, challenges the Internal Revenue Service ability to charge an excessive “user fee” to tax preparers each year to renew their required PTIN (Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number).

I brought up this issue last November in my editorial “Why Is There Still an Excessive PTIN Fee?” at TAXPRO TODAY.

In my editorial I suggested that -
Once the mandatory RTRP regulation regime has been finally declared truly dead, the tax preparer membership organizations should actively lobby the IRS to reduce, or eliminate, the initial and annual PTIN fees.”
Well the RTRP scheme has been officially dead for some time now – and this is the first I have heard of any attempt to address the excessive PTIN fee.

* Here is something I came across reading a local paper while having Sunday breakfast at the Milford Diner.

Professional stager Claudia Jacobs deals with the question “Are Home-Staging Costs Tax Deductible –Part I” in her Claudia’s Corner column at the TIMES HERALD RECORD.

Of course, as with any other tax question, the answer is “it depends”.

* In a truly rare occasion I agree with a state CPA representative and disagree with Prof Jim Maule.

In his post “Placing Blame for the Tax Mess” Jim quotes a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer, titled “Rewrite, Don't Blame”, by Michael Colgan, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.

The letter says that President Obama “missed the mark” by placing “blame for corporate inversions on ‘accountants going to some big corporations . . . and saying we found a great loophole.’’ Colgan also stated, “The real blame lies at the feet of the president and Congress for not tackling the long-overdue rewrite of the U.S. tax code.”

I agree with these statements from Mr Colgan.

Jim says –

Though Colgan is correct that inversions are not illegal, including the president, or any president, among those deserving of blame for the mess that is the Internal Revenue Code totally misses the mark.”

The Prof is correct that “the Internal Revenue Code is a product of the {idiots in} Congress”.  But Colgan is not blaming BO for the complexity of the Tax Code, but for “not tackling the long-overdue rewrite of the U.S. tax code”.  This is true.  The 1986 tax reform only happened because of the leadership of then President Ronald Reagan.  BO has shown no interest in rewriting the mucking fess that is our Tax Code.  The President’s various proposals for “tax reform” only add complexity to the already ultra-complex Code.
A popular phrase from my younger days stated - "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem".

Jim, Mr Colgan, and I do all agree that –

“. . . the Internal Revenue Code needs to be fixed and that doing so is a ‘monumental, yet critical, initiative’.”  

* Jean Murray, provides a primer onCapital Contribution” at ABOUT.COM.  

* I realize this item is a bit late, but FYI Kay Bell brought us the news, and it was not good, about “Gun Sales Tax Holidays Sept. 5-7 in Louisiana and Mississippi”.

I can understand sales tax holidays for back to school shopping, but sales tax holidays for gun purchases is totally ridiculous!  We should NOT be encouraging the sale of guns – just the opposite!

At least the sales tax forgiveness is for hunting guns and equipment only.  So if the idiot father of the 9-year old who in a tragic accident killed her instructor with an uzi decided to travel to Louisiana to buy his daughter her own gun he would still have to pay sales tax.

Speaking of the father of that 9-year old – has he been arrested for child endangerment yet?  Why not? 

This story has apparently died out.  I am truly surprised that more people, especially parents, were not “up in arms” (pardon the pun) about the fact that a 9-year old could legally learn how to use an uzi, or that a sane and responsible parent would allow such a thing.


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