Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I am working away on the last of the GD extensions this week – and am “locked behind closed doors”.  I put it off long enough.  So no posts except for the two BUZZ installments this week.

* I am still waiting to hear from fellow tax preparers on the topics discussed in the October “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL!

* Joe Kristan continues his comments on the topics discussed in THE TAX PROFESSIONAL by tackling the ethics requirement for CPAs and others in “Tax Roundup, 10/6/14:Nine More Days, folks. And: Four Hours of Ethics to Rule Them All!” at THE ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.

* Joseph J. Thorndike suggests “Let’s Stop Talking About Tax Reform” at THE TAX ANALYSTS BLOG.

The bottom line of his long piece is -

The political bosses are not interested in introducing meaningful tax reform. They’re only interested in talking about it, because talk is cheap.”

Unfortunately, truer words were never spoken.

* In a related item, over at THE HILL Bernie Becker tells us “Poll: Voters Want Teamwork on Tax Reform" -

Seven in 10 voters in several states with high-profile elections this year want President Obama and Congress to work to overhaul the tax code, according to a new poll released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.”

The piece quotes Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs –

Voters are making it clear that they want their elected representatives to enact real, comprehensive tax reform.”

Hey, we voters can dream.  However getting the current idiots in Washington to work together on anything of substance is perhaps “The Impossible Dream”.

* Good news from TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb – “'Real Housewives' Reality Stars Joe & Teresa Giudice Sentenced To Jail”!

Giuseppe ‘Joe’ and Teresa Giudice, stars of the Bravo reality television show, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, finally learned their fate today as a federal judge handed down the sentences in their financial and tax fraud cases. Joe Giudice has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for financial and tax fraud. His wife, Teresa, will serve 15 months.”

Giuseppe must also pay $414,588.90 in restitution.

* The following news item came to me via the NATP’s TaxPro Weekly email newsletter-

Local Lodging Expenses

TD 9696 finalizes rules that the IRS put into effect in 2012 which allow employees to deduct certain expenses paid or incurred for local lodging as business expenses. Taxpayers may deduct certain expenses for lodging when not traveling away from home (local lodging). These include local lodging expenses that are considered ordinary and necessary business expenses in appropriate circumstances. Some of these circumstances include:

·   The lodging is necessary for the individual to participate fully in or be available for a bona fide business meeting, conference, training activity or other business function.

·   The lodging is for a period that does not exceed five calendar days and does not recur more frequently than once per calendar quarter.

·   If the individual is an employee, the employee’s employer requires the employee to remain at the activity or function overnight.

·   The lodging is not lavish or extravagant under the circumstances and does not provide any significant element of personal pleasure, recreation or benefit.”

* The “moral” to the lead item from Joe Kristan’s Friday “Tax Roundup, October 3, 2014: A Gold Mine, or Just a Pile of Old Clothes? And: Economic Self-Development! bears repeating (highlight is mine) –

When you have make a clothing donation (or any donation, for that matter) over $250, you need to get a written receipt meeting IRS rules to support your donation — a cancelled check or blank slip with detail of donation doesn’t cut it. If your donation goes over $5,000, and it’s not a traded security, you must have a qualified appraisal.  No appraisal, no deduction.”

And let me add – letters of acknowledgement must specifically identify the goods or services given to the donor for making the contribution or include the statement that "no goods or services, other than intangible religious benefits, were provided in exchange for the donation”.

* Kay Bell reports “Amazon Collecting Sales Tax in 23 States” at her BANKRATE.COM blog.

Included in the 23 are my current and former home states – PA and NJ.

* Jim Blankenship explains in detail how to “Minimize Taxes by Adjusting your Portfolio” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.

* Tony Nitti brings good news for some of my clients.  He says “Artists Rejoice! Tax Court Concludes Painter's Activity Isn't A 'Hobby'” at his FORBES.COM blog.


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