Friday, January 2, 2015


The first BUZZ of the New Year!  And it is a meaty one at that.

* Don’t go looking for the January “issue” of THE TAX PROFESSIONAL yet.  I have been too busy with year-end payroll and business “stuff” to devote any time to it.  And, considering the response from fellow tax pros, it has not been very effective.  I may post a January offering later, and I may not.  Either way, it will be on “hiatus” from February through April for the tax filing season.  You can still check out the December “issue”.

* New at BOB’S BABBLINGS – “You Can Never Go Back”, about Broadway musical sequels.

* Need help finding a tax professional to prepare your 2014 tax returns?  The place to start your search is at FIND A TAX PROESSIONAL.

* Kelly Phillips Erb, FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl, finished her annual “12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2014”.

* Speaking of KPE – I made her New Year’s Eve list of “The 100 Must-Follow Tax Twitter Feeds”!  I am a listed under “ Tax and Tax-ish Gurus”.

Kelly believes that you must follow me on Twitter @rdftaxpro.   

* Jeff Stimpson quotes me in his piece “On Your Marks . . . Getting ready for next season” at TAXPRO TODAY.

* Also at TAXPRO TODAY Roger Russell assures us “Tax Season to Start January 20”.

Despite the irresponsible lateness of the idiots in Congress in extending the extenders -

The Internal Revenue Service announced that it anticipates opening the 2015 filing season as scheduled in January. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns electronically on January 20. Paper returns will begin processing at the same time.”

It makes no difference to me.  For 43 years now, and the 44th upcoming, my tax filing season has always begun on February 1st.

* I recently looked back at the year in taxes for 2014.  Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, looked forward to talk about “10 Top Tax Issues That Matter in 2015” at her BANRATE.COM tax blog.

To be honest, except for some inconveniences and time wasting related to Obamacare, none of the issues Kay discusses will really affect me.

* And Kay warns us of a new email scam in “Look Out for Phishing Scam from Fake Treasury Secretary” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

* At MOTLEY FOOL Dan Caplinger reviews “Estate Tax in 2015: 4 Rules You Should Know”.

* Lee Reams answers the question “Who Controls a 529 College Savings Plan?” at TAX BUZZ (I like the blog’s title – I wonder where he got it from) -

Control stays in the hands of the adult responsible for the account. Generally, this is the same person who contributed the money, but it doesn't have to be the case. Someone else, for example, a grandparent, could make the donation but name the child's parent as the account owner. Money does not come out of the account without permission from the account owner.”

* Jason Dinesen listed his “Top 5 Blog Posts of 2014” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

* And Jason begins the New Year with a blast from the past – “Do I Have to File a Tax Return After I Turn 72?

I have also come across this question at various times and in various contexts over the years – and yes, there is “an urban legend going around about something magical that happens to your taxes when you turn 72”.

I believe it stems from the fact that years ago you could earn as much as you want and not have to pay back any of your Social Security once you reached age 72.  Clinton changed that number to 65 in the 1990s.

I first encountered an offshoot of this myth when I was doing payroll for the Art Center in Summit NJ.  A teacher, who had turned age 72, came to me to complain that I had withheld FICA taxes from her paycheck – telling me that since she was 72 she did not have to pay into Social Security any more.

You pay income tax as long as you have sufficient taxable income, from age 1 to age 101 and beyond.  And you pay FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax on all wages received (subject to the maximum wage base) from age 1 to age 101 and beyond.

* Good news from USATODAY – “N.Y. Rep. Grimm to Resign in Wake of Tax Plea”.

* At the WASHINGTON POST Niraj Chokshi reports “Twenty States Will Raise Their Minimum Wage on Jan. 1”.  Since it is now January 2nd this has already happened.

* Trish McIntire tries to explain the convoluted calculation of the “Individual Shared Responsibility Penalty” at OUR TAXING TIMES.

This is something that, as a tax preparer, I do not want to have to do, and that I should not have to do.

The post also outlines the various exemptions to the penalty.

* Professor Annette Nellen’s post “ACA - Affordability of Health Insurance and Age” at 21st CENTURY TAXATION highlights just one of the Act’s oddities.

She asks –

Given that health insurance costs more as we age, why is 8% of household income the affordability measure for all individuals regardless of age? 

Once again proof that, while the Act’s intention of encouraging universal health insurance coverage is a good one, the Act itself is, due to being slapped together quickly and without sufficient, if any, thought, a convoluted mucking fess.

* And the winner is - Mauricio Warner.  Russ Fox has named Mr. Warner as TAXABLE TALK’S “2014 Tax Offender of the Year”. 

According to Russ - 

The winner of this award must do more than just cheat on his or her taxes. It has to be special; it really needs to be a Bozo-like action or actions.”  

I was not familiar with Warner’s story, but it seems Russ made a good choice.

It was interesting to read that among the nominees was new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  Here is what Russ has to say about this nominee (highlight is Russ’s) –

Mr. Koskinen testified to Congress that, ‘I’ve tried to tell you the truth every time I’ve been here.’I had a simple question for Mr. Koskinen: Why doesn’t that quote read I’ve told you the truth every time I’ve been here? The obfuscation by the IRS on the current scandal has led directly to the IRS’s budget being cut.”

Of course for my money Congress, a past winner, could win every year.  These idiots have certainly acted Bozo-like once again this year.  And, judging by the outcome of the November election, will continue to act Bozo-like in the years to come.


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