Friday, October 16, 2015


Only one GD extension left! But I cannot complete it until the taxpayer returns from a business conference in Florida next week.  Refunds anticipated from all “uncles” – so not an issue.  I anticipate returning to regular posts next week.    

* Russ Fox deals with the ultimate procrastinator in “It’s October 13th and I’m Still Not Ready to File my Taxes; What Should I Do?”.

In the post Russ takes issue with my opposition to taxpayers with no tax knowledge using a “box” to prepare their return.

I disagree with fellow tax professional Robert Flach on his description that all tax software is fatally flawed. For individuals in simple situation it works perfectly. It doesn’t make math mistakes. And it usually allows for seamless electronic filing. I agree with Robert that the ability to look at a return and evaluate what’s on it (does it pass the smell test) is vital but when you’re up against a deadline, you don’t have a choice.”

I do not believe that all tax software is “fatally flawed”.  But it is flawed.  I do believe that the basic taxpayer with no training or experience in tax returns is fatally flawed.  The basic rule of “garbage-in, garbage-out” certainly applies.

What I have always said is –

No software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for knowledge of the Tax Code.  And no tax software package, or online filing service, is a substitute for a competent, experienced tax professional.”

I doubt that Russ would disagree with that.

When I talk about tax software being “flawed” it is in my reasons for not using it myself in my practice.  I refer to tax preparation software as “flawed and expensive” – not “fatally flawed”.  Again, I doubt that Russ would disagree with that.  I am constantly hearing tax pros recount stories of how they have to “force” their software to accept a correct answer at CPE events. 

While I am in awe of Robert’s practice of doing his returns by hand, I don’t recommend it for anyone else. While software, like any human endeavor, is ‘flawed’, it’s much less flawed than a do-it-yourself tax filer without software.  Tax software prevents a lot more mistakes than it causes.”

The obvious solution to the issue is – don’t wait until the last minute to file your tax return.

What do you think?

* Gary Altman, J.D., L.L.M., CFP of the FINANCIAL PLANNING ASSOCIATION reminds us “Don’t Forget to Audit Your Beneficiary Designations”.

* Oi vey! Jim Blankenship explains “The 52% Medicare Premium Increase by the Numbers” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.

The good news (highlight is mine) –

Anyone who is currently receiving Social Security and having the Part B premium deducted from their check will have the same premium for 2016 as they have in 2015, since there is no COLA projected.”

I do believe that is all of my applicable clients – so, thankfully, no changes for them.

* And the beat goes on.  Another reality show “celebrity” in trouble.  Over at FORBES.COM Kelly Phillips Erb tells us “'Dance Moms' Star Abby Lee Miller Accused Of Hiding Income, Indicted On Fraud Charges” -   

Abby Lee Miller, the star of the reality TV {excrement – rdf} ‘Dance Moms’ has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets, and false bankruptcy declarations.”

Hey, the fact that they appear on reality tv in itself is proof that they are not very bright.


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