Tuesday, August 21, 2018


A “meaty” BUZZ this week!

Be sure to check out THE FINAL WORD for my best idea ever.

* A new “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING was posted last week.  Have you seen it yet?   

* The GSA has announced “FY 2019 Per Diem Rates Now Available”.  Rates are set by fiscal year, effective October 1 each year.  The GSA reminds us –

Please note! The FY2019 rates are NOT the default rates until October 1, 2018.”

There are six possible Meal and Incidental Expense rates for fiscal 2019 - $55, $56, $61, $66, $71 and $76.  These rates are higher than fiscal 2018’s $51, $54, $59, $64, $69 and $74.

The Meal and Incidental Expense is broken down here.  The portion of the per diem amount that represents “Incidental Expenses” – “fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships” - is a consistent $5.00 for each of the 6 rates.  The $5.00 also applied to all of the fiscal 2018 per diems.

Just a reminder – employee business expenses are no longer deductible on Schedule A, so the per diem if only for use by business entities.  The Meal and Incidental Expense per diem can be used by Schedule C filers.

* Roger Russell reports “D.C. Circuit Court strikes down AICPA challenge to unenrolled preparer program” at ACCOUNTING TODAY.

The AICPA consistently opposes and attempts to destroy any program, credential or designation that identifies and confirms a non-CPA tax preparer’s competence, knowledge and experience in preparing tax returns.  It wants to maintain the ridiculous myth that only CPAs are tax experts. 

* The Peter G Peterson Foundation’s FISCAL BLOG confirms that “Last Year’s Tax Law Did Not Simplify the System – It Added More Tax Breaks” –

The United States tax code is filled with loopholes, deductions, exemptions, credits, and preferential rates; such preferences are known as tax expenditures. Many economists, policymakers, and analysts believe it would help the economy to do away with some or all of those tax breaks to make the code more simple, efficient, and fair.

Last year’s tax legislation was a key opportunity to do just that, but in addition to adding significantly to our national debt, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act actually increased the number of tax breaks.”

The tax code contained 216 “tax expenditures” before enactment of the GOP Tax Act.  The Act introduced 7 more.

* Robert W Wood explains “Trump Tax Law Hurts Personal Injury Suit Settlements” at FORBES.COM (below highlight is mine) -

In 2018 and thereafter, there is no deduction for these legal fees. Yes, that means you collect 60%, but are taxed on 100%.”

In the past legal fees were deductible as a Miscellaneous itemized expense – but were not deductible in calculating the dreaded AMT, so this inequity is really not new.  And claiming 100% of the award, before legal fees, as gross income, both then and now, increases AGI and could reduce or eliminate other tax deductions and credits.  See my post “Nobody Ever Said Taxes Were Fair– PART II”.

* Jason Dinesen begins an interesting discussion for tax professionals in “What Happens to Clients Who 'Want a Second Opinion'? at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

Actually, I don’t recall this ever happening to me.

* A agree with Howard Gleckman of TAX VOX that “The TCJA’s Pass-Through Deduction Was Misguided From the Beginning”.

Once Congress started down the road of granting the pass-through deduction to some business owners but not others, it put government in the role of picking very specific winners and losers. A cardinal rule of tax policy is horizontal equity—treating taxpayers in similar circumstances in roughly the same way. Another is that the tax law should be as simple as possible. The TCJA’s pass-through provision scores a resounding “F” on both measures.”

* Jeff Rose gives us the “Rules and Limits to Open a SEP IRA for2018” at GOOD FINANCIAL SENSE.

* New Jersey once again, like Oliver Twist, last on the list.  It is #50 in overall rank on the TAX FOUNDATION “2018 State Business Tax Climate Index”.

* Also from the TAX FOUNDATION “What Is the Real Value of $100 in Your State?”.

It looks like my move from NJ to PA was a smart one.  $100 is worth only $88.34 in NJ, but $101.63 in PA!

* New Jersey is bashed on another list – this time “America's Worst States to Retire In” from MONEY WISE -

New Jersey lands at No. 2 on our list because the Garden State can take a serious financial toll on retirees.”

And –

The state also has the second-highest combined state and local tax burden in America.”

The worst state to retire in, according to MONEY WISE, is Louisiana. 

I am very happy in Pennsylvania!


My very best idea ever!

Let’s have at least one full day where the name Donald J Trump in any form is NOT mentioned in ANY media anywhere.

Reference to Trump in any media would be limited to “the President” or “The White House”.

NO images or pictures of Trump would appear anywhere in ANY media.

And any headline mentioning or referring to “the President” would appear BELOW THE FOLD in all newspapers.

It would be a NATIONAL NO TRUMP DAY – although it could not be referred to by that name on the actual day itself.

It would drive Donald T Rump crazy.  He would hate NO press more than bad press.

Spread the word!


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