Tuesday, November 20, 2018


* Have you checked out the latest “issue” of THE LAKE REGION SOMETHING?

* The IRS has released the COLA and inflation-adjusted numbers for tax year 2019 (for returns to be prepared in 2020).  Get my special report on WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019 for only $1.00 – available from MY DOLLAR STORE.

* Peter J Reilly suggests you “Ask Your Tax Pro About 199A” at FORBES.COM.

In my opinion, as I said in a post here at TWTP, "The Section 199a Deduction Makes No Sense”. 

* TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb’s latest “Getting To Know You Tuesday” introduces us to "Justin T. Miller", “a national wealth strategist at BNY Mellon, an adjunct professor at Golden Gate University School of Law, and a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)”.

Kelly tells us “Being a tax professional doesn’t necessarily mean that you prepare tax returns.”  As Justin describes his job – “I serve as a national thought leader for the firm, and I work collaboratively with other advisors to provide comprehensive wealth planning advice to clients and their families.”

Returning to Section 199a, I like his description of the new deduction, quoting Churchill -

It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”

And correctly adding –

I know that our representatives spent dozens of minutes working on the tax legislation at the end of 2017, but 199A really set the standard for poor drafting by including limitations, exceptions to limitations, exceptions to exceptions, phase-ins, phase-outs, and poorly defined terms.”

* And Kelly’s “Ask The Taxgirl” entry last week involved a couple who was “Married But Faking Being Single”.

Good advice from KPE –

With so many moving parts, keeping up with the lie is going to catch up with you.  As Mark Twain once said, ‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.’ {good advice for Donald T Rump as well – rdf}

The bottom line is that this definitely isn’t a good strategy on the tax side.  Only you can figure out whether it’s a good strategy on the family/relationship side, but it might be worth considering whether you want to start your new life with a lie. Best of luck.”

* Jason Dinesen briefly reviews “Tax Deductions for College Professors” at DINESEN TAX TIMES, with special emphasis on how the GOP Tax Act has changed things.

As Jason correctly points out -

. . . college professors are out of luck in claiming any deductions for their research expenses or other out-of-pocket classroom expenses.”

* Jim Blankenship has some thoughts on “What can you do to save if you have no 401k?” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.

* And Jim tries to answer the question “Why are Social Security benefits taxed?”, while reviewing the history of taxing these benefits.

Why are Social Security benefits taxed?  Because the government needs money.

* The National Association of Tax Professionals has warned members of a new Social Security scam -

The acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, is warning citizens about an ongoing caller ID “spoofing” scheme misusing the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) national customer service phone number. SSA has received numerous reports of questionable phone calls displaying SSA’s 1-800 number on a caller ID screen. This is a scam; citizens should not engage with those calls or provide any personal information.

These reports indicate the calls display the 1-800-772-1213, SSA’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on caller ID. People who have accepted the calls said the caller identifies as an SSA employee. In some cases, the caller states that SSA does not have all of the person’s personal information, such as their Social Security number (SSN), on file. Other callers claim SSA needs additional information so the agency can increase the person’s benefit payment, or that SSA will terminate the person’s benefits if they do not confirm their information. This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from citizens across the country.

The acting Inspector General urges citizens to be extremely cautious, and to avoid providing information such as your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from SSA, you should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.”


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