Friday, November 29, 2019

JUST IN TIME!


Just in time for Black Friday shopping, and year-end tax planning, I have updated my THE JOY OF AVOIDING NEW JERSEY TAXES, the only book available that I know of that discusses in details NJ state income taxes, for tax year 2019.

A new section on Tax Benefits for Veterans and their Caregivers has been added.

Most NJ taxpayers concentrate on their federal tax return and spend minimal time on their NJ return, simply taking numbers from the 1040 and putting them on the NJ-1040.  As a result, they are paying more NJ state tax than necessary, often paying tax on income that is not even taxed by NJ.  By becoming informed on NJ state tax law and using proper tax planning you can make sure that you pay the absolute least amount of NJ Gross Income Tax possible for your particular situation.

Whether or not you use a professional tax preparer, the more you know about NJ taxes the more you will be able to properly structure your financial transactions during the year to minimize taxes and the better prepared you will be when giving your “stuff” to your preparer at tax time.

I will send you this valuable book as a pdf email attachment for only 11.95.  The cost of a print version, sent via postal mail, is $15.45.

The e-book version for Kindle available from Amazon should be updated by Cyber Monday (December 2nd) – wait till then to order.  This version does not include the forms, schedules and worksheets included in the versions ordered directly from me.

To order send your check or money order payable to TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC to –

TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC
THE JOY OF AVOIDING NJ TAXES
POST OFFICE BOX A
HAWLEY PA 18428

TTFN




























Wednesday, November 27, 2019

ENOUGH ALREADY!

Enough already.  Let’s call a spade a shovel. 

Donald T Rump is a worthless piece of garbage, totally devoid of humanity, and without a single redeeming human quality. 

Trump is ignorant and incompetent, delusional and dangerous, despicable and deplorable, corrupt and crooked, and totally self-absorbed, caring about absolutely nothing but himself. 

Trump lies to everyone about everything every day.

The most dangerous threat facing America and American values and democracy today is the Trump Presidency. 

It is crystal clear that Trump Must Go ASAP.

The quickest way to remove Trump is by evoking the 25th Amendment, which is certainly justifiable, but this will not happen.

Next quickest is via impeachment, again certainly justifiable.  We must hope and pray for a miracle – that enough Republicans in the Senate break from their truly hypocritical colleagues and actually put country ahead of Party and personal interests.

If that fails Trump MUST be voted out of office in 2020.  The most important issue in the 2020 election, if he survives impeachment, is removing Trump from office.  No other issue is more important.

Regardless of how Trump is removed from the White House – it is also vital that all the hypocritical Republicans in Congress who have supported and defended Trump MUST also be voted out of office when they come up for re-election.  
  
There is absolutely no justification for defending Trump’s multitude of unethical, unconstitutional, illegal, racist, and just plain stupid actions and behavior and supporting his continuation in office. Defense of Trump is indefensible.

All patriotic Americans, regardless of political philosophy or affiliation, must vocally and aggressively oppose and denounce Trump. 

It is NOT politics – it's patriotism!  

TTFN





















Tuesday, November 26, 2019

WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’?


* It is fast approaching the time of year when FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb posts her annual “The Twelve Days of Charitable Giving ”.


* Staying with KPE, she discusses “Divorce, Retirement Accounts & Taxes: The Importance Of Getting It Right”, also at FORBES.COM.

* And a post from her original TAXGIRL.COM blog provides us with a KPE trifecta.  She gives us an “Ask The Taxgirl” item, answering the question “Are Home Equity Loans Still Deductible?”.

* A new post at AMERICANS FOR COMMON SENSE - "Religion and Politics".

* The NSTB BLOG identifies “Tax Resources for Military Personnel”.

* Kay Bell tells us “IRS conducting in-person tax compliance visits in 3 states” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

The 3 states are Arkansas, Texas and Wisconsin.

Basically, according to the IRS, its agents will contact taxpayers, again individual and business, who have a previously known tax issue that wasn't resolved through mail contact.”

* THE TAX FOUNDATION supplies us with a tool for “Tracking the 2020 Presidential Tax Plans” of the Democratic candidates.

I do not support Democratic tax policies of taxing the rich simply because they can afford it and using the Tax Code to deliver government benefits and redistribute wealth.  Click here for my views on tax reform.

While tax policy is important, and it is important to know a candidate’s tax and other policies, the most important criteria for selecting a Democratic candidate for President in 2020 is the ability to defeat Trump.  No issue is more important in 2020 than removing Trump from the White House.

* Jim Buttonow lists “Ten major trends in IRS audits” at ACCOUNTING TODAY.

Some interesting trends.  Specifically, “Most audits are done by mail”, 75% mail audits and 25% office or field audits for 2018, and this -



THE LAST WORD

To all the Republicans out there, in and out of Congress - it comes down to this.

Do you believe career diplomats and members of the intelligence community whose primary concern is protecting the national security of the US or a totally self-absorbed ignorant and incompetent moron whose ONLY concern is protecting himself?

The answer is obvious to anyone with a brain and a conscience. 

Those who still support and defend Trump either have no brain or no conscience - or neither.

TTFN















Monday, November 25, 2019

2019 FEDERALLY DECLARED DISASTER AREAS (SO FAR)

As promised, here are the federally declared disaster areas that qualify for tax relief in 2019 (so far):

Alabama Severe storms, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that took place on March 3, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Lee County.

Arkansas Severe storms and flooding that took place on May 21, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Arkansas, Conway, Crawford, Desha, Faulkner, Jefferson, Lincoln, Logan, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Sebastian, and Yell counties.

Iowa Severe storms and flooding that took place on March 12, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Fremont, Harrison, Louisa, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, Scott, Shelby, and Woodbury counties.

Missouri Severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding that took place on April 29, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Andrew, Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Carroll, Chariton, Cole, Greene, Holt, Jackson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lincoln, Livingston, Miller, Osage, Pike, Platte, Pulaski, and St. Charles counties.

Nebraska Severe winter storm, straight-line  winds, and  flooding that took place on March 9, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Antelope, Boone, Boyd, Buffalo, Butler, Burt, Cass, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Hall, Holt, Howard, Knox, Madison, Nance, Nemaha, Pierce, Platte, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Stanton, Thurston, and Washington counties, and the Santee Sioux Nation.

Ohio Severe storms, straight -line winds, tornadoes, flooding, and landslides that took place on May 27, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry, and Pickaway counties.

Oklahoma Severe storms , tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that took place on May 7, 2019 for individuals who reside or have a business in Alfalfa, Canadian, Creek, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Garfield, Kay, Kingfisher, Le Flore, Logan , Mayes, Muskogee, Noble, Nowata, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Payne, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington and Woods counties.

South Dakota Severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that began on March 13, 2019 for individuals and households who reside or have a business in Bennett, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Dewey, Hutchinson, Jackson, Mellette, Minnehaha, Oglala Lakota, Todd, Turner, Yankton, Ziebach counties, the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, the Pine Ridge Reservation, and the Rosebud Reservation.

And again, for for updates on the areas that qualify click here.

TTFN













Friday, November 22, 2019

NATP YEAR-END TAX UPDATE SEMINAR

Monday and Tuesday of this week I attended the annual National Association of Tax Professionals 1040 Update seminar (Monday) and a seminar on “Business Tax Reporting on the 1040” (Tuesday).at Bally’s in Atlantic City.  Click here for more details on these offerings.

I have been attending the annual update seminar for as long as I have been a member of NATP (over 30 years).  However, it no longer has the value for me that it did in earlier years.  The actual update portion is truly redundant.  It is a year behind from my point of view.  While NATP is teaching the 2019 Form 1040-related numbers I am reviewing and compiling the 2020 numbers.

This was the first seminar I was attending as a designated NATP volunteer, helping with the signing in, handing out of workbooks and signing out.   

One new feature of the event was a pleasant surprise.  For the first time the continental breakfast provided included a hot option – bacon, egg and cheese or sausage, egg and cheese on a bagel.  As a diabetic I would have also preferred cereal and fruit as another option, and for the afternoon dessert break sugar-free cookies.

Monday began with New Tax Law and New Developments.  The only new tax-related law passed in 2019 was the “Taxpayer First Act”, dealing with taxpayer protections and identity theft prevention.  Congress is, and will be, incapable of enacting any substantive legislation on any issue until 2021.

There were few new developments, a major one being the issuance of IRS regulations dealing with the new, truly complicated, and in my opinion unnecessary Section 199a QBI deduction.  Speaking of the QBI deduction, new for 2019 are Form 8995 and Form 8995-A to calculate the QBI deduction, replacing worksheets that were used for 2018.  The applicable form is included in the 2019 Form 1040 filing.   

We reviewed the draft of the new 2019 Form 1040 and 1040-SR, which I have discussed here in previous posts, and the 2019 supplemental schedules.  What was new to me was the reduction of the previous 6 supplemental schedules to 3 – Schedule 2 and 4 are combined in the 2019 Schedule 2, Schedule 3 and 5 are combined in Schedule 3 for 2019, and the information previously reported on Schedule 6 is now on the 1040.  Reporting Schedule D income or loss has been moved from Schedule 1 to a line on the 2019 Form 1040.

We also took a look at the proposed new 2020 Form W-4.  Click here for a copy of the draft.  There are no more exemptions to claim – you no longer indicate “Single-0” or “Married-3”.  When filling it out you must follow the instructions and enter the requested information.  I would recommend you do not enter any amount for “deductions”, but do enter any other income, such as interest and dividends, and do not claim any or your dependents, or at least claim only half the number of exemptions to which you are entitled. 

One thing discussed was new to me - I was not aware that the $10,000 “SALT” limitation on Schedule A could have an effect on the home office deduction on Form 8829 and the rental income and expenses on a two-family home reported on Schedule E.  This is something I need to review further and perhaps devote a future post to it.

Under the GOP Tax Act only casualty losses resulting from Presidentially-declared disasters are deductible on Schedule A.  The workbook provided a list of these areas so far for 2019, and I wanted to share it here, but for some reason I cannot access the workbook online.  When this is fixed and I am able to I will post the list.

The text also identified this IRS webpage as a source of continuing information on disaster relief.

BTW – a Presidentially-declared disaster is different from a Presidentially-caused disaster.  Taxpayers cannot deduct losses from national disasters caused by Trump.  Trump himself IS a national disaster. 

As a point of information - my entire perspective in attending continuing professional education sessions is different now.  While, as a tax blogger I have a general journalist’s interest in new tax law and new tax developments, as a tax preparer who no longer seeks or accepts new clients, and is winding down my practice, I have no interest in taking time to learn anything new that does not directly affect my existing 1040 clients, or anything that involves too much complexity or study that perhaps might affect a few clients.  It is easier for me to tell the clients that the new law or development might affect, “Homey don’t play that”.

As I tell my clients, while I do believe you can teach an old dog new tricks, and I have to learn some new tricks every year, there are some new tricks this old dog doesn’t want to learn.

I was truly pleased that for the second year the update seminar did not include 2 hours of redundant ethics preaching.  I had always complained in the past that I paid for 8 hours of actual tax education but only got 6.

This may perhaps be the last year I attend the update seminar.  Next year I may choose the NATP Forum, also held each year in Atlantic City but at Harrah’s on the marina, instead to learn of new developments.

Tuesday’s business reporting seminar was basically a review, albeit a good review, and I really did not learn anything new. 

One more item worth sharing before I go.  The instructor explained that she was told why the new treatment of alimony in the GOP Tax Act did not take effect until 2019, instead of beginning in 2018 like other items.  As per the Act, alimony is not deductible by the payer or included in income of the recipient for divorce or separation decrees or agreements executed after December 31, 2018.  For decrees or agreements executed before January 1, 2019 the old law still applies.  At the time the bill was being written 3 Congressmen, presumably Republicans, were going through divorce proceedings which would not be finalized until 2018.  And as we know, most Congresspersons, apparently as we’ve learned recently certainly Republican ones, put their personal interests ahead of the country’s interests.

TTFN























Tuesday, November 19, 2019

WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’?


As you read this, I am in Atlantic City at the annual year-end tax update seminars of the National Association of Tax Professionals.  I will report on what we learned after I return.

* A belated happy 14th Anniversary to Kay Bell’s DON’T MESS WITH TAXES blog!  Here is her first post – “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

Congratulations to the yellow rose of taxes!

* Just when we tax pros thought we didn’t need to deal with client health insurance coverage anymore Russ Fox tells us “Out With the Fed Mandate; In With State Mandates” at TAXABLE TALK.

Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have their own mandates for the 2019 tax year (tax returns filed in 2020); Massachusetts’ mandate began in 2007. California, Rhode Island, and Vermont have implemented mandates for the 2020 tax year (tax returns filed in 2021).

Unfortunately, as 90% of my clients are NJ residents I will have to continue to deal with this PITA.  I personally have never believed a taxpayer should be penalized for not having “adequate” health insurance coverage for all household members for the entire year.

* A topical post, considering Trump’s crime (only one of many).  Robert W Wood explains “Quid Pro Quo? Actually, IRS Cares Too” at FORBES.COM.

RWW deals with the QPQ in terms of charitable contributions, stating “The tax law is clear that you cannot write off a charitable contribution if it wasn’t really a charitable contribution.”

* Speaking of charitable contributions, TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb describes “The Gifts That Keep On Giving: 5 Strategies To Tax-Optimize Charitable Giving”, also at FOBES.COM.

* KIPLINGER.COM has put its 2 cents into the discussion of state taxes and identified its choices for “Best States for Low Taxes: 50 States Ranked for Taxes, 2019”.

No surprise that New Jersey is on the list of top-10 least friendly tax states.   Kiplinger confirms “New Jersey’s property taxes are the highest in the U.S.”.

Unfortunately, I found no list of the 50-state rankings.  There is a state tax map (here) where you can click on a state to go a detailed analysis.    

THE LAST WORD

Donald T Rump was unfit to be President in 2016 and is unfit to be President today and in 2020 because he is Donald T Rump – a corrupt and unethical businessman with more failures than successes and an ignorant, racist, delusional malignant narcissist and sociopath totally devoid of humanity, integrity and credibility.

TTFN














Tuesday, November 12, 2019

WHAT’S THE BUZZ, TELL ME WHAT’S A HAPPENNIN’?


* The big tax news last week was the issuance by the IRS of the 2020 COLA and inflation-adjusted information.  I have prepared a compilation of the new 2020 numbers.  See here.

* FYI – my BOBSERVATIONS blog is now AMERICANS FORCOMMON SENSE.  Check it out!

* Jason Dinesen asks, and answers, the question “Do I Lose the Tax Deduction if I Don’t Issue a 1099?” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

* KIPLINGER.COM lists the “10 Least Tax-Friendly States for Retirees, 2019”.

My former home state of New Jersey is #8 –

Once again, it's the property taxes that crush retirees in the Garden State. New Jersey has the highest average property tax rate in the country.”


Wyoming is the most tax-friendly –

Thanks to abundant revenues that the state collects from oil and mineral rights, Wyoming retirees shoulder the lowest overall state and local tax burden in the U.S., according to our calculations. There are no income, estate or inheritance taxes…and sales taxes are low, too (the average combined state and local sales tax rate is only 5.32%).”

* Oi vey!  Russ Fox tells us it's “Deja Vu All Over Again, Again” at TAXABLE TALK.

* Not really surprising.  Michael Cohn reports “Tax reform influenced charitable giving for half of taxpayers” at ACCOUNTING TODAY.

TTFN














Thursday, November 7, 2019

THIS JUST IN!


The IRS has just released the COLA and inflation adjusted numbers for the Form 1040 for tax year 2020 – tax rates, Standard Deduction amounts, pension contribution limits, etc, etc, etc.  These are the numbers that will be used on the 2020 Form 1040 that you will file in 2021.

As I do each year, I have created a special report of WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020 with these numbers - for use in your year-end 2019 and year-round 2020 tax planning.  The only numbers not included in this report are the 2020 standard mileage allowance amounts, as they have not yet been announced. 

My compilation is available, send as a pdf email attachment, for only $1.00.  A revised report will be sent in the same manner when the standard mileage allowance rates are announced.

The first 50 to order the 2020 compilation will also be send my WHAT’S NEW FOR 2019 report.

Send your check or money order payable to TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC to –

TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020
POST OFFICE BOX A
HAWLEY PA 18428

TTFN