Monday, September 21, 2020


A “meatier” BUZZ this week.

* A new blog list from Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES – “10 tax considerations and tips for newlyweds”.


* In another post Kay discusses “When tax troubles qualify for IRS penalty relief”.


* FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb tells us “There’s A New Tax Form - With Some Changes - For Freelancers & Gig Workers” -


Form 1099-NEC is intended to replace the nonemployee compensation part of a form many of us have come to know and love: Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income.”


* And KPE reminds us “October 15 Is The Deadline For Filing Your 2019 Tax Return On Extension”.


So, don’t put it off any longer – get those GDEs done!


* Staying with FORBES.COM, Tony Nitti makes it clear that “No, Joe Biden Will Not Double Your Tax Bill” -


For the 97% of Americans who earn less than $400,000 annually, Biden will preserve the status quo, while proposing new or improved credits that for some, will actually lower, rather than increase, tax liability.”


I do not agree with Democratic Party tax policy – but removing ignorant, incompetent and truly dangerous demagogue Trump from the White House is more important than any other issue, including tax policy.


Trump lies to everyone about everything every day.  I do not believe a word he says about anything.  Since the Republican Party has abandoned all integrity and credibility by embracing Trump, becoming the Trump Party, I do not believe a word that the current Republican Party says about anything.  My advice to you – do not believe a single word in any Trump or Republican campaign ad or statement.


* Another blog list – “8 Things You Need To Know About Your Inherited IRA”.  This one from Sarah Brenner at THE SLOTT REPORT.


* And one more list, on basically the same topic, from Robert Klein at THE STREET - “5 Retirement Plan Beneficiary Mistakes to Avoid”.


All are important to avoid, especially Mistake #5 – “Failure to Revise Beneficiaries for Life Changes”.


* Some good news for my cousins – “IRS announces tax relief for Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds victims”.



The 2 reasons no intelligent person could support or vote for Trump –

1. He is the most utterly stupid and totally clueless national politician in US history.

2. He is totally self-absorbed and doesn't care about anyone or anything but himself.

What more do need?

Frankly, the extent of Trump’s stupidity continues to amaze even me.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Friday, September 18, 2020

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


While you were “stuck” at home did you decide to clean out your closets?  Since yard sales are no longer an option in many areas you can still make some money from your unwanted “stuff” by donating it to a qualifying church or charity. 

Obviously, you will only receive a tax benefit from donating your “unwantables” if you are able to itemize.

Here are the rules for donating used items to charity,

You can claim a deduction for the “fair market value” of used appliances, books, clothing, computer hardware and software, electronics, furniture, household items, toys, videos, etc., etc. donated to a qualifying church or charity.  According to the IRS, fair market value is the price a “willing, knowledgeable buyer would pay a willing, knowledgeable seller when neither has to buy or sell.”  

You are responsible for determining the fair market value of the items you are donating.  The charity to which you make the donation is not required to provide you with a value.

The same rule as discussed above for cash donations applies if the total value of “non-cash” items donated to a charity in a single day is more than $250.00.

You must complete and attach to your Form 1040 IRS Form 8283 if you are deducting “non-cash” contributions totaling more than $500.00.  The following information will be needed –

  the name and address of the charity(ies) to whom you made the donation(s),

  the date of the contribution(s),

  the fair market value of the items donated, and

  how you determined the value – i.e. “Salvation Army valuation guide”

If any one individual item has a value of more than $500.00 you must also list -

  the date you acquired the property

  how you acquired the property – i.e. purchase, gift, inheritance, exchange

  the cost or adjusted basis of the property

If any one individual item has a value of more than $5,000.00 you must provide a written appraisal of the item and complete Section B of IRS Form 8283.  The appraisal must be made by a “qualified” appraiser who has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional organization, or has otherwise met minimum education and experience requirements prescribed by IRS regulations, regularly performs appraisals for compensation, demonstrates verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property being appraised, and has not been prohibited from practicing before the IRS at any time during the 3-year period prior to the date of the appraisal.  To find a qualified appraiser go to, the website of the American Society of Appraisers.  The cost of the appraisal is not included in the amount of the charitable donation.   

Whenever you contribute used items you should always make and keep a detailed listing of what you have donated with the condition and value of each set of items (i.e. 6 pairs of men’s pants, good condition, $60.00, 5 pairs of men’s shoes, good condition, $75.00).  You may want to attach a copy of the listing to Form 8283 when filing your Form 1040.  

You cannot deduct the contribution of a used item of clothing or household item unless the item is in at least "good" condition.  Donations of clothing and household items with a minimal monetary value, such as used socks or underwear, are also not deductible.

If you contribute new food, toys, clothing, or other items you can deduct the actual cost of the items donated.  The same reporting and documentation requirements discussed above for used items will apply.  You should make a separate purchase of the items you will donate – don’t group together with the purchase of personal use items – and save the store receipt. 

Here are links to sites that provide suggestions for valuing donated items –





Monday, September 14, 2020


Another lean BUZZ.

* Jason Dinesen talks about “Retirement Withdrawals, Home Purchases and the 10% Early Withdrawal Penalty” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

JD correctly point out (highlight is mine) -


If you take money out of a retirement account to buy a house (for example to make a down payment), you can avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty … but only on IRA withdrawals.”


I had a client years ago who took the down payment for a qualifying new home from his 401(k) – and got hit with the 10% penalty.  If he had instead rolled over the amount needed, or at least the $10,000 maximum allowance, to an IRA account first and then taken the distribution from the IRA he would have avoided the penalty.


* A reminder from the TURBO TAX BLOG – “Self-Employed? Don’t Forget About the Estimated Tax Deadline”.

Not just the self-employed.


* Robert W Wood of FORBES.COM explains “Opportunity Zone Investing Can Cut Your Tax Bill”.  



While on my too long overdue post-tax season trip to the Jersey shore I read the political thriller “The President is Missing” by James Patterson and Bill Clinton (yes, that Bill Clinton).

An interesting statement, presumably written by Bill, was made in the book in the voice of the character of the President of the United States -

There is nothing I value more in subordinates than their willingness to tell me I’m wrong, to challenge me, to sharpen my decision making.  Surrounding yourself with sycophants and bootlickers is the surest route to failure.”

A big difference between President Clinton and current president Trump – for whom boot and ass licking is a requirement.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Clinton and Trump is that at meetings and briefings Clinton was usually the smartest person in the room – while at any meeting with anyone, except when speaking to his core cult of ignorant racists at a rally, Trump is ALWAYS the dumbest person in the room.


Friday, September 11, 2020



Police Officer Maurice Barry - PATH Emergency Service Unit - P.O. Shield #1038

A Port Authority officer for 16 years, Maurice "Moe" Barry, 48, was assigned to the PATH commuter train system. The resident of Rutherford, NJ, upon hearing the reports of the terrorist attacks, was one of the first on scene when he rushed from Jersey City to Lower Manhattan and then into the North Tower to help in the rescue efforts. As thousands fled the searing flames and smoke of the Towers, Officer Barry was attempting to reach trapped and frightened workers on the upper floors. The last time he was seen, he was on his way to the higher floors to get people out.
Moe had a history of heroism - he was involved in rescue efforts during an airplane crash at La Guardia airport; he once climbed a bridge to retrieve the body of a person electrocuted there; he was involved in the rescue effort during the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center; and he rescued a woman from her home, by boat, during Hurricane Floyd. Moe was also a volunteer for the Rutherford Ambulance Corps.

Monday, September 7, 2020


As I have often said here in the past - some BUZZ is better than no BUZZ.

* Jason Dinesen is at it again with another “writing spree” of good observations and points on the state of the tax preparation industry in “Tilting at Windmills Again, Or, Don’t Clients Have a ResponsibilityToo?at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

* Jeff Stimpson of ACCOUNTING TODAY tells us of some new initials in “New certification available for tax resolution” -


Tax Rep LLC, which offers education and tools to professional tax professions, has a new certification program built around tax resolution.


The Certified Tax Representation Consultant designation requires applicants be a CPA, Enrolled Agent or attorney in good standing with the state board, IRS or state bar. Applicants must also successfully complete all five sections of the Certified Tax Representation Consultant Course.”


I am not interested.  I don’t do representation, other then for a client’s return I have prepared, and besides, I am neither a CPA, EA or JD.


* BTW, I just ordered my “Form 1040 Tax Person Mask”.   


* The TURBOTAX BLOG reports “IRS Announces Tax Relief for Victims of Hurricane Laura”.




If there is one clearly obvious proven fact, that is proven again and again every day, it is that Trump truly does not care about anyone or anything but himself.


NOTHING he does has ANYTHING to do with what is best, or even good, for America and the American people.


EVERYTHING he does is ONLY about maintaining and expanding his power as President.


Trump has no morals.


Trump has no ethics.


Trump has no compassion.


Trump has no humanity.


Trump has no intelligence.


Who in their right mind would ever want such a despicable person to be President?



Monday, August 31, 2020


* Kelly Phillips Erb’s post “You’ve Got Mail (from the IRS)—But What Happens When You Don’t?” from her original BLOOMBERG.COM blog looks at the issue in light of potential IRS modernization.  But I look at it in light of moron Trump’s recent attempts to destroy the Post Office.

KPE ends her posting observing –


The agency’s in-person shutdown due to the pandemic has highlighted how dependent taxpayers and tax practitioners are on the mail system and how easily a disruption to the processing of paper refunds, payments, and returns can bring the entire system to a halt.”


Another area where Trump’s obvious irresponsibility and lack of concern could cause serious problems.


* From THE STREET – “Ask Bob: How to Fix an ‘Over contribution’to an IRA”.


FYI, the “Bob” being asked is NOT me – although I did once write regularly for THE STREET (see last week’s BUZZ).


* Jim Blankenship answers “20 Questions About 529 Plans” at GETTING YOUR FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.  


* If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to read my “Open Letter to All Americans”.


* The “IRS provides tax relief for victims of California wildfires; Oct. 15 deadline, other dates extended to Dec. 15”.


* Good advice for young people from Kevin McCormally and Rocky Mengle at KIPLINGER.COM – “Why You Need a Roth IRA”.


* Nothing to do with taxes – but this is important to read.  An actual Christian speaks the truth about Trump, denouncing the so-called “Evangelicals”, who are Christian in name only.   Please read “I'm Billy Graham's granddaughter. Evangelical support of Donald Trump spits on his legacy”.



Trump is a cancer.  Trump is a virus as bad as, if not worse than, COVID-19.  He has infected, perhaps fatally, the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is no longer a “Grand Old Party”.  It is no longer the Party of Lincoln, or of Eisenhower, or of Reagan.  It is truly the Party of Trump.  Which makes it The Party of Ignorance, The Party of Hate and Bigotry, The Party of Incompetence, and The Party Without A Conscience.


Friday, August 28, 2020


Dear American:

This is not an election about individual issues or political ideology.  This election is about the future of America, American values and American democracy.

I wholeheartedly support and will vote for Biden/Harris – but not because I am a Democrat or a liberal.  I support some Democratic policies and strongly disagree with others, and I support some traditional Republican policies and disagree with others.  I am more “liberal” on some issues, and more “conservative” on others. 

I am neither a Democrat or a Republican.  In the past I have voted for Democrats, Republicans and 3rd party candidates, depending on the candidate and the issues.  I am truly an Independent.    

What I strongly oppose and will vote against is Trump the man – the absolute worst and the most ignorant, incompetent, totally self-absorbed, despicable, and mentally unstable human being to ever occupy the White House in history.  Trump is very literally everything that a President, or any national leader, should not be.  He is truly a danger to the future of America and the world.  

I find it totally inconceivable that any intelligent person with a conscience, regardless of Party affiliation or political ideology, could support, defend or vote for Trump.  The argument used in 2016 of “lessor of 2 evils” did not apply then and does not apply now.  In any comparison Trump is always the most evil choice. 

Affirmative support and defense of Trump is unconscionable.  I sincerely believe those who affirmatively support and defend Trump and his re-election are traitors to American values and democracy and true enemies of the people.

This IS the most important election in the history of our country.  If Trump is re-elected, I very sincerely believe it will be the beginning of the end of American democracy and the complete destruction of American values that began when Trump took office in 2017.  Sadly, I truly fear America will not survive another 4 years of Trump.

I also oppose and denounce the current Republican Party for totally abandoning all integrity, principal, honor, and credibility by embracing and enabling Trump.  I will vote against all Republican candidates on all levels in 2020 - and going forward I will only vote for a Republican candidate who has consistently publicly and vocally denounced and disavowed Trump.

This is not about partisan politics – this is about patriotism.  Trump must go 

Robert D Flach

Wednesday, August 26, 2020


 I am not wealthy.

My current financial position is the direct result of the personal and business choices I made, good or bad, right or wrong, during my life. 

FYI, I am a healthy, heterosexual well-educated white man, born in urban northeast America of middle-class white-collar Protestant American-born parents who both lived long lives.  So, there are no “special circumstances” on which I can blame my lack of wealth or degree of success (not that any would be necessarily valid)..

I take complete and total personal responsibility for my financial and social condition.

If every American felt this way, we would be a lot better off.  

Just saying.