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?