Thursday, December 30, 2021


The only other legislation with tax components passed in 2021 was the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law on November 15th.  However, the few tax aspects of this Act really do not affect many 1040 filers.  

The House passed the Democratic Build Back Better legislation at the end of November, but the Senate will not deal with the bill until 2022.  The legislation mostly affects 2022 tax returns – but the House version did include an increase in the SALT itemized deduction limit from $10,000 to $80,000 (no increase in the current Senate version) – so we will have to wait until a final Act is signed into law, assuming a Senate version actually passes, before we can complete 2021 Schedule A’s.

No issues for me with state returns.  I continued to use, and appreciate, the new “New Jersey Online Income Tax Filing” system to electronically submit directly to the NJDOT free of charge almost all of the NJ-1040s for my clients.  And I continued to use, and appreciate, the “enhanced” fill-in forms available at the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance website. 

In 2021 the New Jersey legislature finally addressed the issue of the income threshold for claiming the Retirement Income Exclusion, although not in the way I had hoped and expected.  Beginning with 2021 returns a partial exclusion is now allowed for NJ taxpayers with gross incomes between $100,001 and $150,000.   New Jersey also expanded and enhanced the state’s Earned Income Credit and Child and Dependent Care Credit for 2021. 

Reviewing my tenure as a tax professional I believe the thrill is gone.

Dealing with the IRS is becoming impossible. While it has always been somewhat frustrating, it appears the IRS has now become incompetent – thanks mostly to the excessive COVID-19 shut down. 

The tax season never ends.  GDEs continue.  Just when I think the season is finally over there appear new IRS or state correspondence and notices, mostly incorrect, to deal with.  And with Congress constantly fucking with the Tax Code, often at year-end, and continuing to erroneously use the Code to distribute government benefits, there are more and more complications, and agita, for clients, and preparers, and more and more questions from clients. 

Getting all the correct information from clients during the season has gotten more difficult and generates more agita and wasted time – often a result of Congressional Code-fucking. 

My favorite times as a preparer, when preparing taxes was truly fun, were the first 29 working with Jim Gill in a storefront office first on Sip Avenue and a dozen years later moving to Newark Avenue between the Court House and Dickinson High School (my alma mater).

It is truly time to retire.

Before I go – the usual question I ask my fellow tax pros.  Did I miss anything?



Wednesday, December 29, 2021


It is time again for my annual review of the year in taxes.

The 2021 tax filing season – for filing 2020 returns – was my 50th!  My first year preparing 1040s was 1972 – preparing 1971 returns – as an apprentice with my uncle’s tax preparer James P Gill on Sip Avenue just off Journal Square in Jersey City, having no prior knowledge of or experience with tax returns.  Back then I had no idea this would become my career for 50 years.

I posted a series looking back on my 50 YEARS OF PREPARING 1040s here at TWTP that included –


* MY FIRST 1040


I am now officially retired!

The start of 2021 found us in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The entire season was spent in the office, leaving only to go to the Post Office, buy food and dine out locally.  I am not complaining – I was pleased with this.

The tax filing season began for me, as it always does, on February 1st, ended on May 17th.  For the second year in a row, and, as far as I know, only the second time in history, the initial tax filing, and paying, deadline was extended.  The season actually ended on May 16th, as I never work the last day.

The big issues of the filing season had to do with pandemic relief.  It was truly the rare federal return that I could complete in one sitting.

First, taxpayers were required to reconcile the first two Economic Impact Payments on their 2020 Form 1040 (or 1040-SR).  If a taxpayer received less than they were entitled to based on actual 2020 income they could claim the shortage as a refundable Recovery Rebate Credit on their return.  If they got more than they were entitled to they did not have to pay back the excess.  I had to waste too much time trying to get the amount of the stimulus payments, if any, clients received in 2020 and early 2021 (this second payment should have been reconciled on the 2021 return), despite my specifically asking clients to tell me what, if anything, they received in EIPs in my January letter.

While the Recovery Rebate Credit was good for many clients – putting more money in their pockets – the fact that the IRS worksheet for the credit reconciled each of the two Economic Impact Payments separately, rather than combining both payments, was stupid (for the government) and financially imprudent (again for the government).  If a taxpayer got more than they were entitled to in the first payment but less than they were entitled to in the second payment, the first payment excess was not applied to the second payment shortage. 

For example, if a taxpayer got $200 too much in the spring of 2020 but $200 too little in January 2021 it was not a wash.  The $200 overpayment from 2020 was ignored and the taxpayer got the full $200 shortage for 2021 as a refundable credit on their tax return.  While the reality is between the two payments the taxpayer got exactly what he/she/they was/were entitled to, the taxpayer actually ended up with $200 more than he/she/they was/were entitled to.

And second, the American Rescue Plan Act, with two provisions that affected 2020 returns, was not signed into law until March 22, 2021.   

The 2020 tax return changes were -

1) The first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 was tax free on returns with an AGI of less than $150,000.

2) Taxpayers who received excess advance Premium Tax Credit payments in 2020 did not have to repay the excess.

I was aware of the potential 2020 changes in February, and had to hold up completing federal returns for clients who received unemployment and advance Premium Tax Credits until the law became official and the IRS told us how to properly report the unemployment exemption on the return.         

Thankfully there were no auto, computer, equipment, or weather issues of consequence for me during the 2021 filing season.  The only concern was the slowness of the Post Office in delivering work to and from me and payments to me – an ongoing effect of the attempts by Trump and his lackey DeJoy to destroy the postal service to sabotage mail-in ballots during the 2020 Presidential election.

The biggest tax-related issue of the year was the results of the truly humungous backlog of correspondence, 2019 Form 1040s (and 1040-SRs) and amended returns filed in 2020 that was caused by the IRS closing its doors for too many months due to COVID in 2020.  During the many months IRS offices were completely shut down in 2020, the Service did not process tax returns or taxpayer and tax professional correspondence.

When the IRS finally opened up again its system continued to spew out automatic intimidating balance due notices based on the information in the system prior to the closure.  However, much of the backlog of unopened and unprocessed correspondence were responses by taxpayers and tax professionals to erroneous balance due assessments, explaining the IRS error or correcting a taxpayer error.  Many taxpayers receiving collection notices paid the IRS what it asked for, despite having previously written, or had their tax professional write, to the IRS to explain errors in the assessment. 

Responses to the continued erroneous mailings create more correspondence and increase the already humongous backlog.  And taxpayer erroneous overpayment of incorrect assessments had to be addressed by taxpayers and tax pros, creating more correspondence to add to the pile, compounding the problem.

As I said in a July TWTP post - what the IRS should have done, and should do now, is put a temporary hold on all open balance due accounts and cease from sending out automatic notices and other collection activities for these accounts until the backlog of correspondence is processed.  As correspondence regarding a taxpayer notice is acknowledged in the IRS system the hold must be continued until the issue is resolved.

Making things worse, dealing with the backlog caused delays in the processing 2020 federal returns.  Many taxpayers have still not received their 2020 refunds, despite having filed their returns on time.  Thankfully, as it did in 2020, the IRS is paying interest on delayed refunds.  



Tuesday, December 28, 2021


The last BUZZ of 2021!

* The NATP BLOG reminds us that “100% business meal deduction and per diem clarified”.

The IRS has previously said business taxpayers “may treat the meal portion of a per diem rate or allowance paid or incurred after Dec. 31, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2023, as attributable to food or beverages provided by a restaurant”, and therefore 100% deductible.

* The Build Back Better legislation will not be addressed in the Senate in 2021.  The future of the bill is truly up in the air.  As noted in a “Build Back Better pending legislation update” also at the NATP BLOG -

. . . it is uncertain if a revised bill is on the horizon, and if so, what changes will be made to the existing bill.”

The post discusses the history of the legislation and a comparison of the House and Senate versions.

The main thing tax pros have been waiting for is to see if there is any change to the SALT limit for 2021.  The House version “increases the SALT deduction from $10,000 to $80,000 ($40,000 for MFS, and trusts and estates); extends the limitation through 2031” but the Senate version does not.

* TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb attempts to explain a consuming topic in “Understanding Stock Options—Even When You’re Not a Billionaire” at her BLOOMBERG.COM blog.

* No BUZZ would be complete without at least one contribution from Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes.  Kay lists “5 tax-smart alternative ways forcool cats to contribute to charities” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.  

* Let me end with a Daily Double, and another list, from Kay Bell – “6 tax moves to make by Dec. 31.”


As we approach the end of 2021 it is sad to acknowledge that the greatest threat to America, the American people, American values, and American democracy today is no longer Trump, but the Trump-embracing Republican Party.  

Every win for a Republican candidate at any level in 2022 who does not vocally and aggressively oppose, denounce and disavow Trump, his lies and the national leadership of today’s Republican Party is truly a loss for America and the world.


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Tuesday, December 21, 2021


 A meaty BUZZ for the next to the last one of 2021.

* Kay Bell reports “Kentuckians in tornado disaster areas get new May 16, 2022, tax deadline” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

Kay also reports, thankfully, that “After two years of COVID-related Tax Day delays, the IRS is looking to get back on its regular mid-April filing schedule in 2022”.

I do not want the IRS to extend the 2022 tax filing deadline!

But the deadline will not be April 15, 2022.  Kay explains (highlight is mine) –

Emancipation Day 2022 is on Friday, April 15. When that official District of Columbia holiday falls on Tax Day, the federal filing deadline is moved to the next business day. That makes 2021 returns due on Monday, April 18, 2022.”

* There is still time left to reduce your 2021 tax liability before the ball drops on Times Square.  TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb lists “Seven Low-Key Year-End Tax Moves to Make in 2021” at her BLOMMBERG.COM blog.

* Returning to Kay Bell for more year-end planning talk, she discusses “Roth IRA conversion considerations”.

* A very important message for taxpayers is included in COVID Tax Tip 2021-187 - “Get ready for taxes: Here’s what's new and what to consider when filing in 2022” - at IRS.GOV (highlight is mine) -

In early 2022, the IRS will send Letter 6475 that contains the total amount of the third economic impact payment and any plus-up payments received. People should keep this and any other IRS letters about their stimulus payments with other tax records. Individuals can also create or log in to online account to securely access their economic impact payment amounts.”

* The TAX FOUNDATION has released its “2022 State Business Tax Climate Index”.

The 10 lowest-ranked, or worst, states in this year’s Index are:

41. Hawaii
42. Louisiana
43. Vermont
44. Arkansas
45. Minnesota
46. Maryland
47. Connecticut
48. California
49. New York
50. New Jersey

Once again, like Oliver Twist my former home state of NJ is last on the list –

New Jersey, for example, is hampered by some of the highest property tax burdens in the country, has the highest corporate income taxes and among the highest individual income taxes in the country, has a particularly aggressive treatment of international income, levies an inheritance tax, and maintains some of the nation’s worst-structured individual income taxes.”

* The 2021 version of IRS Publication 17 – Tax Guide for Individuals – is available to download.

* Over at ACCOUNTING TODAY Jeff Stimpson tells us that the IRS will provide “Filing relief for weather victims in Illinois, Tennessee".


Attention Republicans and local Republican candidates who are not ignorant racists.

It's not enough to just not listen to, believe and support Trump.

You MUST vocally and aggressively oppose, denounce and disavow Trump.

You MUST vocally and aggressively oppose, denounce and disavow the current national leadership of the Republican Party.

You MUST vocally and aggressively call for Trump's indictment, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration.

If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem - and the problem is Trump and the Trump-embracing leadership of the Republican Party!


Friday, December 17, 2021



The IRS, in Notice 2022-03, has announced the Standard Mileage Allowance rates for calendar year 2022.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

·         58.5 cents per mile driven for business use

·         18 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces

·         14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business and medical/moving rate is determined each year by the IRS, and the 2022 rates are a bit higher than 2021.

The charity rate is set by Congress and has remained at 14 cents for eons.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021


* Kay Bell, the yellow rose of taxes, suggests some “Tax-smart capital loss or gain moves to make now” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

* And, while not tax related, Kay posts “How you can help Kentucky tornado victims”.

She does say –

President Joe Biden immediately declared areas of the Bluegrass State as major disasters.”

And –

The Internal Revenue Service should be issuing tax relief notices soon.”

* Kay makes a BUZZ trifecta by reminding us “Don't miss out on $300 ($600 for couples) charitable donation tax deduction, no itemizing needed”.

Kay correctly points out (highlights are mine) –

The $300 per single filer or $600 per married filing jointly couple must be a cash donation. This doesn't mean just actual dollars, although those count. The IRS also classifies as cash donations those gifts made by the aforementioned check, credit or debit card, and text. Cash contributions also include amounts incurred by an individual for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization. But as for those actual volunteer efforts, you can never deduct the value of your volunteer services or time. Also, donations of securities and household items or other property are not cash donations. Neither do contributions to a donor advised fund.”

* It’s that time of year again!  Russ Fox tells us “Nominations Due for 2021Tax Offender of the Year!” at TAXABLE TALK –

I suspect that once again there are too many deserving nominees.  If you have a suggestion, feel free to email it to me at”   

* A timely reminder from the IRS – “Most retirees must take required minimum distributions by Dec. 31”.

RMDs were suspended for 2020 only – if required you must take an RMD for 2021 or be penalized.


Today’s political divide has absolutely nothing to do with liberal vs conservative.  It is not about political policy or philosophy.

It is crystal clear that today’s political divide is about intelligence (Democrats) vs ignorance, stupidity and racism (Republicans).


Monday, December 13, 2021

WHAT'S NEW ON THE 2021 FORM 1040 (AND 1040-SR)?


Here is a review of what is new on the 2021 Form 1040, 2021 Form 1040-SR and 2021 Schedules 1, 2 and 3 –

FORM 1040 –

For 2021 the non-itemizer charitable deduction is “below the line” and NOT “above the line” (like 2020).  This deduction no longer reduces AGI, which is important to note because of the many tax items that are affected by AGI or a MAGI.

Line 10 is limited to “Adjustments from Schedule 1”.

Line 12 has 3 parts –

a. “Standard deduction or itemized deductions”
b.  “Charitable contributions if you take the standard deduction” 
c.  “Add lines 12a and 12b”

The line for entering the Earned Income Credit (EIC) – Line 27 – has been expanded to 3 parts –

a. The actual EIC claimed, with a box to check if you are 18-23 and qualify for the credit
b. “Nontaxable combat pay election” – the amount of pay using to calculate the credit
c. “Prior year (2019) earned income” – if you are using this number to calculate your 2021 credit

Line 28 is expanded to include “Refundable child tax credit”.

FORM 1040-SR –

The same changes made to the Form 1040 also appear on the Form 1040-SR.

SCHEDULES 1, 2 and 3 –

These schedules have all been expanded to specifically identify each applicable “other” item, and are now each two pages instead of one.

1. Line 8 of Part 1 of Schedule 1, for “Other income”, includes a detailed entry for each of the various individual items of other income.  Part II, for “Adjustments to income” removes the line for “Tuition and fees deduction” (no longer an allowable deduction for 2021) and adds a line that is “Reserved for future use” (#22), one for the “Archer MSA deduction” (#23) and one for “Other adjustments” (#24) that includes a detailed entry for each of the various other adjustments to income.

2. Part I of Schedule 2, for “Tax”, remains unchanged.  Part II, for “Other taxes”, is expanded to include a detailed entry for each of the various other taxes, surtaxes and charges.  Line 19 is where you would enter the payback of any overpayment of the advance Child Tax Credit payments from the reconciliation on Form 8812.   

3. Part I of Schedule 3, for “Nonrefundable Credits, expands Line 6 for “Other nonrefundable credits” to include a detailed entry for each of the various other nonrefundable credits.  Part II, for “Other Payments and Refundable Credits”, expands the Line 13 for “Other payments or refundable credits”, to include additional items of payment or credit.

You can go here to download these forms and schedules.  

Most of the other 2021 forms and schedules have also been issued.  We are waiting on the release of the 2021 Schedule A – which is being held up due to the change to the SALT limitation that may be included in the final Build Back Better legislation.   


Friday, December 10, 2021


+ The IRS has released the 2021 Form 1040 and 2021 Form 1040-SR.  Click here to download these forms as well as other 2021 IRS forms and schedules.

I will review the changes to the Form 1040, Form 1040-SR and Schedules 1, 2 and 3 here at TWTP next week.

+ Here are some more examples of the damage done by the IRS excessive COVID-19 closure – and more proof that the IRS is FU-ed - from fellow tax pros (highlights are mine):

I e-filed a 1040X in August and it still doesn't show up in "\’Where's My Amended Return?’ Called the e-file service to follow up. Yes, the IRS has it, but expect a 40 week wait time.  I said, ‘I think I misheard you.’  She said, ‘No, you didn't.’ 40 Weeks!” – Jan Roberg

I am currently quoting to clients for IRS processing time:
Paper-filed amended return: 12-18 *months*
Electronically filed amended return: 8-14 *months*
These both should be weeks rather than months, but this is the world we live in today.” – Russ Fox

"I filed a 2019 amendment in August 2020.  I am still waiting on my refund.  I got the state refund in 7 weeks."  - Steve  

This is unacceptable – but there is nothing taxpayers, or tax professionals, can do about it.

DO NOT contact your tax preparer to ask why you haven’t received your federal refund!

FYI – the IRS is paying interest on late refunds (which is taxable on your 2021 or 2022 return).



Thursday, December 9, 2021



The excessive total shut-down of the IRS in 2020, in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in substantial delays and backlogs in terms of processing 2019 and 2020 original and amended returns and processing correspondence.  This has caused substantial agita, to say the least, for taxpayers and tax professionals.  And generated additional financial costs for taxpayers.

A client recently received a letter from the IRS that began –

Dear Taxpayer:

Our records indicate that we received correspondence from you on July 27, 2021, concerning your Form 1040 for the period(s) {FYI – 2018} shown above.  We are unable to determine if your problem was resolved satisfactorily.

If your inquiry has not been resolved, please resubmit your information.”

The inquiry had not been resolved, or even properly processed or responded to.  It appears we have to waste our time resubmitting everything all over again.  Which just adds to the backlog and the problem.

It is clear that the IRS is totally FU-ed! 

If not already done, the IRS NEEDS to immediately cease all collection activity on all alleged outstanding balances for all returns until this serious problem is fixed.

Let us hope the damage done to the IRS by the excessive shut-down and closures is not irreparable. 

Going forward, the IRS needs to develop a plan in case we are ever faced with a similar situation – an international pandemic – again.




I am late with the BUZZ again this week because I was attending the annual National Association of Tax Professionals year-end tax update class in Atlantic City NJ – my first “in-person” CPE offering in well over a year.  I will report on anything new I think you should know in a future post.

Even though I have officially retired, I still prepare a handful of returns for family and long-time personal friends and continue to write about taxes, so I need to keep current on federal and NJ state individual income taxes.

* Russ Fox tells it like it is when it comes to the IRS in “The IRS Can’t Figure Out Where to Apply an Electronic Payment…Where the IRS Was Told Where to Apply It” at TAXABLE TALK (highlights are mine) -

This is another IRS issue caused by the IRS’s response to the pandemic.  Yes, the IRS was not at fault for the pandemic, but the ongoing response (did you know that IRS employees are still not completely back at IRS Service Centers?) is a cause of this issue (and many others).  This is costing taxpayers time and money.  It’s also costing the IRS time and money (which means taxpayers) because (a) someone must read the response I sent and (b) my client can–and will be able to–get some penalties and interest abated once this amended return is processed (given that the IRS is at fault for the slow processing time).  This episode also makes the IRS look stupid.  My client told the IRS exactly where the payment should be applied…and the IRS still couldn’t figure it out.”

Russ also points out (highlight is his) – “Yes, the IRS is more than one year behind in processing paper-filed amended returns.”

* Dan Mitchell has shared “Ranking State Income Taxes” – “a five-column ranking of state personal income tax systems in 2018” - at his INTERNATIONAL LIBERTY blog

Nine states have no income tax and nine have a flat tax.

* Kay Bell reminds parents and grandparents not only DON’T MESS WITH TAXES but also “Don't miss the year-end 529 plan contribution deadline” -

. . . in many states, to get that tax-saving state benefit, you need to put money into a 529 by Dec. 31.”

* And Kay lists “7 ways to spend your end-of-year FSA funds” if you still have an unused balance left in your account.

* Here is another tax-related blog list from late November from KIPLINGER.COM – “Traditional IRA Basics: 10 Things You Must Know”.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021



* Andy Ives lists a dozen facts for the purpose of “Clarifying Some ROTH Conversion Misconceptions” at THE SLOTT REPORT. 

* Gordon McNamee, CPA explains “Employee Savings Through 401Ks Get Triple Savings on Taxes” at the interestingly named TAX BUZZ blog.

* Jamaal “Stikks” Solomon provides some “Tips to Maximize the Value of a Car Donation” in his latest edition of JS TAX CORPORATION WEEKLY TAX TIPS –

At the end of the year you will be inundated with commercials to donate a vehicle to charity. While it is one of the biggest contributions a taxpayer can make, if not done carefully, the tax deduction of a donated vehicle could be a lot lower than you think.

The rule-

When you donate a vehicle, the value of your donation is either the fair market value of your vehicle when you donate it OR the value received by the charitable organization for your donation. Unfortunately, you do not choose the value of the donated vehicle.”

It is important to remember that you will only receive a tax benefit from donating a car to charity if you are able to itemize, and only to the extent that the total allowable itemized deductions, including the value of the car donated, exceeds the Standard Deduction.  The non-itemizer charitable deduction is for donations of cash only.

* Kay Bell discusses “Determining child-related tax breaks when you're divorced” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.

* Michael Cohn tells us “IRS warns oftax-related identity theft during holiday season” at ACCOUNTING TODAY - 

The IRS and its Security Summit partners have dubbed this week National Tax Security Week. They want taxpayers and tax professionals to beware of tax scams revolving around the confluence of the holiday shopping season, the upcoming tax season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They believe that combination of events creates extra opportunities for criminals to steal sensitive personal or finance information. That means taxpayers should take extra care while shopping online or viewing emails and text messages.”


Absolutely nothing the deplorable and despicable Republican Party has done this year indicates that it, or its leaders, elected officials and members, has/have any integrity, credibility, honor, intelligence, or humanity.

No intelligent person with a conscience could possibly support today's Republican Party.

The Republican Party is clearly the Party of morons, racists and those without a conscience.


Monday, November 29, 2021


As it does each year at this time PNC has released its annual Christmas Price Index, which PNC describes as. –

A light-hearted take on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices consumers pay for goods and services over time, the PNC version applies its own analysis to procuring True Love's 12 perfect gifts at Christmas.”

The Christmas Price Index was first introduced by a PNC predecessor bank in Philadelphia in 1984.

The total cost of the items in “The 12 Days of Christmas” for 2021 is $41,205.58, a 5.7% increase in the $38,993.59 the same gifts cost in 2019.

The index compares current year’s prices to the 2019 costs instead of 2020 because, as PNC Asset Management Group’s chief investment officer Amanda Agati explains –

"Comparing 2019 data is a better gauge of the impacts of inflation, before the pandemic's effects took hold of the global economy. We are trying to normalize the comparison by excluding a-once-in-a-century pandemic that had an outsized impact on last year's data."

PNC tells us –

The largest price increases this year come in the exotic pet categories, with large spikes seen in Six Geese-a-Laying (57%), Two Turtles Doves (50%) and Three French Hens (40%). Inflation is fueling higher costs for raising the birds through higher food and labor prices.”

While dancing ladies, milking maids and leaping lords did not receive a raise, the cost of the musicians in the group – pipers and drummers – was up 7.1%, I expect thanks to the American Federation of Musicians.

Sadly the milking maids continue to be poorly paid – due to the $7.25 minimum wage.

PNC also calculates the cost of the true love’s gifts if purchased online, which is $45,599.09 for 2021 - $4,393.51 more than brick and mortar retail purchases (10.7%) and $3,340.18 more than 2019 (7.9%). 

And the index determines the total cost of items bestowed by a True Love who repeats all the song's verses. Purchasing all 364 gifts will cost $179,454.19, 5.4% more than 2019 - $210,627.12, or 8.3% more, for internet purchases.


Saturday, November 27, 2021



I was truly shocked and saddened when I rose this morning and received an email from a long-time friend, and fellow theatre lover, telling me Stephen Sondheim has passed away at age 91.  Truly a great loss.

I was in the audience of the original Broadway productions of Sondheim’s A FUNNY THING, COMPANY, FOLLIES, A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, PACIFIC OVERTURES, MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM, PASSION, and his mystery play GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER, written with tv character actor George Furth who had also written the book for COMPANY. 

I heard Sondheim speak in an intimate setting at a class on the Broadway Musical I took at the New York University School of Continuing Education in 1972.  Each week a different Broadway person - composer, producer, director, actor, choreographer – spoke, and Sondheim was the composer.   

He had said at the class that he enjoyed seeing local productions of his shows.  When I produced COMPANY in Hudson County NJ in 1973, I sent Stephen and Hal Prince each two tickets to the opening night performance.  Sondheim wrote back saying he was sorry but he could not attend because he would be in London working on GYPSY with Angela Lansbury and thanking me for doing the show.  The framed personally signed letter is hanging in my living room.  A small example of the kind of person he was. 

BTW, I never heard from Prince, and his tickets were not used.

As my friend said in his email, he and I were so very fortunate to have seen and heard Stephen Sondheim’s greatness as a contemporary.  There are no heirs to his magic.