Monday, June 27, 2022



Whatever you may think of the IRS – and thanks to the excessive 2020 shut-down in reaction to COVID the Service today is totally FU-ed – the website remains an excellent resource for tax planning and preparation.

At you can –

* Access, download and print current and past year federal tax forms and instructions - click here.

* Check the status of a refund going back several years (once the return has actually been processed by the IRS) - click here.

* Access your online tax account and request copies of tax records including transcripts of past tax returns, tax account information, wage and income statements - click here and here.

* Keep up-to-date on changes to federal tax law and IRS rules and regulations - click here.

* Get answers to your tax questions via FAQs on specific tax topics - click here.

* Calculate the amount of sales tax deduction to claim on Schedule A - click here.

And more.

And the website of your state tax agency also has similar resources.  Some states, such as New Jersey, will allow you to electronically submit your state tax returns directly to the appropriate agency free of charge without the need for flawed and expensive commercial software.  You can find links to the tax agencies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia here.


Friday, June 24, 2022


Here is a real-life tax situation I was recently asked about -

A retired taxpayer lives in South Carolina and his adult son lives and works in California. The son wants to purchase a personal residence in California worth $1.3 Million but needs the help of his father with both the down-payment on the property and the monthly mortgage payments. The purchase mortgage principal will be $1.1 Million. Title to the residence will be held in the name of the son and the father jointly and both will be named on the purchase mortgage – but only the son will actually live in the property. The property will be the primary personal residence of the son – but not the father. The son will pay 75% of the monthly mortgage payment and the father will pay 25%.

I was asked to answer two questions -

(1) Can the California property be considered a “qualified second residence” of the father for purposes of deducting acquisition debt mortgage interest on his Schedule A or is it treated as an “investment property” with the applicable mortgage interest deducted by the father as investment interest, subject to the investment income limitation? 

(2) If the property is considered a qualified second residence of the father how much of the interest paid by the father can he deduct on Schedule A.

Taxpayers who itemize on Schedule A can deduct interest paid on “acquisition debt” - debt used to buy, build, or substantially improve a main residence or a qualified second home. A “substantial improvement” is one that adds value to the home, prolongs the home’s useful life, or adapts the home to new uses.

In order to qualify for the deduction -

* The home must be the owner’s personal residence (primary or secondary).

* The home must be used as the security for the loan.

* If the homeowner defaults on the loan the home will be taken to “satisfy” the debt.

* The loan must be recorded with the appropriate agency under state law, usually at the county level.

Qualified residence interest can only be deducted if you have an ownership interest in the home, you are legally obligated to pay the mortgage debt, and you actually make payments on the debt.

When two people buy a home together, and both owners are named on the mortgage, each owner can deduct the amount of interest he or she actually pays. If you pay 25% of the mortgage payment you can deduct 25% of the interest.   If you pay 50% of the mortgage payment you can deduct 50% of the interest.  If you own a home with a partner, but pay the entire mortgage payment each month you can deduct 100% of the mortgage interest on your Schedule A.

For mortgage loans on new home purchases incurred after December 15, 2017, you can deduct the interest on up to $750,000 in principal ($375,000 if Married Filing Separately).  Qualified debt cannot exceed the cost of the home and any substantial improvements. 

The principal limitation applies to unmarried co-owners of a qualified residence on a per-taxpayer basis and not a per property basis.   Each individual unmarried co-owner can deduct mortgage interest on up to $750,000 (or $1 Million) of acquisition debt.  So, an unmarried couple who jointly purchase a property in 2022 with a mortgage of $1,500,000 can each deduct 50% of the total interest paid on the property, assuming they each pay half of the monthly mortgage payment, and even though the loan principal exceeds $750,000.      

Also deductible on Schedule A is “investment interest” - interest that is paid on loan proceeds used to purchase taxable investments or securities.  Real estate is an investment.  The deduction is limited to the taxpayer’s “net investment income” – taxable interest, “non-qualified” dividends, net short-term capital gains, royalties, and annuities less deductible investment expense (obviously not including investment interest).  Qualified dividends and long-term capital gains can be included in investment income if the taxpayer elects not to tax this income at the special lower capital gain rates.  Excess investment interest (investment interest paid that is not deductible on the current return) can be carried forward and deducted on future returns, subject to the net investment income exclusion.

In our scenario the father is not charging his son any fair market rent for his ownership interest, so the father is considered to be using the home for personal purposes and it can be treated as a qualified second home of the father for purposes of claiming a mortgage interest deduction.

And since the principal limitation if per taxpayer and not per property, and the father is named on the mortgage, the father can deduct the full amount of mortgage interest he pays.  If the total interest for the year is $10,000 and the father paid 25% of each monthly mortgage payment paid from his funds, he can deduct $2,500 as mortgage interest on his Schedule A.

I have written a special report on “Deducting Mortgage Interest” that discusses in detail all the rules and regulations for the Schedule A mortgage interest deduction.  It emphasizes the vital importance of keeping separate track of “acquisition debt” and “home equity debt” and provides a detailed example and worksheets for you to use.  The cost is only $2.00.

It is my firm belief that more often than not taxpayers who itemize are deducting the wrong amount of mortgage interest – either too much or too little.  Every single homeowner with a mortgage who itemizes on their federal tax return needs to purchase and read this report.

To order your copy of this report send a check or money order for $2.00 – payable to Taxes and Accounting, Inc – and a SASE to –

HAWLEY PA 18428 


Wednesday, June 22, 2022



Once again, a day late but not a dollar short.


* Also once again, like Oliver Twist New Jersey is last on the list of the TAX FOUNDATION’s “2022 State Business Tax Climate Index”.


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.”


* If you have not already read my post “America’s Greatest Threat” yet now is a good time to do so.

* Dana Anspach, CEO and founder of Sensible Money, and Julio Lopez-Brito, a financial planner with Sensible Money, explain “Everything You Need to Know About Required Minimum Distributions” in an interview at THE STREET.


* Also at THE STREET Drew Reynolds discusses “Investing in Qualified Opportunity Zones” -


Qualified Opportunity Zone investments can be attractive to investors seeking to defer capital gains. Here are 7 potential benefits.”


I am surprised more investors are not taking advantage of this opportunity.


* Michael Cohn reports “IRS makes more progress on tax return backlog” at ACCOUNTING TODAY (highlight is mine) -


. . . as of June 10, it had processed more than 4.5 million of the more than 4.7 million individual paper tax returns received in 2021.”


They are referring to 2020 Form 1040s (and 1040-SRs) - so it has taken up to 14 - 16 months to process a 2020 manual return.


I am still waiting for my 2021 refund, mailed in February of this year.  Hopefully I will not have to wait 10+ more months.  The only positive is that Sam will pay me 5% interest – much more than I would get in the bank.


*  Kay Bell also deals with the subject in “IRS expects to finish processing 2021 filings this week” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.


Friday, June 17, 2022



Have you filed your 2021 tax returns yet?  If not (this does not work on an amended return) before doing so you should purchase and read my special report AVOID NEW JERSEY TAXES LEGALLY to find out how to save from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars in NJ state income tax (and maybe some federal tax as well), depending on the extent and source of your individual incomes.

This report includes several historical real-life examples from my tax practice (I have been preparing NJ-1040s for as long as there has been a NJ-1040 and recently retired after completing 50 tax seasons) of how I used a special strategy and loophole to save my clients hundreds to thousands of dollars in NJ state income tax and a special worksheet to use to calculate your tax savings.

It also briefly discusses other ways to legally avoid NJ state income taxes.  

I will send you this special report for $6.99 plus $1.80 postage and mailing – a total of only $8.79.

Send your check or money order (payable to TAXES AND ACCOUNTING, INC) for $8.79 and your postal mailing address to –

HAWLEY PA 18428 


Thursday, June 16, 2022



I realize this post has nothing to do with income taxes – but this must be acknowledged, understood and addressed.

I have been voting for 50 years.  Over the years I have voted for Democratic, Republican and 3rd-Party candidates, based on the individual issues and candidates.  I have never been a “card-carrying” member of any political party and I have not registered as either a Democrat or Republican since my early 20s.

Never in my lifetime, until now, have I been able to say with certainty that the greatest threat to America, the American people, American democracy, American freedoms, and true American values is a major political party – the Republican Party.

Today’s Republican Party is controlled by the racist and repressive so-called “evangelicals” of the Religious Right, has been bought and paid for by the despicable NRA, and has completely embraced malignant narcissist and wannabe dictator Trump and his lies.

In the history of our country no one single individual has done more damage to America than Trump.  The one and only accomplishment of the Trump presidency was to embolden, empower and “legitimize” hatred, racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.

The political divide in America today is NOT liberal vs conservative - it is intelligence (Democrat) vs ignorance (Republican). By embracing Trump and his lies and the Religious Right the Republican Party has abandoned all integrity, credibility and honor and totally abandoned all true conservative and “traditional” Republican philosophy and policy.  The agenda of today’s Republican Party is contrary to true conservatism.  The only voters the Republican Party is interested in representing are the ignorant racists that make up Trump’s core cult.  Sadly, true conservatives and traditional Republicans no longer have any voice in American politics today

Winston Churchill Has been credited with saying that if you are not a liberal by age 20 you have no heart and if you are not a conservative by age 40 you have no head.  I believe, at age 68, I have both heart and head.  I support fiscal responsibility in government and do not believe the answer to all our problems is to tax the rich simply because they can afford it – but I recognize the need to work together with our international allies whenever possible and for programs that address the social and economic problems of our citizens.  Today’s Republican Party has neither heart nor head – no empathy and no intelligence.

It is vital for the future of America that we defeat EVERY Republican candidate in EVERY election for EVERY office at EVERY level in 2022 who does not vocally oppose, denounce and disavow Trump, his lies and the leadership and agenda of today’s Republican Party.

And this, too, is important.  Trump’s lies and call to action was the direct cause of the treasonous assault on the US Capital on January 6th.  Trump MUST be indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated for this and his many other crimes.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022



A meaty BUZZ this week!
* A reminder that the IRS recently increased the Standard Mileage Allowance for business, medical and moving travel for July – December 2022.  Click here.
* Also from the IRS - good news for teachers.  The IRS reminds usFor the first time,maximum educator expense deduction rises to $300 in 2022; limit $250 for those filing 2021 tax returns”.
This is the first time the annual limit has increased since the special educator expense deduction was enacted in 2002. For tax-years 2002 through 2021, the limit was $250 per year. This means for people currently filing their 2021 tax returns due in April, the deduction is limited to $250. The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments.
For 2022, an eligible educator can deduct up to $300 of qualifying expenses. If they are married and file a joint return with another eligible educator, the limit rises to $600. But in this situation, not more than $300 for each spouse.”
Does a gun purchased to protect students from a mass shooter qualify as a “classroom expense” for teachers?
When will we say enough is enough and do something?  Pardon my French, but fuck the NRA and fuck today’s deplorable and despicable Republican Party.  Check out “The Truth About the Second Amendment” in the June “issue” of BOBSERVATIONS (the next to last item).
* The Associated Press has reported that Reality TV self-absorbed morons the Chrisleys have joined other Reality TV self-absorbed morons convicted of tax fraud in “Todd and Julie Chrisley found guilty on federal charges”.
“ . . . a jury on Tuesday found them guilty of conspiring to defraud community banks out of more than $30 million in fraudulent loans, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan in Atlanta. They were also found guilty of conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion, and Julie Chrisley was convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.”
TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb had recently discussed “Lessons You Can Learn as IRS Asserts Chrisley Doesn’t Know Best” at her BLOOMBERG.COM blog.
For the past few years, I have been asking who these Chrisley idiots were and why anyone would care a rat’s hind quarters about them or what they knew.  Just another family of talentless and worthless narcissists who are “famous for being famous”.
* Will your son or daughter have a summer job this year?  Kay Bell lists “5 tax considerations for young workers and their parents” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
#5 repeats a recommendation from another post in a recent BUZZ and something I have been recommending for years –
Take advantage of earnings to open an IRA.”
* Some good advice from the title of a blog post I saw referenced on Twitter – Don’t Assume Your Financial Advisor Does Tax Planning (I am not linking to the item).
It is a good idea to run any recommendations your financial advisor makes by your tax professional before taking any action.  As the post title suggests, don’t assume he or she knows anything about taxes.  This is especially important if the advisor does not charge an hourly fee for advice and is affiliated with a brokerage house and earning his money via commissions on investments you purchase.
* The NATP BLOG tells us “What taxpros REALLY thought about the 2022 tax season
No surprise here –
. . . the biggest struggle (even more than anticipated) was receiving incomplete documents from their clients.”
* Kay Bell warns us “Don't fall for any of 2022's Dirty Dozen tax scams” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.
As Kay points out -
Benjamin Franklin wasn't quite correct. There are three constants in life: death, taxes, and tax scams.”

The future of our democracy demands that Trump be indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated for instigating the January 6th assault on the Capital and fr his many other crimes.


{I apologize for the format FU (all caps). The system appears to be fucked.  RDF}

Monday, June 13, 2022


Every few years I re-post my advice for those who are starting out in the tax preparation business – lessons I have learned from my many decades as a tax professional. 

My advice involves a song lyric and two advertising slogans –

* “You See You Can’t Please Everyone, So You Got to Please Yourself” (no jokes about pleasuring oneself now)

* “Only Sherwin Williams Can Cover the Earth”

* “Just Say No!”

1) Rick Nelson was spouting real wisdom when he sang “You see you can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself”. Do not choose your career, or run your life or business, because it is what you think your family, friends, clients, etc. would want you to do. Follow your own dreams, and make your own decisions, and your own mistakes in the process, based on what you want.

2) When I first began my own practice, many, many, many years ago, I thought that I should offer, either personally or via relationships with consultants in other fields, all kinds of financial services to clients, not just 1040 preparation, so that their tax business could not be stolen away by their insurance agent or broker or another financial professional.

Then I remembered what a wise old Texan (my boss at the Summit YWCA) once told me – “Only Sherwin Williams can cover the earth”. You can’t be all things to all people. Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to offer the world to your clients.

Along the same lines, remember that the Tax Code is humongous and you cannot be an expert in all Sections. Choose the areas of tax that you enjoy most and are best at and limit your practice to that area.   

3) The hardest lesson I have learned, and one I still find difficult to follow, is, in my case, not becoming an “Addo Robert” – especially with friends and loyal clients.  You must learn to just say “no” to clients. Regardless of how much you would sincerely like to help them with items and issues, tax-related or otherwise, other than those in which you are educated and experienced, realize your limitations and learn to tell a client “I don’t do that”.

Over the years, clients have brought me census forms and loan, financial aid, discount program, and rebate applications asking for help. I clearly state that I do 1040s and nothing else, because that is where my education and experience lies. I tell them that I know nothing more about these forms and applications then they do, and that I do not have time during the tax season to do anything that does not involve a 1040.

You should also learn to just say no to accepting a new client. If you feel you are already overworked during the tax season, or that a client has tax issues you are not trained or experienced in or comfortable with or shows a potential for agita and aggravation, learn how to say that you are not accepting any new clients.

And lastly learn how to say “no” to a client when they ask you to do something that is “shaky” or “shady” – such as to claim a deduction that you know, or strongly suspect, is not legitimate or appropriate or not to claim income that you know they received. It is better to lose the client than to gain the potential problems.

While these three pieces of advice have been written for new tax preparers, they are valid regardless of your choice of trade or profession, and each one has many applications.

And one more thing – he said “Columbo-like”.  If you are interested in becoming a paid tax preparer I suggest you read my book “So You Want To Be A Tax Preperer”.  Click here to learn about this book.


Friday, June 10, 2022



The IRS has announced in Announcement 2022-13 -

This announcement informs taxpayers that the Internal Revenue Service is modifying Notice 2022-3, 2022-2 I.R.B. 308, by revising the optional standard mileage rates for computing the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, medical, or moving expense purposes and for determining the reimbursed amount of these expenses that is deemed substantiated. This modification results from recent increases in the price of fuel.

The revised standard mileage rates are:

(1) Business 62.5 cents per mile

(2) Medical and moving 22 cents per mile

The mileage rate that applies to the deduction for charitable contributions is fixed under § 170(i) of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) at 14 cents per mile.

The revised standard mileage rates set forth in this announcement apply to deductible transportation expenses paid or incurred for business, medical, or moving expense purposes on or after July 1, 2022, and to mileage allowances that are paid both (1) to an employee on or after July 1, 2022, and (2) for transportation expenses paid or incurred by the employee on or after July 1, 2022.

For January – June 2022 the rates are 58.5 cent and 18 cents per mile and for July – December 2022 the rates are 62.5 cents and 22 cents per mile.


Wednesday, June 8, 2022


Congress has been obsessed with using refundable credits as a form of “negative income tax” in an attempt to redistribute income to lower earners.   It began with the Earned Income Credit, recently added the Additional Child Tax Credit, American Opportunity Credit and Premium Tax Credit and during COVID included the Recovery Rebate Credit and temporarily made the basic Child Tax Credit and Credit for Child and Dependent Care refundable.  A component of the so-far unsuccessful Build Back Better legislation is the expansion of refundable credits.

Refundable tax credits are bad tax policy.  The main cause of complexity in the Tax Code and tax return errors is the use of the Form 1040 to deliver social welfare and other government benefits, often through the use of refundable credits.  And the majority of tax fraud involves refundable credits.  The IRS estimates that 21-26% of all EITC claims are erroneous.

I would not necessarily object to credits in excess of tax liability being carried forward to future tax years – but I vehemently oppose all refundable credits.  And I actually oppose the existence of some tax credits.  That said I must point out that I have always claimed all tax credits to which my clients were entitled under the law over the years, regardless of my personal opinion concerning the appropriateness of the credits.

The one and only purpose of the federal income tax system is to raise the money necessary to fund the government.  The US Tax Code must never be used for social engineering, to redistribute income or wealth, or to deliver social welfare and other government benefits.  

For many years I have been saying that the Internal Revenue Service, and the tax professional community, should not be required to act as Social Workers and administer and verify government program benefit payments.

I am not saying that the government shouldn’t provide financial assistance to the working poor and college students, provide encouragements for purchasing health insurance, making energy-saving purchases and improvements and other ‘worthy’ actions.  What I am saying is that such assistance and encouragements should not be distributed via the Form 1040.

The benefits provided by the Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable Child Tax Credit should be distributed via existing federal welfare programs for Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The benefits provided by the education tax credits and deduction for tuition and fees should be distributed via existing federal programs for providing direct student financial aid. The benefits provided by the Premium Tax Credit, the energy credits, and other such personal and business credits should be distributed via direct discount payments to the appropriate vendors or direct rebate programs, similar to the successful Cash for Clunkers program of a few years ago, funded by the budget of the appropriate Cabinet departments.

Distributing the benefits in this manner is much better than the current method for many reasons:

(1) It would be easier for the government to verify that the recipient of the subsidy, discount or rebate actually qualified for the money, greatly reducing fraud. And tax preparers, and the IRS, would no longer need to take on the added responsibility of having to verify that a person qualifies for government benefits.

(2) The qualifying individuals would get the money at the “point of purchase,” when it is really needed, and not have to go “out of pocket” up front and wait to be reimbursed when they file their tax return.

(3) We would be able to calculate the true income tax burden of individuals. Many of the infamous “47%” would still be receiving government benefits, but it would not be done through the income tax system, so they would actually be paying federal income tax.

(4) We could measure the true cost of education, housing, health, energy and welfare programs in the federal budget because benefit payments would be properly allocated to the appropriate departments.

So – do you agree?


Tuesday, June 7, 2022


* The latest “issue” of NATP’s TAXPRO Weekly member email newsletter provided information from the IRS detailed update on backlogged returns.  It reported -


As of May 20, 2022, the IRS had 9.8 million unprocessed individual returns, which include returns received before 2022, and new tax year 2021 returns. Of these, 2 million returns require error correction or other special handling, and 7.8 million are paper returns waiting to be reviewed and processed.”


And –


As of May 21, 2022, the IRS had 2.1 million unprocessed Forms 1040-X and are processing these returns in the order received. The current time frame can be more than 20 weeks.”


So, you just need to be patient.  And please DO NOT contact your tax pro to ask about a late federal refund there is absolutely nothing he, or you, can do to expedite the processing of your return or the issuing of your refund!


* TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb reports “Some States Are Offering Sales Tax Holidays for Shoppers in 2022” at her BLOOMBERG.COM blog.


* Speaking of tax holidays, Kay Bell tells us “As fuel prices continue rising, some states enact gas tax holidays” at DON’T MESS WITH TAXES.


* FIN POWERED FEMALE Victoria explains “How Your Minor Child Can Contribute to a Roth IRA”.


This is something I have been recommending to parents and grandparents for many years now.


* One of the multitude of acronyms that taxpayers, and taxpros, have to deal with is MAGI.  No gift from this MAGI – which stands for “Modified Adjusted Gross Income”.  Many tax deductions and benefits are limited based on your MAGI. 


Jim Blankenship explains “Determining Your MAGI” related to IRA contributions at FINANCIAL DUCKS IN A ROW.


* The TAX FOUNDATION identifies “State and Local Tax Burdens, Calendar Year 2022”.


New York has the highest state and local tax burden.  New Jersey is #6.