* First of all – I invite all fellow tax professionals who are members of the National Society of Tax Professionals to read my post “To NSTP or Not to NSTP” at my NJ TAX PRACTICE BLOG.
* CCH reports that both the House and the Senate have passed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (HR 7327) by unanimous consent.
The item states – “Among the provisions is a measure to provide relief for seniors age 70 and 1/2 or older who are required to take distributions from their retirement plans under current law. The provision would allow savings to stay put and avoid a tax hit for seniors when the market is down.”
I will provide more details of this change once I get a chance to review the Act in detail.
* TAX PROF Paul Caron tells us about a paper titled “The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation” in his same-titled post.
According to the paper (highlight is mine) - “In the United States, workers in cities offering above-average nominal wages – cities with high productivity, low quality-of-life, or inefficient housing sectors – pay 30% more in federal taxes than otherwise identical workers in cities offering below-average wages.”
I have been complaining about this very fact for years – considering I am from an area that offers “above-average nominal wages”.
* Kristine McKinley of the EBIZ TAX TIPS blog, a CPA and Certified Financial Planner, is offering a free “teleclass” (i.e. via telephone) for small business owners on “Your Top Tax Questions Answered”. All you have to do is register for the call. The “teleclass” is scheduled for Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 1:00 CST. Click here to register to receive the call-in number and other details – you can also submit questions you would like Kristine to cover in advance
* From the “I have to see it to believe it” file – CNN Money reports in “Obama: No More Pork” that President-Elect Obama has announced “No more business as usual”!
I guess this means that New Jersey will not be getting any of the federal money for infrastructure, energy or education programs.
* Bruce the taxguy gives us a good listing of “Quick Tips”. Here is one to remember – “Insurance policies that cover medical cost are deductible. Disability and loss of income are not”.
* Robert O’Harrow Jr’s “Government Ink” column from the online version of the Washington Post titled “Bailout Not Well Planned” reports that “Now the Government Accountability Office is telling us that the Department of Treasury's bailout of the financial system is not well planned and could lead to a lot of mismanagement and waste or, presumably, worse”.
Does this surprise you? You do know that the bailout package was written by Congress, and, as Prof. Jim Maule has taught me to say, “Who says that Congress is thinking?”!
* I advise clients who itemize and make quarterly state estimated tax payments to make the 4th quarter payment – due January 15 of the following year (i.e. 2009) – in December of the current year (i.e. 2008). This way the client gets the full tax deduction on his/her 2008 Schedule A.
Joe Kristan has proven that this is good advice, and actually puts money in your pocket regardless of your tax bracket, in a chart he has devised for in post “Does It Make Sense to Prepay Your Taxes?” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.
* Michael Rozbruch reports on a new “phishing” tax scam aimed at “non-resident aliens” in his post “Suspicious IRS Email Warning - Don’t be a Victim of Identity Theft and Avoid this Phishing Scheme” at the TAX RESOLUTION UNIVERSITY blog.
* AccountingWeb.com reports that “Intuit Launches Cutest Tax Deduction Baby Search”.
“TurboTax the tax preparation software from Intuit Inc., is conducting its second annual nationwide search for America's Cutest Last-Minute Tax Deduction. One lucky baby, born in December 2008, will win a United States savings bond worth up to $10,000 upon maturity.
To enter the 2008 contest, parents or legal guardians should submit a photo of their newest last-minute tax deduction. To be eligible, babies must be born between December 1-31, 2008. Deadline for entries is January 9, 2009.”
Click here for further details, rules, and eligibility information.
* We welcome back Gina Gwozdz of TAX TIPS BLOG back after a hiatus from posting of over 2 months. Gina, you have been away too long! Her post “Children as Independent Contractors” is a good reminder to parents who want to hire their kids in their Schedule C business why they are generally not to be treated as independent contractors.
* Gina ends the week by advising a “New Business Owner”. The post includes links to some excellent information for new business owners.
I like how in the body of his question the “new business owner” states, “I have an assumed name”. I do believe he means to say that he has registered a “trade name” for his business.
* Russ Fox of TAXABLE TALK points out that “Rangel's Troubles Worsen”. It seems the extent of Chuck’s tax FUs is endless!
* Cindy, a twitter follower of mine, answers the question “What’s a Marginal Tax Bracket?” at her blog MEND YOUR MONEY.
* Richard Close, the IRS HITMAN, tells us “IRS Interest Rates are Dropping!” for the first quarter of 2009.
* Dan Meyer has begun the naming of the 2008 prestigious 12 Blogs of Christmas with 4 accounting blogs and 3 personal finance blogs. Dan expects the tax blogs will be announced later today (Saturday). Congratulations to the new members of this honor roll!
* Greed is alive and well! TAXGIRL Kelly Phillips Erb reports that “CNN Readers Want More Stimulus Checks”. It appears that a large portion of the American Public could care less about what is good for the country – they only care about what they can put in their pocket!
People wonder why I am so cynical – it comes from 35+ years of dealing with the public!
* Congratulations to Professor Jim Maule for his 1000th post at MAULED AGAIN! Here’s to the next 1000.
* Let’s end this week’s installment of the BUZZ with some year-end advice from yesterday’s (Friday) “Tip of the Day” from the Small Business Taxes and Management website. This site is a valuable resource for tax information for the individual as well as the business owner. The highlights are mine -
“Worthless stock . . . If you're holding some stock you believe is worthless, but it's still trading for a few cents a share, you can't simply claim worthlessness. To claim a loss you've still got to sell the stock, even if the commissions will far exceed what you'll get for the shares. Check with your financial advisor. But taking the loss may make sense. If the loss can't be used this year, you can carry it forward. Can't find the stock quoted anywhere? See if you can sell it to your broker.”