* While I am on “hiatus” be sure to follow my twice weekly (changing to week-day daily in mid March) column of Tax Tips at MAINSTREET.COM. You can start with “What’s New for 2010” and “Use A Tax Preparer”.
* TAX GIRL Kelly Phillips Erb gives a brief description of “The A, B, C and Ds of Medicare”.
* Joe Kristan talks about the federal EFTPS system in his post “Lessons Learned the Hard Way: Why Employers Should Use EFTPS to Check Their Payroll Tax Deposits”, which gives good advice.
I use EFTPS for the few client payroll and corporate estimated tax payments I make and it is very good. I also recommend 1040 clients use it to schedule their 1040 estimated tax payments.
BTW – did you read about Joe in my Friday TWTP post?
* The Center for Responsible Lending excellently answers the question “How Do Tax Refund Loans Work” in cartoon form.
U+I Broke Tax Services – I wonder who they are trying to parody? “U”, the customer, may be broke, but the Tax Services certainly ain’t after getting your fees.
* While the article “Tax Redo to Seek 'Level Playing Field'“, which discusses an interview with Turbo Tax guy Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at WSJ.COM deals mostly with corporate tax reform, Geithner responds to questions about individual tax reform at the end -
“Q. The president also mentioned his interest in pursuing simplification of individual income taxes. Is that as high a priority?
A. As he said, along with corporate tax reform, we want to explore comprehensive individual reform. There's a good case for doing both. We want to start the process of exploring what's possible.
Q. What are the next steps?
A. It's good for confidence if we can find things that both Democrats and Republicans want to do. We're in the first inning. We're going to keep consulting—with key committee chairman, with ranking members, with other stakeholders, with architects of past reforms, both ones that worked and those that didn't. Everybody who looks at the current system says: We can do better than this. And there's a lot of interest in doing it. A lot of people in the business community are prepared to be part of something that is revenue neutral, broadens the base, and lowers the top rate. Others want to hold out for something better.”
You will note that, in good politician style, TG did not answer the question “Is that as high a priority”? As I said in an earlier post it looks like White House will not be offering the leadership needed to accomplish serious and substantial tax reform.
* Beans, Beans! The Beans are back! Check out Joe Arsenault’s “BlogRoll Beans- Tax Season Edition” at CAFÉ TAX!
As usual, thanks for including TWTP, Joe!
* A “tweet” from Joe A led me to a new, to me, tax blog – INTAXICATION (Tax Buzz with a Twist) by Traci Wheeler. You may want to check out some of “Our Most Popular Posts for 2010”.
I have, on occasion, posted some Fine Whine at TWTP. Traci has a Red Whine Wednesday. “(W)e’re sharing our biggest Whines about tax, technology and everything in between.”
And Traci’s colleague and fellow blog-writer Kelly Lear firmly believes that “Tax Pros ROCK” –
“We are not boring, nerdy, frightening, strange or demented. We are tax professionals, and we rock!”
* The blog at DOORFLY.COM (A fresh start to home buying) recently posted “Tax Advantages of First Time Home Buyers Explained”.
“Home ownership has both positive and negative aspects to it. There are added expenditures and added responsibilities with owning a home. In addition, there are also many benefits to home ownership and the tax advantages is one of them.”
* Trish McIntire offers some great “Do and Don’ts” for your upcoming appointment with your tax preparer at OUR TAXING TIMES.
Some of my favorites “Dos” –
"· Bring your glasses.
· Turn your cell phone off. Don’t take calls or text while we’re working. A tax interview requires both of us to pay attention to the return for a few minutes. Neither of us can do that if you’re talking to your BFF about what happened at work.
· Leave the kids at home. If you absolutely have to bring them, bring something for them to do. It’s not the responsibility of my receptionist or me to amuse them."
And “Don’ts” –
"· Don’t bring in your box of receipts and expect me to total them during the interview. A few receipts are okay, but plan on leaving the bags and boxes.
· When I ask about deductions, don’t ask how much you deducted last year. And don’t tell me to use last year’s figure (and by the way, the numbers aren’t on my ceiling. No, they really aren’t!)."
To be honest I do not miss the days when I had a storefront office open to the public.
* The CCH daily headline email newsletter reports that “House Votes to End Taxpayer Funding of U.S. Presidential Elections”.
“House lawmakers on January 26 approved a measure to end the post-Watergate-era option of allowing taxpayers to check a box on their federal tax returns to designate $3 of their tax liability to finance presidential campaigns.”
In 39 years of preparing 1040s (and 1040As) I cannot remember a single client who actually “checked the box”.
Will it pass the Senate? CCH tells us “The Obama administration strongly opposes the legislation”.
* CNBC.COM tells us that, according to Governor Chris Christie, “New Jersey to Cut Corporate Taxes Further”.
What I would like to see cut is the corporate “minimum tax” - which is based on gross receipts and not taxable income. Currently a corporation with “0” net taxable income can still pay a “minimum” corporate business tax of $2,000!
* The IRS has issued a “Nationwide Free Tax Preparation Site List”.
“The VITA Site list helps taxpayers locate nearby volunteer sites that help low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers sponsored by various organizations receive training to help prepare basic tax returns in communities across the country. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations.”
Taxpayers who think they need to get a Refund Anticipation Check from Henry and Richard because they cannot afford to pay the excessive tax preparation fees upfront should go to VITA to have their returns prepared for free.
* In case you did not read the comments to my “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN IT TO ME” post – Mary O’Keeffe tries in “Explaining the ‘Refund Anticipation Check’ Product” at BED BUFFALOES IN YOUR TAX CODE.
Mary correctly explains –
“The RAC product (like its cousin the RAL) also reduces the transparency of the transaction--the taxpayer may not notice how much they are paying for tax return prep because it is buried in a huge stack of paperwork as an item subtracted from their refund.”
That’s all the BUZZ for a while. As I said at the beginning it will return at the end of April.