Saturday, October 6, 2012


* Jason Dinesen begins a 3-part series that deals with the question “Would a New Name Help Enrolled Agents?” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

I had suggested that the designation EA be changed to ETRP (Enrolled Tax Return Preparer) to tie in to the new RTRP category.

Jason concludes –

With the passage of time, I have come to believe that, while the EA designation is not necessarily consumer-friendly (because of the word “agent”), I’m not sure the name is really the problem.

The problem is, no one has heard of us!

And promises to elaborate in Parts 2 and 3.

* Robert W Wood of FORBES.COM tells us the truth when he says “No Debate: You Can't Deduct Political Contributions!”.

I do recall that many, many years ago there was, for a short time, a limited deduction allowed for political contributions.  And I do believe one did not have to itemize to claim it.  Does anyone remember when?

* Speaking of FORBES.COM, TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb discovers that “Congress Takes Home Millions of Tax Dollars While on Recess”.

Kelly tells us that “most members of Congress make about $174,000 per year for serving their constituency. Assuming a 50 week work year – what most of us put in – that works out to $3,480 per week.”

And then she calculates what the idiots in Congress are pocketing for the 7 weeks that they will be “on recess”, campaigning and not working (highlights are mine) –

At $3,480 per week for seven weeks, taxpayers are paying about $24,360 per Congressional official for, um, nothing. Assuming that there are 535 voting members of Congress, that works out to an astonishing $13,032,600 in tax dollars for just one recess. Not including staff and benefits. Yes, eight figures.”

What about the “summer recess” that they just returned from –

The five week summer break? $9,390,000.”

When you think of it, even when they are in Washington allegedly “working” the idiots do not accomplish anything.  What a total waste of taxpayer’s money!

* Kelly also weighed in on the Presidential debate, giving some perspective to the fact that “Romney Promises To Cut Taxpayer Funding For PBS (But Says He Still Loves Big Bird)”.

So will it kill Big Bird? He might need smaller digs but chances are, cuts to PBS won’t kill off Sesame Street and other major programming. What will happen, realistically, is that public television stations would have to find alternate sources of funding. Larger markets, like the one I live in now, would likely survive. But chances are that those smaller markets, like the one I used to live in, would have to shut off the lights.”

When will politicians realize that you do not have to cut funding to worthwhile and effective programs to reduce the budget?   You just have to cut out pork, waste, and entitlements!

* Trish McIntire echoes somewhat what I have been saying for years in “Location, Location, Location” at OUR TAXING TIMES.

As I say in my comment on her post, the deductions for state income taxes, real estate taxes, and mortgage interest, on the primary residence, are a kind of “geographical equalizer”.  

* CCH has produced a Tax Briefing on “2012 Year End Tax Planning”.  Click here to download.  

* Joe Kristan includes a Tax Foundation chart on “The Growth of Refundable Tax Credits, 1990-2010” in his Friday BUZZ-like “Tax Roundup” at the ROTH AND COMPANY TAX UPDATE BLOG.

I wholeheartedly agree with Joe’s comment on the chart -

I bet the chart of tax refund fraud incidence would look about the same.”

* Speaking of the TAX FOUNDATION, author of the chart referenced by Joe, check out its “Weekly Tax Update”.


Let’s face it.  At this point in the campaign Romney is not going to identify the specific tax deductions/expenditures that he would do away with to pay for tax rate decreases because he does not want to alienate any segment of voters.  No candidate would.


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