Friday, October 18, 2013


Politicians and diapers have one thing in common…they should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.”  Unknown

As I was reading a newer Margaret Truman “Capital Crimes” mystery in the waiting room while waiting for the windshield of my car to be replaced I came across an observation in the narrative, that, while nothing new in my lifetime, seemed especially relevant considering the recent mucking fess in Washington –

Those in government who thought that the death of Afran Mutki {a plot point - rdf}  and the suspicion surrounding it could be kept under wraps also believed that politicians made decisions based upon what was good for the country rather than what would help them perpetuate their positions of power.”
After the past few weeks nobody believes that.

* Have you taken the “V.O.I.D. Pledge” yet?  Click here.

* I am quoted in Jeff Stimpson’s TAXPRO TODAY article “Their Bad: The Biggest Mistakes Tax Prep Clients Make.”

* Fellow tax blogger Jamaal Solomon of THE TAX FACTOR has published "A Good Guy's Tax Journey Part 1: Tax Tips on How to Deal With the IRS and Live to Fight Another Day".  I just got my copy yesterday and will be reviewing it here at TWTP once I have finished reading it.

BTW- JS and I are working together on a book of advice and resources for tax professionals.
* Still another example of fraud and waste involving federal welfare delivered via refundable tax credits from the WASHINGTON POST in "Bungling Bureaucrats Dole Out Billions in Tax Credits to Illegal Immigrants". 

* PARKER PUBLISHING gives us the word that “Annual Per Diem Rate Guidance Changes ‘Incidental Expenses’ Definition”.

Parker tells us that -

. . . the definition of incidental expenses was revised by the Federal Travel Regulations in October of 2012, to provide that incidental expenses include only fees and tips given to porters, baggage carriers, hotel staff, and staff on ships.

Before the change in the definition of incidental expenses, incidental expenses included transportation between places of lodging or business and places where meals are eaten and the mailing cost associated with filing travel vouchers and paying employer-sponsored charge card billings.”

* Some TaxPro BUZZ from Diane Gilabert, aka THE MAVEN (as my THE TAX PROFESSIONAL blog has been discontinued).  Diane tells tax pros “How To Advise Clients on Multi-state Income Tax Compliance”.  

Her bottom line –

Multi-state income tax compliance is challenging. Be proactive. Discuss what causes nexus, estimate the additional state tax liabilities, and be up front about your fees.”

* The CCH annual “2013 Year-End Tax Planning” briefing is now available.  Click here to download.

* I came across the PLANTING MONEY SEEDS post “Can You Hold Real Estate in Your IRA?” by Miranda Marquit a while back.  I made a note of the link to send it to a friend and client who was considering such a move.  It is a good discussion of the issue.

Miranda reports-

Many investors like to add a little real estate to their portfolios in times like these. Prices and rates are low, so you can get a good deal. Plus, rents are on the rise, so the potential gains are also quite reasonable. And, you don’t even have to be much of a landlord, since you aren’t allowed to manage the properties you hold in an IRA.”

But cautions –

Carefully consider your options before you decide to add real estate to your IRA. While you can hold real estate in your IRA, there are a number of restrictions, and if you aren’t careful, you could run into trouble with the IRS.”

* Speaking of IRAs, Joe Taxpayer discusses an alternative form or RMD in “The 'In Kind' Distribution” at ROTH MANIA.

* FORBES.COM’s TaxGirl Kelly Phillips Erb warns us that the “Shutdown Gives Tax Scammers New Opportunities to Steal”.

Kelly talks about a recent telephone scam.

* Jason Dinesen, an Enrolled Agent, asks “If EAs are Liechtenstein and CPAs are the U.S., What are the Unenrolled?” at DINESEN TAX TIMES.

* Jason reiterates the unfortunate fact that, however erroneous, “The name “CPA” means ‘tax expert’ to most people”.

In addressing the massive group of tax professionals who are “unenrolled”, like me, Jason correctly states –

“ . . . some unenrolled preparers are excellent — every bit as good as (and maybe even better than) any CPA or EA.”

There needs to be a voluntary designation program for tax professionals who do not want to represent taxpayers before the IRS.  If the IRS does not continue its RTRP program on a voluntary basis then the industry needs to create a universally accepted credential.  See my ACCOUNTING TODAY article “It’s Time for Independent Certification for Tax Preparers”.

* And we end with one more item of TaxPro BUZZ, this time from ACCOUNTING TODAY – “IRS Delays PTIN Renewals for 2014”.

I would think the renewal process would be delayed until the decision in the appeal of Loving v IRS is announced.  If there is no more mandatory RTRP program the IRS should not be charging a fee to renew PTINs!


Obviously it is good fiscal policy to reduce the debt.  But the time to discuss/debate the issue is the day after the debt ceiling has been increased, not the day before a vote is required.  The day after raising the debt ceiling the last time it was done the idiots in Washington should have begun to address the problem.

If the idiots we have elected to run the country cannot act responsibly, and cannot put their responsibility to the American people ahead of themselves or their party, then they must be replaced!

At election time we must throw all of the bums out.  Vote Out Incumbent Dysfunction!


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