Make your own free website on Tripod.com

NEW JERSEY TAX PRACTITIONER NETWORK

NEW JERSEY TAX PRACTICE BLOG by Robert D Flach - SEPTEMBER 2005

Home
ONLINE TAX RESOURCES
TAX PRACTITIONER RESOURCES
 
 
WELCOME TO THE NEW JERSEY TAX PRACTICE BLOG!   YOUR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.  EMAIL ME AT mailto:rdftaxpro@comcast.net.
 
PLEASE CHECK OUT MY WEBLOG FOR TAXPAYERS - "THE WANDERING TAX PRO" - AT http://rdftaxpro.tripod.com/weblog.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2005
 
The National Center for Professional Education, Inc. will be offering its 2-day Individual Income Tax Workshop at five locations in New Jersey.
 
In addition to recent developments and new legislation, workshop topics will include-
  • Special Focus on Small Business Issues,
  • Ethics and the Tax Professional,
  • The Truth About Home Mortgage Interest,
  • Problem 1040s,
  • Problem K-1s, and
  • How Dangerous Are Employee Business Expenses?

The workshop, with registration beginning at 7:15 am and the classes running from 8:00 am to 4:15 pm, will qualify for 16 CPE credits.

The Individual Income Tax Workshop will be offered at-

  • November 10 + 11 = The Radisson in Saddlebrook
  • November 15 + 16 = The Holiday Inn Monroe in Jamesburg
  • December 7 + 8 = The Doubletree Mahwah in Montvale
  • December 7 + 8 = The Regency Palace in Mt. Laurel
  • January 9 + 10, 2006 = The Holiday Inn Boardwalk in Atlantic City

Included in the list of workshop leaders this year are NATP favorites David Mellem (see earlier postings) and wife Mary. 

The cost of the 2-days is $290.00 if registering at least two weeks prior to the seminar date, and $310.00 if registering within two weeks of the date.

For some reason the 5 New Jersey seminars, as well as those offered in Ft Lauderdale FL and Long Island and New Rochelle NY, are more expense than those at other locations throughout the US, where the fee is $259.00 or $285.00.

For more information go to http://www.ncpeseminars.com or call 1-800-682-2163.

- - - - - - - - - -

FYI, CCH offers a free analysis of the recently passed Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 at http://tax.cchgroup.com/SpecialReport/default.

TAFN
 
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2005
 
Do any of you have clients in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, Washington, or Wyoming who recently sent an estimated tax or other tax payment to Post Office Box 510000 in San Francisco?
 
On September 11th, a truck carrying checks mailed to this Post Office Box to an IRS "lockbox" location was involved in a traffic accident on the San Mateo Bridge, sending about 30,000 pieces of mail, most believed to be quarterly estimated tax payments, into the San Francisco Bay!
 
The IRS promises to waive penalties and interest on payments that ended up in the Bay.
 
Taxpayers who sent a check to the above post office box during the first 10 days of September are asked to wait until October to see if it has cleared before contacting the IRS.
 
TAFN
 
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2005
 
The New York State chapter of NATP will be offering a New York State Update seminar at six (6) locations around the state in October.
 
In addition to a state tax update, complete with budget legislation and recent developments, the seminar will include the following topics-
  • Personal Net Operating Losses - with an intense focus on NY state issues,
  • 529 College Savings Plans - with details on the NYS plan and realistic examples,
  • New York Residency - with everything you need to know about "domicile", "permanent place of abode", and other related issues,
  • New York State Mandatory E-File - with the new rules and details on other available NYS e-services, and
  • Potpourri - with answers to the questions most frequently asked of the NY NATP office. 

The cost of the seminar is $140.00 for members and $150.00 for non-members, with a $10.00 discount for those who register by 9/26/05.

The seminar will run from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, with registration beginning at 7:00 am, at the following locations:

  • October 17 = Doubletree Hotel in Rochester
  • October 18 = Embassy Suites Hotel in East Syracuse
  • October 24 = Holiday Inn in Plainview
  • October 26 = Holiday Inn Midtown in New York City
  • October 27 = Holiday Inn in Fishkill (note - very close to selling out)
  • October 28 = Century House in Latham

Each seminar will qualify for 8 CPE credits.

You can download a registration form at http://www.natptax.com/2005nyregform.pdf

The September issue of "Chapter Chatter", the newsletter of the NY chapter of NATP, is available online in pdf format at http://www.natptax.com/2005nyseptnews.pdf.

TAFN
 
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2005
 
This past March a client received a "STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT" notice from the New Jersey Division of Taxation that indicated a balance due of $3000.00 in tax and $243.34 in interest and penalties on the 2003 Form NJ-1040. 
 
As I tell my clients, and the readers of THE WANDERING TAX PRO, more often than not balance due notices from the IRS and the NJ Division of Taxation are incorrect.  This notice was no different.
 
The notice failed to give the taxpayers credit for $3,000.00 in NJ Gross Income Tax withheld from a pension.  This $3,000.00 was clearly marked in Box 10 of a Form 1099-R, the state copy of which was included with the mailing of the 2003 NJ-1040.
 
I wrote to the POB indicated on the notice explaining the DOT's error, enclosing a photocopy of the 1099-R.
 
There was no word, either to me or the taxpayers, until late July, when a "STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT" was sent to the clients indicating that the $2,426.00 refund requested on the 2004 Form NJ-1040 was being applied to the balance due for tax year 2003.  A week or so later a "FAIR REBATE PROGRAM NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY" was also received, stating that the $1,016.19 FAIR Rebate was being applied to a 2003 Gross Income Tax deficiency.
 
The Division of Taxation had totally ignored my letter of explanation!
 
I now wrote to the Tax Practitioners' Hotline office of the DOT's Taxpayer Accounting Branch, with a copy of my original correspondence and the 1099-R.   
 
This time I "cc"-ed Robert K Thompson, Director of the NJ Division of Taxation.
 
My second letter was not ignored.  I received a prompt response from the Chief of the Taxpayer Accounting Branch, writing on behalf of Director Thompson, which stated:
 
"Your clients' 2003 Gross Income Tax return has been corrected based on the information submitted with your letter.  Refund checks for the amounts previously withheld have been approved.  Your clients should receive these checks within the next three weeks.
 
Please convey my apologies to your clients for the delay in resolving this matter."
 
Earlier in the year I was also able to promptly resolve a similar client issue by writing to Robert Thompson after my original correspondence was ignored.
 
As I have always said, it pays to go straight to the top! 
 
With the above two exceptions where I involved Mr Thompson, I have never received the courtesy of a reply or response to my correspondence from the Taxpayer Accounting Branch, to whom I usually address my client-related correspondence, or from any other section of the DOT.  Fortunately, in most cases the problem is eventually resolved, usually after several letters from me.    
 
We should not have to "cc" Bob Thompson every time we write to the DOT regarding a client matter in order to get a prompt response!!
 
I must admit that I have an eccentricity.  Over the past 30+ years of dealing with federal and state government agencies I have learned not to trust anything I am told over the phone.  I therefore require that all contact be conducted via written correspondence or email so as to provide hard-copy documentation.  I will not, as many of you would do, attempt to resolve an issue by calling the approproate Practitioner hotline.
 
Comments anyone? 
 
TAFN
 
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2005
 
Today I received a mailing from the New Jersey Division of Revenue addressed to my LLC.
 
The mailing stated, "The Division of Revenue, Business Support Services Bureau is phasing out the use of paper annual reports and moving all filers to electronic filing and payment on the New Jersey Business Gateway Services.  The annual report, which is a statutorily mandated filing contains vital public information and is required to be filed annually.
 
Beginning with this filing, your business entity will be required to use the electronic format to file and pay your annual report.  Payment may be made by electronic check, depository account or credit card."
 
The mailing goes on to tell me where to file online and provides the three (3) pieces of information needed to file online:
  • the 10-digit ID number
  • the type of entity
  • the formation date
It continues, "The transition to paperless filing for the Annual Report means that you will no longer receive a paper annual report.  Corporations will no longer be able to file the paper CAR-100 with the Corporation Business Tax Return (CBT).  Elimination of the paper forms does not change your annual report filing and payment requirements."
 
I went to the website indicated and followed the instructions to file the annual report not for my LLC, but for that of a client's LLC which I was originally going to mail.  The process was indeed quick and painless, and provided me with a confirmation number.
 
First monthly and quarterly Sales and Use Tax filings were required to be submitted electronically, and now Annual Reports.  I expect mandatory online filing of all NJ payroll tax returns and reports is next.  
 
I have no problem with filing all these returns and reports online, as the process is so far very smooth and takes a minimum amount of time, especially since I have changed from "dial-up" to cable internet access. 
 
My only concern with such mandatory electronic filing is that not every business owner in the state of New Jersey has a computer, or easy access to one.  We, as accountants and tax pros, will be getting a lot of requests during the year to file simple reports and returns that were previously prepared and submitted by the client, for which there will obviously be a charge.  The State of New Jersey is forcing additional "out-of-pocket" costs on small business owners.
 
I also liked it when the annual report filing for corporations was included as part of the annual CBT return.  This way we could be sure that the annual report would be properly and timely filed.  Now the notice will once again be sent to the Registered Agent during the year, and we will have to only hope that it is submitted.
 
I shouldn't say "we".  As a reaction to the increased cost and complexity associated with New Jersey corporation returns I no longer accept corporate clients.  I only do those corporate returns that I have to do (2 long-time clients and a personal friend).   
 
What do you think about mandatory electronic filing?
 
FYI, I have added to the ONLINE TAX RESOURCES Page a direct link to the web page for online filing of Annual Reports.
 
I have also included a link to the New Jersey Page of the Tax Foundation website.  This page discusses New Jersey's state and local tax burden, business tax climate, and individual, corporate, sales and use, and property taxes as compared to the other 49 states as well as New Jersey's "return on investment" for the federal taxes paid by residents.
 
TAFN 
 
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2005
 
BREAKING NEWS -- The IRS has increased the standard mileage allowance rates for business, medical and moving miles driven between September 1 and December 31, 2005, due to recent increases in the price of gasoline.
 
The new rates for the last 4 months of 2005 are:
  • Business Miles = 48.5 cents per mile
  • Medical and Moving Miles = 22 cents per mile

Because of an anticipated drop in gas prices in the coming months, the IRS will wait until closer to January to announce the 2006 standard mileage allowance rates.

TAFN

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2005
 
It's like deja vu all over again!
 
The recently passed Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 includes "residential energy credits" for the purchase of items such as new windows and doors that conserve energy.  Reading about these new credits brought on a feeling of nostalgia.  I remembered that a similar credit was available to homeowners in the late 70s and early 80s.
 
It also got me reminiscing about the "good old days", before Reagan's "tax simplification", when a savvy tax pro could "pull a rabbit out of a hat" and save clients literally thousands of dollars in federal income tax.
 
Two of the best ways to perform such magic were "Income Averaging" and "Ten-Year Averaging".  These were little known and little advertised methods (especially Income Averaging) to calculate tax liability.  Once we used one of these methods for a taxpayer we knew we had a client for life.
 
Under "Income Averaging", in a year when an individual's taxable income had increased substantially over that of previous years, rather than being taxed on the earnings of the year of the increase, the tax liability was calculated on an average of the taxpayer's income over a 5-year period, as determined by a special formula.  The bigger the increase in taxable income over the 5 years, the greater the savings.  Schedule G was used to calculate tax liability using this method.  The Tax Reform Act of 1986 did away with Income Averaging.  Every now and then a long-time client with an increase in income will ask if I can still use Income Averaging.
 
Back when there was no "premature withdrawal penalty" on payments from an employer pension plan, taxpayers changing jobs would often receive a "lump-sum distribution" from their former employer's plan.  If not "rolled over", the amount of the distribution that represented the employer's contributions and the plan's earnings was included in taxable income in the year of the distribution (this was before the 401k or 403b - all employee contributions were "after-tax").
 
Recipients of such "lump sum distributions" could save a fortune in taxes if the distribution qualified for the "10-Year Averaging" method.  This special method, calculated on Form 4972, provided many tax advantages - it allowed for a "minimum distribution allowance" exclusion of up to 50%, the taxable ordinary income portion (part of the distribution could be treated as "capital gains" and subject to the 60% capital gain deduction - more on this later) was treated as if it were received over a 10-year period, and the distribution was taxed separately at a much lower rate.  It was not added to other income in determining AGI.  In most cases the tax on the "lsd" was calculated by applying the Single tax rate (regardless of filing status) to 5% of the taxable distribution and multiplying the result by 10.  10-Year Averaging was also a victim of the Tax Reform Act of 1986.  It was phased-out, and temporarily replaced by a 5-Year Averaging for certain older taxpayers.  I can recall one instance where 10-Year Averaging saved a client over $5,000.00 in federal income taxes.
 
Before TRA 86 long-term capital gains were not taxed at a lower rate, as is the case today.  Instead, taxpayers could totally exclude from income 60% of net long-term capital gains (the exclusion was originally 50%).  If you had $10,000.00 in net long-term capital gains you would include only $4,000.00 in gross taxable income.  The $4,000.00 would be taxed at the appropriate ordinary tax rate.
 
While we are on the subject of taxing capital gains, did you know that the maximum capital loss deduction has been $3,000.00 since at least 1979 (possibly 1978).
 
For my money, the "old" tax treatment of capital gains is "more better" than the current reduced rate.  Although capital gains are supposed to be taxed at a maximum rate of 5% or 15%, the actual effective tax rate is more often than not substantially higher.  This is because 100% of capital gains are now included in AGI, which could cause one to become a victim of the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax, increase the amount of taxable Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, and reduce or eliminate the various tax deductions and credits that are affected by AGI.
 
Let us take an example where $10,000.00 of net long-term capital gains causes an additional $8,500.00 of Social Security benefits to be taxed.  Under current law, assuming the taxpayer is in the 25% bracket, the total cost of the $10,000.00 would be $3,625.00 (or 36.25%) - $1,500.00 in capital gain tax plus $2,125.00 in tax on the additional taxable Social Security.  If 60% of the capital gains were excluded the tax cost would be $1,850.00 - $7,400.00 x 25% - a savings of $1,775.00.
 
If a married couple had an AGI of $151,000.00 before adding $10,000.00 in net capital gains, were in the 28% bracket, and had a dependent child in college with $5,000.00 of tuition, the tax cost of the capital gains would be $2,060.00 (20.6%) - $1,500.00 in capital gain tax plus a loss of $560.00 in tax savings because capital gains pushed the AGI over $160,000.00.  If 60% of the capital gains were excluded the tax cost would be $1,120.00 - $4,000.00 x 28% - a savings of $940.00.  And this is without taking into account the original George Bush's "read my lips" tax.
 
Of course, back when the 60% capital gain exclusion was in force 99.9% of our clients did not have to worry about the AMT, and the only deduction affected by AGI was medical expenses.  Social Security did not become taxable until 1984.
 
Speaking of the Minimum Tax, back in "the day" there was also a Maximum Tax.  When I first started doing tax returns in February of 1972 the top tax rate was 70%.  However, the tax on "earned income" (W-2 and self-employment income) was limited to 50% - the additional 20% applied only to "unearned income".  We would use Form 4726 to calculate the tax liability of high-income clients to make sure earned income was not taxed at more than 50%.  The top tax rate for all income was eventually reduced to 50%, where it stayed through 1986.
 
Also before TRA 86 and the 2% of AGI exclusion, taxpayers who could itemize would all be able to deduct our tax preparation fee as a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A.  When presenting our invoice we would comment that Uncle Sam was paying 25% or 33% of the bill!
 
Have you been in the business long enough to remember any of the above?  What tax-saving trick from the "good old days" do you miss the most?
 
TAFN 
 
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2005
 
The NJ Division of Taxation has announced that it will follow the IRS in extending filing and payment deadlines for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
 
 
- - - - - - - - - -
 
The New Jersey Society of Enrolled Agents will offer a half-day "Multi-State Tax Issues Update Seminar" at the Pines Manor in Edison NJ from 9:00 am to 1:15 pm on November 16th (registration and continental breakfast from 8:00 - 9:00 am).
 
The seminar will cover New Jersey, New York State and City, and Pennsylvania tax issues, and will qualify for 4 hours of CPE credits (NJ = 1.5 hr, NYS+C = 1.5 hr, and PA = 1 hr).
 
The website does not indicate the registration fee.  For more information, go to http://www.njsea.org/events.htm, or call 1-732-548-8023.
 
I attended an NJSEA multi-state seminar several years ago.  If memory serves me, I was disappointed with the seminar content (a half-day is certainly not enough time to properly cover 3 states), but was very impressed with the free continental breakfast - the Pines Manor certainly put out a good spread.
 
FYI, the NJ chapter of NATP will hold a full-day "New Jersey State Seminar" on January 14, 2006.  While the emphasis is on NJ updates, on occasion there are presentations on New York State taxes.  I will provide more information on the seminar content in a future posting as the information becomes available. 
 
I try to make sure to attend the NJ-NATP January state update each year, as they are usually very well done, and have proved quite helpful in my practice.  The January 2005 seminar included among its speakers Division of Taxation Director Robert Thompson and Division of Revenue Director John Tully.
 
TAFN 
 
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2005
 
I trust you had a successful Labor Day week-end.  As is my custom, I spend holiday week-ends catching up on work.
 
Now that the summer is over it is time to think about registering for a Year-End Tax Update seminar.  Here are some of the options available in New Jersey this fall:
 
NATIONAL SOCIETY OF TAX PROFESSIONALS (http://www.nstp.org/2005FUS.html#PSCHE)
 
The 1-day "2005-2006 Fall Update and Review Course", which qualifies for 8 hours of CPE credits, promises to cover -
  • Alternative Minimum Tax issues
  • Subchapter S Corporations - getting ready for the IRS audit program
  • Review and analysis of the importance of AGI and its ripple effects through the 1040
  • Selected provisions of the "Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004", the "American Jobs Creation Act of 2004", and the "Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001" as they apply to tax returns for 2005 and beyond
  • Basis determination issues
  • Business and tax aspects of LLCs
  • Schedule C and Schedule E issues
  • Recent Federal Tax Court cases and IRS Rulings, Procedures and Announcements
  • Review of selected 2005 federal tax forms

The cost of the Update and Review Course is $125.00 for NSTP members and $160.00 for non-members.  It will be held on November 7th at the Holiday Inn in Carteret and on November 14th at the Sands Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City.

As a general rule, the annual NSTP update is "taught" by Tom Cooke, the organization's Executive Director.  Tom's presentations are excellent, with insightful observations on the inner workings and plans of Congress and the IRS.  NSTP is offering a 2-day "Grand Event" in Asheville NC on November 14-15, and I expect that Tom will be speaking at that event, so I would recommend that if you are going to sign up for this seminar you do so for the November 7th session in Carteret.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF TAX PROFESSIONALS (http://www.natptax.com/1040_workshops.html)

NATP offers two separate back-to-back 1-day seminars - "The Famous 1040 Workshop" (Day 1), which features an update of 2005 tax return info, new tax laws applicable to 2005, recent developments, and a review of selected tax topics, and "The 1040 EXTRA Workshop" (Day 2), which discusses in detail specific tax issues.

This year "The 1040 EXTRA Workshop" will discuss -

  • Schedule C issues
  • The Office in Home deduction
  • Beneficiary reporting
  • Ethics

The cost of each 1-day workshop is $140.00 for NATP members and $170.00 for non-members if booked at least 10 days in advance, or $175.00 for members and $205.00 for non-members if booked within 9 days of the workshop.  You can sign up for both days for $260.00 for members and $320.00 for non-members (10 days or more) or $295.00 for members and $355.00 for non-members (9 days or less).

The workshops will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Parsippany on November 14-15, the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Saddle Brook on November 16-17, and the Ramada Inn in Somerset on November 18-19.  Each day qualifies for 8 hours of CPE credits.

NATP will also be presenting a special 4-day "TAXPRO Symposium" on October 31-November 3 at the Sheraton Hotel in Atlantic City.  In addition to the two day-long workshops discussed above, which will be Day 3 and Day 4, the symposium will offer the choice of "Audit Representation" or "S Corporation Taxation Essentials" in the morning and "Offer in Compromise" or "Schedule C-The Simple Return?" in the afternoon on Day 1, and "LLCs for Small Business" or "Divorce" in the morning and "Collection Representation" or "AMT, NOLs, FTCs, & Other Acronyms" in the afternoon on Day 2.  The full 4-day symposium will qualify for 32 hours of CPE credits.

The fee schedule for the symposium is too cumbersome to report here - go to the NATP website to check it out (click on "TAXPRO Symposium" under "Education").

NATIONAL SOCIETY OF ACCOUNTANTS (http://www.nsacct.org/profdev.asp?id=558)

NSA in cooperation with the Accounting, Financial and Tax Professionals of New Jersey (AFTPNJ) will offer a 2-day "National Tax Update" seminar at the Atlantic City Hilton on December 5-6.

The update will allow you to -

  • gain valuable insight on Forms 1040, 1041, and 706,
  • explore important tax law changes,
  • review various court cases and recent court decisions,
  • earn 2 hours of Ethics, and
  • get information on important web addresses and sources of free information for tax season

The cost of the update is $305.00 for NSA members and $365.00 for non-members.  It will qualify for 16 hours of CPE credits.

GEAR-UP SEMINARS (http://www.gearup.com/seminars)

Gear-Up offers a 2-day "1040 Individual Tax Topics" seminar of "all the new stuff, reviewing the tough stuff, and planning tips from the experts" which includes -

  • Complete coverage of Form 1040, with each line indexed to the course manual
  • Tax implications of the "Bankruptcy Reform Bill"
  • New tax breaks for manufacturers
  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Uniform definition of a child
  • Planning tips for solving AMT problems
  • Schedule A problems
  • The latest retirement planning strategies, rules and planning tips
  • Strategies to deal with the new IRS focus on enforcement

The seminars, which qualify for 16 hours of CPE credits, will be offered at the following NJ locations -

  • Atlantic City = December 12-13
  • Jamesburg = November 17-18 and December 15-16
  • Mt Laurel = November 29-30
  • Randolph = November 14-15
  • Saddlebrook = November 21-22
  • Swedesboro = December 7-8

The website strangely does not list the cost of the 2-day seminar for NJ.  However, based on information listed for other states I assume it is $309.00.  The site instructs one to call 1-800-535-3006 to register.

Gear-Up also offers seminars on Accounting, Business Entities, Quickbooks, and Technology.

I will provide information on any additional NJ-located year-end tax update seminars and workshops that I hear about in future postings.  If you know of any such classes, email me at mailto:rdftaxpro@comcast.net.

TAFN

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2005
 
Here are some free online resources for keeping up-to-date on tax and accounting news:
 
 
As one might expect, the best resource for federal and state tax news is publisher Commerce Clearing House.  Click on NEWS CENTER for free access to -
  • A Daily Tax News page that reports on federal tax legislation, pending and passed, IRS rulings, regulations and information releases, and state tax news,
  • Legislative Highlights,
  • Federal and State Tax Commentary, and
  • Special detailed "Tax Briefings" on federal and state tax legislation and issues.

Under the "Newsletter" heading on the News Center home page you can click to sign up for a free daily (Monday-Friday) email newsletter that lists the Daily Tax News headlines (clicking on a headline will take you to the full article) and a monthly "Focus on Tax" email newsletter that provides links to articles and excerpts from various CCH tax law publications.

http://www.accountantsworld.com

This accounting portal also has an excellent daily Headlines page consisting of articles on all aspects of accounting and finance, including taxation, from a variety of sources.  Click on MORE NEWS HEADLINES for a complete listing. 

When you register as a "member" (no charge) you can sign up for a free daily (Monday-Friday) email newsletter listing the day's headlines.

http://www.bankrate.com

This is an excellent portal "chock-a-block" with financial information.  You can sign up to receive free email notification whenever an article on a specific topic, theme or keyword that you specify, such as "taxes", appears on the site.  On the bottom of the 3rd column of the home page click on RECEIVE E-MAIL NEWSLETTERS, then click on ALERTS, and finally click on A NEWS ALERT.

mailto:davidmellem@yahoo.com

David Mellem, the former Research Director of the National Association of Tax Professionals and frequent consultant on federal tax matters for cnnmoney.com {see the September 2 posting}, provides a free email service for tax practitioners.  When a court case, an IRS Revenue Ruling, Revenue Procedure or Information Release, or a new tax law grabs his attention, he provides a summary and send it out to his email list.  These summaries are emailed as written, sometimes one a day, sometimes one a month.  David also provides tax research services at a very reasonable fee.

To get on the list to receive updates from David, send an email to the "address" above with "Add To Email List" in the "subject" line.

http://www.smbiz.com

The "Small Business Taxes and Management" website, maintained by A/N Group, Inc., has a wealth of free current and prior year tax information and analyses.

It provides daily (Monday-Friday) capsulized news briefs on tax legislation, tax court decisions and IRS developments, and a "Tip of the Day".  The news and tips generally deal with small business issues,

You will also find-

  • Quick links to Internal Revenue Bulletins, tax court case information, and IRS Letter Rulings, Technical Memorandums, Information Releases, and Fact Sheets,
  • Special Reports on taxes and financial management issues, including analyses of recent tax legislation,
  • An extensive Reference Section with special corporate, business and tax forms, current and prior year tax tables, and lots more.

Let me know if you have any similar web sites and resources that you would like to share with your fellow tax practitioners, or if you have any questions or comments on the above resources.

TAFN

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2005
 
The Summer 2005 issue of NEW JERSEY STATE TAX NEWS is available to download at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/pubs/stn/summer05.pdf.
 
- - - - - - - - - -
 
The 17th Annual Conference of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Tax Professionals will be held on Saturday, September 24th at the Woodbridge Hilton in Iselin, New Jersey.
 
Registration is from 7:45 - 8:15 am, with the conference running to 5:00 pm.  Continental breakfast, lunch and afternoon dessert are included.
 
The program is "A Day With David Mellem", and will cover such topics as-
  • entity comparison
  • Schedule C audits
  • procedures to make and/or revoke elections
  • the basis of inherited property

The day will end with an "Ask David" question and answer session.  Participants are asked to email questions in advance to mailto:drgservice@aol.com or fax them to 973-777-6848.

David Mellem is an Enrolled Agent with 27 years of tax preparation experience.  He was the director of the NATP Research Department and a popular NATP conference and seminar instructor for many years.  David was the instructor of the very first class I attended at my first NATP conference in Orlando in 1988 (Taxation of the Clergy).

Participants who last the day will earn 8 CPE credits.

The cost of the conference is -

Postmarked before 9/16/05 = $165 Member, $185 Non-Member, $283 New Member

Postmarked after 9/15/05 = $205 Member or Non-Member, $323 New Member

The price for a "New Member" includes annual NATP membership plus an additional $10.00 discount.

For more information contact Barbara Fletcher of Allorto Fox & Co at 425 North Avenue East, Westfield NJ 07090 or call 908-233-7890.

TAFN 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2005

I recently attended the IRS Tax Forum in New York City.  This was my first Tax Forum, although they have apparently been around for 15 years.
 
You certainly can't beat the price - I paid $99.00 as a member of the National Society of Tax Professionals. 
 
The quality of the presentations (I don't mean the content) varied - NSTP, NATP, NSA, etc. representatives and IRS higher-ups (such as Nina Olsen and Bob Erickson) were excellent speakers, while lower-level IRS personnel, apparently not used to addressing such large audiences, were less effective. 
 
The Forum was very well attended - crowded even.  Almost every educational session was "chock-a-block" full.
  
What follows is the text of an email I sent to the IRS with my comments and suggestions on the event -
 
"I attended the IRS Tax Forum at the Hilton in New York City on August 9-11, 2005.
 
This was my first IRS Tax Forum.  Tom Cooke of NSTP has been touting the Tax Forums for several years, and I decided to try it out.
 
Here are my comments on the experience:
 
(1) For me, the location of the host hotel was extremely inconvenient.  I came to NYC via a bus from New Jersey, and had to schlep 15 blocks from the Port Authority Bus Terminal to the hotel in the summer heat and humidity.  As a result of the heat, I "gave up" on the 3rd day and stayed home.  A location closer to the PA terminal or Penn Station would have been much more convenient for many of the attendees.  In the future, if the Forum is held in NYC I will not attend if the timing (height of summer) and location are the same.
 
(2) The "Express Check-In" was extremely express.  It literally took only about 5 seconds for me to check in and receive my materials.  This was the smoothest check-in process of any event I have ever attended.  In addition, the self-scanning for CPE credit at the beginning of each session was very smooth and effective.
 
(3) Every tax-related conference, convention, seminar or workshop I have ever attended in my 30+ years in the business,whether run by a membership organization or a profit-making entity, has provided free coffee and continental breakfast to attendees.  As a result, I did not have breakfast or purchase coffee prior to arriving at the hotel on the first day.  I was surprised to find that I would have to pay $2.50 if I wanted a cup of coffee.  I would have gladly traded the totally useless t-shirt included in the registrants' package for free coffee and continental breakfast, at least on the first day.
 
(4) Also, at every tax-related conference, convention, seminar or workshop I attended int he past, the "classrooms" had attendees seated at tables.  This set-up makes it much more convenient for following the presentation in the booklet and taking notes.
 
(5) While one-hour (actually 50-minutes) was an appropriate time allotment for some of the presentations, other presentations would have been improved if more time had been alloted - either 1 1/2 hour or 2 hours.
 
(6) The presentations themselves were excellent, and for the most part helpful, espcially those by upper-level IRS employees.  However, the 50-minute time allotment, and the fact that questions were held until the end, did not provide proper time for attendees to ask questions of the speakers in a public forum context.  I do not object to holding questions until the end, but time constraints had attendees running out of the room as the 2 or 3 questions for which there was time left were being asked.
 
(7) I would consider attending future IRS Tax Forums, although, as stated above, not in NYC in the summer in the mid-50s.  I would consider attending a Forum in another of the five locations (perhaps San Francisco or Chicago).
 
I would suggest as future seminars:
 
(A) A "Guided-Tour" of the IRS website, presented while actually viewing and navigating the site online on the screen used for slide presentations, which would walk attendees through the many resources available on the site.  Obviously, this session would need to be more than 50 minutes.
 
(B) A comparision of filing a Joint Return vs the opportunities and restrictions of a Separate Return for married taxpayers.
 
Thank you for the opportunity to provide my comments and suggestions."
 
While I did not receive any response from the IRS, I did get an email from Tom Cooke, Executive Director of NSTP and Forum speaker, to whom I had "cc-ed" my email.
 
Here are some of Tom's comments:
 
"I too was very dissatisfied with the location in NYC.  I have offered my ideas to the IRS but they seem to be set in their ways.  I have every reason to believe that the Forums will be back in NYC next year.  From the NSTP point of view...Atlantic City was a better East Coast location {this was the first year in NYC - previously the Forums were held at the Sheraton in Atlantic City - rdf}.
 
The IRS appears determined to start the first Forum in June and end the 6th by Labor Day.
 
The classrooms are always set up the way NYC was.  Too many people to have tables and chairs.
 
As you observed, the 50 minute format works and doesn't work.  Maybe the answer is to reduce the number of topics and have Part I, Part II and Part III."
 
For more information on the IRS Tax Forums go to http://www.taxforuminfo.com.
 
Do you have any comments on the IRS Tax Forums that you would like to share?  Email me at mailto:rdftaxpro@comcast.net.
 
TAFN

COPYRIGHT (C) 2005 BY ROBERT D FLACH, LLC