Ask TaxMama Issue 555 – A Prisoner to Taxes

The Prisoner - Set 1: Arrival/ Free For All/ Dance of the Dead + The Prisoner - Set 2: Checkmate/ The Chimes of Big Ben/ A, B and C/ The General (Bonus) + The Prisoner - Set 3:  The Schizoid Man/Many Happy Returns/It's Your Funeral

 

Dear Family,

There was a QuickAlert from IRS telling us the electronic processing centers in Martinsburg, W V and Memphis, TN are currently experiencing problems. Considering how much money and resources IRS pours into maintaining their electronic systems, it’s kind of nice to know they experience the same kind unexpected down time that we mere mortals face. My down time yesterday wasn’t nearly as unexpected though. It was scheduled. You didn’t see it. It was in-house. Literally.

Two very nice fellows from AT&T came over with lots of nice new wires, cables, electronics and things. They spent much of the morning here, setting up our new Uvers system. It’s supposed to speed up our Internet access and uploads dramatically. So far, on general browsing…I am not seeing a major improvement. Perhaps I will. Anyway, after they left, I had to devote the afternoon to fixing my phone system.

Suddenly, we had call-waiting. If you have that service, you know just how annoying that can be when you’re on a call. Worse, when we were on the conference system a few days earlier, since the old DSL was on the same line as the one where they activated the call-waiting, it disrupted the audio in my online conference. I wasn’t sure if that would happen with Uverse, too. As a precaution, I had them turn it off.

Another odd thing happened, which they tell me really had nothing to do with the installation – the glitch just happened to coincide with the installation. If you tried to call us on our 800 line yesterday, all you got was ringing. No answer. Yup. They somehow managed to bump by 800 line off my phone system. It took a couple of hours, by Julie at National Comtel worked with Qwest on our behalf until she was sure it was working BOTH in California and also outside the state. Uh oh….we didn’t check if it still works in Hawaii and Canada. I’ll have to follow up and ask her to test it. Isn’t it amazing how many little things can eat up your day?

Yet, there was still time to help people with homebuyers credit questions, EA students with client questions, and to get the lecture ready in time for last night’s class on Credits, and annoying, miscellaneous taxes (like AMT, kiddie tax, tip tax, household employees, etc.)

Andrew has been doing some background work on the site to make it faster, and better. Working on my EA classes this week, I’ve been using the Quick Look-Ups regularly to build my lectures. That’s where the information is about per diem rates, IRS forms, etc. It was really freaky yesterday when I couldn’t use the Internet while AT&T installed the new service. It felt as if a limb was missing when I couldn’t access the TaxMama Resource center.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/family-member-resources/
Incidentally, this time of year is perfect to review your bookkeeping. Do you want to know if you’re making common mistakes?
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/ebooks/top_15_things_people_do_wrong.pdf
Speaking of resources, have you ever visited TaxQueries.com? It’s a rather useful site for tax professionals. They’ve added blogs. This week, you can learn about organizing receipts and the difference between a tax attorney, an accountant/CPA, a bookkeeper, an Enrolled Agent, and a tax preparer. And more!
http://blog.taxqueries.com/

Meanwhile, at Equifax this week, we talk about the tax aspects of class action lawsuits, in answer to a readers questions. Linda Rey gives you tips on travel insurance. (That brings back amusing memories of my father.) Dan Solin discusses gold as an investment. (Did I ever tell you about my gold investment? Ask me someday!) Ilyce lets you play with some high-tech toys for your home. They are cheap and pay for themselves in no time at all. Peter discusses the value of credit monitoring. Considering someone I know just got hit with a big identity theft episode…it hits home, just how vulnerable we can be!
http://www.equifax.com/blog/tax/

MarketWatch.com this week is following the stock price roller coaster effect of the oil spill (which is now flowing EAST, uh oh!), the jobless rate, the European economies, and the world’s financial woes. But you’ll still find useful information to help guide you in your investments. TaxMama’s next Marketwatch column will have more to do with what steps you should take to do some planning and review in June. Look for it in a couple of weeks.
http://www.marketwatch.com/Journalists/Eva_Rosenberg
You will also find lots more useful tax information in the MarketWatch.com Tax Guide.
http://www.marketwatch.com/taxes
In this week’s AccountingWeb.com blog, we continue the conversation about Registered Domestic Partners in California. Last week, we only had a Private Letter Ruling to work with. This week, we have an IRS Chief Counsel Advisory that spells out the rule for how RDPs in California will file their future tax returns.
http://www.accountingweb.com/blogs/accountingweb/talk-taxmama
Incidentally, if you’re following celebrity tax troubles, AccountingWeb.com has more news on Nicholas Cage, and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (remember Desiging Women?) and her husband. See, it’s not just we peons who have tax problems.

In Thursday’s EA Exam Review Class, we started talking about the IRA to Roth conversions people are doing this year. If you have questions about when it makes sense to roll your IRA over to a Roth – and pay the huge tax bill…join us at the next TaxMama’s Tax Round Table discussion on June 24, 2010 at 8:00 am PT.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/tax-roundtables/

In Money Funnies this week, we see just how persuasive the United Way can be, when it comes to soliciting donations from wealthy lawyers.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/asktaxmama/money-funnies/

In IRS News, we learn about another Open House this Saturday. And remember, if you’re going to take advantage of it, follow the tips I gave you earlier. You will find the notes here.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/asktaxmama/irs-news/

Have you signed up for the IRS forum next week? It’s for all unlicensed tax preparers around the country. June 9th at 2:00 pm ET. IRS explains what you will have to do to in order to continue to be a tax preparer next year. Don’t miss this!
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/education/tax-education/federal-tax-return-preparers-forum/
In TaxQuips this week we meet Chris, who borrowed money from her IRA for a down payment on a new home. She had planned to replace the money before the 60 days were up…but now she’s afraid she’ll lose her job. What should she do? Steve was all set to make ES payments until his income dropped abruptly. What should he do about the next quarterly estimated tax payment? And Robert, who has been meticulous about tracking his purchaeses and costs for his eBay business is worried about IRS audits now that eBay is finally going to start issuing 1099s to their sellers. How can Robert stay out of trouble? TaxMama knows! Do you?
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/category/tax-quips/

As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

Please use the Comments link online.
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/asktaxmama/ask-taxmama-issue-555

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Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama®  is watching…out for you.

www.TaxMama.com
www.snurl.com/homebiz-tax
www.TaxMama.com/TaxQuips
www.IRSExams.com
www.TaxNerd.net

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TAX CALENDAR
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/tax-calendar-2010/
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06/15/2010 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 2nd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
06/15/2010 Corporations – 2nd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due 
06/15/2010 Estates & Trusts 2nd Estimated Tax Payment
06/15/2010 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
06/15/2010 US Taxpayers Overseas Individual Personal Returns due 
06/15/2010 US Taxpayers Overseas Claim Foreign Earned Income
06/15/2010 US Individuals Overseas Personal Return Extensions due 
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From TaxMama® to You!
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Follow TaxMama®’s Tweets – http://twitter.com/TaxMama

You are invited to put a TaxQuips Widget on your phone, social networking page, website, or… You’ll get the TaxQuips as soon as they published – long before they are distributed in by e-mail. It’s a nifty gadget. Just pick up the code and paste into your site or application.
http://www.widgetbox.com/widget/taxmamas-taxquips-daily-tax-podcasts

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The customizable tax calendar is here.
Add or Remove dates. Add your own reminders – get alerts.
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EA EXAM NEWS & SOLVING THE TAX PUZZLE
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Take TaxMama®’s 2010 EA Exam Review Class
http://irsexams.com/ 

Class is going strong. We start our first Final Review on Saturday June 5th.

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