Ask TaxMama Issue 631 – Happy Black History Month

Dear Family,

I left the house this week. You don’t think that’s news? Let me tell you, I am so well cocooned here in this office, that I can reach out and do anything from here – even teach a class with a 100 people. And do a fabulous Twitter chat with Melinda Emerson the SmallBizLady and her 100,000+ followers! So, I rarely have to leave. Running an efficient business from home means you’re essentially a green business – rare use of vehicles, or outside resources. Sounds great doesn’t it? 

Hmmm…that means my car sits outside in the sun and rots. The door handle just came off. Rick tried to Krazy Glue® it back on…but, uh no. Now, the electric antenna won’t go down. Yeah, yeah, the car is about 18 years old. (Wow! Really? I have never owned a car this long!) But I like it. And it works just fine (even if the outside is looking very sad because of the squirrels and birds). Yup. I could get a nice, hefty deduction for a new car. And it is a tempting thought. But, it would just sit there rotting away in the sun, and being bombed by our frisky neighbors. So, why bother? 

On the tax front. As you all know, we did get the 2% payroll tax cut signed into law. There was concessions, to balance the budget. Ironically, one of the complaints I am seeing from people who’ve benefited from this reduction in the FICA payments you’re making is – But where is that big $400 refund we got before from that credit (the Making the Work Pay Credit)? Folks, you won’t be getting a big refund for 2011 or 2012. If you want to take advantage of this 2% increase in your take-home pay – just put it directly into savings. Though, for some people, (especially since gasoline costs are soaring) these few extra dollars are making it possible to get to work, or keep the utilities on.  

President Obama released his budget proposal. CCH did a detailed analysis of the various points and their effect on us and on the overall budget. (I love their stuff!) There are a lot of good proposals in there, including extensions to some of the Bush tax cuts, we’ve been taking for granted during this last decade. There is a proposal to make American Opportunity Credit a permanent credit (with minor revisions). 

I applaud his desire to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), altogether. Obama wants to replace that with a “Buffet Rule” concept, requiring that millionaires pay a minimum tax. Right now, the AMT hits the lower middle class. Hard.  

The estate tax exclusion would be re-set to $3.5 million (down from $5 million). That’s the first time we will have ever gone backward on the estate tax limits. The disturbing part of this proposal is that the lifetime gift tax exclusion would drop down to $1 million from $5 million. 

One thing that really disturbs me in this overall picture. Obama wants to bring the marriage penalty back. In several of his proposals, he wants to increase taxes (or set up phase-outs of deductions or benefits) based on a single income level of $200,000 and a married income level of $250,000 – instead of doubling the income level to $400,000. His conception takes us back to the mythical marriages of the 1950s TV shows like Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver. 

Turning to more fun things. TaxMama’s Utlimate Tax Nerd Contest is generating some creative pictures. Our first week winners – Melissa Guy and Clint Masser are getting even more clever with their second week’s entries. Meet them and everyone else who has come up with interesting and fun ideas. Please be sure to leave your comments and clever sayings. 

The contest will run until April Fool’s Day (naturally!) $5,000 worth of prizes. I have added TaxMama/IRSExam gift certificates for each and every winner. And remember, we have tax software from CompleteTax, H&R Block, TaxAct, or TurboTax for all the winners. 

Another opportunity to win $5,000 in prizes coming up next week! February 28th at 7-9 pm eastern. Staples is putting up $5,000 worth of giveaways for you, and sponsoring a Twitter Tax Talk. It’s going to be a lot of fun. To win, all you have to do is tweet about the contest:

Tweet up to once per day, including @Staples and #5kTaxGiveaway in your Tweet. And join us for the fund on Tuesday evening.

In today’s IRS News we learn that California has reduced the deduction for self-employment taxes in a bizarre move towards not complying with IRS. It seems no one really noticed this odd change. And IRS has over $1.8 BILLION in unclaimed refunds for 2008. If you haven’t filed yet – it’s time to file now. And if you’ve moved and never got your refund from that year? It’s sitting there waiting for you. But you’d better claim it before April 17th – or you’ve lost it!  

In today’s Money Funnies, we test your moral fiber. What would you do in this position?  

Something else fun. Don’t forget about Wazzub. millions are joining. It’s going to be a fun site. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to get my TV listings for a change? This site will launch in April – You can sign up for it early.  

Remember to 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


 

Let’s address a few tidbits of news – and go back to work! 

TaxMama has launched a fun new contest. We are searching for the Ultimate TaxNerd of 2012! Everyone is invited to enter.  

1) Weekly Equifax blog is still going strong.
http://blog.equifax.com/tax/
Changes To Filing Taxes For Businesses

Saving Money On Taxes For Business Expenses
Track Down Your Missing W-2s

MarketWatch
Tax Changes to Watch For
http://www.marketwatch.com/Journalists/Eva_Rosenberg

2) Radio Interviews done

February 23, 2012Bob McCormick’s Money 101 show on KFWB.
2-hours. Call us 888-KFWB-980 (888-539-2980)

February 22, 2012 #SmallBizChat with Melinda Emerson
Read the terrific transcript of the interview!

3) Events coming up – February 28 at 7:00 pm ET
Staples Tax Tweet and $5,000 giveaway #5kTaxGiveaway

4) CPE Link courses www.cpelink.com/teamtaxmama
Great class coming on March 7th – Tax Checklist for Divorce
This will be of exceptional use for people in the midst of divorce, contemplating divorce, or battling a divorce action for years – as well as tax professionals.

You can find daily TaxQuips into YouTube videos
http://www.youtube.com/taxmama1 

You can find daily TaxQuips into YouTube videos
http://www.youtube.com/taxmama1#p/u

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-631

TaxNerd gear makes a bold statement year-round.

Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama®
www.TaxMama.com
www.TaxMama.com/TaxQuips
www.IRSExams.com
www.TaxNerd.Net

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TAX CALENDAR
http://taxmama.wpengine.com/tax-calendar/
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02/15/2012 Employees to File new W-4 with Employer
02/15/2012 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
02/29/2012 File Paper copy W-3′s with Social Security Admin including copies of W-2′s
02/29/2012 File paper copy of US transmittal of US information Returns
02/29/2012 Farmers & Fisherman – Use Personal Income Tax Return – Sole Proprietor
02/29/2012 Employers File Annual Report for Employees TIP Income – Form 8027
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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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EA EXAM NEWS & SOLVING THE TAX PUZZLE

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I’m geting notes from people who are passing their exams. How exciting!

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