Ask TaxMama Issue 497 – Let the Bad Times Go

Happy National Womens History Month

Dear Family,

Goodness, President Obama has really been a star this week. He’s been on Jay Leno and webcasting from the White House, and everywhere. Is there a day he hasn’t been on television and getting major coverage? This man is one heck of a PR maven. Of course, not all the news is good. But you heard what Louis B. Mayer once said, ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity…’ He’s certainly trying hard to take his issues to us. To keep us in the loop. So, do you know what is issues are and what reforms he’s trying to bring about?

Just what you hear in the news, right? Hmmm…how about going to the source and finding out yourself. You should see the transformation of the White House website, with information about legislation, their agenda on any number of issues – and a way for you to make your voice heard. If you have something to say, remember, don’t just complain – provide a viable solution, too.

Speaking of solutions, we will be launching the Positive Idea website next week. It’s up and working now, though I still have some writing and editing to do to make our mission clear. This site is for YOU. For your family and friends. Your neighbors. Anyone you know who’s struggling right now and needs some help making ends meet, finding a job, or someone to care for their children so they can work (or even to get an hour’s quiet), or to put food on the table, or to…Whatever you need.

Let’s face it, there’s so much wagging the dog going on politically these days, the real issues and people are being lost in the shuffle. Your needs are being neglected. So, it’s time to stop waiting for help to come from budgets and bail-outs and other government programs. It’s time to come back to life and take control of your own situation. Before it’s too late.

For some of us, these times are all too real. Even if we’re not losing our homes or jobs, we remember the past. At least I do. I can’t tell you what it felt like, growing up, avoiding phone calls from creditors because my dad’s business income was so sporadic. Or since he was an immigrant without good English, je would often get ripped off by customers. (Thank goodness we didn’t have to deal with the ‘illegal immigrant’ thing hanging over our heads! My folks did get that part right. We had Green Cards.) Or having to deal with losing our home and moving miles away from high school in my junior year. Or us kids helping to generate some money by emptying out our mom’s shop and taking the inventory to swap meets in the middle of the night. (They didn’t take reservations back then. You had to be there to park in line as soon as the Drive In closed, so you could rush for a prime spot in the morning.)

Over the years, I’ve met people whose lives fell about when some stablizing condition changed. One doctor got a divorce. His wife left him and the children behind, taking all the money and portable assets. When I met him, he and his children were living in his car – and the IRS was after him because of his ex-wife’s tax fraud. Another person had been a successful executive, he lost his job. He spent the next two years trying to get a similar level job, without working at all in the meantime. The high-level job never materialized. He burned through their savings, went into a deep depression, ended up divorced and alone.

I want to help you, your children and family avoid having to live that way. Or to put a stop to the path you’re on. So, we have found a solution. Help us spread the word.

(Just so you don’t feel toooo sorry for me growing up…I had a ball. Despite all the financial problems, my father was upbeat, funny and delightful. I adored him so much I never noticed just how poor we must have been – until returning home from his funeral – 34 years ago, this month.)

In the past week or two, I’ve started getting quite an increase in calls about the EA Exam Review Course and when it’s starting up. Folks, there’s a reason they stop giving the exam between February 1 and April 30th. Aside from the fact that Prometric needs to re-tool, it’s tax season. Tax professionals are busy doing tax returns and related time gulping stuff. While I know you’re excited, and I love to be able to tell you all about how wonderful it is being an Enrolled Agent, and how interesting the class is, and about all the fascinating and enthusiastic tax professionals you’re going to meet, and all the details about the EA exam and how it works. But, could you please hold off on those calls for a little while? Just sign up for EA Exam Newsand you’ll get the announcements about the new class.

For more details, in depth, please sign up for CSEA’s DigiTAXcourse on May 13th. I will explain it all to you then.

May 13, 09 – 11:00 am – CSEA – Audio Tax – EA Exam

Aug 5, 09 – 11:00 am – CSEA – Audio Tax – Hobby Loss

TaxMama®’s article this week deals with those pesky 1099-Cs folks are getting. I have to tell you that doing the interview with Bill Fleming of PricewaterhouseCoopers was enormous fun. It’s really nice to meet attorneys, especially tax folks, with a great sense of silliness AND some solid knowledge of their subject matter. Though, now that I think of it, a lot of you TaxNerds are like, too. Now wonder I love this stuff. Taxes can be such a pleasure!

This week’s blog is about detailed depreciation schedules. Do you get them from your tax professional? Do you even want all detail? But, when you DO need it, shouldn’t this be something really easy and intuitive to obtain?

Tune in to TaxMama’s blog for an investigative report about the taxability of Social Security Disability. You’re going to be quite surprised!

Today’s IRS News explains the $2400 tax-free unemployment benefit. Now, if they would only make withdrawals from retirement accounts penalty-free for those who have no choice but to plunder their own future.

Today’s Money Funny is about understanding the Baby Boomer market.

In TaxQuips this week, we learn what to do if you get a 1099 after you’ve already filed your tax return; whether or not you can deduct mileage to your vacation home; if a medical student can deduct the cost of his internship interviews, books and medical Boards; and what to do if some jerk files a fraudulent W-2 against you.

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

Please use the Comments link online.

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Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.


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