Don’t be stupid. Yes, you hardly need to consult your CPA for that advice, but I think of it every time I get spam email like this:
Somewhere I read that email scammers make their pitches stupid on purpose to identify the dumbest marks, as they are easiest to fleece. This one certainly does so. Some signs of stupid:
- The email address: smoggiest@HELP.STATE.TX.US.GOV. Come on.
- The salutation: “Dear Accountant Officer.” It sounds like it’s addressing somebody who issues parking tickets to CPAs.
- The English of someone not brought up speaking English: “Hereby you are notified…”
- The use of “please” by a revenue agency. Please…
Folks, the IRS and state taxing agencies don’t send notices like this via email. When you get one, delete it — and never click the links.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 64
Janet Novack, 4 Steps To Take Now That Stretch IRAs Are Endangered:
But the new stretch IRA limits, which Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) first floated in the Senate last year, would require most retirement accounts inherited by anyone other than a spouse to be distributed (and in the case of non-Roth accounts taxed) within five years of the owner’s death…
The limit on stretch IRAs, which also appeared in President Obama’s most recent budget proposals, would raise $4.6 billion over 10 years, Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates.
Janet explains how this possibility can affect your thinking about beneficiary designations and Roth conversions, among other things.
Christopher Bergin, Jaws (Tax Analysts Blog):
Clearly, the IRS did some inappropriate things in handling the applications for exemption for tea-party groups and others. But I would prefer to have congressional committees working on making sure our tax agency operates fairly and efficiently rather than going on witch-hunts.
Christopher is right, and as a practitioner I don’t want to see tax adminstration get any worse. Still, you can’t ignore the long-term benefit for punishing bureaucratic misbehavior. It would require a suicidal level of tolerance for GOP legislators to let bygones be bygones after the outrageous behavior of the IRS in the Tea Party scandal. Maybe some budget haircut is needed to make the IRS less eager to take sides next election.
Forgive me, but let’s try to apply a dash of common sense to the agency’s problems. After months of looking, the IRS’ most vocal critics have found no evidence that its poor processing of requests by political organizations seeking tax-exempt status was politically-motivated.It was, however, real. And its cause seems to be a staff that suffered from low skills, poor training, low morale, a shortage of resources, and bad management. It is hard to see how cutting an organization’s budget by one-third will fix any of these problems.
Saying that it wasn’t politically-motivated over and over doesn’t make it so. As the Treasury Inspector General has reaffirmed, the IRS treated right-side outfits far worse than left-side outfits. That doesn’t just happen — the thing speaks for itself. And considering Lois Lerner’s partisan past with the Federal Election Commission, the circumstantial evidence of bias is overwhelming. The “overworked and underfunded” defense of IRS behavior doesn’t fit these facts.
Still, it would be nice if Congress would use its funding power carefully to punish bad behavior, rather than as a meataxe that will harm innocent taxpayers as much as guilty bureaucrats.
Brian Mahany, TICs and REITS – “Accidents Waiting To Happen” Many REITs are perfectly good investments. I like them myself. But illiquid ones can lock up your money while generating big liquid fees to a broker.
Tax Justice Blog, Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes, and Will Pay More Under Immigration
TaxGrrrl, Parents Sue School For Art Auction Gone Bad. Some parents apparently shouldn’t be allowed to run around loose.
Robert D. Flach has your Friday Buzz ready!
Great Grandpa knew this. Not all flappers are created equal (Rob Smith, IowaBiz.com)
The Critical Question: Is Diet Soda Worse than Regular Soda? (Scott Drenkard, Tax Policy Blog)
Friday workplace fun. Let’s Discuss: Big 4 Bullies (Going Concern):
Probably the most irritating thing, according to this study, is that these people get ahead. We’ve all seen it.
That’s about how I remember it. They rarely get the comeuppance they deserve, but when they do, it’s awesome.
Tags: cavalcade of risk, TaxProf, scams, Kay Bell, iowabiz.com, Janet Novack, Christopher Bergin, TaxGrrrl, Going Concern, Howard Gleckman, Hank Stern, Rob Smith, The Critical Question, Scott Drenkard, Brian Mahany, Tax Justice Blog