Posts Tagged ‘Stalking the Accountant’

Stalking the Accountant: Tax Plan Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Stalking humans.

A new tax guide arrived late last week: The Complete Analysis of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It’s what I consider light reading on a Sunday afternoon.

Tax season is over, but tax planning is more important than ever with the new tax laws and changes. Consulting and planning with clients started May 1st and continues strong. I’m booked out until mid-July. If you own a business or investment properties you need to consider consulting with a tax professional to take full advantage of the new Qualified Business Income deduction.

One problem from earlier in the year has probably corrected itself. Withholding tables were adjusted in early February to account for the elimination of exemptions and the new tax brackets. The new tax tables overcompensated by under withholding. This meant people would pay less tax while getting a smaller refund or even owing! It was a timing issue of when you would actually pay your tax liability.

Mid-April brought revised updated withholding tables correcting the issues. Preliminary analysis of client files show the new tables handle around 60% of withholding correctly. The reason for the 40% error rate is the elimination of exemptions. The good news is that the withholding tends to err on the conservative side, creating slightly higher refunds than the original withholding tables.

It might pay to review your tax situation this year. The last decade or so had modest annual changes to the tax code. This year is radically different. New deductions, expanded tax credits and extended tax brackets created opportunities to reduce your tax liability if you plan properly. This extra money funneled into an index fund or reducing debt should have long-term positive affects to your wealth creation. You have a window of opportunity to reach financial independence and early retirement funded by the tax reductions.

All is not rosy. The limits placed on state and local tax deductions (SALT) coupled with the elimination of itemized deductions, subject to 2%, means some taxpayers will see a tax increase.

Contact me if you are interested in a consultation. Be sure to review Working with the Wealthy Accountant before hitting send.

I’ll need a copy of your 2017 tax return and a list of questions prior to our meeting so I can adequately prepare. Sometimes I can do more than just cut taxes. Several clients were able to reduce their expected larger refund and funnel it into a Capital One 360 or similar savings account where the interest on the lowered withholding will exceed my fee. Each situation is different so I need your information to provide the best advice. Keep in mind I consult on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week only. I sometimes open another day, but I do have other obligations consuming my time.

Winner’s Circle

We have three winners since the last Stalking installment. Gretchen D of Birmingham, Terry C of Dallas and Cindy M of Rapid City, SD saw some Amazon gift card love slide their way.

What I’m Reading

Bill Gates contacted me the other day to share a book he found interesting. He is well aware of my love for good books and was excited to share another gem. The conversation went something like this:

Bill: Hey, Accountant guy! I have an awesome novel you must read.

Accountant Guy: Bill, you know I don’t read many novels anymore. It better be darn good to break me away from my regular science and financial planning books.

Bill: Trust me! You’re going to love this book.

So I dragged my feet for a year before I decided I needed a comfortable summer novel to disappear into. Enter Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves.

Anyone for some light reading. The book only cost your favorite accountant $85.

Seveneves starts with the moon blowing up. The book alludes that it might have been a micro black hole racing through our neck of the galaxy. Regardless, people didn’t know what caused the catastrophe. The event split the moon into several large pieces. A few days later the first two large pieces smashed as gravity brought the pieces back together, creating smaller pieces. Scientists realized the collisions would continue breaking the moon into smaller debris. It also meant a large amount of moon debris would eventually hit the Earth.

Mankind has two years to get to space if it wanted to survive. The International Space Station was the beginning building block of a larger space habitat. A few thousand people were brought to space to wait out the Hard Rain that would turn Earth into a boiling inferno where no life could survive. To keep the Ark manageable, DNA and DNA data were transported to the Ark.

Space is unforgiving. The Hard Rain came and the Earth was destroyed. A safe haven was finally achieved by the Ark with one problem: only eight women were left alive. One woman had reached menopause. The seven Eves were all that remained of the human race and its hope for a future. The human race was all but extinct. These seven women would use technology brought from Old Earth to bring humanity back from the abyss.

The novel picks up 5,000 years later when Earth is ready for life again. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’ll stop here.

Seveneves is hard to put down. It isn’t light reading either, as I teased at the open of this section. It is classified as hard science fiction, something I do enjoy. If you want a solid novel to fill a few sunny afternoons or early evenings, consider Seveneves. It’s worth your time.

 

 

Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. Quickbooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

A cost segregation study can save $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Stalking the Recreational Accountant

As regular readers will attest, I’m getting punchy at this point of tax season. Don’t worry. The insanity will pass (maybe).

This is the point where very difficult and unique tax returns show up on my desk. To clients: I’m making headway. Slower than the early part of tax season, but still peeling off work at a good clip. I still need to focus on quality over speed and some of these issues just take time.

I’ll be sleeping Saturday and back to the office Sunday for uninterrupted time.

Also, a reminder we have another drawing this upcoming week. Details on the Where Am I page.

 

What I’m Reading

Earlier this week I introduced you to a short story by Kurt Vonnegut. It’s worth reading, takes a few minutes and is free. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read Harrison Bergeron (& Activity). You’ll think of inequality in a whole new light.

 

What I’m Watching

I have no words for what I’m about to show you. FTL is really good and worth the time to watch.

 

What I’m Listening To

Simon & Garfunkel never fail to entertain. Enjoy Scarborough Fair.

 

Enjoy your weekend, kind readers.

Stalking the Accountant at the Finish Line

 

I see what you’re up to. Don’t even think about it.

Thursday this week was the due date for calendar year S corporations and partnerships. We are in the heart of tax season and your favorite accountant is feeling the strain. Stress is okay as workflow is moving reasonably well with a few notable exceptions I intend to rectify. The April 17th deadline looms.

 

Money was handed out this week: $100 to a subscriber and $100 to commenter.

Brett S. from Lake Havasu AZ is our subscriber winner. He took the PayPal cash transfer. Congratulations!

As a side note, Brett is a really lucky guy. He was the third person chosen, not the first. The name pulled out of the random generator hat would have been our first non-U.S. winner, but he/she had unsubscribed. The second name pulled also unsubscribed within the last few days. Yikes! Ya gotta be a current subscriber to win the subscriber drawing.

 

Our second winner is “Jason E. of Providence, RI (originally from Minnesota….and hope to get back to the Midwest soon)”. He took the Amazon gift card.

There were 186 comments in the last 30 days; Jason’s was number 117, the number the random number generator called as the winner. My comments are excluded from the drawing for obvious reasons. (Hey, look everybody. I won so I get to pay me!)

Here is the blog post with the winning comment.

This is the short and simple comment that put $100 in Jason’s pocket:

Thanks for the find. I will definitely be reviewing this within a short period of time.

Consider using an Amazon link from this blog with the winnings as it helps fill the coffers used to fund future drawings and gifts to charities.

 

What I’m Reading

An interesting short book I enjoyed this week is The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant.

 

What I’m Watching

I’ve never been a Suze Orman fan and this video didn’t help me think better of her. Of course, take anything you see online (actually anything from anywhere) with a grain of salt. It’s easy to manipulate facts in our modern age.

 

Every so often I go back and review a documentary on the 1929 stock market crash. It was such a fascinating time.

 

The water dispenser died on my fridge. A YouTube video and I’m off to do it myself, saving some serious dough.

 

What I’m Listening to

As regular readers know, my youngest daughter reached the age of majority this week. I’m having mixed feelings.

Here are two songs I listened to this week to reflect my melancholy.

 

I also found this nugget. I like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme song. When I saw this scroll through I expected a laugh. Was I surprised! The theme song finishes with The Ecstasy of Gold, another excellent song.

 

Have an awesome weekend, kind readers. See y’all on the other side.

Stalking the Sleeping Accountant

The dog days of tax season are here. I’m dead tired and not as caught up as I was a week ago. Missing documents and research put me in a minor bind. Still looking good, but for the record, I took a short nap at my desk Friday. I was cooked. I’m off Saturday, but working Sunday to prepare for a phone meeting with Mr. Money Mustache. The quiet, empty office is conducive to massive productivity. You’d be surprised what no interruptions can do to a guy’s efficiency.

 

An AWOL winner from our last drawing made an appearance.

Rich S from Philly collected his $50 Amazon gift card and wanted me to remind everyone his Eagles are the Rockin’ Super Bowl Champs! Rich is on a roll I would say. Congratulations and thanks for visiting.

Talking about money being given away and drawings, we have yet another drawing this upcoming week. Check the details on the Where Am I page. Consider using your winning with the Amazon link from this blog to recycle cash back into the system. It all goes to a good cause: charities and you.

 

I forgot to mention some tradelines news. I talked with Darren a few weeks ago and promised to mention they are experiencing high demand. If you want put some serious coin in your pocket read the previous articles I published on the topic.

Article 1

Article 2

Or just contact Darren to start earning some ca-ching fast.

Call:  888-844-8910

www.TradelineSupply.com

Darren@TradelineSupply.com

2534 State Street, Suite #433

San Diego, CA 92101

Mention The Wealthy Accountant to receive a bonus on your first tradeline sale.

 

There were some concerns when I first announced my suggestion to use Tradeline Supply to sell your tradelines. It seems my earlier work was well worth it as the concerns were unfounded and Darren and his team have grown into an industry leader. You can expect to earn anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a thousand per hour invested in selling tradelines. This is one of the most powerful side gigs I know of. If you understand tradelines you can retire before you ever start it’s so lucrative. Check it out.

 

Back to taxes. Time is running out. S corporations and partnerships are due next week Thursday. File an extension if you need it. If you need help use the contact button to see if my office can fit you in or at least get an extension. We are getting more selective as our schedule tightens, but are still looking at all requests. If you do your own return, consider the link below. You will have access to the same commercial grade tax software used by nearly 50,000 tax offices, including mine.

 

Finally, I have a volunteer to help with Camp Accountant. I haven’t had a chance to confirm due to the weight of tax season bearing down on my shoulders. Karen K, I’ll be in touch soon.

 

Enough about business. It’s time for a break. Here is some entertainment I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

What I’m Reading

Yesterdays post forced me to bring out a blast from the past. Nick Murray’s book, Serious Money, was an integral part of the story. After all these years it was time to partake in some of the old pleasures. Serious Money is hard to find. Used copies are available on Amazon, but unless you are in securities sales it isn’t a necessary buy. It’s also pricey since so few copies remain in the world at large.

 

What I’m Watching

Last weekend I took both days off! Yeah, I’m just as shocked! I was so tired I spent much of last Saturday watching educational videos. I want to share a few interesting presentations here.

When I can’t sleep I watch old Looney Tunes cartoons. I was snoring within minutes with this selection. Consider it a subliminal education.

 

I thought this next piece by Milton Friedman, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, was an excellent way to better understand inflation.

 

Abbot & Costello always make me laugh and after a hard week of toil I enjoyed this piece on loafing. Ah, those were the days when a guy could join the union and get paid serious money to be a real loafer.

 

Finally, for all you kind readers who lust for a project that puts a few extra cents in your pocket, an experiment to get free lighting from magnets taken from an old microwave.

What I’m Listening To

I got this darn song stuck in my head all week. Now you’re infected. Sorry.

 

My game plan for next week is pretty short: prepare tax returns. Repeat. I keep reminding myself this too shall pass. Five weeks left.

Stalking the Camp Accountant Update

We had another drawing this week for two $50 Amazon cards. We have one winner and one in anticipation.

Chuck R of Lincoln NE claimed his $50 Amazon card. Congratulations Chuck and thanks for subscribing. It’s great to have you here.

The second winner hasn’t contacted me yet so if you’re a subscriber be sure to check your email. My legal people tell me I need to wait 30 days before tossing the money back into the ring. If the prize goes unclaimed I’ll add it to another drawing. Check the Where Am I page for details.

Camp Accountant Update

I spoke with Pete (Mr. Money Mustache) earlier and he likes the idea of hosting a Camp Accountant at MMM headquarters in Longmont, CO. A date hasn’t been set and many details need to be worked out.

The biggest issue surrounding Camp Accountant is time. I’m enjoying the best tax season in years. The office is running smooth. Virtually all tax returns are out in a week or less. If your return has been in my office longer than a week we either are waiting for more documents or I’m researching an issue to maximize tax benefits. Even still, the pain of burnout lingers.

Longer hours and hyper-productivity take a toll. The tax law changes this past year are so significant I will spend most of my time this summer with clients and blog readers hammering out the best approach to realizing the maximum benefits from the changes.

With limited personal time available I am unable to run the whole Camp Accountant show myself. I am committed to attending (it was Pete’s first question) and presenting several topics. I will also attempt to get IRS approval for CPE for enrolled agents and CPAs.

All this said, Camp Accountant is on hold unless someone, or someones, volunteer to facilitate. I can provide guidance, advice and encouragement, but I can’t run the whole show myself. (I might be energetic, but I’m not crazy. (Don’t comment!))

If you or someone you know is interested in facilitating a Camp Accountant in Longmont, let me know. You’ll get to meet Pete (always a great experience) and work with me (not always as great as meeting Pete). Ideally the person/s helping organize the event should live near Longmont. Duties would involve planning the event, setup, helping determine the fee to each attendee and handling registration.

Now on to our weekend entertainment.

What I’m Reading

What I’m reading isn’t always what I’ve read. There is a difference. I’m nearly finished with How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt. Reading time is at a premium during tax season. That said, by the time you read this I’ll have finished the book.

How Democracies Die examines democracies in the recent past that have failed and asks if it can happen to the U.S. The comparisons are concerning. Politically polarized people with a closed mind will hate the information. Intelligent people will see reason for concern and ample reason for hope and how we as individuals can make a difference.

This isn’t a long book. Outside tax season I’d finish it in a day or two. It’s addictive reading. Part of my slow reading pace on this book is the amount of highlighting and note-taking. I may write a full post discussing How Democracies Die when time permits. There is so much powerful information between the covers you will find yourself reading this book and referring back to it often. I know this for a fact because I’m doing it before I’ve even finished the first reading. Yes, I said first reading.

What I’m Watching

Okay, I admit it. I watch some strange YouTube videos. But also admit you find them interesting too.

Our first selection caught my eyes in the feed: 13 Unusual Facts about Females that are Totally True.

Did you know there is an illegal number, as in a number illegal to possess? Me neither! Watch TWL#7: This Number is Illegal and join me on a criminal adventure. Don’t worry. You’ll look good in orange.

By now you’ve realized I have a science fetish. I share a wide selection on this blog, but my history on YouTube is cluttered with math and science videos. I can’t get enough. To that end I share with you Bose-Einstein Condensate: The Coldest Place in the Universe. It just makes me want to start the experiment.

What I’m Listening To

Remember the movie Heavy Metal? It’s been a long time. I didn’t care for the movie, but loved the music. Here is the theme song, Takin’ a Ride.

One Tin Soldier is a powerful song reminding us greed will destroy the most important part of life: peace on Earth.

And to finish this week’s selection I share a reminder from Three Dog Night: Black & White.

May you have peace and love, kind readers. See you Monday where I’ll share my insights into the tariff issues and how it’ll affect wealth, the economy and the stock market.

Stalking the Accountant: Groundhog Day

It was an exciting week in the Wealthy Accountant’s world. Facebook decided they didn’t want me to use the name Keith Taxguy. Now if I were a Russian meddling in the election I would’ve had no problems at all. It all ended well (so far).

New policies instituted in the office this year are paying off. For the first time since I showed up in the blogosphere people are surprised how fast I’m getting work done. After tax season I’ll spill the beans on my experience so other tax firms can experiment with the same tools. It should help other business owners and those with a side gig formulate ideas to increase their efficiency. This means less work and more profit. Isn’t the modern world awesome!

I found a gapping problem in the new tax law this week that will cause serious issues next tax season. I stumbled upon it by accident (asking clients questions). Monday I’ll have a full write-up. This issue is for more than accountants. Anyone who files a tax return is affected. I estimate 70% of taxpayers will need to adjust for the error or will have a nasty surprise when they file their return next year.

A few reminders before we head into the entertainment part of the weekend. Do-it-yourselfers should consider 1040.com through this blog. I like the program and use the commercial grade program in my office. Since this blog’s profits go to charity (increasingly supporting agencies helping abuse survivors) it’s for a good cause.

 

We have another nifty drawing to give money away again in the upcoming week. Don’t miss your chance.

 

Looking to manage your growing stash better? Personal Capital is a resource many are using to visualize all their investments in one spot. Best of all it’s free!

 

In the near future I will share my experience using PeerStreet. I think it is an excellent addition to many portfolios. Over the last year or so I’ve wound down my Prosper and Lending Club investments for a variety reasons I’ll outline in the future post. I’ve added PeerStreet to my investment mix and so far have been very happy. I also like the added protection of real estate backing the loans I’m investing in.


Real Estate Investing Platform

 

And now for some weekend entertainment.

 

What I’m Reading

Tax season limits my reading time. (Notice my sad face.) I’m working on a really good book I hope to report on next week. I also have been catching up on some neglected issues of National Geographic. The short articles fit the schedule easier this time of year for me.

 

What I’m Watching

Tax season quickly turns into a real life edition of Groundhog Day. Each day melts into the next, only to repeat again and again until we get it right. With this in mind, I’ve never seen the movie Groundhog Day. I know, I know. Everybody has seen the darn movie except me, until now.

This weekend I went to the library to checkout Groundhog Day. (I actually sent Mrs. Accountant.) Now we can officially declare every living human has seen Groundhog Day. So much for my reputation as an early adaptor.

For the record, I actually watched the movie; something I rarely do. Normally TV is background noise or a sleep inducer. Bill Murray earned his keep. I watched, yes watched, the entire movie. Of course they had me when the groundhog was driving.

 

Here is a YouTube video everyone MUST see. Elon Musk hits the nail square.

 

What I’m Listening To

I worked in silence most of the week as I was on a mission from God. The work was peeling off at a rapid clip. Here is one soundtrack I noticed in my YouTube queue from earlier in the week.

 

Be good, kind readers. One month of tax season is nearly in the books. See y’all Monday.

(Now I’m off to read a book. I am taking the whole weekend off! All of it.)

#MeToo

This week’s Stalking the Accountant edition is special. We had another drawing for cash prizes here at The Wealthy Accountant and it ended up a humbling experience where dozens of people will benefit far more than the minor investment of cash would indicate.

The drawing pulled names from subscribers who opened their email of the latest blog posts. The winners of the $50 prize are:

Ben O of Essex Junction, VT, and

Jeff H of Santa Barbara

The prize is awarded as either a PayPal transfer or an Amazon gift card. Both took the Amazon card.

Here is where it got real. When I informed Jeff of his win he sent the following email:

Keith,

 Awesome! It’s great to be a winner!

 I’m actually a blogger myself (www.themoneycommando.com) and rather than sending the money to me I’d like to propose something else.

 My wife is on the board of a local charity called Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS). Basically, they provide a shelter for women and children who are the victims of domestic violence. The shelter gives the women and children a place to stay while they look for a new place to live. They usually leave at a moment’s notice and don’t have kid’s clothing, a crib, bottles, etc. DVS supplies these things in the shelter and lets the families keep them to help them get on their feet. 

 How about if you donate the $50 Amazon gift card to DVS? You get the tax deduction, DVS gets a bit of exposure (maybe it will encourage somebody else to donate too), and DVS can use the gift card to get whatever baby supplies they need (it’s always changing from week to week).

 Here’s the DVS website: https://www.dvsolutions.org/en/

 What do you think?

 Jeff H. from Santa Barbara

 

Of course I agreed! It was an awesome idea!

This was a perfect opportunity to put some of TWA profits to work. I’ve dedicated 100% of the profits of this blog to charitable causes. I doubled the award to Domestic Violence Solutions to $100. Not a lot, but a gesture of good will.

Jeff’s wife responded as such:

Hi Keith,

Thank you so much for matching the gift card! Our emergency shelter is in great need of about 25 new pillows and this will allow for us to buy almost half!

We are deeply grateful.

 Heartfelt thanks,

 

I couldn’t let it alone. A simple comfort most people take for granted — a comfortable place to lay your head — is unavailable to some victims of abuse. I knew what I had to do.

If $100 bought nearly half the pillows needed, another $150 should finish the job. A drawing meant to engage my readers has turned into a $250 gift to a domestic violence shelter giving dozens of people comfort.

Here is the reply:

WOW, you just made our day Keith!!!

 Most of us take having a soft pillow for granted, but when a victim and her children enter our shelters (usually in the middle of the night) they arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs, traumatized and thankful to be alive. Having a warm, comfortable and safe place to sleep means so much to our clients.  

 From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Would it be OK to acknowledge your generosity on our social media?  

With sincere gratitude,

 

Before I take a bow, let me remind you I didn’t do this. You did!

This blog has revenue because of you, kind readers. That revenue is destined to change lives for the better in our communities. You need to take the bow. I’m only the conduit. You did this. You changed the lives of those women, often times kids in tow, surviving violence.

I know you’re as moved as I am by this. It’s okay to take a moment here to reflect on what our group has just done.

Finally, if you want to add to the gift to Domestic Violence Solutions you can do so here:

Please provide comfort to a child – donate now at https://comfortandjoyforachild.funraise.org/

A child’s future is in your hands.

 

The Other #MeToo

In 2017 women started to speak out in waves. It was 100% necessary! It had to happen. The violence and assault of women had to be exposed before the problem can be addressed.

Even some men came forward. We sometimes forget about men who suffered sexual assaults as children.

The #MeToo movement has another side gaining ground fast. This part of the #MeToo movement is dedicated to supporting the survivors of violence in any way they can.

Guys can come across as dicks at times. We are not talking about that kind of behavior. When a man does something to offend a woman it may have been with good and honorable intentions. What we are talking about is verbal, mental and physical assault. Violence against a woman of any kind is never acceptable. EVER!

The other #MeToo movement, the movement of men determined to support the rights of women to live peaceably without threat of violence and intimidation, needs to grow more.

I’ve supported the women who have come forward (and the silent survivors struggling with the demons) from the beginning. Now, finally, I can stand up and say, “#MeToo.” Not as a survivor, but as a supporter of every woman who has had to deal with the trauma of assault.

Please join The Wealthy Accountant and me in supporting this cause.

 

After such a heavy start to the weekend edition it’s time to relax with some entertainment.

What I’m Reading

The stock market was tame for so long (every month of 2017 was a winner) I had to pull out an old favorite when we experienced a mild correction. Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy J. Siegel is a classic. It’s not an advice book for investing in the market. Rather, the book is a treasure trove of data on the market’s performance from the beginning. The accountant in me can’t resist.

 

What I’m Watching

Elon Musk sent a rocket into space the week before last with a Tesla Roadster as the payload. The publicity stunt gave Musk plenty of bang for his buck and I’m adding to the benefits by sharing the following video here. In this video we learn what space will do the Starman and the Roadster. We also learn about several Easter Eggs hidden in the Roadster traveling to the stars.

 

What I’m Listening To

I worked in silence most of the week. Tax season is in full swing now and time is tight. I’ll be at the office for a short day on Sunday to get some larger returns done without interruption.

Here is one album is listened to earlier in the week:

I know my taste in music can be out there. But by sharing hidden gems I uncover is the reason for the weekend edition of Stalking the Accountant.

 

Have a great weekend, kind readers. See y’all back here in a turn.

Stalking the Accountant for Sport

It’s been an exciting week in the accounting world. The first full week of the traditional tax season is in the books with nine more left to go. As far as I can tell there have been no casualties.

Your favorite accountant is happy to report this is the smoothest tax season in years in his office. Three or four years ago I met Mr. Money Mustache and he put me on the map (Thank you, Pete!) it created a deluge of demand I was ill prepared to handle. The problem was I had no idea what I was getting into. Those problems seem to be fully resolved.

The added challenges nearly killed my practice. I had to learn new skills PDQ if I wanted to survive. Hiring more employees was a problem since nobody local had experience in what I was going through.

But, I am proud to say after several mental cramps I turned the corner. New policies and massive increases in technology have the office humming like a well oiled machine with stress reduced to a minimum. I’ll let you know if the psychosis returns.

Until then . . . I’m feeling much better now.

The smooth operation of our tax functions means I am still accepting new clients selectively. The bottleneck now is in processing the requests. To that end I hired a new team member to help with the follow-up of requests.

If you sent a request in the last few months without a response you should resend the request. Please include your phone number. Most do not. Amy will send an email with a follow-up phone call if we feel it’s a good fit.

The reason for the additional screening is to make sure it works for all parties involved. Sometimes expectations are different from what we can handle with our current structure. I’d rather discover early if there is a conflict or issues before we start. This is easier on both of us.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t get in. My team has managed to get things running smooth again after I overwhelmed the machinery. To keep it smooth we have to make sure we can do the job right.

Another Tax Bill

When you were looking the other way Congress passed another tax bill Friday. Yes, as in yesterday if you’re reading this the day I published.

The hoopla about the latest government shutdown was resolved with a major spending bill with lots of tax nuggets.

Here is why the spending bill is so important. The tax part of the bill retroactively renewed many expired tax provisions! This means many of the returns filed early are wrong!

The IRS is busting heinie to implement the changes. My software provider will update as soon as the IRS has their end fixed and ready to accept returns with the updates.

Here are some of the more common changes:

  • Mortgage insurance premiums are back and will be the number one reason we will need to amend.
  • Discharged mortgage debt is excluded from income again.
  • The provision to deduct education expenses (qualified tuition and related expenses) up to $4,000 above-the-line is restored.

The remainder of the thirty or so renewed provisions generally affect businesses.

Because the IRS will need time to implement these changes you either have to wait to file (including possible filing an extension) or filing now and amending later. It’s your call.

 

I kindly ask readers to spread the word on the DIY tax software offered by 1040.com. This is the same software I use in my office. If you use the link on this page it supports your favorite blog.

This is a project close to my heart and means a lot. Thank you for considering the option. Many returns also qualify for free-file.

 

Remember we have a drawing for two cash giveaways next week Wednesday. Details are available on the Where Am I page. Be sure to open those emails with the latest TWA post to win!

 

Now let’s have some fun!

What I’m Reading

Every year at this time I make myself a promise as I head to the office each day that I will take an hour or two to read. This year, as in past years, the promise is unfulfilled.

I still read some early in the morning and at night after writing if I can keep my eyes open. The weekends are nirvana!

This week I worked on a book in progress, but mostly read from The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.

When I need to perform at my best I always look to my Stoic literature. If you don’t keep a copy of The Daily Stoic next to your bed you don’t know what you’re missing.

What I’m Watching

Just as time is tight for reading, time spent watching videos is also curtailed. As important as learning and relaxation are, tax season is a time when accountants sacrifice some of these hedonic pleasures.

SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy Rocket this week and I watched it live from my desk. It was the coolest thing ever! Enjoy if you haven’t already.

 

I also watched a few videos in the vein of the selection provided here. Mysteries intrigue me even if they are somewhat contrived. Old stuff grabs my attention hard. Here we see mysterious monuments from around the world.

What I’m Listening To

My listening tastes turn unique during these intense times. I think you’ll enjoy Beethoven’s Symphony 7 selection. The calming sound emanated from my office more than once this week.

 

When the coffee started to wear off I got silly. Something to break up the classical sounds.

 

Finally, as you read this your favorite accountant is probably sleeping it off or reading voraciously with drool running from the left side of his mouth.

I’m also planning a special post for Monday. We have enjoyed p/e ratios in the upper teens, 20s and higher on the broad indexes for so long people forget it wasn’t that long ago when the S&P sported a single digit p/e ratio and the average stock in the index threw off over a 6% dividend yield with many sporting even higher payouts!

Monday we will discuss what would need to happen to go back to those days of the late 1970s and early 1980s and the late 1940s and early 1950s. It’s been a while since we enjoyed such a market. I promise an engaging read.

Won’t you join me.