Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:                                                                                    

1) IRS and The Lindbergh Case           

1). People sometimes ask what do lawyers do? Now, of course, there is all the paper shuffling associated with various types of personal and business transactions, but for trial lawyers and prosecutors alike, it’s really not that at all. Whether pitching a case to a jury, judge, or the IRS, the job comes down to this: Lawyers paint pictures. You see, clients provide the basic paint colors of some facts, more or less ideally irrefutable. This is not a paint-by-numbers kind of task. Think Salvador Dali. One year, I traced his steps in Spain to his house and museum. BTW there’s one in St. Petersburg, Florida, which is a lot closer. When seen up close, some of his paintings look like a mishmash of dabs of color, but when you step back, your brain registers a complete picture. It’s an amazing phenomenon. Dali painted some pretty weird pictures. Melting clocks bizarre groupings of animals, men and women as well. He was perhaps one of the best self-promoters that has ever lived. Those dashing black eyes matching his turned-up waxed mustache and his antics made him one of the most popular artists of the 20th century. Dali would’ve made a great lawyer. Read More

Written by Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:
1) Who Was That Masked Man?
2) Lawyer Well Being?

  1. I still have an antenna on my roof. I’m sure passers-bye in my neighborhood scratch their heads in wonder why have I not taken the thing down. Little do they know the reason is simple: It still works. I know even as you read this you’re in disbelief. We’ve grown so accustomed to cable and Internet that the thought that free television would arrive by a silly-looking metal contraption is hard to imagine. I was talking to a good friend of mine who was beside themselves about the cable company that was ripping him, like the rest of us, off. I simply said “George, why not use an antenna?” He looked at me as if I had two heads. An antenna? Now granted you will not get the hundred-plus stations and all the fancy other Internet apps either but you won’t pay a dime and should the cable go out in your neighborhood and your Internet fails to work real TV from your antenna may then make you quite happy. And you never know what is going to pop up on the screen. There is no guide button. Last Saturday for example out of nowhere the Lone Ranger and Tonto in black-and-white leaped out of my set. It’s amazing how quickly we can go back in time to the 1950s when Clayton Moore, who was actually Jack Carlton Moore born in Chicago, Illinois, donned the mask of the Lone Ranger and Harold Jay Smith an indigenous Canadian from the Mohawk tribe had been born in Ontario, Canada became Tonto. If you were around in the 50s you may have caught one of the 221 episodes of The Lone Ranger. You may know that Tonto named the Lone Ranger’s horse Silver when he spoke the sentence “like a mountain with snow, silver white” in describing a horse he and his partner Lone Ranger had found in a canyon suffering from injuries. Tonto did not seem to be at all disturbed by playing second fiddle to the Lone Ranger. They were a team that wandered about Texas doing good and chasing evil. Harold took the name Jay Silverheels but before he was Tonto, Harry Smith was actually a lacrosse player for the Toronto Tecumsehs. He also played on teams around the country as well as right here in Atlantic City. In 1938 he was second placed Golden Gloves Middleweight champion. By the way, he was inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997. Tonto got to wear that suede fringed jacket that hippies thought they invented in the 60’s. The show ran from 1949 through 1957 on ABC. It was the highest-rated TV program in the early 1950s and ABC’s first true hit. Even as a kid I wondered how was it that he and his partner seemed so well-clothed and fed with no apparent source of income. Recently I learned it had to do with the Lone Ranger finding a silver mine which then financed his wanderings. So here was a hero risking his life without pay. I warn that the 50’s vocabulary as it was used on the Lone Ranger may offend these days where mere words can be so upsetting. Tonto was referred to as an “Indian” and at times “Injun.” Women were “gals” or “girls” and senior citizens were “old-timers.” And just about every female in every episode was a damsel in distress. The producers probably never heard of Yardville, New Jersey’s own straight-shooting Annie Oakley who like women today needed no male savior. But it was the 1950’s after all and a much different view of the world. They say the show was inspired by a real Texas Ranger named John Hughes in the old Wild West but there is also another possible inspiration in the more likely Bass Reeves the first black deputy marshal west of the Mississippi. Reeves wore disguises and worked with a Native American as a partner. In the show, it was always clear who the good guys and bad guys were. Where are the Lone Rangers these days? They are out there. Like some of the IRS criminal agents that I met along the way. They seemed to be working for a higher purpose. Chasing the bad guys. The FBI says there are about 4000 known gangsters in the states. Mostly centralized in New York and New Jersey. I remember there being less than 200 IRS criminal agents in all of New Jersey with a population of nine-plus million people. That’s 45,000 per agent. They must feel at times like well…the Lone Ranger. IRS announced recently that the Chief of the Criminal Investigation Division, Jim Lee, will retire effective April 6. He has led the criminal division since October 2020 with a staff of more than 3200 criminal investigation employees which includes 2200 special agents. Another Lone Ranger rides into the sunset Kemosabe. So who was that masked man? Hi-Yo Silver! Away!
    2). The New Jersey Lawyer magazine, No. 346, February 2024 caught my eye with a cover “Lawyer Well-Being.” In the course of my 50 years in law, I had published more than 52 professional articles. Frankly, some were so esoteric and boring as to make your eyes bleed. But the one I got the most feedback on was called “Can Lawyers Learn to be Happy”. That one may still be out there in cyberspace. But the article in this February journal about “Stress” written by the Hon. Kevin G Callahan JSC (ret) provides 20 suggestions that may make the job of lawyering a lot more tolerable. It is equally valuable for any stressed-out professional in any field. I won’t rattle off all twenty and they are all fairly obvious. It’s their application that is the problem. The judge says: find quiet time; remember your family and friends; check your spending habits; have a long-term plan or goal; don’t lawyer 24/7; change careers within the law if it is truly driving you crazy; avoid excesses; watch for signs of burnout; stay organized and if your new to the business of law find a mentor. I’ll add: Money won’t really make you happy; try to be more Lone Ranger than Perry Mason.

Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may
Old time is still a-flying
And this same Flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be a- dying.
Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Questions or Comments   should be sent to:

Theodore M. David                        

e-mail: Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com.

Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:                                                                                    

1) Here Come the Love Letters   

2) Happy Filing Season

3) IRS Report Card       

1). Pat Boone did “Love Letters in the Sand.” A sweet reflection on the very essence of the Love Thrill. Now, I’ve seen grown men weep with a love letter from the IRS. What do they want? “ I’m from the IRS and I am here to help you??? A friend of mine, out of nowhere, got a letter with an enclosed check with no explanation at all. He loved it. But most don’t provide a free dinner and there is no BOGO. So, what do you do when a pandemic hits and tons of taxes are due? Perhaps stop the letters for a while. But wait, this just recently from the IRS: Due to the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS temporarily suspended the mailing of automated reminders to pay overdue tax bills starting in February 2022. These reminders would have normally been issued as a follow-up after the initial notice. Although these reminder notices were suspended, the failure-to-pay penalty continues to accrue for taxpayers who did not fully pay their bills in response to the initial balance-due notice.

Given this unusual situation, the IRS is taking several steps in advance of resuming normal collection notices for tax years 2020 and 2021 to help taxpayers with unpaid tax bills, including some people who have not received a notice from the IRS in more than a year.

To help taxpayers as the normal processes resume, the IRS will be issuing a special reminder letter starting next month. The letter will alert the taxpayer of their liability, easy ways to pay and the amount of penalty relief, if applied. The IRS urges taxpayers who are unable to pay their full balance-due to visit IRS.gov/payments to make arrangements to resolve their bill.

2). So when can you file and get the 2023 tax refund you so justly deserve? The Internal Revenue Service today announced Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, as the official start date of the nation’s 2024 tax season when the agency will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax returns.

The IRS expects more than 128.7 million individual tax returns to be filed by the April 15, 2024, tax deadline.

Although the IRS will not officially begin accepting and processing tax returns until Jan. 29, people do not need to wait until then to work on their taxes if they’re using software companies or tax professionals. For example, most software companies accept electronic submissions and then hold them until the IRS is ready to begin processing later this month. IRS Free File will also be available on IRS.gov starting Jan. 12 in advance of the filing season opening. The IRS Direct File pilot will be rolled out in phases as final testing is completed and is expected to be widely available in mid-March to eligible taxpayers in the participating states.

Taxpayers will continue to see helpful changes at the IRS following ongoing transformation work. Building off the success of the 2023 tax season, which saw significant improvements following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the 2024 filing season will continue reflecting the focus on improving services to taxpayers.

“As our transformation efforts take hold, taxpayers will continue to see a marked improvement in IRS operations in the upcoming filing season,” said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. “IRS employees are working hard to make sure that new funding is used to help taxpayers by making the process of preparing and filing taxes easier.”

3). Every year IRS gets a report card showing how it is doing. Ed Koch started it all when he was Mayor of NYC. He’d asked, “So, how am I doing?” IRS latched on to the idea. National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her 2023 Annual Report to Congress, describing 2023 as a year of “extraordinary transition for the IRS and therefore for taxpayers.”

The report credits the Internal Revenue Service with substantially improving taxpayer services and developing plans to transform the taxpayer experience in the coming years, but it identifies paper processing as an area of continuing weakness.

By law, the Advocate’s report is required to identify the 10 most serious problems taxpayers are experiencing in their dealings with the IRS and to make administrative and legislative recommendations to address those problems. Before cataloging taxpayer challenges, however, Collins praised the IRS for taking notable strides forward.

“Overall, the magnitude of successes exceeded the areas of weakness in 2023, and most metrics showed significant improvement from the depths of the [COVID-19] pandemic,” Collins wrote in the report’s preface. The report says the IRS virtually eliminated its backlog of unprocessed original individual income tax returns (Forms 1040) and substantially improved telephone service.

Many thanks to IRS for providing the stuff for this Bull this month, while I sit under a palm tree.


Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:

1) Library Vig
2) Mileage Gig
3) Estimate Big

1) In the 1960s, the way I remember it, there was a loan shark in just about every town. It all started with Benjamin Franklin and his idea of spreading culture and knowledge through the idea of borrowing. Initially, you could only get part of the action if you bought it. That’s the way the Family worked. Eventually, any kid over five years old was automatically a member and it was free. You got a card that identified you as being in the acceptable group. The person who ran the local operation did not look like Tony Soprano instead it was a gray-haired lady with wire-rimmed glasses. She sat at a big wooden desk above, which was a sign in big letters: Be All You Can Be… Read. But my library card had been ink stamped with a dire warning: “Late fees of two cents per day will be enforced after the due date of this book.” I didn’t realize that society was grooming me for the zillion due dates that I would encounter as I crashed through adulthood. But I took that two-cent warning seriously. Looking back, I didn’t give it the real thought it deserved. The library was not interested in punishing me for forgetting to return a book. It was more interested in getting the book back so that it could be lent to the next person.

Now don’t fret, an overdue book charge will not destroy your credit rating. But there have been some real doozies. Take for instance, a history book written in German which was borrowed in 1667 by Col. Robert Walpole. It holds the Guinness world record for an open return and overdue library book from the Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, England. And a woman in Illinois paid the largest fine for an overdue library book when she returned in 2020, a book she had borrowed in 1955. She paid $345. At a library in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, a book entitled “The Cruise of the Esmeralda” was returned in December 2023. It was 120 years late. Piling up late fees can result in the suspension of borrowing privileges and, in extreme cases, legal action!

But I have recently heard of a library in Boston that took the measured step of creating a book return amnesty. Hundreds of books showed up to take advantage of the policy. One, in particular, turned out to be a priceless manuscript borrowed in 1972 with no late fees. All very interesting, you say, but what does this have to do with tax law and tax administration? Here it comes. The federal tax system has billions upon billions of dollars that are not being contributed to the system because taxpayers are afraid of the penalties associated with coming clean. In particular are simple nonfilers who imagine incredible penalties, including jail time for their social misbehaving. So they simply do not file every year. We have never had a federal tax amnesty. We are in desperate need of one. A well-reasoned plan to get the library books back on the shelf. That is to welcome taxpayers back into the tax system. They say those who have properly met their tax obligations will feel slighted that their neighbors are getting such tax relief. But waving tax due, penalties and reducing or eliminating interest in the long run results in a much healthier tax system. Just like your local library. BTW there is a policy IRS calls “voluntary compliance” but you have to pay up to be in that one. It’s not an Amnesty.

2) I was talking to a guy in a gas station about the supersized Ford 150 pickup truck he was driving. He said he needed to tow stuff around. These massive pieces of machinery represent the ultimate in design gone mad. He told me his truck gets 7 miles to the gallon. I thought that has got to hurt when gasoline was approaching almost 5 dollars per gallon. But then it dawned on me that he wasn’t paying the same amount for his gas as I was. And I don’t mean lining up at a Costco service center to shave off five cents per gallon. No, it’s trickier than that. He is being allowed a tax deduction of $.67 per mile traveled for business purposes. That’s the new rate for 2024 IRS now allows. So if those are business miles .67/mile or charitable miles .14/mile or medical miles.21/mile, the taxpayer gets a break on their tax return. Please note IRS says you cannot claim these expenses as unreimbursed employee business expenses. A tax lesson to remember when a huge gas hog passes you by.

3) A friendly reminder. Now that the banks are offering 4% and 5% interest rates on CDs, that newfound wealth may be subject to the requirement to file estimated taxes. A taxpayer can avoid the estimated tax penalty by paying estimates equal to 100% of last year’s taxes or 90% of this year’s taxes. The last estimate for 2023 is due 1/16/24. The Banks give, and the IRS takes away.

Questions or comments should be emailed to: Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com.


Current Items:                                                             

  • Garage Sale 1099-K… Wha?
  • IRS Interest Rates
  • Digital Signatures                                                                    

1) Everybody likes going to a garage sale now and then. You’ve see that Antique Road Show where some lady bought a picture for four dollars and it turns out to be worth $50,000. Most times it’s just junk. But there are those who make a living at buying and selling what could otherwise be called “old crap.” Now IRS, always looking for an additional buck, knows damn well that those sellers are not properly reporting their transactions. So to make life even more complicated a recent addition to the tax law (The American Rescue Plan) requires that taxpayers send form 1099-K to alert the IRS of those sale transactions. According to the IRS: The ARP required third party settlement organizations (TPSOs), which include popular payment apps and online marketplaces, to report payments of more than $600 for the sale of goods and services on a Form 1099-K starting in 2022. These forms would go to the IRS and to taxpayers and would help taxpayers fill out their tax returns. Before the ARP, the reporting requirement applied only to the sale of goods and services involving more than 200 transactions per year totaling over $20,000.

Unable to deal with the tsunami of forms, the IRS temporarily delayed the new requirement last year.

Reporting requirements do not apply to personal transactions such as birthday or holiday gifts, sharing the cost of a car ride or meal, or paying a family member or another for a household bill. These payments are not taxable and should not be reported on Form 1099-K.

However, the given the complexity of the new provision, the large number of individual taxpayers affected and the need for stakeholders to have certainty with enough lead time, the IRS is planning for a threshold of $5,000 for tax year 2024 as part of a phase-in to implement the $600 reporting threshold enacted under the American Rescue Plan (ARP).The casual sale of goods and services, including selling used personal items like clothing, furniture and other household items for a loss, could generate a Form 1099-K for many people, even if the seller has no tax liability from those sales. That’s where your garage sale comes in. Granted most times people are paying a dollar or two for most items but when the sale transaction gets larger there is now this filing requirement which has been enacted. Whenever IRS resorts to having somebody send a form 1099 it is actually making taxpayers private IRS agents. Once the IRS gets its hands on this information it is a hop skip and a jump for it to compare the seller’s tax return with the 1099s that have been generated. The scary part about all this is there could be millions of transactions that would qualify under the new law and require taxpayers to file forms 1099-K! Needless to say with penalties for failing to do so as well. Think about that the next time you are browsing your neighbors junk pile they call a garage sale.

2)  The Internal Revenue Service has announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning Jan. 1, 2024.

For individuals, the rate for overpayments and underpayments will be 8% per year, compounded daily. Here is a complete list of the new rates:

  • 8% for overpayments (payments made in excess of the amount owed), 7% for corporations.
  • 5.5% for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000.
  • 8% for underpayments (taxes owed but not fully paid).
  • 10% for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus three percentage points.

3) Many forms filed with IRS have in the past required handwritten signatures by taxpayers. In slowly joining the 21st century, IRS has begun accepting digital signatures.  The Internal Revenue Service has announced that it has extended certain temporary flexibilities. The acceptance of digital signatures is extended indefinitely until more robust technical solutions are deployed, and encrypted email when working directly with IRS personnel has been extended until October 31, 2025. Nice to see the IRS using the same sophisticated methods as the server did at your last restaurant meal.

Questions or comments should be sent to: tdavidlawyer@gmail.com


Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:

1) Barbie Alternative
2) The Dreaded Direct File
3) Money into Enforcement

1) My old roommates from college started getting together a bunch of years ago to hang out for a weekend with our respective spouses. We call it the Big Chill. Maybe you saw the movie from 1983. The soundtrack included soul, R&B, and pop rock music from the ’60s and ’70s with the likes of Credence Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, and Three Dog Night. It’s a Bar Bull-recommended flick. We’ve gathered in Milford, Pennsylvania, for many of these years. With a little bit of luck, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers find us cozied up with Afghans and quilts snug in the living room. We no longer root from the stadium on the Banks of the Ole Raritan, beer sloshing all over are neatly pressed pants and jackets and ties. It is hard to imagine that a college football game was in fact, a dress-up occasion. I especially liked going to Princeton, where the men there dressed in 1920s skimmers for effect and women wore skirts and blouses.

You may remember the first collegiate football game was between dear old Rutgers and Princeton. As has become our custom, after dinner a movie is selected to be watched on a huge flat-screen TV. It seemed only fitting that this year’s selection should be Barbie. After all, we had actually lived through that bomb business in Oppenheimer. Barbie is not a kids’ movie. Though the kiddies will delight in seeing Barbie prance around in the overpriced pink outfits, their parents had once bought them for their own Barbie dolls. The pink Corvette and the pink Barbie Dream House are front and center, too. Pink is everywhere. The movie is really a commentary about the social mess we live in today. It’s got a playful way of showing just how silly we have been. It hurt to cough up $25 to rent from Prime, but all agreed it was worth it.

But if you can’t seem to sink your teeth into Barbie, rejoice that the IRS nationwide tax forums online have been launched and include 18 new self-study seminars that satisfy continuing education requirements in the categories of federal tax law, federal tax law update and ethics. You may want to pay attention to one called: “Circular 230: Ethics and Tax Practice: How You Can Stay Out of Trouble.” Best of all the forums are free. And there is nothing pink in any of them.

2) It won’t be long before the IRS takes a bite out of the tax preparation services both of accountants and lawyers with its innovative Direct File Project. The pilot program, which would allow taxpayers to file many types of tax returns directly with the IRS, is a pilot option projected to be available for eligible taxpayers in 13 states. New Jersey is not one of them. Accountants can relax for the time being. The project will begin during the 2024 filing season. So far, nine states have joined the effort. Arizona, California, Massachusetts and New York have decided to also work with the IRS to integrate their state taxes into the direct file pilot for filing season 2024. All of the states have been asked to join the project. Time to sell Intuit short?

3) In a recent announcement, the IRS said simply that: “Prior to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA 2022) more than a decade of budget cuts prevented the IRS from keeping pace with the increasingly complicated set of tools that the wealthiest taxpayers use to hide income and evade paying their tax share.” But you may recall that millions of dollars were funneled to the IRS to strengthen enforcement with that IRA. So now the IRS, with the extra dough, will seek enforcement focused on high-income, high-wealth individuals as well as ensuring large corporations pay taxes owed. Full employment of tax controversy lawyers seems guaranteed.

Questions or Comments should be sent to Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com.

Written by: Theodor M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:                                                             

  • No IRS Fun
  • IRS Interest Rates
  • Nickels and Dimes for Teachers

Boy, how things have changed. I started my career in the tax world as an IRS agent trained in Newark, New Jersey, and assigned to an IRS office on Ellison St., Paterson, NJ. It was one of the least sophisticated places you can imagine. The same door that led to a staircase to the second floor where the IRS offices were located made you walk past the barstools in the rather seedy bar downstairs. The big windows overlooking Ellison Street had gold lettering announcing Internal Revenue Service. I absolutely loved the place. It had a down-home environment and a certain esprit de corps among the agents who worked there. No one had cubicles everyone had the same government-issue gray metal desks in a big, wide open space. Those of us who were in the examination division also had a side chair designed for the poor taxpayers we dragged in for audit. I remember the light fixtures were oversized frosted glass bowls hanging from metal supports on the ceiling that reminded me of my days in grammar school at St. Joseph’s. But it was the people who worked there that really made the place special. For a relatively small office, we had representation in all three branches: examination, collection, and criminal division. I immediately started fantasizing about becoming an IRS special agent. They were the fraud investigators authorized to carry guns on special occasions and assigned to assist Secret Service should the need arise to protect the president. They were a pretty intense bunch. While I am sure they loved their work, it was serious going. On the other hand revenue officers assigned to the collection branch seemed to be having a damn good time. Way back then there were few women who became revenue officers. It was a tough job. These folks are unarmed and go out visiting taxpayers trying to wring additional dollars out of them for the taxes they owe. Whenever you see an IRS agent is assaulted or even killed the odds are it is a revenue officer. We’re talking ancient history now when IRS officers had the right to seize the taxpayer’s assets with little advance notice. These guys would leave the Ellison Street office on what amounted to a tax treasure hunt. I can recall one man carrying what looked like an oversized doctor’s bag with his various tools for snipping and cutting wires, locks and things of that sort. There was one story that circulated at our office that one unfortunate taxpayer called the police as his brand-new truck had been stolen right from his driveway. The police eventually got to us and the revenue officer assigned was pleased to tell them it was a federal seizure and that the truck would be offered for sale. Personally, I’ve always thought that this style of tax-enforced collection procedures produced the correct result. But like all things, many instances of abuse existed and led to the drawn-out procedures that now exist for revenue officers to complete the seizure process. Working on this side of things for the last forty years, it was my job to see to it that the seizure process was done correctly with perhaps as much difficulty as possible for IRS. Many revenue officers grew tired and frustrated and opted for retirement when the new statutes allowed collection due process hearings drastically taking the fun out of being a revenue officer. But it is about to get worse. As part of a larger transformation effort the IRS is now ending unannounced visits to taxpayers by agency revenue officers. They say the purpose is to reduce public confusion and enhance overall safety measures for taxpayers and employees. So a mailing advising that the revenue officer is coming must be given. Advance notice. Oh, Heck. I’m sure the guy with the doctor’s bag has already retired. If not this would certainly be the last straw.

  • Interest rates that IRS charges for underpayments that is amounts taxpayers owe, as well as for overpayments for refunds that are due will rise to 8% for the quarter starting October 1.
  • Demonstrating once again how teachers get the short end of the tax stick, the IRS issued a new school year reminder for educators. The maximum educator expense deduction is $300 for 2023. A whopping $50.00 increase. They can claim this miserable pittance even if they also claim the standard deduction. We should all be embarrassed.

Questions or Comments should be sent to:
Theodore M. David, Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com

Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:

1) IRS “Vacation”
2) Summer Reading

1) I woke up this morning and made the mistake of asking Alexa what was the news. I was frankly poking around looking for a hook for this bar bulletin. Apparently, a young and eager meteorologist was laying out what Americans could anticipate this summer. While he said millions and millions of people will take to the roads like never before, he warned of extreme heat rising into the hundreds with tornadoes, hurricanes and smoke from Canadian wildfires. I could just imagine the havoc trying to find that perfect family vacation. Now if you were around in 1983, you may remember one of the greatest comedy films of all time. It was the same year that Gandhi, Star Wars and Flashdance appeared. It ended up having five sequels earning about $60 million in its first year. How could anyone forget National Lampoon Vacation? There was Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold driving his family from Chicago to Southern California to visit Wally World. Their mishaps and near-death experiences, including cranky Aunt Edna strapped to the roof, is a storyline that is hard to forget. Anyone who is trying to do the same thing with their kids knows how close it is to reality. So maybe it’s time for you to consider something truly different and indoors as well, away from all that nasty weather. Besides, you can stuff the family station wagon and drive to these vacations. I know by this point, I’ve lost most of you. Where the hell is he going with this? This week the IRS released its seminar lineup for the 2023 nationwide tax forms! These meetings provide tax professionals with multiple opportunities to learn more about changes to tax law and IRS transformation efforts. Who needs Wally World? It gets even better. Forty seminars will be offered for which tax professionals can earn up to 18 continuing education credits. Each forum is a three-day session that will be held in one of five cities picked, I am sure, as family dream vacation itineraries: New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington DC, San Diego and finally Orlando. Just imagine dragging the kiddies to some of these seminars where they will learn soon enough just how lousy a tax system we have. Forgive me for not getting this to you sooner, as those who registered by June 15 could take advantage of the low early bird rate of $245 per person. Better yet all of this could be tax-deductible and not even Clark Griswold could claim that.
2) If instead of taking a summer road trip, you decide to plop yourself down, whether at the beach or in your own backyard, nothing is better than a good book to cozy up to. I just downloaded one called “The Wager,” a true story of high seas adventure. The subtitle is “a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder.” It’s the story of the boat which set sail from Portsmouth, England in 1740 on a mission as part of an ongoing conflict with Spain. The book jacket shows a square rigger being tossed about in an angry sea. It’s by David Grann. Stranded on an uninhabited island, it’s got a Robinson Crusoe appeal. And the reviews have been dazzling. But there are many tax professionals who instead may enjoy reading the Internal Revenue Service electronic tax administration advisory committee report. This page-turner features recommendations to Congress and the IRS that focus on electronic tax administration and cyber security. Among its 26 recommendations, the report advises Congress to provide timely tax legislation and consistent multiyear funding while it urges the IRS to prioritize modernization and search engine optimization. It’s not available on Amazon but on IRS.gov for free. So you decide. I’d rather sink with the “Wager.”

To my Faithful readers: No Bull for July and August. Taking a vacation with the Griswolds.

Questions or Comments should be sent to:  Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com

Written by: Theodore M. David, Chair, Tax Law Committee

Current Items:                                                              

  • Debt Be Gone
  • IRS Rates
  • Turbo Tax Terror
  • Make More Taxpayers
  1. The old joke goes: I can’t be overdrawn at the bank… I still have checks. I was all prepared to write a long narrative about how bad things were going to be when the United States actually defaulted on its debts. Janet Yellen convinced me that China would end up owning at least Rhode Island and Delaware as soon as we skipped a single payment on any of our debts. Interest rates would rise like an ugly tsunami swallowing up the entire real estate industry, and taxpayers would be on the street once again selling apples like they did in the Great Depression. But these damn politicians ruined everything by coming up with some kind of agreement. Let’s be clear on one thing. If you did what the US government does, you would probably get a minimum 10-year sentence vacationing in New England, as low-risk criminals refer to their low-security prisons. But all is well with the United States getting deeper in debt with the rest of the world. We have been around for about 247 years so far. We will have to survive at least another 800 to pay off the massive debt we have accumulated. The British in the War of 1812, I think, actually burned the White House. If they waited until we got deeper in debt, they could have just bought it instead. Sort of a fire sale without the fire. It seems that that is the way we are headed. Down deep, no one really seems to be all that concerned. Personally, I’m more upset by having this bar bulletin later than usual because of all the governmental hijinks. I should have known that only a madman would take on a woman as smart and powerful as Janet Yellen. So, for the time being, the government will just continue writing more checks and printing more money. And those people living in Rhode Island and Delaware can rest easy.
  2. You may have terrible credit with creditors chasing you down. Even your brother-in-law has denied you even the smallest loan. What to do? The Internal Revenue Service is still open as a reasonably available creditor willing to lend without any financial documentation of any kind. That is the beauty of our self-assessment tax system of voluntarily filing tax returns like Johnny Carson did with Karnac the Magnificent. Find the number that you need, and you and your accountant fill in whatever figures are necessary to get to that number. The tax savings that result is the document-free loan from Uncle Sam. Now, of course, in the age of computers, IRS may eventually wise up and track you down. So understand that in addition to other penalties for things like negligence and perhaps fraud, both of the civil and criminal nature IRS charges a measly 7% annually these days on tax underpayments with no points or vig like the mob. Still better than your local bank or any of your relatives.
  3. Intuit is the company that puts out TurboTax. It is an ingenious computer AI.and although the tax law keeps changing, it’s not very hard to change the program once you get it running. Besides, there are lots of folks overseas who charge virtually nothing for their computer skills. Intuit has been making a lot of money with Turbo Tax. I don’t own any Intuit stock. But it did send a chill down my back to learn that IRS is intending to give Intuit a run for its money. What I understand is that IRS has a goal of allowing most taxpayers to use an IRS program to file all types of tax returns at no cost. So this may be a good time if you happen to be an Intuit stockholder to rethink your investment position. But certainly, don’t take my advice. I thought Microsoft was a flash in the pan.
  4. Avoid listening to NPR radio. The stuff they broadcast can really shake you to the core. They all sound so incredibly smart. I confess I like it. Recently a spot on one of their shows talked about the scientific potential of creating artificial sperm and artificial eggs. They said we are no more than maybe a decade away from being able to make babies outside of the womb, if necessary. Now I was driving at the time and frankly didn’t pay attention to all the details, but one scientist was convinced that no matter government policy here in the United States, the world would work toward this result. Now with taxes as the angle for this bulletin, it dawned on me that this could be the biggest boon to tax collection ever. Simply make more taxpayers. All those folks who have not had children for whatever reason will someday be able to purchase a version of themselves containing their own DNA with fake sperm and fake eggs. Designer taxpayers who like paying taxes could be next. If you are science-minded, the process is called IVG…look it up.

Questions or Comments   should be sent to:

Theodore M. David, e-mail: Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com


WRITTEN BY: Theodore M. David, Chairman


Current Items:                                                             

  •  Know When to Fold Them
  • How You Do-in’?
  • A Sweet Spot                                                                    

1) Congratulations you’ve been a good citizen. Survived another tax season and you join the other hundred and 60 million individual tax returns that were filed. This year the tax filing deadline was April 18, 2023 and it is now safely behind us. Of course there are those who file for extensions and will get their stuff together in time to get those papers filed properly. But there are approximately on the other hand 1.5 million people who are about to fold their cards with regard to tax refunds they are entitled to for tax year 2019. That year IRS extended the filing date to July 17. What this means is that about $1.3 billion is about to go unclaimed by those millions of people. So should you have a client or perhaps actually be one yourself it’s time to get that return filed for 2019 before July 17, 2023. The average refund that is going unclaimed is about $900 per taxpayer. IRS does not create a return for taxpayers who are owed any money. Ours is a self-assessment system and you just have to file. The confusion comes in because single taxpayers with income less than $12,200 and married couples with income less than $24,400 for 2019 were not required to file tax returns. And they are still not required to file. However, if those taxpayers were subject to withholding that money is sitting waiting to be claimed as a refund with IRS. Even in cases where no withholding or other payments were made some taxpayers will qualify for “refundable” credits. This could be $6000 or more for 2019. So even if no payments were made during the tax year a taxpayer can still receive a refund as the refundable credit is treated like a payment. There are some special rules about filing a 2019 return now. Taxpayers cannot use the IRS Free File Tool on the IRS website. It is available only for current tax year returns. Taxpayers must also file a paper tax return so no electronic filing is permitted. Filing a paper tax return guarantees that any refund will take longer to receive. Lastly a “hold” may be placed on the issuance of the refund if the taxpayer has not filed subsequent tax returns for 2020 and 2021. You can get the necessary forms for tax year 2019 at IRS.gov. The July 17, 2023 date can’t be extended under federal tax law.

2) When Ed Koch was mayor of New York he was fond of asking people: How am I doing? The IRS feels the same way about that stuff. So annually it publishes the IRS Data Book. And for those enthusiasts interested in exactly how IRS was doing from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022 the 2022 Data Book, available at IRS.gov, is for you. But if instead you have a decent life to lead and have other ways of squandering your time here are some tidbits from that report: IRS collected $4.9 trillion during that time period. That amounts to 96% of the cost of the entire government. As expenses go, for every $.29 spent funding the agency it collected $100. So it would appear that we are getting our money’s worth. IRS also says that in its survey of taxpayers it gets a 78% satisfaction rating! Not bad and way better than any of the recent sitting Presidents, indicted or not. IRS said 262.8 million tax returns were filed during the period which included 160.6 million individual tax returns. And taking their advice, 94% of those individual tax returns amounting to 150.6 million tax returns were e-filed electronically. The IRS also declared that it is continuing to pursue higher income taxpayers with no plans to increase audit levels for taxpayers whose income is less than $400,000. A Biden magic number? So now you decide how are they do-in’?

3). A healthy lawyer is a happy lawyer. A happy lawyer has happy clients. So what is the easiest way to become a happy lawyer with happy clients? Easy. Recognize the science behind chocolate. Fill client reception areas and your own office with chocolate not flowers and certainly not magazines declaring you as a Super Lawyer or boring ABA journals. You see cocoa is good for you. It contains high dosages of fiber and something called phytonutrients. Now before you think I have lost my mind let me tell you there are a number of medical journals which have concluded dark chocolate can assist in lowering blood pressure and reduce the incidence of heart disease. In one study there was a 27% reduction in heart related deaths. Now before you go and binge keep in mind that the fat, sugar and those extra calories that chocolate has may, in some cases, offset the advantages. Can chocolate ice cream be far behind?


Questions or comments should be emailed to: Tdavidlawyer@gmail.com