November 2022 — Bergen Bar Tax Bulletin, Vol. 38, No. 11

Written by Theodore M. David, Chair

Tax Law Committee


Current Items:                                                             

  • Wordle?
  • Go Appeals
  • Uncle Sam Wants You                                                                    

1). I’m sure you remember the Donna Reed Show or Father Knows Best or, how can I leave out, Leave It to Beaver. Whenever there was an episode that opened up at breakfast, there was Dad buried in his daily newspaper, oblivious to his surroundings, while mom, in her apron, flitted around the kitchen getting a cholesterol-filled breakfast ready for the kiddies. These days of course, newspapers are only used to line birdcages. In reality, most everyone is now buried in their screens from the moment their eyes open until they close later in the evening. Most of what is being watched, in my humble estimation, doesn’t amount to much. Don’t get me wrong — I think it is important that you know exactly where your friends had dinner and what they thought of that restaurant newly opened down the block. And let’s not forget all those pictures of happy couples on vacation, making it look like they are having the time of their lives. But now there is a new game in town, and it is called Wordle. So the breakfast at my house, like in many millions of houses across the country, has me staring at a screen trying to figure out for no apparent good reason a five-letter word with no hints or clues. You get 6 cracks at it. Now at first blush, you may think this is totally mindless. But no, it is actually a mindfulness exercise. It is difficult to worry about the world situation when you are concentrated on getting that silly five-letter word. The Supreme Court has recently told former Pres. Trump that his tax returns will be turned over to House investigators. Now once tax returns find their way to daylight, they have an innate ability to find their way into various other unwanted and disagreeable places. So the best I can offer is that everyone from the former Prez to my readers start to work the Wordle for this month’s Bar Bull._ _ _ _ _. Now no cheating, no using dictionaries. (There is a T and a G in the word) Submit your responses at your leisure. Answer to be announced next month if I remember it.

2) Did you ever think you would live to hear that one of the priorities of the IRS is customer satisfaction? Recently I bought a container of Smart Balance butter substitute. After giving it a try, I realized that something was wrong. It simply tasted different. Only after consulting Google did I learn that the product’s manufacturer had actually changed the recipe, apparently reducing the amount of vegetable oil under the guise of making it healthier. And, of course, in the process, adding to the company’s bottom line by substituting water for vegetable oil. I wasn’t alone in my outrage! It’s a phenomenon the Internet now recognizes as “skimplification.” Products come in the same container size, color and so on, but their contents have changed. You probably remember when a pound of coffee actually weighed a pound instead of 10 ounces. I’m convinced coffee purveyors got away with that one since most Americans have no idea how many ounces there are in a pound. So it is refreshing to say that according to a recent report that the Internal Revenue Service appeals branch is more dedicated than ever to actually delivering the product for which it was created. The systematic settlement of tax cases. In one recent announcement, the appeals branch head was proud to say over 7500 questionable cases had been resolved with both correspondence and in-person conferences. So far, it appears the IRS has not gotten on the skimplification bandwagon, and appeals offices across the country continue to offer a valuable settlement resource for taxpayers and tax professionals.

3) Now listen all of you law firm associates. When was the last time your bosses offered you 11 paid holidays as well as 13 vacation days with a flex schedule from day one? And all you need is to be a US citizen, be willing to have a criminal fingerprint background check and be in good tax compliance and be able to verify it. Yes, these are full-time jobs to work in taxpayer assistance walk-in offices across the country. According to the IRS career pages, 700 jobs are looking to be filled. Standard Federal benefits apply as well. Before you laugh off the prospect, check how many of the tax professionals you know got their start at the IRS!

Best Wishes for a Great Holiday Season and Good Luck with the Wordle

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