Friday, April 18, 2003

Celebrating Freedom from Slavery

Suppose I came to you and offered you this holiday to
celebrate your freedom from slavery, would you want it?

First, for weeks before the holiday, the womenfolk will
scour, scrub and polish everything in the house, from
top to bottom.

They will get into all the corners, cupboards, closets.
crannies and cabinets and eliminate all crumbs, cobwebs,
and other crummy things.

Next, they'll clean all the dishes, pots and pans and
put them all away, locked securely behind doors or
hidden in pantries or covered up on top shelves.

With all the old things put away, they'll pull out a
whole other set of dishes, stored all year for just
this very occasion, and start removing a year's worth
of dust, detritus and dirt.

And now they're ready to start cooking up a storm for the
big celebration feast to come. After spending days, peeling,
paring, pounding, and polishing, they're ready for the
menfolk to step in - the evening before this celebration.

What do the menfolk do? They come along with a candle and a
feather and inspect the womenfolk's hard work. (Since the
women know they've done a good job, and their menfolk will
be disappointed and feel useless, the women are meant to hide up
to 10 tiny pieces of bread around the house. That way, the men
are heroes and feel fulfilled.)

After the inspection?

The menfolk go to their favorite easy-chairs, pick up their
newspapers, turn on their favorite sports or news shows, or
both and breathe a sigh of satisfaction for a job well done.

The womenfolk? Oh, they're still cooking for the upcoming feast.

On the night of this celebration of freedom, the men are
enthroned in their chairs at the glittering table, with lots
of pillows, so they can recline like kings. Their womenfolk
rush about serving and waiting on them hand and foot, even
to the point of bringing them a water basin so the men can wash
their delicate hands before partaking of this generous feast.

The men and boys do what? They get to spout on for hours
about how glorious is their freedom and how oppressive was
the slavery of their ancestors. They get to play hide-and-seek,
with their food, as they sate themselves on four brimming cups
of wine . They challenge each other's knowledge about slavery...
as the women continue mutely to serve them.

And when it's all done - around 1:00 a.m., if celebrated
properly, what now?

The menfolk get to toddle off to a cozy slumber, secure in
the knowledge that they conducted a grand feast and put
slavery to bed forever.

The womenfolk? Oh, they get to clean up and start all over
again for the next night - and to have the house ready for
breakfast and lunch before the 2nd major dinner feast.

So, are you eager for this celebration of the release from slavery?

We already have it.

It's called Passover.


© 2003 Eva Rosenberg, ,
inspired by a comment from her mother.
Please feel free to pass this along to friends, with all the copyright
info intact. (I want to see how many times it comes back)
You may not publish this online, in print or e-mail newsletters
without permission. Contact with 'Freedom'
in the subject line, to inquire about permissions and fees to publish.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I just read an AP article, entitled -
IRS running out of funds to go after unpaid taxes

Doesn't that give you a warm fuzzy?
Maybe you can get away with not paying taxes at all, right?

Funny thing that happens when IRS doesn't have staff and time.
They take the easy way out.

What does that mean to you?

It means that if you owe tax money and IRS knows
how to find your assets, they'll just take them, if you
ignore their automated letters. (Did the reporter forget
to tell you that a whole lot of the system is automated?)

IRS knows

a) where you work (W-2s)
b) who your clients are (1099-MISCs)
c) where your money is (1099-INT, 1099-B, etc.)
d) where your home is (1098s)
e) what your driving (auto registrations)

They'll just send out levy notices on your accounts,
or garnishments on your wages.

All those short-staffed people won't be to your advantage.

The fact is, you won't be able to reach someone to help
you get off the hook - to help you stop those garnishments.

THAT's going to be the real problem with the budget shortfall.

When we need help - there won't be anyone there to HELP us!!!!!

OK, now, I'll tell you a little, tiny secret...there are special
phone lines for tax professionals to use to get help for our
clients. So, we're going to be just fine - and so will our clients.

But, you, out on your own thinking you're going to rip off the
system...well, there just won't be anyone there to help you
when you need it.

Hmmm...should I be gloating?

Is this budget cutback really designed to help provide more
income to Tax Professionals. Heck, I love it!

Monday, April 07, 2003

Last week, one of my tax pro readers brought it to my attention that the State of California had some legislation pending that will affect tax preparers.They tried it last year and got shouted down. Governor Davis proposed it again. It would require all tax preparers who prepare over 100 tax returns to file all returns electronically. It would assess a penalty if we don't.

Do you have any idea how many tax preparers in the State of California are not set up for this? Or how many are still charging SO little, especially in the smaller towns, that it would completely put them out of business?

Following is my open letter to Governor Gray Davis. Similar letters were sent to California State Senators and Assemblymembers.

Dear Governor Davis,

I'd really like to add my voice to those objecting to this proposal.

You are receiving substantial tax monies to handle administration.

As tax preparers, we often don't get paid enough to make all the
detailed entries required for e-filing.

For instance, when a client works for the film industry, s/he may
have 20 W-2s. For me to enter ALL of them,with all the details
needed for e-filing, would take me well over an hour extra.
Do you think that client will be willing to pay me and extra
$150.00 for that task? I know they won't.

For you to do that, it might cost as little as $15.00.

I had another client who had a list of 300 stock transactions.
Naturally, in this market, resulting in over $50,000 of losses.
Do you have ANY idea how long THAT would have taken
me to enter, line by line? Including proof-reading, that might
have meant an entire day. There is no way I could charge that
client over $1000 extra, after he had given me a neatly printed
schedule that I can attach to the return. Yet, to file it electronically
would have required that.

You require that we maintain signed Forms 8453 in our files;
signed before the return is transmitted. Well, for tax professionals
who don't do simple W-2 only returns, we rarely have our clients
present when we complete their returns. It may take days or
weeks to track them down, get them the form to sign and get
a signed form back, whether original or faxed. For some clients,
it's simply not practical to file electronically.

And then there are those people who have complex returns
with K-1s and other pass-through income/loss that has errors
on them. Sometimes, we have to over ride lines in the program
and attach explanations. We can't e-file those returns either.

Sorry, folks. We pay good tax money to cover your staff's wages.
Please use it for the purpose intended, not to make us an
unpaid part of your staff.

Where we can file electronically, we will.

But you can't penalize us for not doing your job.

I respectfully request that you quash this bill.


Eva Rosenberg, EA
President, Inc.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Congress, the President and the taxpaying public all have different concerns when it comes to tax laws, rebates, credits, deductions etc.

Frankly, the last round of rebates was outrageously irresponsible and expensive. It was short-sighted of Congress to approve. The whole thing was misleading - since it was not really a refund at all. It was just an advance from your regular tax refund. People are still screaming, and complaining, looking for the rebates they never got in 2001 - and it's been over a year an a half since.

The most recent round of tax cuts may or may not happen. With Bush focussing on the war, Congress is busy gutting the most recent tax bills. We've yet to see the final results.

To tell you the truth, the only way to change the tax system is to participate. Watch your Senators and Congressfolk - and send them e-mails and letters when you disagree - and even when you agree. It's always nice to get friendly letters, isn't it.

More to come....

Eva Rosenberg

Your TaxMama

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