Tax Attic: Feedback on revamping of Form 1040

The summer is scooting along very quickly.  When the calendar turns to August, my teacher friends start ramping up for that pre-Labor Day school start.  It tells me that summer will be ending sooner rather than later.  It’s been a busy summer so far.  The Coons have taken their long-standing, family vacation.  Over the years, we have camped at various state parks through-out the lower and the upper peninsulas.  This year, we spent a very nice week up at Interlochen State Park. What a nice park and lake and, as a throw-in, you can hear music from the Music Camp that is located directly across the street from the park entrance.  I have gone fishing with my old Central Michigan University roommates.

This year, we went over to Saginaw Bay in our quest to catch walleyes. Gone in the past are the long distance trips to Canada. We did catch a few walleyes when we could get out but it’s pretty darned tough fishing when the waves are in the 4-5 foot class. I haven’t been salmon fishing over here as yet but it’s not too late.  The news is there are fish out there to be caught just not quite as many as in past years. We usually fish out of Muskegon and I expect to have some good luck later this month.

As usual, I follow and keep up with the winged sprint cars and drivers of the World Of Outlaws, (WoO). Those guys and the occasional gal are involved in one of the most dangerous sports out there.  Unfortunately, earlier this year, Louisiana native, Jason Johnson, lost his life in a wild roll-over at Beaver Dam Raceway in Wisconsin.  This type of accident happens every week on the tour.  Most of the time, the driver walks away but not always. The WoO only races on dirt so, for the most part, paved Berlin Raceway, out in Marne, is out of the question. They did come to Michigan in June at Clarksville Speedway in Lake Odessa and there were some good races.  My son-in-law, Devon, and grandson, Rowan, got to see the 800 horsepower sprint cars for the first time.  We had a great time.

The summer is always full of differing activities.  Deb and I were even able to get away for a few days up north.  We used a campground in Benzonia as our base and traveled up to Sleeping Bear Dunes, Beulah, Leland, Fishtown, Lake Ann, Frankfort, and Glen Haven and other spots over a couple of days.  What a beautiful area. We still have some activities planned before it starts getting cold and that dreaded word, snow, comes into play.  Snow does put a damper on wearing shorts and t-shirts, doesn’t it?

A few weeks ago, my article concerned the Internal Revenue Service’s revamping of the Form 1040.  Subsequently, the IRS asked for feedback from tax professionals such as the organization that we at Action Tax Service belong to, the National Association of Tax Professionals, (NATP).  After carefully looking at the re-vamped form and the proposed schedules, it appears that NATP’s opinion, as well as over 800 member tax professionals, is that the re-vamping doesn’t go far enough.  It does re-shuffle the deck by removing and re-arranging some lines but, in the end, many taxpayers that actually end up filing the new form will have more attaching schedules than they had last year.  The consensus opinion is that the proposed new Form 1040 is not simplification for many taxpayers and it may very well lead to many taxpayers missing deductions and credits.

“NATP’s opinion is that making the new Form 1040 smaller and removing lines only to move them to other schedules does not equate to simplification. In addition, taxpayers who need to file additional schedules run the risk of missing deductions and credits or making errors in transferring information from a schedule to the form.” That being said, there will still be millions of taxpayers who will be able to file just the new, two page 1040 return with no attaching schedules.  For them, the new form will be simplification as long as there will be no further schedules to attach.  So we have some taxpayers with just the new form while others have the new form plus up to thirty attachments.

Perhaps one solution is to go ahead with the new two pager and require those millions who qualify for it’s usage to use it.  The other hundred million or so filers would still use the old, regular 1040 with the same attaching schedules as last year.  That will give the IRS another year to figure out a way to simplify the traditional Form 1040.  There is no crime in simplifying in two segments.  However it works out, I will keep you informed as more information is made available.  This is Jerry Coon signing off.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent.

He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Dr in Rockford. Contact Jerry at www.actiontaxservice.com.