Batting average Last week I received a complimentary letter from Jean Caldwell. In addition, I got a phone call from someone else complaining about my views on providing health care. That’s a batting average of .500. Not bad, wouldn’t you say? Profile me! Airport security people don’t dare profile travelers, because they might overlook the “non-obvious.” But obviousness is on a sliding scale. Some travelers are more possibly terrorists than others. Personally, to the most casual of observers, I must be very low on the scale of possibility. I wish they’d profile me as “harmless” so I wouldn’t have to take off my shoes in airports. (And I still regret their confiscation of the little penknife I’d had for decades.) When it comes to the new x-ray screening, I realize most people are not attractive naked. I’d hate to be the guy who had to look at them all day. But doesn’t it all come down to, “I don’t want my plane to blow up when I’m on it”? Nobody likes the inconvenience of the screening, but I’m glad they’re doing it. Blank check One Christmas, a busy mom decreed that she’d no longer remind her children of their thank-you note duties. As a result, their grandmother never received acknowledgments of the generous checks she had given. The next year, however, things were different. “The children came over in person to thank me,” the grandma told a friend triumphantly. “How wonderful!” the friend exclaimed. “What do you think caused the change in their behavior?” “Oh, that’s easy,” said the grandma. “This year I didn’t sign the checks.” Kids “Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.” A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.” A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.” Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus.” Traffic cop […]
January 14 2010
16th Nichole Brinkman, McKinsey Reeds 17th Patrick Dean, Barb Gard 18th Mary Bell, Bekah Cutler, Tom Doane, Darlene Elder, Jeanette Rieckman, Mark Tidey Jr. 19th Shea Caverley 20th Juliette Gauss, Carter James, Kenzee Palazzolo 22nd Alekzandr Corvers, Sam Luft, Anne Mawby, Jessi TenBrink, Julie Anne Wieland
My intent this week was to continue writing on what a taxpayer should do if he or she receives an incorrect W-2 or 1099. However, the Internal Revenue Service has interrupted my plans. Since the first day I entered the tax business in 1978, the IRS has, off and on, announced plans to formulate a plan to regulate all tax preparers. In the past year or two, under the direction of current IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, these plans have finally moved to the implementation stage. Since approximately 80 percent of taxpayers employ either a tax preparer or use commercial software to prepare their return, this is a very good thing for all taxpayers. Shulman said, “Our proposals will help ensure taxpayers receive competent, ethical service from qualified professionals and strengthen the integrity of the nation’s tax system.” These regulations will raise the competency of all tax preparers and will allow the IRS to better regulate all tax preparers. This means that, in theory at least, taxpayers will receive a better product when they pay a tax preparer to prepare their return. Three classes of tax preparers have always been regulated. Enrolled agents (EAs), certified public accountants (CPAs), and attorneys have been required to take competency exams, to take yearly Continuing Professional Education (CPE), to register with the IRS, and to abide by a professional code of conduct as laid out in IRS Publication, Circular 230. Oddly enough, other non-regulated preparers were not subject to any of these requirements. All of that changed on January 4, 2010, when the IRS issued News Release IR-2010-1, Fact Sheet FS-2010-1, Fact Sheet FS-2010-2, and the 57-page Return Preparer Final Report. Now, anyone who signs a tax return as a paid preparer will be subject to a full set of regulations similar to EAs, CPAs and attorneys. First, they will be required to register with the IRS and obtain a Preparer Taxpayer Identification Number (PTIN). As part of this registration process, the IRS does perform a background check and can refuse to issue a PTIN. The IRS is allowed to charge a “reasonable, non-refundable fee” for issuing a PTIN. The registration must be renewed every three years. The IRS retains the privilege and is considering expanding this registration process to […]
The Heart of Rockford Business Association (HRBA) is pleased to announce it has partnered with the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA for HRBA’s January 15-31 Community Unity program. The HRBA launched Community Unity in April 2009 to provide nonprofits with the opportunity to raise money for their organizations by shopping and dining locally, rather than deferring local dollars to catalogs, chains, big box stores or Internet sales. Three times a year (Jan. 15-31, April 15-30, Oct. 15-31), participating HRBA businesses donate 10 percent of sales to the partnering nonprofit whenever a customer presents his or her Community Unity ID card at the time of sale. Bev Thiel, executive director of the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA, noted that the YMCA Belmont branch “is excited to partner with the Heart of Rockford to raise money for its Strong Kids Scholarships. The YMCA provides programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all, and this means not turning anyone away due to their ability to pay. The YMCA offers scholarship money for families with financial needs so that they can participate in sports programs, after-school tutoring, summer camp, and a variety of classes and activities.” Thiel also noted so far this year the YMCA has served 180 people in the amount of $60,380. HRBA businesses participating in the Jan. 15-31 Community Unity program include: A Charmed Life Nail Salon, Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, Baskets in the Belfry, Bow-Dacious Designs, The Corner Bar, Creative Concepts, Dam Dogs, G. Willikers, Great Northern Trading Co., Imperial Computer Solutions, Jade, J.T. Stitchery & Frame Shop, Kimberly’s Boutique, Paper Doll, Pegasus Sports, Poindexter’s Specialty Marketplace, Reading Books, Reds on the River, Right at Home, Right Up Your Alley, The Rockford Squire, Rogue River Tavern, Sage & Roses, Ward’s Hair Place, and Xscape Salon. The YMCA will distribute Community Unity ID cards at its Belmont location, as well as have them available online at www.grymca.org, or clip from this week’s issue of The Rockford Squire newspaper. Members are encouraged to share the cards with family, friends and colleagues, as well as forward them electronically. The more Community Unity cards in circulation, the greater the potential to raise funds for Strong Kids Scholarships. Whenever a customer presents the Community Unity card the participating […]
Reds to partner with REF for Second City event Reds on the River is kicking off the New Year by partnering with the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) to help raise money for educational opportunities for persons of all ages in Rockford. Reds will be donating 10 percent of food sales for guests who present their tickets or ticket stubs for The Second City spectacular to be held at the Rockford High School Auditorium on January 23. The offer is valid from January 23 through February 28, 2010. Ticket stubs may be used for multiple visits to Reds during this designated time period. The donation applies only to the food bills of guests who present their Second City tickets or stubs. Sales will be coded and tracked by Reds’ computer system, and a check will be presented to REF the first week of March. Free bluegrass event to be held in Comstock Park The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association (WMBMA) is hosting a free bluegrass event for players and spectators on Saturday, Jan. 16. A free open band showcase and jam session will begin at 7 p.m. at Fricano’s Pizza, 5808 Alpine NW, Comstock Park, and will continue for as long as the participants wish to play. Bands, groups or individuals wishing to showcase their talent will have an opportunity to perform on stage. A house band will be available for backup, if desired. Bluegrass musicians at all levels are welcome. This jam session is held in a large smoke-free room with food and beverages available for purchase, making it an ideal event for non-musical guests who enjoy listening to free bluegrass music. For more information on this event or the WMBMA organization, please call WMBMA President Dave Simmonds at (616) 897-6220 or visit www.wmbma.org.