Many of you recently enjoyed the NCAA basketball tournament and all the fun that comes with filling out your brackets and then watching them be demolished because the whole point of March Madness is that you can’t ever predict which unheralded 12-seed will upset a favorite, or guess who this year’s Cinderella team will be and whether they will get all the way to the Final Four.

And I said “…you recently enjoyed….” most deliberately, because March Madness comes, inconveniently, right . . .

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Real Tax Magic

Clients often expect that I know secret tax rules that will create wondrous deductions, credits and refunds on their returns, no matter what they’ve done financially during the year. They are disappointed when I tell them that there is generally very little I can do once the fiscal year is over, nor are there any “secret” deductions I can get them that most people don’t know about. It really comes down to the numbers they give me, which generally means how much they earned at their job o . . .

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How Life Really Works: Choosing a Tax Preparer

We got one of those car dealership advertisers in the mail the other day. You know the kind, with a fake key attached and a bunch of little rub-off squares to see if we could get three-in-a-row and win a new car. No such luck. But we did get three squares in a row that said $25,000, the second place prize. That seemed pretty unbelievable, so before we got too excited we read the contest rules exhaustively to see if we could find the catch, even called the phone number and were told to go to the . . .

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Starting Over

We’re ba-a-a-ack!

I first started this blog at the end of 2009, in the run-up to the 2010 tax season. I was launching my website and had a vague idea that I could grow my business through online marketing. A blog would attract people to my website, where they would quickly learn what a smart and talented guy I was and understand that it was in their best interest to hire me.

Turns out my online marketing produced—and I always track my marketing with the exactness of an accountant (what else . . .

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Money Isn’t Everything

We all know that some of the most important things in life are things that money really can’t buy. Like the credit card ad on television reminds us, there are experiences, memories, relationships, etc. which are truly “priceless.”

The point of a career is to earn a living, but in my case not only the goal but the everyday details of my professional life are relentlessly focused on money. So as someone who is an accounting and tax professional, I want to devote my December newsletter to rem . . .

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2010 Roth IRA Conversions

In this month’s newsletter, I want to take the opportunity to expand on my comments relating to Roth IRA conversions, which we briefly mentioned last month. It should be no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to federal tax policy over the past few years that the government is trying virtually any idea it can come up with to reheat the chilly economy. One such idea changes the rules relating to funding Roth IRAs, and comes in time to give taxpayers a great benefit as the year comes to a . . .

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Tax Planning for 2011

The goal of tax planning, for individuals as well as for businesses, is to take advantage of the rules to produce the lowest possible tax bill. We often say that the difference between tax planning and tax preparation is December 31, because after that it is too late to plan, and there is nothing left to do but pay your taxes.

This year, with most of the tax laws still not set for 2011, it will await the last minute work of a lame-duck Congress to know what those rules will be, which makes it tr . . .

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Top Ten Frivolous Tax Arguments, Part 1

Every year, millions of Americans file an honest, legal tax return. Just as often, however, thousands of taxpayers fall prey to scam artists or anti-government extremists who promote an assortment of frivolous and illegal schemes to avoid paying income taxes.

In our June newsletter, I referred to one of those frivolous tax arguments, and hinted that it would make a great topic for a future newsletter. Well, the future is here! So take a minute and read up on some of the most common examples of u . . .

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Am I Profitable? Simplified Bookkeeping for a Side-Business or Hobby

Are you a small business owner? Do you have a hobby that generates a little income? A lot of people in your position know that they should be doing some sort of bookkeeping, but they don’t have the background to know how to do it, and don’t make enough money to afford to pay someone else to do it.

The consequences for a lack of bookkeeping can be significant. If nothing else, it makes tax time a nightmare, for you and for your tax preparer (ahem!). It can also keep you from qualifying for a . . .

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Help for Homebuyers

The current recession has seen many attempts by the government to stimulate the economy and help restore some measure of prosperity to American taxpayers.  Several of these have shown up in the tax code itself, like the recovery rebate credit under George W. Bush, or the sales tax credit for new vehicle purchases championed by the Obama Administration.

With the month of July, President Obama has placed his signature on a new piece of stimulus legislation, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvemen . . .

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