I admit it. The IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Dallas this week kicked my booty. And I mean that in a good way.
The Forum's three days were packed with great sessions on timely and interesting tax topics. Although the event is designed for tax professionals, a mere tax geek journalist also gets a great deal from the Forums. This is the fourth one I've attended and I promise it won't be the last.
I was very impressed with the number of tax pros still hanging in there at the day's last session, or at least at the closing seminar I attended. It covered innocent spouse cases, and it was great since the IRS just this week made a major change in the time period in which a taxpayer has to seek innocent spouse relief.
The other seminars on my final-day agenda were automated underreporter and correspondence exam emerging issues, which is one of the longest session titles this year; basics of the new estate tax law; new information reporting for requirements for 2011 and 2012; all you need to know about e-File; and keeping current with IRS collection.
Whew! For the final time, you have my word that I'll blog about what I learned in these, and the other 11 sessions, in the coming weeks (and months).
But now, to day three random thoughts and observations from the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum.
Today's open letter is once again directed at attorneys who give presentations. I'm not trying to pick on you guys and gals, but you've given me another reason, so:
Dear attorney presenters, remember the Internal Revenue Code section recitations that I talked about yesterday? Well, let's add Latin legal phrases to the presentation do-not-use list. OK, you can use them; you spent many years in law school and passed the bar. But translate, please! Thank you.
Upon further consideration, tic tacs are a meal substitute. Just not a very good one.
Estate tax experts have a dryly morbid sense of humor. I discovered this during a discussion on the 2011 estate tax law's portability provision. This allows, in the simplest terms, the unused federal exemption of a married individual to be transferred when he or she dies to the surviving spouse. But only the unused exemption amount of the last late spouse can be used. "You can't stack on deceased spouse after deceased spouse," noted the estate tax attorney. "I think that saved quite a few lives."
As for that limited portability option, I suggest the IRS dub it the Black Widow provision.
The Walking Dead should consider filming scenes of zombie hoards on the final day of tax conferences. They'd get the desired look without having to spend anything on make-up.
Scheduling recommendation to the IRS and all event planners: On the last day, have the lunch break begin before the hotel's checkout time. That way attendees could leave luggage in our rooms during the morning sessions instead of checking them with the concierge.
If you're the first to sit on the hotel floor near an outlet and have a power strip, you'll meet a lot of other conference attendees who are willing to assume quasi yoga poses around you in order to recharge their laptops.
Tax Forums originated as a way to acquaint tax preparers with electronic filing. The conferences and e-filing definitely have come a long way.
And I wrap up this final Forum collection of tax and conference miscellany with Thursday's between-seminar musical offerings.
It took three days, but you knew this song had to be played, and loudly:
It was, in fact, a day of heavy Beatles rotation. In addition to The Taxman, the meeting room sound system also blasted A Hard Day's Night, Eleanor Rigby, With Love From Me to You and We Can Work It Out.
When you listen to the lyrics of each, they all could apply to some tax situation. Thanks John, Paul, George and Ringo.
And nice job Tax Forum DJs. Kudos also to the IRS for such a good event. I'll see all y'all next year.
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