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Saturday, December 29, 2012

'Twas a very mobile Christmas

Android and iOS devices were apparently popular gifts this Christmas -- more popular than ever before. Device activations soared from their daily December average of 4 million to 17.4 million on Christmas Day, a 332 percent increase, according to analytics firm Flurry. That's more than double the 6.8 million devices activated on Christmas last year, the previous single-day record holder. And in a first, more tablets were activated on Christmas this year than phones. Apple tablets dominated the category, but the Kindle Fire HD 7-inch made its strongest showing ever.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Taxpayers Face Fiscal Cliff unless Washington Agrees on Deal

RIVERWOODS, ILL. (DECEMBER 27, 2012) BY MICHAEL COHN Congress is scheduled to return Thursday, with one of its top priorities a deal to avert the December 31 “fiscal cliff” deadline of looming tax increases and automatic spending cuts, but it will need to work quickly or reach some type of interim agreement.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Eight shocking quotes in 2012

When is the last time you heard a statement that caused you to stop dead in your tracks? It doesn’t happen very often, but for each of us, there are a few unusual sound bites that will permeate our senses and sway our thinking. On these rare occasions, it’s usually a statement by someone we trust, with the power, authority, and credibility to make such a declaration. However, inside all of the statements the world finds important are the crème de la crème, the Richter scale shifting assertions that really stand out. These are statements so insightful and memorable that they have the power to change the course of history. For this reason, I wanted to focus on eight shocking statements made in 2012, and discuss briefly how they will invariably shift our outlook on the future. Here are the eight statements we’ve judged to be trend-setters for 2013 and beyond.

IBM reveals five innovations that will change our lives within five years

The era of cognitive systems: when computers will, in their own way, see, smell, touch, taste and hear December 18, 2012 IBM announced today the seventh annual “IBM 5 in 5” — a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s R&D labs. This one is focused on cognitive systems.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ray Kurzweil now works for Google

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 15 – Futurist and inventor Raymond Kurzweil said on Friday that he is going to work as director of engineering at Google to help “turn the next decade’s ‘unrealistic’ visions into reality.” Kurzweil, an author whose books include “The Age of Spiritual Machines” and “Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever,” said that Monday would be his first day on the job at Google.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Internet Will Stay Free from Government Control with UN Treaty Blocked

Good news for proponents of an open internet today as a proposed global telecom treaty was blocked by the US, Canada, Africa and Europe. The treaty would have allowed national governments to have control over the internet and monitor everything from its architecture to traffic flow to security.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Are CPAs Innovative Technologists?

A recent AICPA survey reflects that 40% of CPAs consider themselves a technology resource for their clients. I tend to agree with the linked Accounting Today article that wonders what planet they are from. Even though I am presently sitting in a room of around 400 CPAs attending a Technology Conference it doesn't appear that 40% of these CPAs are personally technology savvy. Most do seem to have some type of smartphone and have enough interest to both pay the fee and spend the time to learn some things. However many of their clients are ahead of them in implementing useful technologies. To the extent that my anecdotal observations are correct, it casts dispersion upon the validity of survey results.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

US Household Balance Sheets Improve

Flaws in Federal Government Accounting

From Knowledge at Wharton; December 5, 2012: Flaws in the way the government accounts for its loans and credit guarantees understate the costs that taxpayers are bearing with student loans and other credit programs totaling more than $2.5 trillion, plus more than $5 trillion in mortgages backed by the federally owned companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In fact, a proper accounting -- like that required of most businesses -- would make the government's budget deficit even larger than the officially reported amount.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


National Employment Trends The ADP National Employment Report® is published monthly by the ADP Research InstituteSM in close collaboration with Moody’s Analytics and its experienced team of labor market researchers. The ADP National Employment Report provides a monthly snapshot of U.S. nonfarm private sector employment based on actual transactional payroll data. November 2012 ADP National Employment Report® U.S. Economy Added 118,000 Private-Sector Jobs in November, According to ADP National Employment Report. November 2012 ADP Small Business Report® Small Businesses Created 19,000 Jobs in November, According to National Employment Report.

Mortgage Interest Deductions in 2010

Source: Internal Revenue Service Frank Pompa and Janet Loehrke, USA TODAY

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Percentages of Individual Income Tax Through 2010

Retired economist, Scott Grannis, has put the Tax Foundation summary of recently released IRS data into this chart:
And, an Income Shares chart by Scott:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moderate exercise enhances memory and preserves gray matter

Exercise can improve your memory and preserve brain cells, researchers find November 28, 2012 A short burst of moderate exercise enhances the consolidation of memories in both healthy older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment, scientists with UC Irvine’s Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory have discovered.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Standard mileage rates go up a penny in 2013

BY PAUL BONNER NOVEMBER 21, 2012 Optional standard mileage rates for use of a vehicle will go up by 1 cent per mile for 2013, the IRS said Wednesday (Notice 2012-72). Taxpayers can use the optional standard mileage rates to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile.

Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales day

By MAE ANDERSON, AP Retail Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Consequence of not patching AMT now!

Journal of Accountancy TAX Failure to enact AMT patch could push start of tax season to March for millions, IRS warns BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER, J.D. NOVEMBER 20, 2012 As the end of the year approaches, media attention is focused on the “fiscal cliff,” but a much more immediate result of Congress’s inaction threatens the 2013 filing season: the alternative minimum tax (AMT) patch, which expired at the end of 2011. The IRS warns that the start of tax season could be delayed for millions of taxpayers if the AMT patch is not enacted by the end of the year. The problem is serious enough that the acting IRS commissioner, Steven T. Miller, wrote a letter to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chair of the Senate Finance Committee, on Nov. 13, 2012. The IRS Oversight Board followed up with a second letter on Nov. 19, urging Congress to act and saying, “We do not believe that the IRS has ever faced such a formidable operational risk.” For 2011, the AMT exemption amount was $48,450 for single taxpayers and $74,450 for married taxpayers filing jointly. At that level, 4 million taxpayers paid AMT for 2011, according to Miller. Without the patch for this year, however, the exemption reverted to $33,750 for individuals and $45,000 for married filing jointly, which, the IRS estimates, will cause 28 million more taxpayers to be subject to the tax, giving them a much larger tax liability than they had anticipated. The IRS also noted that the ordering rules that dictate how tax credits apply to regular income tax and AMT have also expired and need to be fixed as well. Because twice in the past when the AMT patch has expired, it has been reinstated retroactively, the IRS made the decision this year to maintain its tax filing systems “as-is” for the 2013 filing season. As a result, if the AMT patch and tax credit ordering rules are not enacted, the IRS warns of significant delays in the upcoming filing season. The programming changes it would have to make to its processing systems would mean it would have to notify 60 million taxpayers that they may not file a tax return or receive a refund until late in March 2013 and possibly later. A lesser problem, but one that still may cause delays in the 2013 filing season, is the expiration of a number of special tax breaks, including the educators’ deduction for classroom expenses. Miller noted that these deductions were reinstated late in the year in 2010 (mid-December), which delayed the 2011 filing season by four weeks for 9 million taxpayers while the IRS made the necessary changes. Having to deal with similar issues this year will cause inconvenience and delay for a large number of taxpayers, but would be much more manageable than the problems caused by failing to act on the AMT, Miller said. —Sally P. Schreiber ( is a JofA senior editor.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ray Kurzweil at Tucson Technology Conference

"A kid in Africa has more technology at his disposal than the president of the United States did 15 years ago."

Google sells more ads than combined US newspapers

(Credit: Statista/Google) Newspapers have continued to churn out the same content while watching their advertisers steadily flee for sites like Craigslist, Yahoo, the Huffington Post/AOL, Facebook, and Google, says writer Will Oremus in Slate Future Tense. . The chart above, from Statista’s Felix Richter, plots Google’s digital advertising revenue against the print advertising revenue of all U.S. newspapers and magazines. The Guardian‘s Roy Greenslade estimates that Google’s total revenue also now exceeds that of the entire U.S. newspaper industry even when you count digital ads.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Better AICPA Graphic Than 2011

Here is 2011 Graphic:
Here is how 2012 should reflect:

Accumulated Deficit

Doubling the efficiency of wireless networks to cope with increasing data traffic

New full-duplex method could have broad impacts on mobile Internet and wireless industries November 14, 2012 Graduate students Yiming Ma and Ali Cagatay Cirik work with vector signal generators and a vector signal analyzer Two professors at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a new method that doubles the efficiency of wireless networks and could have a large impact on the mobile Internet and wireless industries.

IRS Warns AMT Could Affect 60 Million Taxpayers Unless Patched

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NOVEMBER 13, 2012) BY MICHAEL COHN The head of the Internal Revenue Service told lawmakers that if Congress fails to extend the traditional patch for the Alternative Minimum Tax, approximately 60 million Americans could be affected and about 33 million taxpayers could pay the AMT for tax year 2012.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

How the Internet of everything will change the world

November 8, 2012 From the Internet of Things (IoT), where we are today, we are just beginning to enter a new realm: the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things will gain context awareness, increased processing power, and greater sensing abilities, says Cisco in their blog. Add people and information into the mix and you get a network of networks where billions or even trillions of connections create unprecedented opportunities and give things that were silent a voice.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Your future smartphone and tablet will have 48 cores: Intel

But will more power-efficient intelligent neurosynaptic chips replace them? November 2, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica Single-chip cloud computer (credit: Intel) Intel researchers are working on a 48-core processor for smartphones and tablets — making them many times more powerful than today’s desktop computers within the next five to ten years, reports Computerworld.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Facing the tax cliff

A surprising number of tax changes loom as year end approaches. BY ALISTAIR M. NEVIUS, J.D. NOVEMBER 2012 You can’t pick up a newspaper or go online this fall without seeing stories about the coming “tax cliff” or “taxmageddon”—the time at the end of this year when the current tax rates for income, capital gains, gifts, and estates are scheduled to expire. Mostly overlooked by the news media are a large number of other tax provisions that are also scheduled to expire or have already expired.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Inflation Driven Tax Benefits

Tax Benefits Increase from Inflation Adjustments WASHINGTON, D.C. (OCTOBER 18, 2012) BY MICHAEL COHN The Internal Revenue Service said Thursday that more than two dozen tax provisions will be adjusted for inflation for tax year 2013.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Retirees to get 1.7 percent cost-of-living hike in their Social Security benefits

By Erik Wasson - 10/16/12 09:55 AM ET The Social Security Administration announced Tuesday that retirees will see only a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their benefits next year.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

ADP September Employment Report

The ADP National Employment Report September 2012 Report Employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 162,000 from August to September, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The estimated gains in previous months were revised lower: the July increase was reduced by 17,000 to an increase of 156,000, while the August increase was reduced by 12,000 to an increase of 189,000. Employment in the private, service-providing sector expanded 144,000 in September, down from 175,000 in August. Employment in the private, goods-producing sector added 18,000 jobs in September. Manufacturing employment rose 4,000, while construction employment rose 10,000, the strongest since March when mild winter weather was boosting construction activity. The financial services sector added 7,000 jobs in September, marking the fourteenth consecutive monthly gain.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Special per diem rates updated for 2012–2013

BY ALISTAIR M. NEVIUS, J.D. SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 The IRS on Wednesday issued the annual update of special per diem rates for use in substantiating certain business expenses taxpayers incur when traveling away from home (Notice 2012-63). The notice provides the transportation industry meal and incidental expenses rates, the rate for the incidental-expenses-only deduction, and the rates and list of high-cost localities for purposes of the high-low substantiation method.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Top 5 predictions - two futurist's perspectives

Two highly distinguished U.S. scientists shared their vision of mankind’s future at Abu Dhabi’s Manarat Al Saadiyat yesterday in a talk titled “What does the future look like?”, as part of the Muntada Program 2012 series of special lectures....... Throughout the evening, both Kaku and Kurzweil cited predictions ranging from the seemingly inane to Holy Grail-esque scientific leaps. In no particular order: (1)Intelligent toilets Screening human waste and monitoring body mass, the smart toilet will give dietary advice and issue important medical warnings. (2)Synthetic blood cells Nanotechnology will not exist in medicine to merely just cure ailments but more efficient synthetic blood cells could, for example, allow 15 minute sprints and 4 hour dives underwater, with no breathing apparatus. (3)Secure clothing Clothing laced with advanced fabrics will recognise accidents, based on changes to your pulse, bleeding, etc. and will even call an ambulance to your exact location. (4)Personalised movies Your chance to shine on-screen is almost upon us; augmented reality will soon allow you to insert your face in place of any superhero, or villain. (5)3D printing 3D printing is here and now but not yet in every home. Not only will 3D printing revolutionise manufacturing, but is expected to transform healthcare as doctors can begin printing organs in their surgery.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Addressing the 'Tax Cliff'

Jeff Porter, CPA, is a friend and colleague. The link is to his testimony, representing the AICPA Tax Division, before the congressional subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Acess on September 13, 2012:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Trying to accomplish the next Big Advance

NATHAN MYHRVOLD Wednesday, September 12, 2012 ....There are few technologies more daunting to inventors (and investors) than nuclear power. On top of the logistics, science, and engineering, you have to deal with the regulations and politics. In the 1970s, much of the world became afraid of nuclear energy, and last year's events in Fukushima haven't exactly assuaged those fears. So why would any rational group of people create a nuclear power company? Part of the reason is that Bill and I have been primed to think long-term. We have the experience and resources to look for game-changing ideas—and the confidence to act when we think we've found one. Other technologists who fund ambitious projects have similar motivations. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are literally reaching for the stars because they believe NASA and its traditional suppliers can't innovate at the same rate they can.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

ADP Reports 201,000 Private Sector Jobs in August

The ADP National Employment Report August 2012 Report Employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 201,000 from July to August, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The estimated gain from June to July was revised up from the initial estimate of 163,000 to 173,000. Employment in the private, service-providing sector expanded 185,000 in August, up from 156,000 in July. Employment in the private, goods-producing sector added 16,000 jobs in August. Manufacturing employment rose 3,000, following an increase of 6,000 in July.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Latest link at BetterhHealthTMBC to an article about metabolism.

Using TinyURL

Actually you don't have to know exactly what an URL is to effectively use TinyURl. How a copy/paste web address (URL) behaves after copying it and pasting it is inconsistent. The longer the URL, that is the more characters it contains, the less apt it is to paste as a "live link." Sometimes characters get interpreted as some type of 'break' and only part of the string becomes 'hot. When a URL fails to become 'hot', the likelihood that the reader will visit the location decreases exponentially. TinyURL facilitates converting the long address into a short address thereby increasing the odds of a 'hot-link' being created. As an example, the literal URL of this post;postID=6447379926666209477 becomes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

IRS Collection Issues Increase

The amount of taxes owed to the U.S. Treasury is more than $350 billion. At the end of 2011, there were more than 10.8 million taxpayer accounts in IRS Collection -- almost double the number of accounts since 2002. The average account owes $10,756 to the IRS. Source: Beyond415; IRS Data Books

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

When The Tail Wags The Dog

An article in the August 28, 2012, Wall Street Journal (can be downloaded from my Skydrive) entitled "U.S. Firms Move Abroad to Cut Taxes" contains some interesting information. While it is difficult to address global, corporate, tax rates without being somewhat partisan, the article does indicate what the "incentive" to relocate companies is. Ideally, tax rates should be established with a goal of fairness rather than a goal of causing certain behaviors.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Excel Tip

In order to keep leading zeros displayed it may be necessary to convert a column of 'formulas' to 'values.' Highlight a column containing formulas, right-click and drage the edge of the column to the right, then drag it back to its original position, and release the mouse button, then select Copy Here as Values Only from the popup menu.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another 'Word' Tip

In Word 2007 and 2010, to minimize the ribbon, press Ctrl+F1. To restore the ribbon, press Ctrl+F1 again (or double-click a ribbon tab).

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crop Picture to Shape

Crop a picture according to a shape, such as a heart or start. Within Word, select Crop, Crop to Shape from Size group in Picture Tools tab.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Skype Update

REDMOND, Wash. — It's been almost a year since since Microsoft completed its $8.5 billion acquisition of Internet calling firm Skype, used by consumers and businesses globally to make cheap calls and calls over video. To some regular users, "skyping" has become a verb. Before landing at Microsoft, the company was founded in 2003, and eventually acquired by eBay.USA TODAY's Edward C. Baig recently talked withTony Bates, president of the Skype Division, aboutSkype's direction.Edited for space and clarity.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

What To Expect From Search Engines Soon

August 9, 2012 In Star Trek, a computer could answer any question, instantly. “Today, we’re closer to that dream than I ever thought possible during my working life — and here are some of the latest steps we’re taking today to make search even more intelligent, says SVP Google Search Amit Singhal on the Google Official Blog:

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Smartphone Sales Accelerate

Google's Android operating system dominated the mobile space last quarter, according to new data from research firm IDC.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Smartphone Market Share

Published: August 01, 2012 in Knowledge@Wharton Smartphone maker HTC has repeatedly cut its earnings and revenue outlook, and is reportedly shuttering its South Korea office. Nokia is struggling with a lukewarm response to its Lumia Windows Phone devices and challenges in markets such as China. And Research in Motion has lost market share and delayed its next generation of smartphones until 2013.

ADP indicates July added 163K jobs

Employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 163,000 from June to July, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The estimated gain from May to June was revised down slightly, from the initial estimate of 176,000 to 172,000.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

False internet rumors about “real estate transaction tax” worry taxpayers

BY JACK HAGEL AND ALISTAIR M. NEVIUS, J.D. JULY 30, 2012 The National Association of Realtors has some tax advice for users of the internet: Don’t believe everything you read.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Super-fast Google Fiber for Kansas City

July 27, 201 Google has announced Google Fiber, to be installed first in Kansas City. Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband.

Friday, July 20, 2012

An electric car that actually goes far?

July 20, 2012 The performance of new lithium-air batteries is nearly unchanged after 100 charge and discharge cycles, which could bode well for their future use in electric vehicles. (credit: (car) Tony Hisgett/Wikimedia; (graph) Adapted from Z. Peng et al./Science) Researchers have made the first stable lithium-air batteries, Science NOW reports. They may one day give electric cars a driving range similar to today’s gas guzzlers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Report Argues against Raising Taxes on High-Income Taxpayers

A new report from Ernst & Young finds that allowing tax cuts to expire for upper-income taxpayers would cost the economy approximately 710,000 jobs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Got A Decade To Spare?

Toward achieving 1 million times increase in computing efficiency July 11, 2012 Magnetoresistive spin-transistor (credit: Joseph S. Friedman et al./Northwestern University) Northwestern University researchers may have found an alternative to CMOS (current computer processor chips) that would allow for highly efficient computer logic circuits that generate much less heat: an entirely new logic circuit family based on magnetic semiconductor devices that could lead to logic circuits up to 1 million times more power-efficient than today’s.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Monday, July 02, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court upholds health care law

The link to the timely analysis by the AICPA's Journal of Accountancy senior editor and editor-in-chief, tax is in PDF format and can be downloaded and printed in short order. Understanding the just over four printed pages in length analysis will take both time and effort:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Differing Views of Individual Net Worth Reductions

Reported by Forbes today: Here is chart available at retired economist Scott Grannis' site: /

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

LinkedIn investigating reports that 6.46 million hashed passwords have leaked online (update)

It's worth noting that the passwords are stored as unsalted SHA-1 hashes. SHA-1 is a secure algorithm, but is not foolproof. LinkedIn could have made the passwords more secure by 'salting' the hashes, which involves merging the hashed password with another combination and then hashing for a second time. Even so, unless your password is a dictionary word, or very simple, it will take some time to crack. We've reached out to LinkedIn to determine the accuracy of the claims, but in the meantime, we recommend changing your password just in case.

TV Will Have To Change Within 5 Years

June 6, 2012 “The idea that the web will cause the TV business to ‘collapse’ is fantasy,” wrote Dan Frommer yesterday in a calm response to Henry Blodget’s actually-quite-alarmist Don’t Mean To Be Alarmist, But The TV Business May Be Starting To Collapse.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Income Of Top 400 Fell 25% In 2009

Thanks to the stock market crash of 2008, the nation’s 400 highest income taxpayers reported 25% less income in 2009—an average of only $202.4 million each in adjusted gross income each, down from $270.5 million in 2008. The decline was almost entirely due to a drop in the net capital gains they realized.

Monday, June 04, 2012

A Fascinating Gapminder World Presentation

A fascinating Gapminder World presentation:

Friday, June 01, 2012

ADP Finds Private Sector Added 133,000 Jobs in May

ROSELAND, N.J. (MAY 31, 2012) BY MICHAEL COHN, ACCOUNTING TODAY Private sector employers added 133,000 jobs from April to May on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to payroll giant ADP, in the latest sign of tepid employment growth.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Enabling Presenters With Technology

By using the motion-tracking and depth-perception cameras in the Kinect, Ubi is able to detect where a user is pointing, swiping and tapping on a surface and interpret these gestures as if they were being performed on a giant touchscreen or interactive whiteboard. The low-cost technology can be retrofitted into existing projection systems without any technical experience.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Text mining: what do publishers have against this high-tech research tool?

May 25, 2012 Researchers are pushing to make tens of thousands of papers based on publicly funded research work available through open access to find links between genes and diseases — countering publishers’ default ban on text mining via computer scanning.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

AlertMe and Smart Homes

The free cloud-based service is being trialed with up to 10,000 homes during the summer and rolled out widely from the autumn. Smart meters from British Gas will be rolled out to all homes in the UK over the next seven years. Meanwhile, the Alertme system can be added to older gas meters.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Introducing Google’s Knowledge Graph

May 17, 2012 Google has launched the Knowledge Graph, which it says will help you discover new information quickly and easily, according to the Official Google Blog.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Daniel Hood on the Buffet Rule (and Stephen King)

Daniel Hood on the Buffet Rule (and Stephen King): MAY 8, 2012 BY DANIEL HOOD I'm sure that, like me, you were relieved to hear that Stephen King has finally weighed in on the Buffett Rule, which would attempt to make sure that millionaires pay as high a tax rate as their secretaries.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

ADP Finds Private Sector Added 119,000 Jobs in April

ROSELAND, N.J. (MAY 2, 2012) BY MICHAEL COHN, ACCOUNTING TODAY Employers in the private sector added 119,000 jobs from March to April, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Wednesday by payroll giant ADP, in the latest disappointing sign of employment activity.

Friday, April 27, 2012

1.3Gbps Wireless from Netgear

Netgear plans to be the first networking company with a next-generation 1.3 Gbps router (May, $200), based on the as-yet-unratified 802.11ac standard, which is theoretically three times faster than the preceding 802.11n standard.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Amended Tax Returns Offer a Second Chance


In case your clients missed a pivotal tax deduction that could have saved them some serious cash, or you need to fix something on an old return to make sure your clients are in compliance with the IRS, filling out the Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040X) gives taxpayers and preparers another opportunity for an additional refund and potentially avoid headaches triggered by omissions and mistakes.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Perception (2011) gets flurry of views

A 'flurry' of views this morning has moved the December 2011 post entitled 'Perception' to the all-time top ten view list.  The post has link to graphic of AICPA memberships statistics that 'mininform.'

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

March Retail Sales Surprise Some

Retired economist Scott Grannis often 'sees' trends before others:

7.8 Million Tax Refunds Delayed This Season at IRS


The Internal Revenue Service delayed tax refunds early this filing season for 7.8 million tax returns, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which also described steep cutbacks in customer service at the IRS.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tax Questions With Answers

By Sandy Block, USA TODAY

Your palms are sweaty, your breathing is labored and you feel a little dizzy. That can only mean one of two things: you're in the front row of a Justin Bieber concert, or you just realized that you've got less than a week to file your 2011 tax return. With the April 17 deadline approaching, we asked members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to answer questions from readers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

World’s smallest full-page color scanner

April 11, 2012
ScanStik (credit: Planon)
The $160 pen-sized ScanStik just announced by PlanOn System Solutions is a compact portable color scanner for mobile professionals and students.

Wait, while I print you a house

Italian inventor Enrico Dini has developed a huge 3D printer called D-Shape that can print entire buildings out of sand, The printer sprays a thin layer of sand followed by a layer of magnesium-based binder from hundreds of nozzles on its underside. The glue turns the sand to solid stone, which is built up layer-by-layer from the bottom up to form anything from a sculpture to a sandstone building. (Credit: Monolite UK Ltd.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

IRS Targeting Smaller Businesses-- Here's How To Fight Back

Dean Zerbe, Contributor
I write about tax policy and how it affects business.
4/09/2012 @ 5:21PM |2,851 views

Rocky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The IRS recently released its enforcement results for 2011.  Based on a number of conversations with senior IRS officials, reviewing the statistics and what we are seeing first hand in our tax controversy practice at alliantgroup – one trend is clear (and will be continuing) — that the IRS is focusing greater resources on small and medium businesses.   However, it is important for these businesses to recognize what the large corporations already know – it often pays to fight the tax man.

The computing trend that will change everything

April 10, 2012
The electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Payrolls in U.S. Grow by Estimated 209,000 Workers for March

By Timothy R. Homan - Apr 4, 2012 8:47 AM ET
Companies in the U.S. expanded payrolls in March, showing the labor market is strengthening, according to data from a private report based on payrolls.

Monday, April 02, 2012

How Long To Keep Tax Records

Tax Day 2012 is looming — and after we file our returns, many of us will try to figure out what to do with the seemingly innocuous but possibly crucial documents we use to prepare our returns. Filing electronically can make those records easier to manage. But what should we really keep, and for how long?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Guide to Social Security Planning

General Statistics

According to a report by the Trustees of the Social Security program issued in 2011, 54 million people 
received some type of Social Security benefit in 2010, totaling $706 billion.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Social Security represents 40% of the income of 
all elderly people in the United States.

The poverty rate for those age 65 and older was 35% in 1960 and was 9% in 2010.  Without Social 
Security, the poverty rate for people age 65 and older in 2010 would have been 45%, according to the 
AARP Public Policy Institute.

Obviously, Social Security has become an integral financial consideration for most Americans. To counsel 
them effectively, advisors must be aware of what the program can and can’t do. We’ll begin here with 
some basic background information that will come in handy as you move into subsequent chapters on 
client planning concerns. Beginning in this chapter and throughout the book, we’ll frame many sections
around questions that a client might ask a CPA so that practitioners can easily find the answers to 
common concerns

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

IRS Issues Annual Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams

IRS Issues Annual Dirty Dozen List of Tax Scams (From CCH Practical Tax Bulletin)

The Internal Revenue Service issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, advising taxpayers to use caution to protect themselves from being victims in a variety of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud (IRS News Release IR-2012-23). The schemes peak during the filing season and they can be used in person, online, and by e-mail to mislead individuals with promises of refunds and free money. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Justice work closely to identify the scams and prosecute the criminals who commit them.
The following are the dirty dozen scams for the 2012: identity theft, phishing, return preparer fraud, hiding income offshore, offering free money from the IRS involving Social Security, false or inflated income and expenses, using false Forms 1099 for refund claims, frivolous arguments, falsely claiming zero wages, the abuse of charitable organizations and deductions, the use of disguised corporate ownership and the misuse of trust entities. The top scam is identity theft, and the IRS has stepped up its internal reviews to spot false tax returns before refunds are issued, as well as working with the taxpayers whose identity has been stolen.
The IRS has collected $3.4 billion from people who have participated in two voluntary disclosure programs to report income from offshore banks, brokerage accounts, and other foreign financial accounts. Taxpayers are advised that, if they are a party to scams that use a Form 1099 to create fake refund claims or falsify income, deductions or credits, they could be liable for financial penalties or even face criminal prosecution.
IRS examiners have uncovered intentional abuse by exempt organizations that shield income or assets from taxation and attempts made by donors to maintain control over donated assets or income from donated property. The IRS is working with state authorities to identify disguised corporate ownership that is being used to underreport income, claim fictitious deductions, avoid filing tax returns, and facilitate money laundering and other financial crimes. IRS personnel have also seen an increase in the improper use of private annuity trusts and foreign trusts to shift income and deduct personal expenses; individuals should seek the advice of a trusted tax professional before entering into a trust arrangement.

Monday, March 26, 2012

20-fold (60 terabytes) increase in disk space

How Seagate’s terabit-per-square-inch hard drive works

March 26, 2012

Significant Increase in IRS Audits of Wealthy



Last year, the IRS examined 29.93 percent of individual income tax returns, compared to about 18 percent the previous year, according to CNN Money. Taxpayers with incomes between $5 million and $10 million were examined at a rate of 20.75 percent, compared to about 12 percent in fiscal year 2010. Those with incomes between $1 million and $5 million were audited at a rate of 11.8 percent, compared to about 7 percent a year earlier. Overall, about 1.1 percent of taxpayers were audited in FY 2011, about the same rate as in FY 2010.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Abundance - The Future Is Better Than You Think

This just released book by Perter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, addresses future human needs by category - water, food, energy, health care and education.  Learn about Dean Kamen's Slingshot technology that can transform polluted water, salt water, or even raw sewage into high-quality drinking water for less than one cent per liter.  Also the Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE which promises a low-cost, handheld medical device that allows anyone to diagnose themselves better than a board ceretfied-doctor.  Lots of charts and graphs.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ten Common Tax-Filing Errors

March 14, 2012, 7:30 AM

Tax laws change with alarming frequency, but some taxpayer errors are perennial. Here are 10 common filing errors that often trip up taxpayers, according to Greg Rosica, a tax partner at Ernst & Young and the firm’s lead author of the Ernst & Young Tax Guide, now in its 27th year.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

IRS Expands Help to Struggling Taxpayers


The Internal Revenue Service is expanding its “Fresh Start” initiative to help more unemployed and financially stressed taxpayers with installment agreements and relief from failure-to-file penalties.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mixed Economic/Employment News

ADP's estimate of February private sector job gains came in about as expected, but they also issued revisions to past data that had the effect of increasing prior estimates to bring them more into line with BLS data. As the chart above suggests, ADP's estimate doesn't point to any surprising strength in the BLS number to be released tomorrow, so the market's current guess of 225K is probably reasonable. A number like that would be similar to what we have been seeing in recent months, and is neither impressive nor disappointing.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Canceled credit card debts come back to haunt taxpayers

Billions of dollars in credit card debt that was charged off during the Great Recession— some of it decades old — is coming back to haunt borrowers in the form of unexpected tax bills.

IRS Warns of New Emerging Tax Scam

The scheme promises refunds to people who have little or no income and normally don’t have a tax filing requirement. The scam promoters informs victims about a tax refund or nonexistent stimulus payment based on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, even if the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college.

Monday, February 27, 2012

8th Circuit affirms S corporation shareholder’s compensation was not reasonable

FEBRUARY 24, 2012
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the District Court for the Southern District of Iowa’s decision that an S corporation shareholder’s $24,000 salary was not reasonable compensation and that the $91,044 salary determined by the government’s expert witness was (David E. Watson, P.C., No. 11-1589 (8th Cir. 2/21/12)).