Tax Education in Autumn 2008
As tax professionals we are continuing taking education to enhance our skills.
From time to time we are asked about what classes we take. Recently at a 2-day
seminar we took the following classes:
Federal and California Update
A full day spent examining the changes in tax law affecting 2008,
whether from new legislation passed this year (and there has been plenty)
or provisions of older laws scheduled to now go into effect.
Also a review of recent key court cases that will impact the administration of tax law.
Foreclosures and Debt Relief
It is unfortunate that this is such a hot topic, but as everyone knows,
currently it is. The IRS continues to supply guidance on handling these issues
and yet there continues to be variations in how lenders are reporting this.
Certainly within the last year there has been new legislation to provide
temporary relief for some homeowners. Yet everyone is not included in those
provisions. And of course, California does not conform to the federal law
There are several other provisions for providing either relief from taxation
caused by debt relief of in some cases simply delaying the tax effects.
These are each handled differently and the more common scenarios were examined.
Divorce and Tax Law
Divorce is not part of the original design God provided for marriage,
but it does happen.
Most people recognize that there are usually some messy issues involved in a
divorce, and those continue in the area of taxation.
This is often complicated when a settlement agreement attempts to outline
(or consider) tax treatment that does not align with tax law.
In all such cases, tax law prevails.
(Those involved in the divorce process would do well to have the proposed settlement
agreement reviewed by a tax professional. Often these agreements do not consider
Of course there are usually some upset people when they are told that their taxes
will not match what the court documents indicated.
But we're accustomed to delivering bad news. (That doesn't mean we enjoy it.)
Alternate Minimum Tax (AMT)
This session focused on the pecularities of AMT and what causes a taxpayer to
be subject to AMT.
As the instructor commented, there is nothing "alternate" about it when it is
required and "minimum" hardly applies either when the maximum of two tax
calculations must be paid.
But knowing how the system works can allow some creative planning in a few
cases to reduce the final tax due. There are also AMT credits which are
sometimes generated and those can require special treatment.