December, 2010

The IRS included this website in one of their news releases. It is a “rating” site for IRS employees available to the public to read as well as post “reviews” of IRS personnel. There are only three people listed from California, and they have some questionable graphics, but I suppose it is a start. One of my practice groups had been talking about starting a “Book” to keep track of auditors, so we have a head start at audit and know who we’re dealing with (and what approach might be best to help our clients).

It looks like this was put together by a lawyer from Florida, and he has a slew of disclaimers—and they reserve the right to exercise judgment about inappropriate content and delete it. It also appears to be free to use. More dogbones means a better person to deal with, vs. one dogbone “should be fired immediately.” One of the three CA people is “Mr. Alice Coulton” out of Laguna Niguel.

2011 Mileage Rates

The IRS says it costs an extra penny per mile to drive your car next year—the new Standard Mileage Rate for business miles will go to $0.51 per mile from the current $0.50 per mile. Medical and Moving mileage rates are going to be $0.19 per mile and charitable mileage will be $0.14 per mile.

Tax Return Preparation for 2010

I will be offering a discount on tax return preparation to “early-birds” again this year—a reduced price if you can get me most of your tax materials early. This proved to be quite a popular program last year.

I’ll be publishing another “terms sheet” so you can see what my policies and rates are soon, and sending this via email to existing clients. To the extent possible, I’ll be working on a “first come, first serve” plan, with the exception that some returns will be put on extension because of their complexity, or because Congress hasn’t finalized laws which will affect the return (they’re particularly behind this year).

Tax Buddha Messenger Bags

Want to be the first person on your block to sport the fabulous Tax Buddha Messenger Bag? I’ve now got a “shop” on Café Press at in case you’d like to order your own Tax Buddha logo items. The messenger bag came out particularly well—not quite saffron, but easy to find in an airport.

The Eightfold Path to Pay Less Tax and Avoid an Audit

Eight basic things business owners want to know printed in booklet form in “Executive Summary” form. This is ten years of working with the IRS Tax Code distilled down so it doesn’t take YOU ten years.

Just another way we’re trying to simplify your life. And the purchase is tax deductible!

You can order from Here’s the link to Amazon: 

The booklet also contains a sections on how returns are selected for audit, when to seek professional help, and how long to keep your tax records.

EBAEA—Speaker Development Group

I’m tired of going to see boring speakers for my continuing education requirements, so at the East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents we’ve started a group to help develop speaking skills. Our next meeting is scheduled for January 19 after the EBAEA dinner meeting at which I’ll speak about Basis and Balance Sheets. Go to the “permalink” for the current bulletin for more information

Classes—Balance Sheets and Basis, Intermediate S Corporation, Basic Payroll, Schedule C and Household Employees

Here’s a link to the seminars page on my website:

Balance Sheets & Basis
We’ll discuss basis, both inside and outside, for corporations and partnerships, including the principles that should allow you to recognize and solve basis issues, and why you might care to do so.  We will cover several examples step-by-step so you have a chance to ask questions and understand how I determine basis where none has been provided, and what you need to collect to calculate (or at least approximate!) basis on your own.

I will present for CSTC in Burlingame, CA on December 1st at the Doubletree Hotel SF Airport, 835 Airport Blvd. Contact Tina at or try for more information or reservations.

I’ll be presenting another version of this class for the East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents on January 19th in Dublin.

Intermediate S Corporation Class
We’ll be looking at how to quickly solve the most common problems encountered with preparing an 1120S, and what to do now to reduce the likelihood of future problems. A very practical class where you have the opportunity to ask questions, this class is for tax preparers.

Monday, December 13th in Lafayette CA, from 10 am to 3 pm with a one hour lunch break on your own.
Class be held in the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Conference Room, 100 Lafayette Circle, Suite 103, Lafayette CA 94549
Fee to attend is $225. CPE credit of 4 hours available for Enrolled Agents who attend, no credit currently available for CTEC, but it’s a good class.

Send me an e-mail if you want to attend for reservation of your spot and directions. Class size is limited. Flyer is on the website at

Basic Payroll
In conjunction with the IRS and EDD, I’ll going to be doing some Basic Payroll seminars coming up in the near future.

Basic Payroll Seminar runs 9 am ­ 3 pm with an hour for lunch

The next seminars will be:

San Francisco at the SBA office 455 Market Street, 6th floor (I take BART to Embarcadero or Montgomery Street)
9 am ­ 3 pm, December 15th and January 4th

Oakland at Elihu M. Harris State Building,1515 Clay Street, Room 1, Second Floor,
9 am ­ 3 pm, January 20

Register by going to and find your favorite location.

These seminars have proven to be very popular for business owners and bookkeepers, plus they’re free.

How to Prepare your Own Schedule C
Prepare your business taxes for ’09 and get ready for ’10, with a view towards 2011. Review what the IRS wants to know from you and how to report it on the Schedule C for your business. This is a class for business owners who need a basic understanding of their 1040 Schedule C tax forms. We’ll also talk about what to do with the numbers once you have them. We can’t guarantee you won’t get audited, but this class will make it less likely.

I will be at the US Small Business Administration offices in San Francisco at 455 Market Street, 6th Floor
Tuesday January 18th, 6-8:30 pm.
This class will be free. To register, check out the SBA website, or just show up.

Household Employees
This is an update class for both employers and the tax practitioners who help them. This is currently scheduled for January 24th, 2011 at 100 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette CA in the Chamber of Commerce conference room. Cost to attend this class is $75. Here’s the link to the flyer This class is advertised in the current CA Enrolled Agent magazine on page 4.

If you’re in the market for QuickBooks training in a classroom setting, I recommend Mani Business Services. This is a two day QuickBooks seminar offered in various places around the country. The website is

For relaxation and Clear Thinking: On The Spot

We recommend meditation and that you check out On The Spot Massage at to help you relax. A relaxed mind is a clear thinking mind. It's at the Alameda Natural Grocery location on Park Street, open daily 11 am ­ 7 pm.

Phone and Fax Numbers

Our northern California physical office is shared commercial space in Alameda and we’ve been meeting people at Starbucks on Mt. Diablo Blvd in Lafayette near the mailing address.
Phone numbers are:
Phone (510) 522-2300
Fax (510) 522-2307
Our mailing address:
3527 Mt. Diablo Blvd #366
Lafayette CA 94549

“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” — Albert Einstein, physicist