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    That's one good thing that came out of the PTIN mess. Before that a client paid me with a third-party check that bounced; then stole my SSN off his return copy and opened two rent house accounts under my name in a nearby town. Six months later the power company called demanding payment of my long past due electric bills. No, no...you're being much too hard on yourself. Granted, no one could ask that you do more, but see, you just need a little adjustment to your outlook on such things. I, for instance, subscribe to the view of the late Groucho Marx who famously remarked "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would be willing to have someone like me as a member!"

    Saved By A Late Filer

    Nice catch and congratulations! A lucky day for both you and Columbus.


    Well yeah; now that I've read Randall's reply and realize that IRS hardly bothers with it, it is yawnable. However, it could have been serious because it would be just like them to screw it up, send you a notice stating you can't efile until the number's verified as renewed, but no problem since it will be fixed no later than May 1st.


    What ??? ... You really did this? My fear is always that even when you try renewing early, some dope at IRS will louse it up or lose it or otherwise foul things up. Since they generally can't solve anything in less than three months that would leave you without a renewed number until after the start of tax season. I figured that the IRS EF people might not process your returns if the number wasn't renewed. But you're saying you didn't get renewed last time, filed as usual, and EF gave you no problems - is that right?


    Is IRS taking renewal applications for PTINs yet? If not, when does it open? Thanks.

    Proud of myself - QBI projected tax return

    I second the self-congratulation (tax preparers have to occasionally do that if no one else will shoulder the load). About the QBI phaser - isn't that a Star Trek thing? I knew I should have gone to that university seminar instead of buying those easy-peasy CPE hours online. Wish I could share your optimism. I'm leery of such speculations ever since somebody here once said Obamacare would be similar to Romneycare and probably no trouble, while another commented, "Maybe so, but it's no walk in the park," which was a mild understatement.


    Alright; you're past due. Where's my joke?
  8. Customer whose retired dad lived with him (had same name except for middle initial) was a Chrysler salesman when the company was struggling financially a few years ago. Good salesman though and, although he usually got paid at the office, corporate headquarters mailed him performance bonus checks (without the middle initial) for two months after year ended. He worried aloud one day about the store going out and Pop said "Well, hell; it's no wonder they're going broke! They've sent me two big checks lately and they don't owe me a dime!" Salesman cracked up laughing, but graciously never told the old boy what it was about.


    Well, yes, those are the obvious and easy ones wherein you can just pick up the receiver, immediately hang up, problem solved. But many local callers' names don't show in the caller ID; just your area code, your local prefix, and a 4-digit number you don't recognize. So you have to listen a bit to see if it's a real customer. Gail's and Lion's methods are good workarounds, but the thing is, it takes time away from your actual business to deal with the continuous nonsensical distractions. While working a case the other day, the receptionist was out, I answered, lost my place in a count, and it took a hundred numbers and five minutes after that bogus call to get back on track. Like Catherine I sometimes get several more than three per day; it just grows, and after enough of this your phone becomes a burden rather than a help. It's a sort of "mission-creep" type thing becoming more and more onerous like say, the growing 8867. While Edsel was funning us the other day about IRS requirements, I can foresee a day when some of those questions will demand serious answers for, say, a schedule C or an S-Corp. We've only got so much time to sell and everybody wants more and more of it. Did anyone notice that the ATX 8863 education credit has become more difficult to complete and that, strangely, ATX offered (in the "warnings" of return check mode) to sell you an add-on to your program to navigate easily through the form? I don't know what the cost is.


    Well, they may not be but they say they are Google. And yes, last year they began using our area code and then progressed to our local prefix. I tried the reasonable approach recently and listened to their entire spiel, starting off emphasizing I was not interested in buying anything. They assured me all was well and there would be no charges whatever. Five minutes later, they tried to end the call by notifying me I would be invoiced $170 for something. After a good cursing to his supervisor they hung up. I've tried blocking the numbers but you might as well try to count the stars by comparison - each time I do that they simply change or add a digit and it's all new. Their computer is smarter than my computer.


    Anybody else have a problem with them? I receive three calls each and every day from them without fail; no matter what. Complaining to supervisors, over-talking salespeople, being on the DO NOT CALL list, cursing, begging for removal, screaming, beating the phone on the desk, nothing helps. You're on their computer list and there's just no way to get off. You'll be dialed again tomorrow morning.

    CPE recommendation?

    One more lick: Last one I went to a couple of years ago there was (always, always is) someone who didn't ask during Q&A, but waited until the monotone speaker announced, "Oh, it's break time; let's reconvene in 15 minutes..." at which time everybody who's been bored out of their gourd for the last two hours is closing books, limbering up, attempting to get launched and stumble to the refreshments table for caffeine and pastries. It's right at this exact moment that some %$^#*&@ blurts out "Wait; I didn't quite get that last point; would you expand on the new Tax Court ruling vis-à-vis IRS reg, code...." A collective groan from the audience and the urge to strangle...

    CPE recommendation?

    Ha, Ha! - I love an unbiased assessment, John. But I suspect we'll all go on with our preferences - Jack with "in person", Max with Sequoia, me with California, and you with online. For outstanding commentary, I herewith suggest your rating be upped from Supreme Guruness to, umm, maybe...Grand Poobah. P.S. Say Catherine, couldn't y'all just "identify as a man" and stand in the short line. I cain't think of anybody who'd object. J

    CPE recommendation?

    Hi Jack, Like Edsel, I still like you too. For one, I used to swipe your tax tips off another board years ago. For two, as lots of people know, you're a pretty nice guy even though being a Missourian "show-me" sort. This is not to say Max is mean (he once spoke kindly to me) or wrong about his tough Sequoia stuff (sounds like deep-reading) but I kinda had it figured like you that if it wasn't "live" it wasn't so hot. When I used to go to seminars I couldn't always "spot" a slacker or (like the ex-president) "look into the soul" of a classmate, but a husband and wife team came every year - she pulled out her knitting needles and clickety-clacked away (didn't bother to open her book) for two days while he took notes. That seemed spot-worthy. But (and telling you this is like being sent to the principal's office) I'm "buying" all my hours now by mail from some off-the-wall outfit in California. It's expensive, but it's open-book and as a rep once told me "Nobody's ever flunked these courses!" However, I did once give a scathing review to a receptionist who was rude to me. Anyway, I'm still speakin' even if we're in opposite camps. By the way, I think Edsel's right about the dress code. While I used to get to wear my dapper ties 'n' threads to seminars, now I've reverted to somethin' like -- hmm...there's an old Turner Classic movie wherein the departing colonial bwana of a Malaysian rubber plantation deep in the jungle says to the newly-arrived overseer, "First, you'll stop shaving...... P.S. Max- you can scramble the eggs in a paper bowl & microwave for 100 seconds - not as good/bad as Spanish fried, but it'll do. ____________________________________________ "Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife." Gray - Elegy in a Country Churchyard

    H&R Block Plans to Close 400 Tax Prep Offices

    Ours (AR) is the same (standard fed/ item state if you want), but I think my practice will still be adversely affected. We do lots of older folks who keep working after 62 at a diminished wage plus pensions plus the taxability of Social Security which keeps them filing. They're empty-nesters so personal exemptions are irrelevant, but the doubled standard will render the SS non-taxable. Next time they can mark W-4s "Exempt" and they're done with it. While SS isn't state taxable here, standard ducks are very, very low so while I may do a few, I can't charge full price for half a case. Too, our state revenue offices still hand out printed tax books for middle-aged DIYers (the old heads mostly won't fool with it) and millennials can do it online for zero to $12.95 (I can't beat either of those prices). But...the office building is paid for, so eviction's off the table.