2011 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum Review

I just returned this weekend from the 2011 IRS Nationwide Tax Forum to obtain some Continuing Education Credits (CPEs) and to also take a few days to enjoy the beautiful weather in Orlando, Florida (don't worry IRS I will not deduct my expenses for the personal vacation time!).

Last year I attended the San Diego Tax Forum and was pleasantly surprised by the useful information I received however, there were some things that I found annoying such as everyone who prepared tax returns had to pay the IRS for a PTIN* (really? for a arbitrary IRS number so they can identify the preparer-guess the name, address and phone number of the preparer that are provided on the returns are not enough!) which costs us $64.25 every year in additional fees and of course will most likely go up every year (nickle-and-diming IRS).  They also are now requiring anyone who prepares tax returns to have to file electronically, which of course costs more money and that competency tests were right around the corner for everyone who is not a licensed tax professional (I am licensed as an EA so this does not apply to me however, they should start looking at first implementing competency of some of their own employees, especially those who work in ACS (IRS Collections Call Center).

So while last year started the scare tactics that the IRS would start moving in the direction of treating independent tax professionals like their own personal employees, this year expanded on it. For example, the speaker of one of the courses offered spent the whole block of time talking about how the Service is going to go after "ghost preparers" (someone who prepared the return for a taxpayer but did not sign the return) by sending "millions" of notices out to taxpayers whom they believe may have had someone other than the taxpayer themselves prepare by asking them who prepared their return!  Wow, the IRS is starting to sound like the Gestapo, next thing you know they start opening up tax debt prisons but I digress.

It is clear that the IRS is taking steps to collect money for the Treasury from taxpayers by managing tax professionals as if they were their own employees.  Before you know it they will be dictating what hours we work.  Maybe I should fill out form SS-8 to determine if I am an employee of theirs, then they can start paying my self-employment taxes!

The IRS does all this in the guise of "what's best for the consumer/taxpayer" but that is nothing more than spin.  The real reason for these new rules every year is to gain control and make sure they squeeze everyone for as much taxes as they possibly can.

As far as the stay at the Hilton goes, not only was it the IRS that is nickle-and-diming but so does the State of Florida-a whopping 12% per night room tax, and the hotel charged $15 a night for the Internet and $7 (which was a discount because I attended the conference, otherwise it would have been $13 a night) per night to park at the hotel!   I guess someone has to pay for Paris' parties in the Hampdens. 

*PTIN- Preparer Tax Identification Number, often known simply as a PTIN, is a type of tax identification number issued by the IRS to tax preparers. A PTIN is used by tax preparers to conceal their Social Security number on their clients' tax returns, thus protecting their sensitive information while still allowing the IRS to identify who prepared the return.