Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

Archive for December, 2002

Posted by taxguru on December 31, 2002

21st-Century War Bonds

Can private Social Security accounts help save New York from al Qaeda?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 31, 2002

How the greedy expectations of a few years ago have changed.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 30, 2002

Year-end financial moves

Plus, don’t forget to make a huge prepayment to your tax advisor by December 31 so that you can deduct it on your 2002 1040.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 30, 2002

Is Social Security Fair For Mexicans?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 30, 2002

QuickBooks Passwords

As we continue our push to require more of our clients to use QuickBooks for both their personal and business bookkeeping, a couple of inconveniences related to this are becoming more common.

Not everyone updates their software every year when new versions are released. While I do always obtain the latest versions of QuickBooks, I can understand why others may be content using earlier versions for at least a few years before incurring the cost to upgrade. The confusing thing for me, when I receive a QuickBooks data file from a client, is that, unless they tell me which version of the program they are using, I have to use time consuming trial and error to figure it out on my own. The files from all versions of QuickBooks look exactly the same. I have been pleading with Intuit for years to have the program embed some identifying mark in the files that would show up when you right mouse click on it and select “Properties.” So far, that improvement has not been implemented.

The other frustrating thing is when the clients have set up their QuickBooks with passwords and they forget to tell me what they are. That just happened to me today, as I was doing some year-end review work for a client’s S corp in QuickBooks 2002. Almost a year ago, I discussed a program that was available that would decipher QuickBooks passwords. At that time, it didn’t work on the 2002 version of QuickBooks. I went back to their website this morning and was pleased to see that it now works on all versions of QuickBooks up to 2002. I bought the program, downloaded it from their site, and within a few minutes had the password for the file I was working on.

I wanted to see just exactly which versions of QuickBooks this new updated password detection program would work on, so I tested it on data files from the many versions of QuickBooks I am currently running on my main computer. It worked on the regular versions of QuickBooks 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002. It did not work on the regular version of QuickBooks 2003, nor either of the Enterprise Solutions versions (2002 or 2003) of QuickBooks. I am assuming that the next upgrade to the program will include the ability to handle the regular version of QuickBooks 2003.

I have no idea if they will be adding capacity for the Enterprise Solutions (ES) version. That shouldn’t be a problem if they don’t get around to the ES because I don’t expect too many clients to be using it. For those who aren’t aware of this powerful version of QuickBooks; it was originally code named Hercules and was designed to meet the bookkeeping needs of companies that outgrew the regular sized QuickBooks program. It is very expensive and can handle up to ten people accessing the same data file simultaneously. Other than the extra capacity for names and accounts, the look and feel are exactly the same as with the normal version of QuickBooks. I have been using the 2002 and 2003 ES versions since before they were released to the public because I was involved in the beta testing programs for both years.

One thing I did discover recently is that once the data files have been converted from the regular version of QuickBooks to the Enterprise Solutions version, there’s no turning back. I tried to import data from ES 2002 in to the 2003 regular QuickBooks program; but it wasn’t possible. That isn’t a problem since I am happy using the 2003 ES program on our computers. However, this kind of thing is the reason I am still not endorsing the web based version of QuickBooks. Once you convert your data from the regular desktop version to the web based, you can’t then use it in any desk based versions again. You become a prisoner to having to pay the monthly fee to QuickBooks to access your data via the web. As a life-long advocate of self sufficiency and independence whenever possible, being a captive to an online system is unthinkable.

KMK

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 30, 2002

If families were run like businesses:


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 29, 2002

Two States In Very Different Shape

Because John Engler cut taxes, Michigan is a better place for everyone

California leads the way on road to financial ruin

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 29, 2002

Cut Taxes to Guarantee the Recovery Will Continue

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 29, 2002

Useful Tax References

As has become an annual tradition for me this time of year, I have been spending the last week taking care of my official continuing professional education (CPE) requirements for my Arkansas CPA license, which mandates at least 40 hours each calendar year. My California CPA license requires 80 hours each two year renewal period, ending every other August.

As someone who tries as hard as possible to be as thrifty as I can with both money and time, I have long found the self study method to be the most efficient approach for me. Living deep in the boonies, just the travel time I save over having to drive to live seminars is huge in itself.

While the list of self study CPE providers continues to grow each year, I have been very pleased for the past several years with the course offerings from The CPE Store. In fact, the most difficult aspect to using them is deciding on which courses to purchase. I generally see at least a dozen or so different courses each year that I’d like to take. This year, I bought one 20 hour and two ten hour classes. After reading through the texts that come with each course, I just circle the True-False and multiple choice answers on the answer sheet and fax it to The CPE Store. By the next day, I have my score and my certificate of completion faxed back to me. I was actually surprised to receive the last certificate today (Sunday) after just faxing it in last night (Saturday). You can’t get much more convenient than that.

Over the past few years, I have noticed an improvement in the quality of the text books included by The CPE Store with its courses. For example, my 20 hour course this year included an excellent reference book from Nolo Press that is now on my shelf with the dozen or so other Nolo titles I have. I have been using Nolo Press books for at least the past 20 years and have always considered them to be excellent and very useful.

What really surprised and impressed me were the texts for the other two courses I took this year. They were written by a licensed tax preparer in California, Holmes F. Crouch. To be honest, at first glance, I was expecting them to be ivory tower type texts like they use in college, where the author has no practical experience and relies on the IRS instructions and treats the IRS as the all perfect all knowing deity that most people assume it to be. Boy, was I wrong. Mr. Crouch has written some very practical reference books, including several real life examples of dealing with the IRS and the Tax Court. Best of all, he has the same attitude regarding the IRS that I have; frequently mentioning where they are screwed up, incompetent, and downright dishonest as they pursue their goal of squeezing as much money out of people as they can, legally and illegally. When our rulers in DC start whining about the bum rap the poor IRS has gotten for “alleged abuses of power,” these books would be very enlightening. I believe every word in them because I have seen the exact same kinds of IRS behavior in my 27 years of representing clients against them.

Mr. Holmes has been quite prolific in his literary output. He currently has dozens of different tax related books available from his company’s website, AllYear Tax Guides. They would be very appropriate for anyone interested in better understanding the tax system in this country; taxpayers, as well as tax professionals.

Of course, now that I’ve said something positive about a non-CPA, I guess I can expect a nasty-gram from the Board of Accountancy. Back when I had my offices in the PRC, whenever I dared mention in any of my newsletters or speeches that people other than CPAs, such as Enrolled Agents, are just as capable of helping people with their tax needs, I would receive threatening letters from the California Board of Accountancy saying that I would be subject to discipline if I continued to imply that anyone other than CPAs could be competent in tax matters. I was a danger to the CPA profession because I was jeopardizing the public’s perception of a CPA monopoly on tax related skills.

If that does happen again, my response to them will be the same as always. They can stuff their censorship rules where the sun doesn’t shine and learn to respect my First Amendment right to freedom of speech. They have never claimed that anything I said was false or incorrect in any factual sense. My crime in their eyes was admitting that we CPAs aren’t the only people who can be capable in areas of taxation.

KMK

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Posted by taxguru on December 29, 2002


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 151 other followers