Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

Archive for June 25th, 2004

Posted by taxguru on June 25, 2004

Pork Alert: We’ve Only Just Begun

Florida to Tax Home Computer Networks – It sounds stupid that Florida rulers would just now think about applying a 1985 state law to levy communications taxes on people who have two or more computers networked together. Of course, that state has a reputation for not being the sharpest knife in the drawer; so who knows?

House kills DemonRats’ bill to tax rich, fund programs

Stephen Moore’s Prescription for Ending Fiscal Malpractice in Washington

Gas Coupon Scam to Loot bank Accounts

N.Y. Property Tax Follies

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QuickBooks File Identification

Posted by taxguru on June 25, 2004

The following is a rather lengthy discussion that will only be of interest to other accountants who work with multiple QuickBooks files.

Intuit has finally implemented a feature in QuickBooks 2004 that I have been requesting for years and years.

I receive dozens of QuickBooks data files from clients every week. While a new version of the program is issued every year, most people hold onto their versions for several years before upgrading. The frustrating thing for me has been that there has been no way to distinguish which version of the program the files I receive were produced in. The file names look exactly the same, with nothing to distinguish a 1999 file from a 2004 or any other year. It then involves a lot of trial and error, with different versions of QB, for me to open the file without converting it into a newer version than the client can use.

Several weeks ago, I received an email from QuickBooks with the following announcement:

Subject: QuickBooks ProAdvisor Alert: Intuit introduces QuickBooks Version Detector for Accountants with QuickBooks 2004

(This Alert email is being sent to you because you are a valued

QuickBooks ProAdvisor(SM).)


Key Info


* Audience Affected: QuickBooks(R) ProAdvisors, and their clients who

use older versions of QuickBooks (back to 1999).

* Notification: Intuit’s new QuickBooks Version Detector (included in

QuickBooks 2004 Release 6) lets QuickBooks ProAdvisors quickly

identify which version of QuickBooks a client is using, without

having to open the QuickBooks file.

* Timeline: Mid June

* Action: QuickBooks ProAdvisors that have “QuickBooks Update” enabled

on their computer will automatically receive the QuickBooks R6

update from Intuit which includes the version detector feature. If

you do not have “QuickBooks Update” enabled, you may visit:

to download the QuickBooks R6 update for free.

Intuit introduces free QuickBooks Version Detector for Accountants

with QuickBooks 2004

Intuit’s new QuickBooks Version Detector lets you quickly identify

which version of QuickBooks a client is using, without having to

open the client’s QuickBooks file. QuickBooks Version Detector

works with your QuickBooks 2004 software, and will detect QuickBooks

versions dating back to 1999. The version detector is included,

along with a variety of other improvements and fixes, in

QuickBooks 2004 Release 6.

Simply “mouse-over” a client’s QuickBooks file to identify the

version and year. A message box message appears, showing the:

* Version of QuickBooks that last opened the file

* File type

* File size

* Date when the file was last modified

Every couple of days, I would go to the manual download page and look for Service Release 6. It was finally up there as of a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, this new feature wasn’t working properly. I installed it multiple times on my main computer and it just wasn’t working. I noticed that other QB pros were also unable to get it to function properly. Based on this advice from Intuit, I ran the Update QuickBooks function once again. I noticed a small file being downloaded and installed. This time, the version detector feature seems to have been properly activated. It works from within all of the QB programs, not just 2004. It also shows up when I’m looking at files in “My Computer” and Windows Explorer, which is what I had really been hoping for. I can now verify the proper version of QB to use before even starting up the QB program.

Updating QB Programs

In a similar vein, while I do think it’s worthwhile upgrading to the newest version of QuickBooks each year, users shouldn’t wait more than three years to do so. Intuit has recently started sunsetting (aka retiring, orphaning, abandoning) versions of QuickBooks that are more than three years old. The most recent case was QuickBooks 2001, which was officially retired as of April 30, 2004. Anyone using the 2001 or older programs should just go ahead and buy a copy of the 2004 program and be set for three more years rather than try to get by via picking up a cheap copy of the 2002 or 2003 program from some place like eBay.

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Virtual Offices

Posted by taxguru on June 25, 2004

As a rule, I do my best to ignore the thousands of spam messages I receive each and every day in my several email accounts. However, I endeavor to catch any real messages by skimming the incoming mail through the extremely handy MailWasher program.

Late last night, I received a number of spams from this company promoting the concept of setting up a more prestigious virtual office in New York City.

I’m sure it’s the tax-centric way I look at everything; but setting up an office (virtual or otherwise) in NYC just seems like a completely counter-productive thing to do. I have written extensively on how to reduce or eliminate State taxes by sourcing income through tax free locales, such as Nevada, Florida or Texas.

In addition to the New York State income tax, New York City has its own expensive set of taxes. Anyone wanting the prestige of an NYC address for their business will end up having to fork over a lot of additional taxes for that privilege. Even if the business is really operated out of a lower or zero tax location, using an NYC address will give the New York tax authorities jurisdictional right to levy income and other taxes. I noticed that this point isn’t included in the virtual office company’s FAQs.

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Money Causes Its Own Problems

Posted by taxguru on June 25, 2004

We all believe that receiving a huge windfall of cash, such as winning the lottery, would solve all of our problems and make our lives much easier. In an all too common scenario, this woman, who suffered a heart attack from all of the pressures she encountered after winning the lottery in Canada, discovered a whole new set of problems. While not all lottery winners have heart attacks, the kinds of demands on them for money from all sorts of people is a standard after-effect of this kind of “lucky break.”

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