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Saving the economy, one tax preparer at a time

October 01, 2008

The text of the Senate version of the bailout is available, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal. It looks to be the House bill, with increased deposit insurance and the extension of expiring provisions, including the AMT patch.

It contains one provision dear to the hearts of tax preparers: it repeals the rule that subjected preparers to penalties for positions that would not be penalized if taken by taxpayers doing their own returns. Hey, it's a sacrifice we preparers are willing to make to save the financial system. We're just that nice.

It's pretty sad, actually. If the bailout is a good thing (I think it is, if only compared to the potential for disaster if nothing is done), you shouldn't have to bribe legislators to support it by attaching the extenders bill, which is a hodgepodge of largely bogus or silly tax breaks that are regularly re-enacted with a one or two year life to disguise their true cost, and to provoke regular visits from lobbyists bearing campaign money. Congress continues to earn it's 9% approval rating.

UPDATE: More on the tax provisions of the bailout.

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Does anyone think changing it to substantial authority for non-shelter positions will help us?

All it will do is increase the number of arguments about whether a position arises from a tax shelter.

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