Sunday, November 14, 2010

lessons in uncertainty

For the next two days, I'll be sitting in continuing education classes with a couple thousand other CPAs for the annual state Tax Conference (I know you're envious). It's the 27th year in a row that I've gone to this conference.

Normally, these classes are held to update us on tax changes and related topics and to prepare our firms for the upcoming busy season. What will be different this year is the uncertainty at this late date of what those changes might be. You see, the "Bush tax cuts" from 2001 are due to expire at the end of the year, and, if nothing is done by Congress in the meantime, tax rates and other tax regulations will go back to where they were in 2001. This is extremely important for upper-income taxpayers in particular, whose top tax rates would go up significantly.

Considering the horrible federal budget deficits, some are saying, "Let them go back up!" The Republicans are saying, "Cut the rates for our rich buddies even more!" So there will be a fight in the lame-duck Congress between now and December 31, and you'll hear about it. I'm hoping that Obama will be not so anxious to compromise as he has been so far. He needs a win.

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