In Uncategorized on 12/02/2017 at 12:11

My readers may well wonder what this obscure village in the Ardennes has to do with US Federal taxation. Well, it was the scene of a major turning point in the French Revolution. And this latest tax legislation, whatever the politics, is, as Germany’s greatest poet described Valmy, the beginning of a new epoch.

My often-expressed position is that this is a nonpolitical blog. So partisan comments won’t be found here. There’s a plenitude of those a mouseclick away.

But whatever emerges from the conference, passes Congress and is ratified, be its fruits as rosy as its most fervent adherent claims, or as disastrous as its most fervent opponent’s jeremiads assert, y’all, the in-the-trenches preparers and controversialists, will have to deal with them.

I am surprised that the blogosphere and trade press haven’t considered the impact on our practices. True, we haven’t the final product. But that won’t be long in coming. There are too many powerful forces pushing for a conclusion.

And there aren’t that many uncertainties. We know the tax effects of the ACA will be gone. We know that the brackets will change, and some of the deductions formerly thought to be “third-rail” untouchables will be reduced or eliminated.

And the miscellaneous itemized deduction for tax preparation fees will be eliminated.

Perhaps an increased standard deduction may offset the effect, but that’s an imponderable.

The older among my readers may remember 1985 and 1986 and the evolution of the Tax Reform Act. We certainly followed the process minute by minute, through Regan One, Regan Two, Treasury One and Treasury Two, up to the final Report of the Joint Committee.

Most importantly, in those antediluvian days, tax preparation software was barely out of infancy.

So be prepared; the software floggers will go into overtime, and you’ll be buying updates. Given that the tax prep industry has had zero input, the dodge floggers and gimmick peddlers will be camped out on your e-doorstep. And we can look forward to more litigation.

Mark Twain got it right. Nobody’s life, liberty or property is safe when Congress is in session.

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