Monday, February 27, 2012

Man Boobs?

I didn’t expect to have time to update my Blog today, but as
I write this our server is down and the phone system is dead due to a power
outage (thanks So Cal Edison!) so it looks like it will be kind of quiet for a
Monday morning…

Tax season is in full swing here and it can be a challenge
to keep up with the latest tax news coming in over the wires when you have no free
time to read. However this one stood out and I had to share it.

A little background: medical costs are generally only
deductible for medical necessities. As a result, cosmetic and elective
treatments that do not treat a specific medical disorder are not deductible.
However a taxpayer recently convinced the Tax Court that a sex change operation was treatment for gender identity disorder (GID) and that the disease fell within the meaning of
a treatable mental disorder. Because GID was considered a disease the costs of
hormone therapy and the sex-reassignment surgery were all deductible medical
expenses. IRS‘s position that GID was mere “social construct” was rejected.

Unfortunately, it was not a complete victory for the
taxpayer. Although the costs listed above were allowed, she also had breast
augmentation as part of the treatment. IRS was successful in having that
portion treated as cosmetic surgery and disallowed. Apparently the new breasts
were considered unnecessary.

Makes you wonder how he looked before the surgery.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Perspective

It's been well over a month since my last posting and I’m
feeling pretty guilty about it. Instead of having a typical slow January our
office started right off into tax season the first week. And we have been going
strong ever since. I guess that’s a good thing.

In previous postings I have, on occasion, been somewhat
critical of IRS employees. My experience with the local representatives has
rarely left me with good impressions in terms of training or knowledge. They
just don’t seem to be where they ought to be in order to do the best job for
the government, or the taxpayer, which in many cases is the same thing.

However I was recently handed a “paradigm shift”. I was
appointed to an IRS advisory committee and will be traveling to Wash. D.C. several times a year for the foreseeable future to work with IRS folks helping them implement new reporting laws. I was there for a few days last month working with IRS staff and others at the IRS national office, and came away with two conclusions: 1. Anyone working in the D.C. office of any organization is probably the smartest person in the room wherever they go, and 2. The people working for IRS in the national office are very hard working, intelligent, dedicated folks that are doing the best they can in the environment they are working in. I was definitely impressed by all the people I met back there.

There, I said it. However I still have a problem with the local talent.