Everyone wanted to hear Internal Revenue Service chief Danny Werfel (yes, since I've seen him in person, I now feel comfortable using the more familiar version of his first name) speak.
And there were no empty seats in the ballroom for the lone presentation of 2013 tax law changes.
But of the 13 regular IRS Nationwide Tax Forum seminars I've attended over the last two days at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, the most well-attended have been on business expense substantiation and Schedule C challenges.
Is all this interest an indication of the growth of entrepreneurialism in today's economy?
Whatever the reason, I've made a note to expand on the topic of sole proprietorship taxes when I get back home and sort through all my notes. In the interim, these previous posts should help slake your thirst for tax information about being your own boss:
- 10 easy tax deductions for bloggers and other online businesses
- Keep careful track of your tax deductible expenses
- The eventual, and often unexpected, tax cost of home office depreciation
- Don't forget to factor in self-employment taxes
- Health insurance deductions for self-employed workers
- The easiest way to cheat on your taxes? Run your own company
Now for the really important stuff, my various observations on the Tax Forum and things tangential to it. Here goes.
Texas and taxes pride: In addition to citing IRS accomplishments, such as increased efforts to fight tax-related identity theft and defending the agency's current budget request, Werfel also praised IRS employees.
He pointed out how resilient the organization has been in the face of emerging challenges and constant change. He lauded the commitment of career IRS employees. And he specifically noted Texans' way of showing their pride in what they do.
Werfel said he noticed upon arrival at the Dallas IRS office that all the staff nameplates also were adorned with an image of the Lone Star State. "I live in Virginia and I have never had a picture of the state of Virginia on my name placard," he said. "I love when people are proud of that they do and where they are from."
Give me an I-R-S: Last year, I attended the Tax Forum in San Diego, which started just as Comic-Con was ending. There are no superhero costumed folks here in North Texas, but there are plenty of young women in uniform, cheerleader uniforms to be specific.
Yes, these enthusiastic promoters of school spirit, here for a National Cheerleaders Association camp, are mingling with all us tax geeks. The young women move in groups and all wear distinctive bows bearing their schools' colors in their hair.
I am having serious high school flashbacks!
Tax, or not, tidbits: It's good to be around folks who, while they might not love the IRS, aren't politically motivated in their attitudes. They just want the agency to operate more efficiently so they can do better jobs of helping their clients.
The Taxpayer Advocate Service, a regular presence at the Tax Forums for all the years I've attended, didn't make it to this event. Sequester perhaps?
Members of the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, however, are here. This is a great group of volunteers who work, as their motto says, to improve the IRS.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration presentation on what the tax watchdog does and how tax preparers can help included two videos in which TIGTA employees participated. There were no castaways, pointy-eared Vulcans or line dancers.
Why do people stop to talk at the bottom of escalators? If we all just piled into them would they move?
Not to be the classroom noodge, but if you plan to talk during a seminar, please sit at the very back of the room.
Tax tunes, day two: And now it's soundtrack time. Here's what we were treated to between seminars:
- Life in the Fast Lane by the Eagles
- Low Rider by War
- Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder
- Bigger Than My Body by John Mayer
- Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix
- Deep in the Heart of Texas by Ray Charles
- Part-time Lover by Stevie Wonder
- Superstition (aka Very Superstitious) by Stevie Wonder
- I Love It by Icona Pop
- Papa Was a Rolling Stone by The Temptations
- Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple
- Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder
- Heroes by David Bowie
- More Than a Feeling by Boston
- Beer on the Table by Josh Thompson -- This was the first country song I had heard. Thanks Dallas-Fort Worth for bucking the musical stereotype of Texas!
- Boots On by Randy Houser -- Hmmm, the country dam broke.
- Welcome to the Jungle by Guns and Roses
- Some gospel song that neither I nor Shazam knew
- From the Bottom of My Heart by Stevie Wonder - Yes, Stevie is the big airplay winner today.
- Make It Wit Chu by Queens of the Stone Age
- Georgia by Ray Charles
- Two-timin' Woman by Johnny Cash
And just after the day's last session and the announcement of the reception location, we were blasted by I Feel Good by James Brown. All of us in the meeting room, including the IRS moderator and topic presenter, cracked up.
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