Cletus Smelly Dental Floss Adventure
Cletus Smelly Dental Floss Adventure documents Cletus making life miserable for a bunch of Chinese neighbors…by blindfolding them with DENTAL FLOSS.
which took place the same day he discovered hemp.
Cletus Smelly Dental Floss Adventure documents Cletus making life miserable for a bunch of Chinese neighbors…by blindfolding them with DENTAL FLOSS.
which took place the same day he discovered hemp.
Slack-Jawed Yokel Attorney
…we all shuddered at the thought of Cletus Smelley as a cesspool of jurisprudence. This is the dude that almost gave himself an ulcer studying for a urine test. Then the Slack-Jawed Yokel started dropping hints. the first one was…
Then we got:
We started thinking, Nah…impossible, well let’s give Cletus the benefit of the doubt.., could you imagine…hmm…best law school in California…? Berkley, Stanford, UCLA, USC…
The best law schools in California [starting the highest rated]
There is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this page.
Source: Above The Law Blog
So what law school would accept a Slack-jawed Yokel…then an epiphany….Taft Law School, 19th out of 20 in California and on the list of TEN WORST LAW SCHOOLS in the United States…once again, Cletus Smelly disrespects himself…he has no self-esteem at all, and once you get to know him, you will agree he is right to view himself as an abysmal failure. So what do we know about his “prestigious school” that wanted him?
The average student here flunked out of dog groomer school
Slack-Jawed Yokel Attorney
REALLY SHITTY BUT NOT THE BOTTOM
Interesting side-note: Taft runs an unaccredited correspondence law school, though its law school is evidently not involved in the particular educational product it is offering to law grads.
The signer, Taft President Jerome Alley, can be confident that few recent Cal Western grads are satisfied that their professional goals are being met, what with Cal Western’s astonishing 31% bar-required job placement rate plus the fourth highest median per-student debt load of any law school in the country.
To recap. A bottom-tier law school takes three years of your life, plus your borrowed fortune fails to teach you how to practice law and leaves you to flounder.
In California, grads of unaccredited law schools can sit for the bar, but only if they first take and pass a so-called “Baby Bar” after their first year of law school. In its most recent administration, only 11% (4/ 38) of Taft law students passed the Baby Bar. For Taft law students taking the first-year exam for the first time, the passage rate was 6% (1/16). Yes, Taft is a school with a lot of worthwhile legal instruction to offer. But, he could have gone lower but he didn’t…we think that is his way of having something to strive for.
The absolute worst BOTTOM OF THE BARREL law school in California is:
Thomas Jefferson – 147/144/142. In January, TJ was found out of compliance by the ABA on Standard 501. TJ dishonestly kept this secret from its prospective students, enabling the school to grow its enrollment. But this school is digging itself is an ever deeper hole by admitting a pathetically weak class in a state where students with LSATs below 146 have extremely poor prospects of passing the bar, and everybody below 150 struggles. Last year TJ had 232 students with a profile of 147/143/141, and the second highest non-transfer attrition rate in the country at 37.2%. Despite knowing they were facing sanctions due in part to its lax admission policies, TJ chose to increase its class size and essentially maintain its abysmal admissions standards. The one point increase at the 50th and 25th percentiles were offset by lower UGPAs across the board. Not surprisingly, TJ was recently placed on probation by the ABA. Expect droves of transfers from TJ this winter and next summer, and continued bar passage woes for the foreseeable future, assuming TJ can stay in business.
Comprehensive Listing of California Law Schools
Slack-Jawed Yokel Attorney
Slack-Jawed Yokel Favorites are posts from Jordan S. Zoot, CPA which highlight the absurdity and ignorance of Slack-Jawed Yoken and other white trash.
The following is a summary of our Smelly, EA Interview – You May Barf.
Us: So Smelly EA, what would you like us to know about you?
Smelly, EA: First of all, I am semi-famous. I see you play around with cannabis in California. I’m living in my ass, and have more cannabis clients in California then you could ever hope to have. However, I don’t fight fire with fire. Why sink to someone’s level who is obviously jealous of my success?
Us: How would you describe yourself to someone who has never met you?
Smelly, EA: However, I am high-strung, and I don’t like being drugged down to a level where I slow down and feel stupid. [Comment: Take away – “High Strung, Slow and Stupid”] Smelly, EA Interview – You May Barf
Smelly, EA: When we are engaged by a new cannabis client, we charge a consulting fee, and have to travel to the locationwhere that client is, for which we are reimbursed. We spend about three to four days at the new client’s location to set all of this up, then monitor it from a cloud-based accounting software. As I said one slip up, and the whole thing can be torn down by the IRS. Then we visit, for a fee, and all expenses paid, at least once a year to make sure that everything is running right.
Us: So that means that you and your firm with the California Secretary of State as a foreign entity, right? Both you are your entity for and paying California state taxes on the income you earn in California, when you are physically in California, right? Your clients are following the law with respect to withholding on the non-resident contractor, correct? You wouldn’t want violate the law by evading California state taxes.
Smelly, EA: Most owners are packing guns and will remind you of that several times. Unless you are well-known, they will test you over and over. If you fail any test, then there is an unspoken rule that you could be killed.
Us: Are you aware of Wilson v. Lynch, 14-15700, August 31.2016 where the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that federal law prohibits registered medical marijuana users from legally purchasing guns.
Us: So what got those panties with skid marks on the outside in a knot today?
Smelly, EA: BTW, I don’t pay attorney fees, so this can go on and on, and cost you so much money that your business will fold. We will sue your company, and the principles of the business, jointly and severally. [Comment: That would be principals, and any 4th grader knows that.]
Us: So Smelly, EA what made you so emotionally brittle and small-minded, and always trying to use bluster and posturing to make up for all of the deficiencies in your personality, intellect, and presence?
Smelly, EA: You know nothing about me. I grew up as the only white family in the worst ghetto in the World of Trailer Trash. I have had to fight my whole life. This fight is no big deal, and I will win it, come out better than ever, and you and your firm. That is a promise.
Us: Hey Smelly, EA, there is an odoriferous. fetid, putrid, rancid, insalubrious, noxious stench emanating from your mouth. It is difficult to describe, it’s a combination of sewer gas, the necrotizing carcass of a pig, and skunk, worse than anything that ever came out of 1000
bungholes. It is almost as if you used Amorphophallus Titanum to create a mouthwash. It is as if I could close my eyes and see Calliphoridae larvae gushing out of your mouth.
Smelly, EA: That’s just me, it is as if I had gargled with Liquid Ass.
The only way to mask it is a homemade mouthwash that I invented using Fresh Drop Toilet Freshener.
Us: So Smelly, EA can you tell us how does Stinky, EA manage to tolerate a mentally defective sociopath like you?
Smelly, EA: Simple I married Stinky, EA.
Smelly, EA Interview – You May Barf – read more here.
Axe Jackeline Velez about how to get someone killed celebrating the end of Tax Season…throwing an ax at them could be the best way to that we have ever heard of.
…I am sorry, but ANY time someone advocates wreckless stunt that literally crosses the line from grossly negligent and STUPID to POTENTIALLY LETHAL and demonstrative of DEPRAVED INDIFFERENCE TO HUMAN LIFE I am going to tag it, call it out and do everything and anything I can to prevent a horrible injury or the death of another human being.
The idea that “stress relief” or “fun” would include throwing a potentially deadly weapon such as an ax at another human being is twisted and sick.
Don’t remember what I am talking about, what’s this:
Would it be a bad thing if a Xero Accounting Partner would up on the floor in a pool of blood, DEAD or with his or her head split open because someone followed your suggestion and split their skull open with an ax? The conduct in the photo is beyond STUPID it is outright reckless. Worse yet, the event appears to have been expressly approved by Xero at the corporate level. Here is the event registration for the event that appeared on Eventbrite for Dallas.
Xero’s Houston Axe Event
and the event in Austin
We decided to try an experiment so we asked the owners of Eventbrite, and the three Axe Throwing venues in Dallas, Houston, and Austin if they would have permitted this ad to run with Jackieline Velez’s photo:
We will amend this page to add the responses that we receive from any of the venues or Eventbrite.
Our view is that the photo of wantonly, grossly negligent conduct representing depraved indifference to human life tells us a lot about Ms. Velez’s judgment, and indirectly about Xero’s judgment with respect to hiring and employment policies. We wonder what’s next, perhaps a Russian Roulette tournament, with semi-automatic pistols.
Let’s all welcome Jackeline Velez to SmellyStinkyEA with a special award for inventing a way to get someone killed celebrating the end of tax season, with special mention to Xero for supporting it.
Slack-Jawed Yokel – Crypto FBAR – has managed to defy the odds and massively DISRESPECT HIMSELF YET AGAIN. A recent post on CPA Practice Advisor. The post is poorly written and manages to try to discuss FBAR while failing to grasp the implications of “US persons being taxed on worldwide income” with an obligation to report worldwide income as well as the existence of FATCA. Then the post fails to understand many of the underpinnings of cryptocurrency. It becomes obvious that Cletus is an abysmal failure with cannabis and cryptocurrency…perhaps he should try something less exotic, like almond trees.
Anyway, here are our comments that you help the post.
Slack-Jawed Yokel – Crypto FBAR disrespects himself again
Comments in an easier to read format:
1: Stupid…you focus on FBAR, what about FATCA? FATCA requires certain U.S. taxpayers who hold foreign financial assets with an aggregate value of more than the reporting threshold (at least $50,000) to report information about those assets on Form 8938, which must be attached to the taxpayer’s annual income tax return. The reporting threshold is higher for certain individuals, including married taxpayers filing a joint annual income tax return and certain taxpayers living in a foreign country (see below).
2.: Spell it out cryptocurrency – a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. … 
3: 1.Under IRC Secs. 7609 (c)(3) and 7609 (f), a John Doe summons is a summons that does not identify the person with respect to whose liability the summons is issued. The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the Service to issue a John Doe summons pursuant to..a. n
4: The U.S. government imposes the income tax on U.S. persons based on their worldwide income. The following are considered to be a U.S. person for tax purposes:A citizen born in the United States or outside with at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen … 
5. : Once again, the issue is a stupid one as even if the FBAR filing isn’t required, that doesn’t change the fact that any income earned by a US person is still subject to tax…so not filing the FBAR does nothing to remove the obligation to file and report the income.
6: In 2014, Rod Lundquist, a senior program analyst for the Small Business/Self-Employed Division indicated that the IRS would not require Bitcoin to be reported as part of FBAR. He elaborated by adding that that “FinCEN has said that virtual currency is not going to be reportable on the FBAR, at least..f.o[r5]
7: taxpayers could align their handling of Bitcoin to comport with that of gold, hard currency and real estate. That is, these assets are generally not reportable for foreign account purposes when held directly, but become reportable when they are stored in a foreign financial account. Under this… 
8: What about private blockchain, stupid? A private blockchain network requires an invitation and must be validated by either the network starter or by a set of rules put in place by the network starter. Businesses who set up a private blockchain will generally set up a permissioned network.
9: Perhaps you might learn how to write a definition liks – A Bitcoin wallet is a software program where Bitcoins are stored. To be technically accurate, Bitcoins are not stored anywhere; there is a private key (secret number) for every Bitcoin address.
Slack Jawed Yokel Explains California Cannabis Taxes – they say that the most grievous wounds are self-inflicted. We would have to agree…the following is a blog post that appeared in CPA Practice Advisor – What California Cannabis Businesses Need to Know About Taxes – – properly sourced so everyone can read the original. Our comments follow
It appears that ahrefs.com, one of the big time SEO web crawlers caught our reference to CDTFA and Federal Taxes for California Cannabis on smellystinkyea.com and put the reference under CDTFA in its alerts this morning which appear like this. It does pay to work hard on SEO…this one brings great joy over a holiday weekend.
We thought about disrespecting the Slack-Jawed Yokel, but realized that he did a better job of disrespecting himself than we ever could have done.
Bonus – If it every comes up in trivia, SmellyEA’s first name is Cletus.
Summary of our comments on the original:
Back to Smelly Stinky
TIGTA Review IRS Contractors U.S. Investigations Services, Inc. (USIS), a former contractor of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is alleged by the Department of Justice to have provided incomplete reviews of
approximately 665,000 background investigations from March 2008 through September 2012 to the Federal Government.
In addition, the Department of Justice prosecuted several USIS employees under contract to conduct background investigations on behalf of the OPM’s Federal Investigative Services for making false representations regarding their work on background investigations, such as indicating that interviews were conducted or records were obtained, when in fact they were not. Incomplete investigations could result in employing or retaining unsuitable individuals in positions with access to IRS facilities, systems, and sensitive information.
TIGTA performed this audit to assess the impact of OPM background investigations conducted by its former support contractor, USIS, on the IRS.
The OPM provided TIGTA with a list of 3,498 background investigations performed by the USIS on IRS employees or appointees between March 2008 and September 2012 alleged by the Department of Justice to have received incomplete reviews. Of these 3,498 background investigations, IRS records indicated that as of October 2017, the IRS still employed 2,058 of these individuals.
Our review of a statistical sample of 76 USIS background investigations conducted on IRS employees or appointees on board as of February 2016 found that documentation was lacking to support the investigative work represented as completed by the USIS in 75 (99 percent) cases. According to the OPM, the policies during the time frame USIS-conducted background investigations took place did not require documentation to be retained in the investigative file for certain types of investigative actions. However, the OPM concluded that in two of the 76 IRS Reports of Investigation, OPM investigative standards had not been met. TIGTA determined that IRS procedures did not contain a process to assess the quality or completeness of background investigations the OPM provided to it.
You can read the full report here.
Bluewire Strategy – Primate Clan – here we go again. The founding members of both groups are members of the Hubdoc 50 – Top Cloud Accountants. Based upon a review of the profiles of the entire group, with exceptions granted to The Digital CPA and Bruce Phillips, the monkeys are at least the intellectual equals of the rest of the group. The monkeys also have a tremendous advantage in that they get paid by the transaction, and they have the proven methodology of Amazon Mechanical Turk which truly is the “containerization of human exploitation”.
You can learn more about the application of M-Turk to cloud accounting and virtual bookkeeping in our articles –
However, it is a ten year proven strategy for the off-shoring of low intelligence repetitive mechanical tasks which happens to be the essence of bookkeeping. The apes have further refined their technique and implemented a Sigma-6 approach to cloud accounting with that Beautiful Accounting Software that they call “Jungle Journal Jockeys“
We attempted to ascertain the social dynamics of both groups, and this is what the consultant we retained explained to us.
As a small digression…while we don’t see anything special about Cloud Accounting….CLOWN ACCOUNTING is an entirely different matter.
Group life carries with it inevitable conflict and competition. Individuals must share food resources, water resources, sleeping sites, and mates. While usually mediated by dominance hierarchies in which higher-ranking individuals have priority of access to limited resources, aggressive competition over food and mates is common in primates, and is not only energetically costly but can lead to injury and even death. In addition to energy costs and risk of injury, high levels of aggression-given or received-can lead to chronic psychological stress. Chronic stress can adversely affect health and reproduction in numerous ways.
Bluewire Strategy – Primate Clan
Other socially-induced events may also increase stress levels: in chacma baboons, for example, infanticidal (infant killing) behavior by males-or even simply the immigration of a potentially infanticidal male into a social group-increases stress hormone levels in females with infants. In addition to these social costs of group living, close social contact also increases the potential transmission of pathogens, which increases each individual’s risk of contracting infectious diseases. Finally, groups may be disadvantageous because they are more easily detectable by predators compared to solitary individuals.
Given all of these potential costs of group living, why do so many primates-and other mammals-bother living in groups at all? One might especially wonder about this for the lowest-ranking individuals in a social group (i.e., those who are last in line for the available resources).
Despite the costs, sociality is important to these animals for several reasons. Probably most importantly, living in a group likely decreases one’s risk of falling victim to predation. There are three reasons for this. First, in social groups, there are more individuals looking out for predators and thus predators will be detected more quickly. Second, living in a group decreases each individual’s chance of being preyed upon due to an effect called “geometry for the selfish herd”: this states that the larger the group (e.g., 100 versus 10), the lower each individual’s chance (1/100 versus 1/10) of becoming prey. Third, individuals in groups can collectively mob predators and successfully drive them away, whereas lone individuals cannot.
Sociality also benefits animals via access to food and other resources. In groups, there are many individuals looking for food simultaneously and thus detection of good food resources (e.g., ripe fruit; Figure 2) will inevitably be communicated to others simply because group members are usually in close proximity to one another. Group members will also benefit from cooperation over the defense of food-or other limited resources such as water holes and sleeping sites-as groups can out-compete individuals, and larger groups can out-compete smaller groups.
In addition, sociality is beneficial to group-living animals in that it makes it easier for them to find mates. Animals that do not live in groups must either search for mates or opportunistically mate when they encounter other individuals. Group-living animals simply choose mates within their social group.
Moreover, sociality allows cooperative socialization of offspring. In social groups, infants and juveniles play with one another, which develops motor skills as well as the social skills necessary to survive and reproduce in a social setting. For example, during social play juveniles receive reinforcement from adults about how dominance hierarchies work, and what it means to have a given rank within a social group of a given species. Thus when they reach adulthood they will have learned what they can and cannot do, and thereby fit into the social fabric of their social group.
Finally, sociality in and of itself appears to carry benefits for individuals. As noted above, one of the costs of group living is the potentially high level of conflict and aggression that occurs among group members, which involves greater energy expenditure, a risk of injury, and chronic stress. In baboons, this socially-induced stress appears to be alleviated by the receipt of affiliative vocalizations, as well as the maintenance of grooming relationships with a small network of close associates.
Ultimately, female baboons with strong social bonds (i.e., social relationships characterized by frequent proximity and grooming; experience greater offspring survival and even longer lifespans than females with weaker bonds. These studies demonstrate that strong social relationships within groups, beyond group living alone, can carry important fitness benefits for individuals.
The social system of a given species is an outcome of
(1) its social structure, the size and composition of a typical group of that species, and
(2) its social organization, how those individuals are organized (i.e., the patterns of spacing, agonistic and affiliative social interactions, philopatry [whether one or both sexes remain in their natal group], and dispersal [whether one or both sexes move to a new group to reproduce]) that typify that species. Each species also tends to have a characteristic mating system (i.e., the pattern of mating among members of each sex). All of these aspects of primate societies vary widely across the primate order.
The least gregarious primates have what is often referred to as a solitary dispersed social system. In these primates, an adult male’s territory overlaps the territory of one or more adult females, but each individual forages alone and maintains social contact mainly through vocal and/or olfactory communication. These primates are typically nocturnal, foraging at night and sleeping in trees during the day. The mating system in these primates is usually polygynous (i.e., each male mates with multiple females). This type of social system characterizes galagos, lorises, some lemurs, some tarsiers, and orangutans. Notably, orangutans are the only anthropoid primates with a solitary social system.
Titi monkeys, owl monkeys, some callitrichids (marmosets and tamarins), and many hylobatids (gibbons and siamangs) are characterized by a pair-bonded social system. Here, one adult male and one adult female form a small social group and defend a territory from other pairs. The mating system in these groups is usually monogamous (only one male mates with only one female), though extra-pair copulations have been observed, and the male usually participates in offspring care, which is unusual for male mammals ).
Many marmosets and tamarins live in one-female multi-male groups characterized by cooperative breeding. In this type of system, usually, only one female breed, and that female suppresses the reproduction of any subordinate females via aggression and/or pheromonal (olfactory) signals. Usually, there is more than one breeding male, thus the mating system is polyandrous, a rarity among mammals. Some or all of the individuals in these groups participate in offspring care and this social system is thus often called cooperative polyandry.
One of the most common primate social systems is the one-male group, which characterizes most colobine monkeys, most guenons, patas monkeys, howler monkeys, and some gorillas. Here, a single resident adult male defends a group of (usually) philopatric, related females from other males and, while his tenure lasts, enjoys exclusive mating access to those females (i.e., polygyny).
Sometimes called harems, these groups are always at risk of takeover by non-resident males, who typically form all-male groups while awaiting their chance to become a resident male. Often, takeovers are accompanied by infanticide, in which the new resident male kills the young infants in the group. This behavior has the effect of bringing the mothers back into estrus (sexual receptivity) sooner than they would have otherwise.
Also common among primates are multi-male multi-female groups, in which multiple individuals of each sex form large social groups in which the mating system is usually polygynandrous (i.e., both males and females are polygamous in that they mate with multiple members of the opposite sex). These are the largest groups of primates, and usually quite complex socially, with differentiated social and kin relationships among group members.
This type of social system characterizes many monkeys, including macaques, most baboons, vervet monkeys, mangabeys, capuchins, squirrel monkeys, woolly monkeys, and some colobine monkeys, as well as some lemurs-most notably the ring-tailed lemur and sifaka. In most of these species, females are philopatric and males disperse.
Similar to multi-male multi-female groups are the fission-fusion communities of chimpanzees, bonobos, spider monkeys, and some other ateline monkeys. Fission-fusion communities are less cohesive than typical multi-male multi-female groups. These groups occupy very large home ranges in which temporary foraging parties cleave and coalesce over time with changes in resource availability and female reproductive condition. These social systems are typically characterized by female dispersal and male philopatry.
The most complex type of social system found in primates, and in mammals as the whole, is the multi-level society (also known hierarchical or modular society) characterizing hamadryas baboons, geladas, snub-nosed monkeys, and a few other mammals such as elephants. In this type of system, there are at least three levels of social structure: the one-male unit (OMU), the band, and the troop or herd.
The OMU is the reproductive unit and consists of one “leader” male, sometimes a follower male, and several females; the band is the ecological unit that forages and sleeps together, and the troop or herd is a temporary aggregation at a sleeping site or foraging area. In hamadryas baboons, there is a fourth layer between the OMU and the band, the clan, which consists of OMUs and bachelor males linked by social bonds and possibly kinship among males. In geladas, bachelor males join together to form all-male groups. Reproduction in these societies is usually polygynous, and OMUs are always at risk of takeover by bachelor males, who may commit infanticide after taking over females with young infants.
It is important to note that the social organization of a species might not be immediately apparent from its social structure. For example, both geladas and hamadryas baboons are characterized by multiple layers of society, and their social structure is almost identical. However, the social organization of these two species could not be more different. In geladas, the cohesion of OMUs is maintained by philopatric females, as each OMU is a female kin group and these kin groups are taken over as entire units by males.
In hamadryas, by contrast, a cohesion of OMUs is maintained by philopatric males who take over females one by one, often exchanging them with other males in their clans, and aggressively condition those females to remain in their OMU. Thus, hamadryas social organization includes strong male-female bonds (the glue that holds together an OMU) and strong male-male bonds (as males are philopatric and thus related to one another within bands and clans), whereas gelada social organization is characterized by strong female-female bonds (which hold together OMUs) but weak bonds between the sexes.
Moreover, one must be careful not to make assumptions about a species’ mating system simply upon observing its social system. For example, multi-male multi-female groups of gorillas may have an age-graded dominance structure in which only the oldest, highest-ranking (alpha) silverback male is allowed to copulate; in this case, the mating system is not polygynandrous (as one might expect in a multi-male group) but instead polygynous.
Another example can be found in guenons, which live in one-male groups. During the mating season, multi-male influxes occur in which outside males come into the group, copulate with the females, and then leave again. The mating system, in this case, is not polygynous, which one would expect, but polygynandrous. Finally, gibbons and siamangs were first thought to be monogamous, but then observations of extra-pair mating (i.e., copulations with individuals outside of the pair-bond) confirmed that they are not always monogamous but sometimes polygynous, polyandrous, or both.
Proposal to fix the Horse Act, and this deadly serious, nothing funny here. After you read the proposal, tell us what you think.
Does the Internal Revenue Service have the right to regulate tax preparers?
Attorneys for the IRS made the case that it does during oral arguments yesterday in front of a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals made up of Judges David Sentelle, Brett Kavanaugh and Stephen Williams.
The case, Loving v IRS, was filed last year on March 13, 2012, in response to regulations put forth by the IRS in an effort to monitor tax preparers. The regulations, as written, would require tax preparers to register with the IRS; pass a competency exam; pay an annual fee and meet certain continuing education requirements. The regulations didn’t, however, apply to all tax preparers: it would exempt Certified Public Accountants (CPA), attorneys, Enrolled Agents (EA) and a handful of others. Most of those who were exempt from the requirements as put forth under the new rules are already subject to continuing education and competency exam requirements inside their own industries. That means that the real burden of complying with the new regulations hit independent tax preparers and small businesses disproportionately – those who, under the new rules, must meet the criteria for a new IRS designation, a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP). Without that designation, unless a preparer meets an exemption or exception, he or she may not work.
Proposal to Fix the Horse Act
Three independent tax preparers, Sabina Loving of Chicago, Illinois; John Gambino of Hoboken, N.J.; and Elmer Kilian of Eagle, Wisconsin, believed those rules weren’t fair. They are the lead plaintiffs in Loving and are represented by the Institute for Justice
he crux of the plaintiffs’ argument is this: Congress never gave the IRS the authority to license tax preparers, and the IRS can’t give itself that power.
U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg agreed. In January 2013, he issued an opinion that would bar the IRS from regulating tax preparers, days before the new tax season officially opened for business. You can read the opinion here(downloads as a pdf).
The IRS appealed that decision and here we are, eight months later, back in court.
Oral arguments in the case were colorful, often punctuated by queries from the judges and occasionally, a joke or two. During arguments, the judges appeared skeptical of the IRS’ reliance on an 1884 statute, the “Enabling Act of 1884,” also referred to as the “Horse Act of 1884” as sufficient authority to regulate tax preparers. The statute was the result of a post-Civil War concern about the abuse of the claim process for the value of dead horses and lost property during the war. To stem the tide of abuse, Congress granted the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to regulate the admission of agents representing claimants before the Treasury Department (the rise of the modern day Enrolled Agents), and to penalize those who failed to comply with the regulations. The Treasury published guidance for those agents – and that guidance is what eventually evolved into Circular 230. If that name rings a bell, you might have seen “Circular 230 language” at the bottom of attorney and tax professional emails.
The IRS argues that the law still allows for regulation of tax preparers. The statute predates the modern income Tax Code which was codified in 1913. Much has changed since – including Congress’ apparent reluctance to pass any laws granting the IRS specific authority to regulate preparers.
Proposal to Fix the Horse Act
The amount of time that passed from the 1884 case and now didn’t go without notice in front of the panel. Consider this brief exchange between Justice Department Tax Division lawyer Gilbert Rothenberg and the panel:
Panel: That’s how many years?
Rothenberg: That’s about a century.
Judge: And then after a century, Treasury suddenly decides these words empower us to do this…?
Another exchange revolved around two simple conjunctions: “and” and “or.” Under the law, there are four criteria to be considered an agent. The statute uses the word “and” to connect the four but, as argued by Rothenberger, the IRS believes that “and” could also mean “or.” The panel didn’t seem convinced.
There are a number of parties interested in this matter. Clearly, IRS and the three practitioners involved directly each have a specific stake in the outcome. Beyond that, tens of thousands of tax practitioners could be affected, as well as taxpayers, Congress and those concerned about the uptick in government regulation.
When cases like this attract additional attention, those who have interest or expertise in the subject can ask the court for permission to file a brief to explain their point of view. That doesn’t make them a party in interest, nor does it grant them a seat at the bench. It’s simply a brief for consideration and generally happens where matters of public interest are at stake (for example, same sex marriages). These briefs are called amicus briefs or, since we lawyers love Latin so much, amicus curiae. It means, literally, “friend of the court.”
A couple of amicus briefs were filed in Loving. One, in support of the IRS, was filed by five former IRS Commissioners. Another, in support of the plaintiffs, was filed by a number of tax preparers, including a former IRS employee; a few CPAs; an EA; and the Tax Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan research institution (and pretty awesome read) based in Washington, D.C. You can read the amicus brief here (downloads as pdf).
Shortly after the amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs was filed, I called up one of the parties, Joe Kristan, to ask him about his participation. Kristan is a CPA and authors the informative and entertaining Tax Update Blog. He doesn’t have an actual dog in this fight: CPAs are exempt from most of the regulations. So why, I asked, was he involved? He offered a laundry list of reasons: it’s bad law, bad policy and bad for the consumer.
In addition to the arguments cited by the plaintiffs that the IRS doesn’t have the authority to regulate tax preparers – and Congress has never stepped in to give them that power – Kristan has concerns about handing over even more power to the agency. Using an analogy from my profession, Kristan compared the law to giving the prosecutors the right to regulate defense attorneys.
During our call, we both agreed that there are bad tax preparers out there but Kristan used that fact to seize upon one of the main criticisms of the IRS scheme: there are ways of dealing with bad acts and these regulations won’t keep the bad preparers honest. It doesn’t, for example, deal with the issue of fraud in the industry. And, he says, those who can manipulate the system will now have the equivalent of a “seal of approval” from IRS, giving consumers a false sense of security.
But what about those education requirements and the competency exams? Kristan shrugs off the notion that some testing keeps taxpayers safe, saying that the test is a “literacy test, not a competency test.” He does believe that tax professionals should keep their credentials up and their skills sharp but feels that should be voluntary. The real problem with tax compliance issues, he says, simply won’t be resolved through more regulation.
Whether those regulations will be enforced is still a question pending the decision of the panel. I’m not sure that the IRS made enough of a case to convince the court to overturn the prior decision. You can listen to the oral arguments here(downloads as mp3). The arguments are about 45 minutes long… and well worth the listen.
A decision by the Appeals Court isn’t expected for a few months.
Proposal to Fix the Horse Act
Tax Jokes…now that’s an oxymoron. We will throw out some starters and you can add your own.
Did you ever notice that when you put the words “The” and “IRS” together it spells “THEIRS.”
Q: Ever wonder why the IRS calls it Form 1040?
A: Because for every $50 that you earn, you get $10 and they get $40.
After reading a nursery rhyme to his child, the tax accountant said, “No son, it would not be tax deductible when Little Bo Peep loses her sheep but I like how you think.”
A doctor, a tax lawyer, a little boy and a rabbi were out for a Sunday afternoon flight on a small private plane. Suddenly, the plane developed engine trouble. In spite of the best efforts of the pilot the plane started to go down. The pilot grabbed a parachute and then he yelled to the passengers that they had better bail out and jump. Unfortunately, there were only three parachutes remaining.
The doctor grabbed one parachute and said, “I am a doctor, I save lives so I must live.” The doctor then jumped out of the plane leaving two remaining parachutes for three people left on the plane. The tax lawyer grabbed a parachute and said, “I am the smartest man in the world and I save people money so I deserve to live!” He grabbed a parachute and jumped leaving one remaining parachute for the little boy and the rabbi.
The rabbi looked at the little boy and said, “My son, I have lived a long and full life. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Take the last parachute and live in peace.” The little boy handed the parachute to the rabbi and said, “Do not worry, rabbi! The smartest man in the world just took off with my backpack.”
An estate and trust lawyer was reading the will of a rich man to the people mentioned in the will: “To you, my loving wife Rose, who stood by me in rough times as well as good, I leave the house and two million dollars.” The lawyer continued, “To my daughter Jessica, who looked after me in sickness and kept the business going, I leave the yacht, the business and one million dollars.” The lawyer concluded, “And to my cousin Dan, who hated me, argued with me and thought that I would never mention him in my will, well, you are wrong. “Hi, Dan!”
A CEO was interviewing job applicants for the lead role in a financial division of a large company. He knew he needed to devise a test for choosing the most suitable candidate. He asked each applicant this question, “What is two plus two?” The first interviewee was a government auditor. His answer was “Twenty-two.” He then asked the second interviewee who happened to have an engineering background. He pulled out a slide rule and came up with the answer, “Somewhere between 3.999 and 4.001.” The next interview was an attorney who stated, “In the case of Jenkins vs IRS, two plus two was proven to be four.” Finally, the businessman interviewed a tax accountant and he asked him for the answer to two plus two. The accountant go up from his chair, walked over to the door, closed it, came back and sat down next to him. The tax accountant leaned across the desk and said, “How much do you want it to be?”
A clerk walks into the boss’ office and says, “The auditors have just left, sir.” The boss then asks the clerk, “Have they finished checking the books?” “Very thoroughly,” the clerk replied. “Well, what did they say?” said the boss. The clerk replied, “They want 15% to keep quiet.”
“I just taught my kids taxes by eating 38% of their ice cream.” – Conan O’Brien
“The U. S. Senate is considering a bill that would tax Botox. When Botox users heard this they were horrified. Well, I think they were horrified but it was difficult to tell.” – Craig Ferguson
What’s the difference between death and taxes? Congress does not meet every year to make death worse.
“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.”
– Mark Twain
“65% of people say that cheating on your income tax is worse than cheating on your spouse. The other 35% were women.” – Jay Leno
A mugger stops a guy on the street at gunpoint. “Give me all your money,” he says. The muggee is indignant and yells at the mugger, “You cannot do this because I am an IRS Agent.” “In that case,” says the mugger, “give me all MY money!”
A tax accountant and a lawyer were laying on a beach in Hawaii sipping Mai Tai’s. The lawyer started telling the tax accountant how he came to be in Hawaii. The lawyer said, “I had this downtown property in Memphis that caught fire and after the insurance paid off I moved here.” The tax accountant said, “I had a downtown property in Miami that got flooded and I moved here with the insurance proceeds.” The lawyer took another sip of his Mai Tai and then asked in a low voice, “How do you start a flood?”
Did you know that 10 out of 9 accountants cannot count?
Regis Philbin is back in primetime, hosting 11 new episodes of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” But because of the President’s new tax plan, it has been re-titled to “Who Wants to Win Just Under $250,000.” – Jimmy Fallon
“Today the IRS gave some guidelines on how to avoid getting audited. Number one, do not list deductions that will raise a red flag. Number two, make sure that you file on time. Number three, do not make any stupid anti-war speech at the Academy Awards.” – Jay Leno
When it comes to taxes, there are two types of people. There are those that get it done early, also known as psychopaths, and then the rest of us.” – Jimmy Kimmel