Friday, January 13, 2012

Smart Talk Features PA Aging Secretary

On Friday, January 13, 2012, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Brian Duke (accompanied by his Chief of Staff, Kevin Hancock), was interviewed for an hour on WITF-FM Radio's Smart Talk, about the changing and growing needs for the Commonwealth's aged population.

The discussion revolved around the federally-required State Plan for Aging to be prepared by the Department for the four-year period extending to 2016, when 22.5% -- nearly one of four -- of Pennsylvanians will be over the age of 65.

Development of a new State Plan was announced on November 2, 2011, in a Press Release entitled Department of Aging Begins Work on 2012-2016 State Plan on Aging, which noted that "[t]he process will include focus groups, town meetings and public hearings."

There will be changes and expansions beyond the 2008-2012 PA State Plan for Aging, which was explained by the Department in a presentation during its past development.  The successor State Plan likely will address broadened medical concerns, innovative long-term care, growing involvement of private and charitable service providers, and increasing need for elder protective services.

Secretary Duke spoke clearly, knowledgeably, and openly on every concern raised by the host and by various callers.  He demonstrated, through his impromptu responses, that he is highly qualified and experienced to lead the Department, as suggested by his posted biography:
Prior to his nomination by Governor Tom Corbett, Duke served as Director of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging. Before that he served as Executive Director of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging, a statewide public charity dedicated to improving the quality of life of older persons.

Prior to his work with the Foundation, Duke served as a consultant working with the U.S. Administration on Aging and the AARP Foundation in the development of statewide care giving coalitions in 12 states. He also co-chaired the Caring Community, a coalition of over 100 organizations convened by WHYY, the public broadcasting station serving the greater Philadelphia region. * * * [Linnks added.]
Callers raised issues of real estate property tax relief, costs of long-term care, adequate in-home services, specialized senior housing, accessible transportation, funding and availability of services through the local area agencies on aging, accurate informational and evaluation websites about senior services, coordination of service agencies for efficiencies and effectiveness, and fairness in the rendering of services, among others.

Comments for the new State Plan on Aging can be provided to the Department via telephone (717-783-1550), by email (, in correspondence mailed to the Department, or through participation in Department-sponsored sessions, such as those already held on November 2-3, 2011, in Hershey, PA or to be held in 2012.

If you are interested in aging issues or elder's concerns, whether professionally or personally, you would benefit by listening to this comfortable, informative interview.  You can listen online by accessing the program's web page.

Monday, January 09, 2012

"Tax Talk" about Federal Individual Taxes

The Tax Talk Today program, scheduled from 2:00 to 3:40 PM on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 (and available for replay online over the next twelve months for registered users), will present a comprehensive discussion of changes in individual income tax rules and procedures, reviewed by highly-knowledgeable speakers -- Preston Benoit, Deputy Director, IRS Return Preparer Office, and Jason Langley, National Public Liaison, Internal Revenue Service, along with three industry commentators.

You must Log In or Register to view the show and its resources, or a transcript afterwards.

This is the Program Outline:

    IRS Return Preparer Regulations Update 
  • Registered tax return preparer competency test – who must take it and how to prepare
  • Implementation of background check
  • CPE Requirements
    What’s new for 2011 Filing Season
  • Schedule D changes and new Form 8949 to report capital gains and losses.
  • Self-employed health insurance deduction no longer allowed on Schedule SE.
  • First-time homebuyer credit only allowed for small number of filers.
  • Repayment of the first time homebuyer credit directly on Form 1040
  • Business standard mileage rate increased twice in 2011
  • Medical care and moving rate increased twice in 2011
  • Roth IRAs converted or rolled over in 2010 and not reported on 2010
  • Additional tax on distributions from health savings accounts and Archer medical savings accounts increased to 20%
  • New Form 8938 may need to be filed if you have foreign financial assets
  • Schedule L no longer needed to figure your standard deduction
  • Schedule M no longer in use because the making work pay credit has expired
  • Alternative motor vehicle credit has expired unless the vehicle is a new fuel cell motor vehicle
  • Due date for individual returns pushed two days to April 17 because of Emancipation Day in DC.
    Expired Tax Provisions 
  • Payroll tax reduction (Two month extension)
  • Expenses of elementary school teachers
  • State and local sales tax deduction
  • Contributing property for conservation purposes
  • Qualified tuition deduction
  • IRA distributions for charitable purposes
  • Parity for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits
  • Credit for nonbusiness energy property
    Tax Provisions That Will Expire 
  • Individual tax rate reductions (the “Bush tax cuts”)
  • Reduced tax rate on dividends and capital gain
  • Overall limitation on itemized deductions
  • Marriage penalty
  • EITC, Child, Dependent care and Employer-provided child care credit changes
  • Adoption credit
  • American opportunity tax credit
  • Work Opportunity Credit
  • Returning heroes tax credit and wounded warriors tax credit
  • Itemized vs. Standard Deduction
  • Declining itemized deductions (lower mortgage interest and real estate taxes)
  • Increasing standard deduction
  • Planning for taxpayer advantage
    Tax Issues Arising From Current Housing Market 
  • First-time homebuyer credit repayment or recapture
  • Foreclosures and short sales
  • Tax Issues Arising From Current Job Market
  • Moving expense deduction after being out of work
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Contract employment and self-employment
  • Premature retirement plan withdrawals, early retirement and social security
    New IRS Regulations 
  • Proof of delivery of tax documents
  • Interest and penalty suspension rules
  • User fee for enrolled agents and enrolled retirement plan agents
  • EITC requirement to file Form 8867
For background about the Tax Talk Today program and its presentations, see:  PA Elder, Estate & Fiduciary Law Blog posting "Tax Talk Today" Online (11/08/11).