Extended tax practitioner hotline hours

The FTB's tax practitioner hotline will be extended for two hours and will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the periods March 5 – March 15 and April 2 – April 17. Normal hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.[i]

To find out the current wait time, check the FTB's dashboard at:

Don't fear TurboTax commercials

With the implementation of the tax reform changes, and increased standard deductions starting in 2018, there has been much discussion about taxpayers using software like TurboTax rather than paying a tax professional to do their returns. I think there are a number of reasons why these clients will continue to see the value in their tax professionals, but the recent TurboTax advertising campaign made me even more confident that they won't be wooing your clients away any time soon.

If you have seen the recent TurboTax commercials on television, you may have been just as confused as I was. Their goal seems to be telling taxpayers they don't have to fear their taxes, but the result was strange and oddly entertaining. So if you need a break from tax returns, take a minute to watch the videos below.

One features a strange dancing teddy bear:

Another stars a gross monster hiding under the bed:

And another is in Spanish, and shows a chupacabra riding a mobility scooter:

Attorneys vs. accountants: the new cops vs. firemen

Equivalent to throwing oneself in front of a Lamborghini cruising the Pacific Coast Highway, LawProCLE sent out a marketing e-mail blast last week calling all attorneys to attend their webinar titled "Litigating Claims Against Accountants."

Not like, "I could use some tips in case I have a lawsuit that happens to involve an accountant."

More like, "Plaintiff attorneys are aggressively expanding claims against accountants because professional liability insurers are often there to 'bail them out.' This course will assist the plaintiff and defense lawyer in determining if the accountant has liability in areas that may be overlooked." In other words, let's go after the accountants because they have good insurance.

This is a low blow, people. Let's get educated. I advocate for one of us buying the webinar and having a mass screening; we'll find out what holes they're looking for and fill them. We'll march, we'll protest!

Or, we just quadruple our fees for all of our attorney clients. I mean, they can afford it, right?

Drink up ...

Tax season blues getting to you? Feeling low because you are spending longer hours at your computer and unwinding with a beer or a glass of wine rather than working that elliptical? Take heart (yes, pun intended), because a new study has found that this might actually help you live longer.

New research has found that drinking about two glasses of wine or beer a day was linked to an 18% drop in a person's risk of early death and had a stronger effect than exercise.1 Although this study is new, it's actually consistent with other recent studies.

So go ahead, pour that glass of wine. There will be time for exercise later.

1 Ducharme, J. (February 20, 2018) "Can Alcohol Really Help You Live Longer? Here's What the Research Actually Says," Time Health http://time.com/5166514/moderate-drinking-live-longer-study/

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Renée Rodda, J.D.Renée Rodda, J.D., when not speaking, writing, or helping Spidell customers, enjoys travelling with her husband and riding her horses, Eli and Ava.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, meets with an all-female photography group once a month and also spends her free time watching classic and foreign movies. Her dream is to recreate the pie fight scene from The Great Race.

Sandy Weiner, J.D.Sandy Weiner, J.D., as California editor, loves all things California. Whether it's hiking at Big Sur or playing at the beach in San Diego where she lives, Sandy takes full advantage of all that California has to offer as a way to clear her head after trying to comprehend and explain California's Revenue & Taxation Code.

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