Is this craziness making you consider retirement?

While I was sitting at the registration at Spidell's Federal and California Tax Update Seminar in late 2019, a gentleman came up to me with a look of frustration, confusion, and maybe a little anger on his face. It was near the beginning of the discussion on the TCJA and the IRC §199A deduction, I believe.

I asked if he was okay and could I do anything for him. He said, "I can't do this anymore. All these changes are driving me crazy and I want to retire." I replied that maybe he could (not wanting to be politically incorrect, as he did look to be of retirement age but a young retirement age).

He said he had sold his practice five years ago, but he was still doing returns for about 30 taxpayers, including old clients and lots of family. Ah ha, the freebies for the "fam" (the worst kind of clients). He said all the CPE and keeping up with the new laws was just too much.

I asked him how the sale went and did the clients like the new owner. He said yes, and I suggested he call the buyer and ask if he'd take over these last clients. Be firm with the friends and family and tell them that he will no longer have a license and can't do their returns. (He didn't have to give up the license, but don't tell them that.)

He nodded thoughtfully and went away.

After lunch (chicken of course) he came back and threw his book on the table, saying, "I quit. Right now. Talked to the other CPA. He's taking the clients and I'm officially done." I congratulated him and told him to keep the book as a souvenir. He said, "No thanks, but thanks for my chicken lunch. The dessert was so satisfying!"

This was the first time we've had an attendee quit his practice during a seminar!

They'rrrre baaaaack…

Early last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Just Born company suspended Peeps production.1 They returned briefly in May, but then the company put Peeps back on hiatus and did not produce their usual Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's Day marshmallows so they could focus on safely getting up and running for spring 2021. We are happy to report Peeps are back in stores.

As an added bonus, the Peeps Instagram has a new livestream segment starting March 9 called Peepsonality Live, where bakers and crafters make Peeps-inspired creations.

The full Peeps holiday lineup will return with Halloween 2021. Until then, you can always make your own Peeps at home with this recipe that is described as "so so SO easy." I think the triple-so might be an overstatement, as this recipe requires soaking gelatin (which I have never had success with), beating ingredients until a certain type of ribbon forms, loading a piping bag with hot marshmallow and then waiting until it cools to the precise temperature to begin a piping frenzy before it cools too much, and painting on the eyes with black food dye (which you "know know KNOW" you're going to spill all over the place).

I'll see you at the store for Halloween 2021 Peeps.

1; also reported in the April 5, 2020, issue of the Tax Season Tribune:

Stickler alert: acronyms vs. initialisms

Because we're taking a deep dive into acronyms this year, we thought we'd set the record straight on where they come from and how they're used.

Technically, any word that has been shortened is an abbreviation. Acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms. Some are initialisms, which are made up of the first letters of a group of words, like FTB or TCJA or BTW (by the way), but they aren't pronounced as words.

Acronyms, on the other hand, are abbreviations that are pronounced as words (think scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), or NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), or SECURE Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act) or IRA (individual retirement account, but you knew that one)). Some acronyms are made up of a combination of multiletter or multisyllabic parts of abbreviated words, like FOREX (foreign exchange) or radar (radio detecting and ranging), which adds a vowel to make the pronunciation easier.

There will always be a debate among sticklers as to whether initialisms should actually be called acronyms. The solution to this minor discrepancy between the two can easily be addressed by actually pronouncing all initialisms as true acronyms. For example, for FTB, just say "eff-tub," and for IRS, say "erse." Works for me.

As always, we're open to your suggestions. The sooner we put these pronounceable acronyms into practice, the more accepted they'll become. And years from now, when people are researching the etymology of "eff-tub" and "erse," just remember — it started right here in the Tribune.

Side note: An FAQ about acronyms or initialisms is what article to place in front of them — "a" or "an." In this case, the rule is based on the first sound of the abbreviation rather than the first letter, so it's "an FTB (eff-tub) notice," not "a FTB (eff-tub) notice."

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Lynn Freer, EALynn Freer, EA, is a French literature major, so of course her favorite vacation destination is France. Here she is dining on mussels and fish stew near Nice.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and walks with her ancient Jindo, Mango.

Diane FullerDiane Fuller loves to read, cook, and go to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho, as many times as possible during the year with her family including grandkids and dogs.

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