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Wacky, tacky tax bill

By Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Federal Tax Editor

In what can only be described as a wacky, tacky tax bill, Connecticut state Senator Patricia Miller introduced a bill that would require tax preparers to file an amended return at no cost to the taxpayer and be liable for any additional tax, penalties, or interest owed if a taxpayer underpaid income tax due to tax preparer error.1

Just to be clear, this means that if a client fails to tell their tax professional about all their income and signs their income tax return under penalty of perjury (as all taxpayers must do), then the tax professional may be forced into a “he said, she said” argument with the taxpayer of whether all the income was disclosed to the tax professional. And if the tax professional loses, they are on the hook for not only the resulting penalties and interest, but also the additional tax owed?! Tax, I might add, that the taxpayer would be required to pay with or without preparer error.

This Connecticut Senate bill would only incentivize taxpayers to lie to their tax professional and would drive malpractice insurance costs through the roof. Of course, anyone who gives this bill 30 seconds of thought realizes that the issues I just brought up are only the tip of the iceberg.

Almost as crazy as the bill itself, the Connecticut Senate held a public hearing for the bill on February 22, 2023. Of the 79 publicly available comments and testimony, only one person supported the bill. It begs the question what Victoria Mayer, Director of State Government Relations at H&R Block, is thinking! Judging by her LinkedIn profile and work history, she is clearly a policy wonk, and I’d be shocked if she ever prepared an income tax return in her life.

If you’re curious and want to read the public comments yourself, they can be found here:

TGIF Mozzarella sticks bag

1 CT S.B. 814 (2023)

New Mexico’s latest state emblem is on the nose

By Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

Chiles are the number one cash crop in New Mexico,1 so it makes sense that the official state vegetable is the chile, but New Mexico isn’t stopping there. Senate Bill 188 (Soules) proposes adopting an official state aroma, (very) specifically “the aroma of green chile roasting in the fall.”2

Senator Soules got the idea for this designation after visiting a fifth-grade classroom for a discussion of the various state emblems. The bill has already passed one committee and Soules plans on passing out fresh roasted chiles to the legislators when the bill hits the Senate floor. So far, no one is opposing the bill.

New Mexico has yet another chile-related emblem: The official state question is, “Red or green?” referring to which type of chile is preferred when ordering New Mexican cuisine. If you want both, the correct response is “Christmas.”

Here are a few other interesting state emblems:3

  • Although “Kansas” and “wine” seemingly may not go hand-in-hand, Kansas is home to 50 vineyards and wineries and has official state red and white wine grapes: Chambourcin and Vignoles, respectively.
  • In 2013, Oregon was the first state to name an official state microbe: brewer’s yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since then, two more states have declared official state microbes: New Jersey (Streptomyces griseus) and Illinois (Penicillium rubens).
  • In 1962, Maryland designated jousting as its official state sport. It is unknown if the designation included giant turkey legs and steins of beer for all.
  • Georgia’s State Beef Barbecue Championship Cook-Off is the Shoot the Bull Barbecue Championship. Do not get this confused with the State Chicken Barbecue Championship Cook-Off or the State Beef Barbecue Semi-Final Cook-Off.
  • In 2021, California Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia gutted a bill on funeral expense assistance to name the date shake as the official state milkshake. Date shake fans statewide are still waiting, though, because the bill… died.4

Legislate this!

Since we inadvertently ended up with a theme to this week’s Tribune, it makes sense to ask: If you could introduce a tax bill into your state’s Legislature, what would it be?

Suggestions from inside Spidell include:

  1. If client paperwork is not submitted by February 1, 50% of any refund goes to the preparer.
  2. For a 0% unemployment rate and zero wait time, any unemployed individuals are to be hired and trained as state tax agency phone operators.
  3. To close the budget shortfall once and for all, California is going to impose a “selfie tax” of one cent per selfie.
  4. Anyone flying over the state of California is subject to a 2% sunshine tax (at least on those days when the clouds are not present).

You can reply to your weekly Tribune e-mail with any suggestions.

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M., is an Orange County native, and you can find him around his backyard smoker, working in his garage, or sipping lemonade at either a baseball or soccer game for this three children.

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn 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 watching foreign films.

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