Weekly Update–March 8th, 2024: Not Luck🍀 Just Good Tax Minimization Planning as we Enjoy St Partick’s Day Observed Several Times Over🍀

It’s Friday morning and I am just back from the beach, where at last the sun was actually visible! It’s positive thoughts that help me through these long days of tax season and starting my day at the beach certainly helps set the pace for the day…

Friday Morning & Here's the Sun at Last
Friday Morning & Here’s the Sun at Last

In Rockaway we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day early, this year it was Saturday March 1st, even with the rain, spirits were high and someone actually made it to the beach early enough to plant flags at the end of our jetty…

Rockaway Beach St. Patricks Day Observed March 1st
Rockaway Beach St. Patricks Day Observed March 1st

Lois and I share holiday hosting responsibilities, she starts with 50 pounds of corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day and 50 pounds of brisket for Passover.  I “call” those holidays that do not clash with tax season and am so happy to join Lois, Wayne and their family for these celebrations…

Rockaway Beach St. Patricks Day Observed March 1st
Rockaway Beach St. Patricks Day Observed March 1st

I do love being able to take a break and just walk down to the beach at the end of a long day, so glad the rain finally let up…

Thursday Evening Stormy Surf at Sunset
Thursday Evening Stormy Surf at Sunset

Even in a gloomy week of overcast skies and drizzle, someone is enjoying good weather somewhere.  Of course it’s my daughter Jessie who lives in southern California with my granddog Sampson and yes I am planning to visit right after tax season (at the end of our ski trip to Snowbird)…

Sampson in a Field of Wild Flowers on Thursday Evening in Southern CA
Sampson in a Field of Wild Flowers on Thursday Evening in Southern CA

Even rainy, overcast days can be beautiful at the beach as long as you’re dressed for the weather…

Sunday Morning Sunrise on Rockaway Beach
Sunday Morning Sunrise on Rockaway Beach

I’m hoping for clear skies for a while even as I am “chained” to my desk with our first major deadline next Friday March 15th. Wishing everyone a great weekend and those of you who are headed to some St. Partick’s Day parades and celebrations; enjoy!


I have attended our Nassau/Suffolk NCCPAP annual tax season round table meetings in the past, but it’s been several years since we have held one in person.  It was such a treat to see my “tax buddies” this Wednesday morning; over 50 of us met at a diner on Long Island to discuss critical tax laws, trends, court cases and the like.  While this session is always very informative with many takeaways, this year I was reminded of how important in person meetings are as they cement relationships.  I arrived ten minutes early and spent at least 20 minutes before and after the meeting catching up with “old” friends.  We had prearranged to have a “girls table” you cannot see him, but Mitchie the service dog in training is fast asleep under our table.  Another reminder about how important it is to hold in-person meetings from time to time. It’s not all about taxes!!!!!

The Ladies of NCCPAP
The Ladies of NCCPAP


More Guidance on Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting (BOI)

I have been writing about and discussing BOI reporting requirements for months.  Last Friday Judge Liles Burke of the U.S. District Court in Huntsville, Alabama, held that the Corporate Transparency Act and the beneficial ownership information reporting (BOI) mandate it includes is unconstitutional, because it exceeds the powers granted to Congress by the Constitution.   Initially I was relieved but then I attended our recent Nassau/Suffolk Chapter of NCCPAP morning tax round table (this Wednesday) and we discussed the ruling.  I learned that it was a very narrow ruling pertaining only to those plaintiffs in the case and that the ruling was expected to be overturned.  Oh well, I am signed up to present at and attend a seminar focused on this legislation and how to best guide my clients through this requirement.  I am happy to see that there are several third-party venders who are offering filing and review support.  My firm will continue to vet these venders so we have several to recommend to our clients.  The deadline remains January 1st 2025 for most small businesses who are required to file reports (warning:  new businesses have a much shorter 90 day reporting window for 2024).  Please feel free to read through my prior blog posts for more specifics (seems to be one per month) See my recent blog posts for in-depth discussions on BOI Reporting Requirements: from March 1st, 2024January 5th 2024 and December 8th 2023 and November 10th 2023).

Extending You Tax Return to Buy Time for Tax Savings Strategies

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to hold year end exit appointments with our business clients, I know I am a tax nerd, but fun for me is working through various scenarios and pitching ways to take a set of dollars and have it work to my client’s best interest.  We create 2-3 scenarios incorporating tax strategies (not just projecting what your tax liability will be) which are from our “tool box” and show our clients how they can move business funds from the “tax pocket” to another “business benefit pocket” which provide advantages to our client and their staff.  When we discuss deferred income strategies our clients may need extra time to accumulate the funds required to fund these ideas, but the tax savings coupled with tax deferred income growth are a great incentive.  Check out my blog posts on tax minimization strategies from my prior blogs, NO MORE MISSED OPPORTUNITIES:  November 3rd 2023October 20th, 2023October 13, 2023August 8th 2023,

Enhanced Funding:  Wealthy Households Cringe at IRS Audit Push

At our recent Nassau/Suffolk morning tax round table (this Wednesday) we discussed the news that the IRS is ramping up audits and enforcement actions against wealthy tax dodgers. As we progress through tax season 2024 we expect more scrutiny on those tax returns of high income taxpayers, however, all taxpayers should continue to follow sound tax practices and document, document, document.   This from a recent article in AccountingToday  “The stated focus on high net worth and ultrahigh net worth taxpayers, thanks to tens of billions of dollars in extra funding for enforcement efforts over the next decade, will pay off in the form of higher audit rates and revenue to the federal government if the IRS enhances its approach, according to a report released earlier this month by the Government Accountability Office, an independent watchdog agency that reports to Congress. For policy experts, the efforts represent a much-needed crackdown on an estimated “tax gap” of about $688 billion a year between the amount of revenue that should come to the government and its actual collections.”

I/we continue to recommend you stay diligent and work only with well-informed, well educated tax advisors and other professional business advisors; this new enforcement push puts those who do not follow the law at risk for penalties, interest and possible criminal action. In addition, should your return be pulled for audit, the process can be very stressful and costly, even with proper planning, documentation and support.

Live In Person N/S NCCPAP Tax Round Table
Live In Person N/S NCCPAP Tax Round Table


Forecasters Raise Expectations for 2024 U.S. Economy

This year looks to be a much better one for the U.S. economy than business economists were forecasting just a few months ago, according to a survey recently released by the National Association for Business Economics.  The good news according to this survey:  “The economy looks set to grow 2.2% this year after adjusting for inflation … up from the 1.3% that economists from universities, businesses and investment firms predicted in the association’s prior survey, which was conducted in November.”

The U.S. is Set to Pay More on Interest on its Debt than Defense

Americans are familiar with the impact of higher interest rates, making it more expensive to carry credit card debt, run small business, purchase equipment, pay for emergency medical care and purchase homes and cars. We are not the only ones, the federal government is also dealing with the increased carrying cost of their debt according to this article by CBS News: “Spending on interest on U.S. debt is now the fastest growing part of the budget, and even projected to overtake national spending on defense this year.

Federal spending on interest payments is forecast to hit $870 billion this year — exceeding the $822 billion that the nation will spend on defense in 2024, according to a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. This year’s outlay for interest payments represents a 32% increase from last year’s $659 billion in interest expense.

To be sure, higher interest rates aren’t the only factor raising the cost of servicing the country’s debt. Over the last decade, the U.S. has almost doubled its outstanding debt, which surged to $33 trillion last year from $17 trillion in 2014, according to Treasury data. ”

Small Business Owners Report Growing Optimism about the U.S. Economy

Small business owners feel more optimistic about the U.S. economy as inflation cools and recession fears subside, according to a new survey by PNC Financial Services Group from their poll of small and midsize business owners.  This report is from CBS News: “A majority of respondents – 55% – said they are “highly optimistic” about the national economy this year. That’s up sharply from 34% last fall and 26% a year ago, according to the Pittsburgh-based bank. Roughly eight in 10 owners also expressed confidence about their own businesses’ financial prospects. Over the next six months, just over half of the business owners who were surveyed think their profits will rise, while only 5% expect earnings to fall.

“The U.S. economy is doing quite well. We had strong economic growth in the second half of 2023, with consumers spending more and businesses investing. That strength is persisting into 2024,” PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher told CBS MoneyWatch. ”

Gas Prices Hit Four-Month High; Here’s Why Analysts Expect More Price Surges

On Wednesday the national average price for a gallon of gasoline hit a four-month high; according to this article in Forbes:   “analysts expect it to keep rising as oil prices trend upward, refineries struggle with capacity and states transition to a more expensive summer fuel blend.

  • Drivers in the U.S. are paying roughly $3.31 for a gallon of gas on Wednesday, according to data from GasBuddy, while AAA puts the price slightly lower, at an average of $3.29.
  • Prices are highest in Hawaii, where drivers pay an average of $4.71, followed close behind by California, at $4.70, due to a combination of factors including transportation costs and state gas taxes (California has the second highest gas tax in the U.S., at nearly 80 cents per gallon).
  • Six other states average over $3.50 per gallon, including Washington ($4.07), Nevada ($3.95), Oregon ($3.80), Alaska ($3.55), Illinois ($3.55) and Pennsylvania ($3.50), according to AAA.
  • The jolt at the pump comes as the price of oil—which is refined into gasoline—continues to rise, with the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate increasing by nearly 3% over the past month to over $79 per barrel, and the international benchmark Brent Crude Oil jumping 1.20% over the same time to nearly $82.
  • Patrick De Haan, head analyst with GasBuddy, expects that price to keep climbing as refineries struggle with capacity, with gas supplies inching down.
  • According to data from the Energy Information Administration, gasoline stocks in the U.S. have come down to 247 million barrels in the week ending Feb. 16, a decrease from 253 million barrels a month ago, while demand has steadily climbed up over the same time, to 8.33 million barrels per day.”

The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Report is Out

The Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Report to Congress provides a detailed review of monetary policy, economic conditions, and financial developments. It includes the Fed’s outlook for future economic performance and its decisions on interest rates, aiming to foster maximum employment and price stability.

Here’s a “cut and paste” for a taste, and click though for the full report:

  • Inflation. Consumer price inflation has slowed notably but remains above 2 percent. The price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) rose 2.4 percent over the 12 months ending in January, down from a peak of 7.1 percent in 2022. The core PCE price index—which excludes volatile food and energy prices and is generally considered a better guide to the direction of future inflation—rose 2.8 percent in the 12 months ending in January, and the slowing in inflation was widespread across both goods and services prices. More recently, core PCE prices increased at an annual rate of 2.5 percent over the six months ending in January, though measuring inflation over relatively short periods risks exaggerating the influence of idiosyncratic or temporary factors. Measures of longer-term inflation expectations are within the range of values seen in the decade before the pandemic and continue to be broadly consistent with the FOMC’s longer-run objective of 2 percent.
  • The labor market. The labor market has remained relatively tight, with job gains averaging 239,000 per month since June and the unemployment rate near historical lows. Labor demand has eased—as job openings have declined in many sectors of the economy—but continues to exceed the supply of available workers. Labor supply has trended higher over the past year, reflecting a continued strong pace of immigration and increases in the labor force participation rate, particularly among prime-age workers. Reflecting the improved balance between labor demand and supply, nominal wage gains slowed in 2023, but they remain above a pace consistent with 2 percent inflation over the longer term, given prevailing trends in productivity growth.
  • Economic activity. Real GDP increased 3.1 percent last year, notably faster than in 2022 despite tighter financial conditions, including elevated longer-term interest rates. Consumer spending grew at a solid pace, and housing market activity started to turn back up in the second half of last year after having declined since early 2021. However, real business fixed investment growth slowed, likely reflecting tighter financial conditions and downbeat business sentiment. In contrast to GDP, manufacturing output was little changed, on net, last year, a downshift following two years of robust post-pandemic gains.
  • Financial conditions. Conditions in financial markets tightened considerably further over the summer and early fall before reversing course toward the end of the year. The FOMC raised the target range for the federal funds rate a further 25 basis points at its meeting last July, bringing the overall increase in the target range for this tightening cycle to 525 basis points. The market-implied expected path of the federal funds rate has moved up, on net, since the middle of 2023, and yields on longer-term nominal Treasury securities are notably higher on balance. Credit remains generally available to most households and businesses but at elevated interest rates, which have weighed on financing activity. Lending by banks to households and businesses slowed notably since June as banks continued to tighten standards and demand for loans softened.
  • Financial stability. Overall, the banking system remains sound and resilient; although acute stress in the banking system has receded since last March, a few areas of risk warrant continued monitoring. Upward pressure on asset valuations continued, with real estate prices elevated relative to rents and high price-to-earnings ratios in equity markets. Borrowing from nonfinancial businesses and households continued to increase at a pace slower than that of nominal GDP, and the combined debt-to-GDP ratio now sits close to its 20-year low. Vulnerabilities from financial-sector leverage remain notable. While risk-based bank capital ratios stayed solid and increased broadly, declines in the fair values of fixed-rate assets have been sizable relative to the regulatory capital at some banks. Meanwhile, leverage at hedge funds has stabilized at high levels, and leverage at life insurers increased to values close to the historical averages but with a liability composition that has become more reliant on nontraditional sources of funding. Most banks maintained high liquidity and stable funding, while bank funding costs continue to increase. (See the box “Developments Related to Financial Stability” in Part 1.)
  • International developments. Following a rebound in early 2023, growth in foreign economic activity was subdued in the second half of last year. Economic growth was particularly weak in advanced foreign economies (AFEs) as monetary policy tightening weighed on activity and high inflation eroded real household incomes. Structural adjustment to higher energy prices in Europe continued to hinder economic performance, while property-sector weakness and sluggish domestic demand restrained Chinese economic activity. Foreign headline inflation has fallen further, reflecting declines in core and food inflation. However, the pace of disinflation has varied across countries and sectors, with the moderation in goods inflation generally outpacing that in services inflation.   Most foreign central banks paused policy interest rate hikes in the second half of last year and have since held rates steady. Policy rate paths implied by financial market pricing suggest that central banks in many AFEs are expected to begin lowering their policy rates in 2024. Several central banks in emerging market economies have already begun easing monetary policy. The trade-weighted exchange value of the U.S. dollar has increased slightly, on net, since the middle of last year.


We sincerely hope that you and your family are well and remain well. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you.

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