Discussion:Code and Regulations Updates, etc.

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Discussion Forum Index --> TaxAlmanac Feedback --> Code and Regulations Updates, etc.


Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
who updates these on Tax Almanac? When? How about Circular 230? When I look at the history tabs, it concerns me that most haven't been updated since January 2006. Would it be easier to provide a link to somewhere that DOES keep these up to date?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
Circular 230 is WAY out of date here. I posted a note about this 14 months ago:

NOTE: THIS IS THE OLD CIRCULAR 230 - THE NEW ONE EFFECTIVE 09/26/2007 HAS NOT BEEN POSTED HERE YET - USE THE SEARCH UNDER "CIRCULAR"

Treasury Department Circular No. 230 (Rev. 6-2005)

Regulations Governing the Practice of Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Enrolled Agents, Enrolled Actuaries, and Appraisers before the Internal Revenue Service

Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service

Title 31 Code of Federal Regulations, Subtitle A, Part 10, revised as of June 20, 2005

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
A related issue was raised by a new user here - apparently, sometimes relevant amendments are being shown only at the bottom of the page, after the main text of the unamended code. And even then, they are not always in the specifically labelled "amendments" section. In his case, to see the latest updates to Sec. 404, you had to find the appropriate part of the "miscellaneous" section on that page.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
what bothers me is the statement at the top to the effect that 'This version is correct and up to date' and when I look at the history for certain sections, I haven't seen any changes in 2 years when I know there should have been some.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
At the bottom of the About the Internal Revenue Code page, it lists upcoming legislation which has not been incorporated, including the Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

2 December 2008
Cornell Univ Law School's version of the Code has a link to it's update page: showing revisions. I do believe that this is more current than TA's version.

Uncle Sam (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
It is quite obvious that Tim Doyle just doesn't care about the functioning of this board.

No matter what is discussed in the way of dissatisfaction from the active users, we can see from Tim's conspicuous absence that he really doesn't care. Any other webmaster stays on top of the use of the board from posters, sanctioning those who violate the terms of use and/or show misconduct. It's quite obvious right from the opening screen that the "headline feature" article doesn't get changed when new tax laws are passed. I really would like other TA posters to express their opinion. Perhaps if enough of us object to Tim's neglect, Intuit just might replace him. Just like the rest of us, he's not indispensable.

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
I've sent Tim some messages about some issues (one is very familiar to Kevin and Uncle Sam). So far, no response. I wonder if he is still here.

Tom

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
We have had far fewer DIY questions (at least new questions) since I added

If you are NOT a tax professional, you are not allowed to ask a question on Tax Almanac. Please visit the Turbo-Tax website for consumer or do-it-yourself questions. This rule is enforced because this site was set up solely for tax professionals to discuss their questions and issues. It was not set up as a free advice site for consumers.

to the Ask a Tax Question screen

and added "You must be a tax professional to ask a question" to the accounting question screen.


DIY'ers still get in by hijacking an established thread and appending their follow-up questions. I don't know how a DIY section would stop that from happening, I really believe that the 'create an account' screen must be set up to stop them.

For those who WANT DIY questions, the answer would be to ask Tim Doyle to create a DIY forum either here or elsewhere. Those of us who didn't approve could simply ignore the DIY forum. Those of us who wanted to help DIYers could choose to view those discussions.

Cast your vote by leaving a message for Tim on this link: User talk:Tdoyle

(not this discussion)

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
That must be a recent addition. I haven't posted a question in a while. That's pretty good. I like it.

Again, I mentioned to Tim in his user section, I think a DIY section is appropriate. Just do it and get it over with. As I told him, I would go there and help out.

But I absolutely hate the pollution of the main forum with those questions. That's the problem. I think we agree with that.

Thanks again Kevin.

Tom

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
I think Tim’s still around, and while I’m completely with you guys on wanting to see more of him, I have a different perspective on why he’s not here so often, which I’ll post next, after I float an idea to see what you guys think of it.

Since I imagine Tim has valid priorities limiting his time here, I wonder if we could get him to grant more power to user moderators – like if he’d grant Kevin the ability to block vandal users or give a team of us the joint ability to update some of the pages that are currently blocked to user edits?

For example, I want to change the New User Page to notify people before they even sign up that this is a site for tax pros, by putting the blue splash screen (TA – the online research resource and community for tax pros) at the top, but that page is locked to user edits. I really think that’d do a lot to relieve the DIY/student problem – as it is now, they get too far into the site before they realize / are told, and so they press on regardless and get mad about it. I’d love to be given access to that page to change it…. Same thing for the code pages – even if we wanted to put time into it, we can’t change the pages that aren’t up to date, we can only view the source code.

I wonder what it would take to get Intuit to trust some group of us enough to give us moderator (or submoderator) access? (And I also wonder if they’d pay us anything to do it – because once we’ve got actual responsibility, I might want some sort of compensation....)

Trillium (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
Here’s my perspective on why we don’t see enough of Tim:

Tim was probably given a charge, back in 2005/06, to get TaxAlmanac up and running, and to foster it so that a community would develop. Intuit probably didn’t plan on committing people full-time on an ongoing basis (if they even thought about long-term staffing at all).

Through strategy or happenstance, the community that evolved had some strong and committed members who started to so some self-poliicing and self-moderating, and over time, I imagine that Tim found that he could pull back somewhat from his day-to-day involvement without adversely affecting the sustainability of the site. That likely means he’s been given other, new priorities, and from Intuit’s perspective he can’t just ignore those to deal with things here – especially when the issues are things that we know Intuit just isn’t concerned about in the big scheme of things. (I’m loosely referring to older threads about the DIY issue where it seemed that Intuit’s dual-track business plan – marketing software to both pros and DIYs – was possibly making them hesitant to block all DIYs here and was leading to softer solutions like the “pro screen” on the tax questions page instead.)

In fact, I’d be careful about wishing for Tim to get “replaced” by somebody else within Intuit – as I wouldn’t be surprised to find that Tim spends more time here than Intuit expects, at this stage of the website development. Somebody without his history on the site probably wouldn’t even spend the time that he does.

Also, the last major website change Intuit did was to replace a really nice searchable TurboTax forum, which had quite a few pro/retired pro volunteer helpers answering questions and a smart and active moderator, with a truly awful “yahoo questions” kind of place that was linked into the TT software – so users ask questions right from the software, not realizing they’re posting personal details on the internet for all to see – that was hard for the volunteer pros to navigate, so lots of them left, and impossible for the moderator to organize/manage the way she had before, and now many of the questions go unanswered and searching is hopeless. Functionality to the users declined significantly, but Intuit now has stats about where in the software people ask questions, so I suppose they’re happy. (Long story there, my point is, again – be careful what you wish for.)


Bottom line: I think we need to do what we can to help Tim use his limited time here in the best way. I don't think it helps to assume the worst about him - after all, we want him on our side, right?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

3 December 2008
I'm all for a group of sub-moniters. (you could call them the Merrimacs, just for fun). Maybe before a change was made permanent another Merrimac would have to OK it, checks-and-balances style. Or is that checks-and-debit-cards?

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

December 3, 2008
I want to thank everyone for bringing up these issues yesterday and today. Your comments are important, and I am listening. I care very much about TaxAlmanac and the community that has formed here. Moderating the site is not my only task, and I have been trying to step back to see just how much the community can "self-moderate". It appears that I may have stepped back too far, too soon. For that I apologize. As for the main issues you have brought up here, let me see if I can respond to them:
  • Internal Revenue Code: The most recent legislative changes have not yet been added to the version here on TaxAlmanac, but I am working to get resources to get this done. In the meantime, it is important to be clear, so Kevin and I have updated the Internal Revenue Code page to reflect what is and what is not included currently. Also, I've asked our tax expert for clarification on how and why the IRC pages might get updated in the"miscellaneous" section as opposed to the main section.
  • Treasury Regulations: I've been working to add a completely new set of Treasury Regulations to TaxAlmanac with updated information and much better page formatting. Stay tuned for that in the near future.
  • As for the other materials, TaxAlmanac is a wiki. Other than the Code & Regs, each of us can update pages with material from the IRS pages or other non-copyrighted material. If you see information that is stale, click on the "edit page" tab and help to make TaxAlmanac better!
  • Based upon the current and previous discussions, I have now implemented a Consumer Questions discussion forum. We still don't want to encourage non-professionals to post to TaxAlmanac, but we all know that a few will try, no matter how obvious we make it clear to them, and this can be a forum where any that are posted get moved and out of the way of those users who prefer not to be bothered by them. Also, I've added a notice on the account creation page indicating that TaxAlmanac is for professionals only. Let's watch and see if these changes have any impact.
  • I have asked Kevin and Trillium to help out with moderating TaxAlmanac. They are now able to remove spam posts and block highly abusive users. Also, Trillium can rename user accounts for those that desire to do this.

Thank you again for your feedback!

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 17:06, 3 December 2008 (CST)

Taocpa (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2008
Tim,

Thanks for your help in making this happen.

Some of us are more than willing to help with the "Consumer Forum." The basic problem became "separating the wheat from the chaff." That's what got annoying.

I must say, I did not realize you did other tasks for Intuit. Sorry about that. For the most part, I think we've done a decent job of self-policing in recent months, with the the help of Kevin, Trillium and many others.

These changes made are a step in the right direction. While they may not keep everyone from "breaking the rules", it certainly is better than nothing.

TomTaocpa 20:41, 3 December 2008 (CST)

Uncle Sam (talk|edits) said:

4 December 2008
Tim - I thank you for greatly changing this forum, and Trillium and Kevin for your effortst to help stabilize this board.

I believe that ANY public board should be monitored to keep a healthy exchange of information between the users - but strictly adhere to a code of conduct where there is no abuse.

Uncle SamUncle Sam 15:26, 4 December 2008 (CST)

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