Discussion:Splitting the Tax Forum

From TaxAlmanac, A Free Online Resource for Tax Professionals
Note: You are using this website at your own risk, subject to our Disclaimer and Website Use and Contribution Terms.

From TaxAlmanac

Jump to: navigation, search

Discussion Forum Index --> Tax Questions --> Splitting the Tax Forum


Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
I am considering splitting the tax forum into two forums: one for professional tax preparers (with filled out profiles) and one for all other questions.

Question: Are you in favor of this or opposed to it?

Question: What should the two new forums be called? My thoughts are to leave the professional forum as is, named "Tax Questions" and create a new forum with a name something like "Tax Questions by non-professionals" Thoughts?


Thank you!

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 14:05, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
YES YES YES

One should be "Professional Tax Community Discussion"

The other should be something like "General Public Tax Discussion and Questions"

Pegoo (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
YUP YUP!! But but but I'm not a EA nor CPA so will I get locked out?

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
No, Pegoo, you are part of the community.

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
ABSOLUTELY - And, not that I don't enjoy this forum being so accessible and FREE, but I would PAY to have our tax questions within the tax professional community be only viewable by other tax professionals. THis is one reason I changed my usr name, because of clients being able to see how dumb I can be :)

Riley2 (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Sounds like a great idea. I enjoy exchanging ideas and tax knowledge with other tax professionals. I have no interest in rendering free tax advice to members of the general public.

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I vote for split, and I like Kevin's titles. (If I'm doing my own return and have a question, I would ask it at the tax questions not the "non-professionnal")


It would be my impression that if you are a professional preparer, with a filled out profile, you are in the "professional" group.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
No, you won't be locked out. The "professional" forum would be for anyone preparing tax returns professionally. I would just add a notice on the page you go to before it lets you post a new discussion that indicates that you should be a professional (but no EA or CPA status required), and that you should have a profile filled out before posting. There wouldn't be any programmatical enforcements, so anyone could post to either forum, but hopefully the questions would go to the right forum. I could also let all of you know how to move the questions from one forum to another.

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 14:19, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Maybe then have the non-professionals, who have not posted a profile, not be able to access our professional profiles, that way it gives us some privacy...

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I have very mixed feelings about this: read the thread on EKlein's question about workmen's compensation, that from a DIY if I read correctly, and from what I can see, all of us learned something from it that he brought up. Or there are a number of personal reps or executors who I ask and learn something from Dennis or others. Yes, there are a lot of questions that don't merit the time, but I have also seen some from people who claim to prepare returns or 'have clients' that I cannot believe, two in the last 24 hours. I'd like to know who everyone is, but to me some of the reason I come to this place will be gone.

Bigman (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I am just wondering how and who will verify whoever comes to professonal forum

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Woodstock, I have been told that some people want others to see their profile - maybe to pick up a paying client. I would suggest if you don't want a non-professional to see your info, you post only to the professional forum and not answer the non-professional's questions. They could still click on your profile, but if someone else answered their question they would be satisfied and never hunt you down.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
I'm sitting here trying to decide which way to vote. Then I realized that, starting next week, I probably will have very little time to do anything on the web until after April 15th, so I guess it doesn't matter to me. I can say that I don't like receiving phone calls from non-clients who want free answers to their questions, so I would probably favor the split. Many times, questions from non-professionals here don't have enough facts to be able to answer the questions correctly, and at times, I feel like I'm wasting my time. But I have to admit that, for me, I visit this site more often for the entertainment and education than to answer questions.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Bigman, anyone can put whatever they want in a profile, but someone looking for a fast and free answer is probably not going to go to the effort of pretending to be a professional and filling out a full profile.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
I have to agree with David (Don't I always?). I'm not in complete favor of splitting, and most of the time, I could care less if users fill out their profile. But it was nice to see pictures of JR1 and Kevin added recently. (Bottom Line, I'm waiting for you to upload your pic.) :)

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
Replies to a few of your concerns:

Death&Taxes: I am working to also provide a "combined" forum as well, so you'll still be able to see the same view that you see now. I'm just going to offer additional views for those that want them.

Bigman: There won't be any verification process, other than what the community does.


- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 14:36, 26 January 2007 (CST)

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Good point Kev - Yeah, I don't care in the pro arena who sees my profile (which is awesome - just kidding!) but non-pros are another story, and I already am not taking new clients, so I don't need the biz. The only reason I bring the privacy thing up is because a client of mine asked me if I subscribe to Tax Almanac - she saw my previous user name on here and I guess she didn't know how to click on the person's name to see a profile. Although most of my questions I feel are more difficult, I feel like my clients don't need to read about my inadequacies, if you know what I mean.

CATAXES (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
One forum seems fine to me. I don't mind reading the questions from anyone. We chose which questions to answer/discuss, and the question usually gives away the level of expertise. I do prefer to have knowledgeable answers and maybe there is a way to make sure there is a profile for a responder.

Dennis (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Changing your name to hide, Elizabeth? The nice thing about the wicki format is that it is self-correcting. A bad answer is more likely to stick if you split the forums and bad answers become urban legends.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I send my 'Experts' here to read the various comments. These are clients who have just enough knowledge to make them dangerous, like my South Philly insurance man who has all his real estate holding LLCs as S Corps. I think he is doing returns on his own, for every so often he emails a question about some client. I pity those poor clients. I always wonder if he signs the returns.


I have found that now after I send my sister my daily email in the morning, I am here....it is addictive like the coffee I drink to start the motor. It is entertaining, and I can't believe how much knowledge I've gained not only from posts but research. Some of it is self-knowledge; I have realized that, unlike my cynical and callous exterior, I do suffer fools....maybe not gladly, but I suffer them. Now I find I keep the screen on while working [thanks to PGatto] and steal glances, refreshing the screen, now and then.

Bengoshi (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
D&T, I totally know what you mean. What I gain here is contributing to my knowledge, but at the same time I find myself refreshing the screen every few minutes. I could get a lot more routine stuff done if I weren't addicted to this site!

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Ha ha Dennis - I would never answer a non-pros question - don't have time. Rather chat with you fine folks. The only thing I have to hide is my ignorance when ASKING a question, not answering!

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
If I may.....

I too am at a crossroads with the question posed. Even though I don't don the fancy letters behind my name as other professionals here, I have many years experience in this field and am a owner/operator of an accounting/tax preparation practice. On most days I feel knowledgable and adequate, however, there are many days when I wonder what in the world I'm doing in this business. Many days when I feel down right stupid. Many days when I simply have a brain block, or brain overload. Many days when I feel so alone in such a huge tax rule world. I am so grateful to all who are a part of this site...those who make it possible in every way. I have tried my best to give as much as I take from this forum. I too am addicted....have considered seeking, or starting, an AA program (Almanacers Anonymous) :) Seriously, I feel much more at ease knowing I have someone to hash things out with. And YES, I have posed "stupid" questions, and will again. I apologize for this and hope the civilness of those here will also continue. I suppose it really doesn't matter to me what changes are made to this forum, as long as I am allowed to continue to be a part of the experience.

Gotta little windy didn't I :)

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
Well said, AHH! I can relate to everything you said.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Dennis makes an excellent point about urban legends. Sometimes it scares me when I answer a question and later I see I am the only one. Was I right? I felt so good today when Riley confirmed my answer on dividends when there are split states, but perhaps if that question is asked at 'Amateur night' and neither Riley nor I venture over there, but someone replies incorrect, the user may find disappointment later. Part of a 'wiki' is that we check each other, and maybe, just maybe, arrive at either the right answer or a consensus.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
Right on, David. I always feel better when someone else chimes in with the same answer, especially in the gray areas.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Sandy chimes in here :). I have learned so much from you guys...I am a CPA; sat for it in 1991 and believe it or not...I passed!!! But I have learned from a vast array of you....I question myself alot (poor self esteem I suppose) but when I learn something here and apply it as a new "law" in my office, then I feel better. I don't like audits (especially when I am wrong) and even though I will fight tooth and nail for something I believe in, it is not worth the headache.

So....I DO agree that this forum can be sequestered...in my days when I don't want to think of difficult problems, it is nice to go to a forum with "easy questions" most often from laypeople.

Kudos to D&T, JR, Riley, Dennis, Deback, Intltax and so many others for helping me throughout last year and hopefully this year....speaking of...gonna post a new question...I know the answer, but hope someone can make me feel better :)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Speaking of addicted, after I posted my last I noticed the doggie pushing up the runner to try to get to the crumbs from an old biscuit and I realized it was dinner time for Farfel. Also I had to mix the coating and sauce for the deviled pork chops I am supposed to make for Pam and I. Two more casualties from my addiction; to add insult I began to rush and while the dog's ground beef that whets her appetite was cooking, and I was mixing the sauce for the chops, I calmly poured 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder over her Pedigree Small Morsels and had to throw them out. Now on this coldest day of the year here by the bay, poor Pam will not have a hot dinner waiting. Thanks, Alamnacers :)

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Can I have dinner at your house D&T? Your dog eats better than me!!! hehehe

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
D&T: You cook ground beef for your dog? Are making deviled pork chops durning tax season? Will you adopt me?????

Dennis (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Cooking meat destroys things like sinovial fluids that are good for dogs. Dogs have impressive digestive systems (Mine has been chewing on a two month old deer head he dragged out of the woods.) Chopped green beans and grated carrots, cooked winter squash -- all good stuff to add. Raw bones good for teeth.

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I too am forever grateful to you all - I have never had any mentors that I can bounce things off of in the 7-8 years I have been on my own. My old boss (both old and previous)hates me, so asking him anything is out of the question. Anyway, you guys and gals have been the best thing that has happened to me professionally. Okay, I'm tearing up - time to go...  :)

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Ewww, Dennis - old deer head?

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
AWWWW Wood....it is ok, many times I have cried and it is a girl thing or so they tell me. My past employers are decent people...thank God and I can give them clients that are too complicated for me :)

Crying is good for the soul...but can I still have dinner with D&T? hehehe

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Farfel will be 13 in March, has a cancerous bone tumor in her leg and two fractured bones, but she has high spirits and since finding out in early November, I have been feeding her extra. The cancer caused a 4-5 lb weight loss in four months. She may go downhill tomorrow, but what I see is much more interest in the world about her and the ability to put a little more weight on her leg. Her other favorites are liverwurst and Steak-ums, a regional food. I have added greens at times, and she forages out front nibbling....


I cook Wednesday-Friday when she works; I make a wicked Pasta Carbonara. Next week I plan curried beef and chicken caccciatore.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
Can I join you, too? I hate to cook, and that is my major problem during tax season...usually am too tired to cook when I go upstairs every night, so I live on bologna sandwiches and potato chips every day. Yea, I know...that's bad.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Ok..since this thread has changed tunes.....I live on Mt. Dew and Goody Powders ! Yum Yum.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
But we keep our girlish figures, no? I live on Tuna Salad...unless my bf cooks...but he is pissed at me right now as he owes taxes...go figure!!

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Is he a construction worker, Sandy?  :) hehehehe


In this office the kitchen is ten feet from my desk.

Sandysea (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
OMG D&T...how did you guess? hehehehehee

My kitchen is about 10 miles from my office....I don't even like going home to tell the truth...chicken of the sea!! hehe

Green hunter (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
I think that you should make this an exclusive Forum and only allow those who are tax experts so we can share our knowledge only with each other. Everyone else who is not an expert and cannot gain access to this Forum for help or assistance instead thay should be sent to the IRS website.

Just curious Doyle so if we have two forums than who will actually respond to those who really need the help-the non professionals?

Taxfun (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
One forum for all is okay by me. As some others have written, we all may be too busy soon to respond.

Woodstock (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
It takes me three months to lose 10 pounds during tax season - I call it my tax season diet. It takes me nine months to gain it back. It's a vicious cycle. Maybe we should have a separate forum for our non-serious posting...ha ha

Corptaxhelp (talk|edits) said:

January 26, 2007
I'm voting against the split.

Without enforcement, folks are going to post wherever they want. Those of who are addicted ('hello, my name is CorpTax H. and I'm an TaxAlmaholic') are going to read both groups anyway. No matter what the question in whichever grouping, we're still going to check for a profile before responding to a unfamiliar name. I don't see any benefit from the split.

I would be strongly in favor of requiring a profile before being able to add to a discussion.

I also would be in favor of a five-day waiting period.

In short, you'd have to create an account then would have to wait five days (or three or whatever) to post. I'm fairly sure some versions of wiki support that sort of thing natively. There would be several advantages to this for TaxAlmanac.

Nothing frustrates me more than hit-n-runs. These are people who post a question, get answers or more questions as precursors to an answer and never pop back up again. I am convinced that 73.8% of those people never even check for an answer. They come across TaxAlmanac, post a question and then lose interest or get distracted while waiting the 20 minutes (or less) it takes to get an viable answer. These sort of people are worse than those who are simply unthankful because the hit-n-runs don't even come back to see if there was an answer. Grrrr...

The waiting period would greatly discourage hit-n-runs. The waiting period would also allow new members to get a feel for the room before crashing the party. It doesn't take long to learn who knows what they are talking about, who is helpful and who isn't. This is simple party etiquette.

Finally, the waiting period would cut down on the frequently asked questions. During the five days (or however long) the new user is reading but waiting to post, there is a good chance their question will be answered.

Anyway, that's my two cents (before taxes).

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
My idea, which I expressed elsewhere, is a two-screen "Tax Question" process, where the person doing the query would choose a description and, perhaps give bio information. They would not be able to access the next screen without checking CPA, EA, DIY, etc, with one box for people who dabble in taxes, for many of our questions come from there. Once that was filled in, it would always be filled in, or perhaps we would enter our password again to get the question page.

AHH (talk|edits) said:

26 January 2007
Been thinking(obviously not eating), and wonder if this would help.....when someone wants to "join", setup a username and password, they would be required to fill out their profile and then, and only then, an email would be sent to them to activate the account before they can begin posting.

Sw (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I am very glad I found this site. Since I now work alone I missed having someone that you could ask a question and get their opinion. Sometimes after many long days you just need someone to confirm that your on the right track. I appreciate everyone that has taken the time to answer my questions even the dumb ones.

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
For what it's worth, I'd like to see it stay as one forum. Since posters can post wherever they chose, it defeats the purpose of a pros only forum. I do believe the bios should be completed...only by pros. The default should be written to state that the user is a DYI or whatever. Let the pros fill in their bios if they like, don't make the DYIs jump thru hoops.

Besides, it's the content of the posts and not the bio let me know who the real pros are.

On a lighter note - the food discussion. I used the live on Pepsi, cigarettes, and late night snacks during prior tax seasons. Well, I quit smoking in May and I just found out I'm a diabetic yesterday (no more Pepsi and snacks). This should make for one very GRUFF tax preparer.

Mikelim (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I'd vote for splitting it. Most of the questions that I ask/post are ones that would not be of interest to the average taxpayer. I'm usually throwing it out there to see what other CPA's and tax professionals have to say about it.

I value the service greatly...I do my own tax research via RIA, and while the research is great, it is often just as beneficial to see what other professionals have done in real life experience.

I've had a number of great questions answered here - thanks to incredibly knowledgeable folks like JR1, SandySea, and others.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
Woodstock - I do the same thing during tax season (lose weight and then gain it back the rest of the year).

>>Maybe we should have a separate forum for our non-serious posting...

Anytime you want to talk exclusively about non-tax stuff, you can go to the General Chat forum.

Uncle Sam (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I'm all for this idea also.

I've said from the beginning when I came to this board - there should be a separate forum for tax pros (regardless of credential) vs non tax pro. And yes, to be considered a tax pro - you must be registered-disclosing who you are, address, phone/fax,e-mail, INCLUDING ME. Reason I never did it, was because it wasn't a requirement to post here. Now that it will be, I've got no objections. So long as we all must register - then can't we use our actual names instead of pseudo names?

This board could also be useful in another way - aside from the questions and answers forums, it could also be a useful referral-if a client moves and doesn't feel comfortable using you from a distance - you could refer to someone from this board.

Johnny (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I agree with Mikelim.

JCCPA (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I am all for it. I would even pay an annual fee for a professionals membership...and I think it would encourage a more collaborative exchange of ideas among professionals.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Sorry no pic Deback. Haven't had a picture taken in years but will try to get the husband to take one when we go on vacation in June. I'm bad about forgetting to eat during tax season (what's that strange sound? Oh, it's my stomach growling. When's the last time I ate? I think it was two days ago - or was it three?) I usually lose 10-15 pounds during season. I'd starve to death if my husband didn't do all the cooking. (He's a vegetarian fireman and I only cook southern - fatback is a very good thing!) I come to this site for education and comradery (sp?). When you work by yourself, it's good to know that someone else is in the same boat.!

Sea-tax (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
High all I don't post often as you may or may not know, but I do lurk constantly and chime in when I have something of value to say.

I personally would not like to see it split up. My main reason for this is that where do you draw the line. Next people will want only intuit or Lacerte or Proseries people to have access. I am just using this as an example.

I think if you don't wish to respond to a thread then simply pass it by. Also sometimes by answering a simple DYI question it helps me to understand the topic better. It is sort of a learning tool so to speak. Well anyway I will try to post more if I am still allowed after this change.

Actionbsns (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
What's DYI? See, some of us have questions that aren't brilliant. Personally, I like this forum in any way it's set up. It has such great value when you are a sole practitioner and don't have a bunch of really smart partners to bounce really dumb or semi dumb or even just normal questions off of. For example, take a look at the beauty salon question and all the replies over just a few hours. That was a fun discussion and some people really learned something. If I ever get a similar client, I know where to get an answer.

DeBeck - Bologna sandwiches and chips for tax food? I thought it was peanut M&M's and chips, followed by good water, gotta have something healthy that won't keep you awake when you finally get to go to bed.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
DYI is the transposition of DIY for "Do It Your-self" preparers.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Okay, here is another long-winded post from me about this subject. Apologies to all in advance.

Well, as I have stated the last two times we had these discussions I am greatly in favor of separate forums where those who do not fill out a profile (whether paid preparer or not) have one forum and paid preparers who fill out a profile have a different forum.

As we are seeing now (and it is not even February) the non-pro questions are starting to come in greater numbers. It is, therefore, becoming time-consuming to find a tax-pro generated thread. Additionally, the number of OP's saying "I have a client", but have not filled out a profile are also increasing greatly. Additionally, many are turning out to be one trick ponies.

There is a large enough group of paid preparers who do not want to answer, *or sift though*, the DIY posts to get to the "pro" posts.

For those who like one forum for all, and as Tim indicated above, he is working on a combined forum. This is what I called a "mash-up" in a previous thread and I believe Tim is trying to overcome / work-out some technical issues specific to wikis that do not make this so easy to do. (Tim - correct me if my characterization here is wrong.) If Tim is able to make this happen, then I believe this discussion is moot because each user can determine how s/he wants to utilize / participate in TA. That is, go to the Pro forum, go to the DIY forum or go to the combined forum.

Regarding non-profile-filler-outers (I went to college to learn words like that), couldn't the wiki look to see if the person who just signed in has a completed profile? If so, the "Reply to discussion:" box will be active for both the Pro and DIY forums. If not, it will be grayed out in the Pro forum and active in the DIY forum. It would be sort of like when you install a new program. The "Next" button is grayed out until you check the "I agree" box in the EULA. Once you choose "I agree" the "Next" button becomes active.

Tim also mentions that we will be able to move posts to the proper forum. Of course, that could invite some abuses. I'm sure some are aware of the troubles that Wikipedia has encountered. However, Wikipedia's entries for the vast, vast majority are proper and unscathed. Additionally, I don't believe those who come to TA are part of the rabble-rouser crowd. (To any of you that are part of the RR crowd, I hereby apologize!)

I don't like the telephone number being a requirement for the profile. Not all of us "serve the public". I am a CPA in industry so having my telephone number in the profile would be a big negative. Having my address in there would be less of a negative because anyone could go to my profile now and see that I am in CA. It's an easy step to go the CA website, look-up "Gatto" and find the only one whose name matches the initals "P.C." That being said, I would still be against "forcing" the address to be part of the profile.

To me, the profile is more of a place to see a narrative of the person's experience (at best) and licensure / certification / enrollment status (at a minimum). And before anyone jumps down my throat who hasn't read my previous postings on this issue in the other threads, I strongly believe that a person's licensure / certification / enrollment status is not an automatic indication s/he is a "professional" and the lack thereof is not an automatic indication s/he is not a professional. We have many top and valued contributors in TA who are not licensed / certified / enrolled, but who are highly professional. Merely because "CPA" is after my name, it does not confer any special professional powers upon me. (Although I am the Master of Time, Space and Dimension, that's just me being me, not because I am a CPA).


BTW - Tim: Thanks for continuing to follow-up on this issue. I really appreciate it no matter how the "vote" goes. Additionally, Kevinh5's forum titles are good suggestions.

Skasselea (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I agree completely with all of PGattoCPA's statements. Excellent post.

Lizzit (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Comments.

1) Telephone number. If it IS made mandatory, I want to be able to enter my London number! No forced XXX-XXX-XXXX format please!!!!

2) Not split. The joy of this site is the complexity of the issues covered. I think everyone here will agree that we wouldn't be coming back if the majority of questions were along the lines of "I just got my first job. What form do I file?" and "My employer is withholding something called 'FICA' from my cheque. What's FICA?" We do not want to be bored to tears with trivial questions. Under the current system, the public is somewhat intimidated by the eruditeness of the queries, and thus mostly post interesting questions that get our brains in gear.

3) If you must split, PLEASE have a FAQ with the IRS Pub 17, and a few other things, as the bullet-top forum post saying "read this before you post a question". Let's work on getting this FAQ as succinct and complete as possible so that no-brainer question-posters (I too went to school to learn big words) self-select their questions out of the loop.

Bottom Line (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I would prefer not to include telephone numbers. We get enough calls from DIY's and telemarketers without increasing the volume. I do find that knowing the State does help. I can help with questions specific to Florida but am useless in places such as California. I don't really have an opinion regarding splitting the forum since I use the All Discussions tab (I like that-saves time).

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
After winnowing out the chaff about meals, deer meat and dogs, it seems to me this discussion is splitting into one of two proposals:
  1. Separating posts and questions into professionals versus non-professionals or,
  2. Achieving a mechanism for insuring that the person asking fill in a profile first.

Some prefer having both of these goals attained; I am in the camp of favoring the second. The point was made above "the non-pro questions are starting to come in greater numbers. It is, therefore, becoming time-consuming to find a tax-pro generated thread." Hmmmm, yesterday we had 'pro' threads wondering if we could cash refund checks for a fee and another I shall not mention but which spawned comments that were stunning in terms of lack of basic knowledge. We've also had a question from a DYI that taught many something not known before.

The Q&A Board is like television; we can vote with the on-off button. Each of us has a mouse and a scroll wheel, so maybe it is finding a way to have a definition on the profile and perhaps a different coloring to the question. I think PGatto's idea is similar to mine expressed earlier, while another person suggested receiving registration by email activation. These, combined with a mechanism to spot the non-pro when the question pops up, would allow those not interested to drive by. Like Dennis, I fear segregating by pro and amateur will lead to the 'urban legends' he mentions, to the detriment of the Almanac. Imagine a review in Money, e.g., that points people here, but warns them that the answers should be taken with grains of salt....it is peer review that makes this place what it is.

Will (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
PGattoCPA's post seems very reasonable to me in terms of profile vs no-profile forums. If the forums are ultimately split, mash-up concept also seems to allow the best of both worlds and to somewhat mitigate the 'urban legend' breeding ground of a DIY predominant forum.

(Tongue-in-cheek) I will have to differ with the esteemed Mr. Gatto on the question of forum titles. I am favoring 'Professional Tax Community' and 'The Unwashed Masses', (proposed by someone else I think, but who can find anything in this thread anymore). We must never let the 'UWM' forget that, not only do we know more about tax; we are also cleaner than they are! :)

(Tongue-out-of-Cheek) D&T is spot-on with his comment that peer review is a huge draw to the Almanac, especially for sole-proprietors. My concern is that one massive catch-all forum is going to eventually blunt some very talented practitioners desire to browse our forum, to cut through the trivial and drive-by posts, and hopefully find a fellow peer to review.

Just my thoughts, good luck this season!!!


William Price, EA | Portland, OR - Talk to me

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Why don't you think the DIY board will not get "peer review" by some pros wishing to read and answer? You think only 1 person will answer the DIYers?

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
From reading here, I presume over half the people posting here might not bother.

Deback (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
I vote to keep it all the same. Users can continue to choose which messages to read and answer.

PJLCPA (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
When I first heard about this site it was thru the Lacerte tax program. I thought that this site was for users of the software to ask and answers each others questions. To build a community of preparers, and to get imput on how people are using the software, and how best to enhance it. I thought "what a great idea", I'll join. This has turned into a great site, where I can see that I'm not alone with "problem" clients. There are clients out there with a lot more problems that mine....(there's a certain comfort in that). After you've been here a while you can tell by the last user, topics you want to read, just for your general knowledge.


I don't mind responding to DIY users, and I would continue to "help them out" as a community service, but as time is becoming a limited supply, It would be nice to be able to help out the professionals ASAP, and the DIY when you get time. As we all know, DIY have a lot of extra time, that's why they do there own return.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
PJL:

There are discussion forums for the Lacerte, ProSeries, and other Intuit products. You can view them by going to http://accountant.intuit.com and selecting the Communities tab. This is the preferred place for people to ask product-specific questions. We don't mind if you ask them here, but we don't have anyone from Intuit with product knowledge responding here.

TaxAlmanac is focused on being a great tax research resource for professional tax preparers and tries to be product-agnostic as much as possible. There are links from within the tax products to pages here on TaxAlmanac.

Even though it wasn't quite what you thought it was going to be, we're glad you found us!

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 10:32, 27 January 2007 (CST)

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Keep it the same. Don't bog it down with registrations, emails, and all that other trivial stuff. I do think that new users should be steered to do their profile first. That profile should default to say something like " I Am a DIY and I might have tax questions"..not the current 'guess if I'm an EA or CPA because I'm not telling you yet.". The pros can fill in what they like.

As I've said, just by reading a few threads you can see who the pros are...regardless of the bio.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
It would also be good if ALL users were pointed to the SEARCH feature first, and instructed to search for and read prior posts on their subject, as many questions have already been answered. And answered. And answered. How many times do you want to answer a question about how to deduct S-corp shareholder/employee's health insurance this year? Asked and answered.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
Kevin:

True, but in many of the discussions, it takes quite a bit of back and forth discussion until the answer is revealed. I wonder if we made it easy for anyone to summarize a discussion if anyone would fill that in. We could then take those summaries and put together some pretty impressive pages on a given topic - links to sources and all. We could start with the topics that get asked so frequently, like LLCs, etc.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Sounds like a great idea, Tim, for May 1st!!!!!!! We have a FAQs more or less about the site; maybe a FATs for Frequently Asked Topics.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
DT, the domino effect of doing that would then allow for fewer "new questions" on the "same old topics", and would result in someone being able to find the correct answer faster. FATS DOMINO.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Exactly! And, perhaps on the question page NOW, we should provide links to the A-Z index, which I like to use, and other methods of searching for similar topics. Something like 'BEFORE YOU ENTER A QUESTION, HAVE YOU SEARCHED OUR INDEXES FOR SIMILAR TOPICS' and then provide links.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Put that on the "What Tax Almanac Needs" thread. Although Tim will see it here.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 27, 2007
D&T & Kevin:

Check now - is that what you envisioned?

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 15:41, 27 January 2007 (CST)

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Well, now, that is great....it just might do the trick.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
That index and those instructions are now so easy I might even use them!

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I don't agree with encapsulating FAQs, FATs, and steering DIYs to a previously or often asked questions section just because regular users are tired of seeing the same questions. It's been my experience in dealing with real life issues that the facts of a given example never quite seem to match situation and circumstances exactly. That always leaves doubt. No matter how times I read it, I still come away with the same thought..."That's not quite the same"


We are familiar with tax issues, it's what we do. But a newbie coming here looking for answers to questions isn't and they are going to be overwhelmed by having to figure out how to answer and research their question without actually asking it to someone. Think about it from that perspective.


It's analogous to having to research how to built a watch when all I really need to ask is "What time is?".

For what it's worth...that's my $2.75 (it's inflation)

Will (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Looks good Tim. Really like the header at the top of the tax forum, very helpful in navigating the site.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
You hit it, Will; it helps tell about the site and nothing on it is mandatory. (Is it? 'hehehehe,' to quote Sandy.

Kevinh5 (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
RG, is the purpose of this site to give out free answers to every question or to provide a discussion for people supposidly familiar with taxes?


Requesting someone do a little research on their own before asking a question is not really onerous. Remember when you asked your dad how to spell something and the answer was your dad handed you a dictionary and said "look it up"? The index and search features of this site are still much faster than getting out a Master Tax Guide and trying to figure out whether the reference numbers are for pages or paragraphs, and what is that section thingy supposed to mean?

Poorhouse Road (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
I only found you guys about a month ago so I don't feel I should give and opinion at this time about splitting or staying as is. I know whatever you decide it will still be a good site and I look forward to future participation.

Will (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
This thingy --> ยง ?? I am surprisingly pleased whenever I type that character.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

27 January 2007
Anent Pros versus DIY people and research: check out the latest discussion on the telephone refund: Preparers trying to find it on the return and rather than review the product, they pop in and ask. So many of us have spent time linking to IRS articles and doing our own explanations, and these could have been referenced. I am not sure if the question or some of the answers are funnier.

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2007
I was refering to DIYs and those not acquainted with the tax craft. Those that start off with "I have a client..." and proceed to ask a very basic question are another story.

Smokeytax (talk|edits) said:

28 January 2007
I vote for keeping the forum the way it is, but will continue to get a great deal out of it either way.

One thing I would be very much in favor of, in terms of the general public, is a stronger and more prominently displayed disclaimer.

Those of us who are professionals know very well that we are ultimately responsible for the returns we sign, and use this forum merely to be pointed in the right direction and to see what usual/standard industry practices are.

As for the public, I think they may be relying to heavily on the answers in the forum.

I would like to see a disclaimer at the top of the forum along the lines of "Although some of the information in this forum is provided by professionals, you should not rely on the answers to questions on this forum to give you anything more than general information, which may not be applicable to the complete facts of your specific situation. If you wish to ensure you receive correct and complete advice, you should hire a professional who can more thoroughly review the issues as the pertain to you."

I know this type of disclaimer is shown after you click on "Website Use and Contribution Terms", but I wouldn't mind seeing it at the top of the main forum page, rather than on a separate page.

Thanks for providing the forum - it's terrific.

Jwebb (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
There's no 'right' answer. And everyone has anecdotes to support their point. But as a newbie and "professional," if this is going to a vote I say split. And I too would be willing to chip in some $ if that's what it takes to filter.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Here's my current thinking:
  • TaxAlmanac's purpose is to assist professional tax preparers, not as a place to obtain free personal tax assistance.
  • If we split the forum, we'd be creating a forum for personal tax assistance, and therefore inviting such users to the site.
  • Some have pointed out that some non-professional questions are excellent and though-provoking, while some questions posted by professionals are actually very basic.

As I read these discussions, it seems as though the real need here is to be able to get to the interesting, thought-provoking, "juicy" discussions while being able to easily see and skip the simplistic ones. Correct? If so, perhaps some sort of rating system where the community could easily rate discussions would be a better solution.

Thoughts?

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 10:47, 29 January 2007 (CST)

Lphillips (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
I am on the cusp between professional/nonprofessional. I am assisting a professional this tax season. I am studying for the CPA. I have taken one course in individual taxation, and am currently taking corporate taxation at my school.

I have often thought it would be nice if there were a separate area for "novice"-type questions. I don't ask many questions I have because I know they are very basic.

If the forum splits, will I be able to access the professional section (as a reader, if not a participator)?

Taxfun (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
Leave it alone!

Corptaxhelp (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Tim, I would be in favor of a community rating system instead of a split.


I've been a member of SlashDot (http://slashdot.com/) for nearly a decade and their community rating system is the best I've found. Not only can you rate individual posts, you can rate people. You can then filter by quality of comment with points added or removed based on the commenter. Often times, you'll have 300-500 comments on a topic and, with the ratings filter, you can get to the 15 good comments on no time. It is a real time saver. Of course, adding slashdot-style filtering is probably ouside the scope of what is available in wiki natively.

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Corptaxhelp:

Yes, this is the direction I was thinking. I know that this isn't handled by the wiki natively, but this entire discussion forum isn't either! This type of forum isn't available anywhere else actually. We're learning as we go.

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 11:50, 29 January 2007 (CST)

Rgtaxservice (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
I'm due for a dumb question, so here it is: what's wiki?

Corptaxhelp (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Wiki is a piece of software.... http://www.wiki.org/wiki.cgi?WhatIsWiki

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
OK, here it is, final answer. Must fill in profile, three day waiting period (which elminates all of the chaff), then they can ask the question and pick up their gun.

Death&Taxes (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
I presume you mean something like stars at IMDB or other movie rating systems, with each reader being able to rate 'degree of difficulty' without answering the question? Just joking, but we could rate them in terms of "Riley's," whose word is authorative by me(he agreed with an answer I gave and I felt so proud). 'Hmmmm, that's a three Riley question.'

Tdoyle (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
What is a Wiki? A wiki is a website in which the users can actually change the pages themselves. The most well-known wiki is Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world, with over 1.6 million articles in the English version alone. Anyone can add a new article or make changes to existing ones. In this way, the online community there has created the largest encyclopedia in the world in just a few years. There is no longer a need to pay for an encyclopedia which is written by editors and which simply can't keep up-to-date as fast as an entire community working together. This type of community-based effort can be very powerful!

This is the idea behind TaxAlmanac, which uses the same base software (called MediaWiki). Bring the professional tax community together so they can collectively build a resource to help them with their tax research needs. For those tax preparers who don't need all the features of the larger (and expensive) tax research products on the market, TaxAlmanac could be the answer.

The discussion forums here are an excellent resource. We've seen how much all of you want to interact and help each other and we're doing what we can to facilitate this. However, we think more is needed for TaxAlmanac to reach its true potential.

How can you help? There is a lot of non-copyrighted material out there. We're trying to import the IRS material such as IRBs, Revenue Rulings, Notices, etc. Why not just leave it all at the IRS website? Well, by having it here we can add links between all of the related documents, categorize them, and generally make it much easier for us all to locate the information we're searching for. Also, we can easily reference this material in our discussion replies, making it easier to find the sources of the answers. See the Community Portal if you'd like to help with one of the teams that are working to make TaxAlmanac a richer site.

- Tim Doyle, TaxAlmanac Moderator - Talk to me 12:46, 29 January 2007 (CST)

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Tim wrote: What is a Wiki? A wiki is a website in which the users can actually change the pages themselves. The most well-known wiki is Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world, with over 1.6 million articles in the English version alone. Anyone can add a new article or make changes to existing ones. In this way, the online community there has created the largest encyclopedia in the world in just a few years. There is no longer a need to pay for an encyclopedia which is written by editors and which simply can't keep up-to-date as fast as an entire community working together. This type of community-based effort can be very powerful!


So that...truth can be relative, totally...erased or edited as the un-informed see fit...and used to push their own agendas and feelings. What a country.


End of rant. I do like those aspects of TA, but I wonder if we really use then as effectively as we should. For example, I'm not aware that anyone goes thru and erases wrong answers, which would be very helpful. Not the debatable stuff, but the easy stuff. ...

JEllegate (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
I didn't want to read through all 98 responses so if this has been said already then just consider it to be additional confirmation. I favor splitting the forum...having an area available to practitioners vs the general public. The practitioner area being accessable only by the other practitioners and the general public area by all (this would allow the practitioners to answer the general public if they wanted to).

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
If the choice is "split" versus "rate", then I vote for split. Rating means those that do not want to would still have to pour through a bunch of non-professional posts as they hit TA in order to rate them.

In a split forum responders know that they probably should more closely guide the OP. They can still guide them to reference sources, but the expectation is not that they are trying to encourage the professional development of a paid preparer.

On the other hand, we as a community should be trying to encourage the professional development and knowledge of paid preparers, new and old alike.

I have no issue with the professional newbies asking basic questions in the "Pro" forum. The advantage is being able to answer their basic questions with a link or code section to get them on their way to do additional research and then they can post their conclusion to get buy-in. That is how people learn (including me) in the "bricks and sticks" world. If all we do is spoon Pablum, then we are not doing the profession a service.

Additionally, the newer professional may frequent the "DIY" forum more regularly in order to see how lines of questions are drawn by the seasoned pros to elicit the relevant facts necessary to answer the question.

I do think the rating system is a good idea, albeit in a split forum setting.

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
Well, the required profile and a three day waiting period before the first post knocks out so much debris, that I wonder if it's even necessary to then split it up. The problem with splitting it up is that the frequent users here will then be going back and forth between two forums constantly, which is a huge pain in the arse.

PGattoCPA (talk|edits) said:

29 January 2007
There are many frequent users who want the split as well. <VBG>

It depends on Tim's forum combining efforts. If he is able to work it out, each user can determine how s/he wants to utilize / participate in TA. That is, go to the Pro forum, go to the DIY forum or go to the combined forum. You and I will both be happy.

If he is not able to work it out, then one set of users represented by your preference would be unhappy at the expense of the other set of users represented by my preference. A classic "Us" versus "Them" conundrum!!

The problem with democracy is the "tyranny of the masses". If one more person wanted the split forums than wanted the single forum, then the minority is shut out. Since TA has morphed into its present state, I would think that the profile and waiting period ideas would be good to implement. This would hopefully lessen *my* pain while I wait for Tim's heroic efforts to come to pass.

And if it turned out that the profile / waiting period implementation does not generate the benefits we think they will, then we can have this discussion all over again. Won't that be fun? <VBG>

JR1 (talk|edits) said:

January 29, 2007
LOL! Yes...there's something to look forward to...

Gbhwc (talk|edits) said:

30 January 2007
If it was split, I would use this board more as the quality has suffered in the past.

Glenn Hammill, CPA Walnut Creek, CA

To join in on this discussion, you must first log in.
Personal tools