Quit Your Whining

Over $1 Billion in Taxes Deferred Because of Loophole  By all rights, “Tax Day” ought to be one of our favorite holidays, like “Christmas in April” without the carols, the hype, or the eggnog. That’s because eighty percent of us get refunds, averaging $2,782 each in 2017. (When was the last time Santa Clause left three grand in your stocking?) Of course, that means 20% of us are writing checks to the IRS. And if you’re among that 20%, we sympathize. We know it hurts. But we’re confident it does’t hurt nearly as much for you as it does for
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Such a Bore

Not all tax professionals are boring!  Everyone has a mental picture of what a tax professional or accountant looks like. Probably pretty boring, right? Dull. Predictable. Not quite smart enough to do useful work, like engineering. Definitely not slick enough for sales. Probably balding and paunchy, bleary-eyed from too many late nights at the office typing numbers into boxes on government forms. But that’s not always the case . . . so let’s take a look at a couple of fun stories that shatter that stereotype. First, Dorothy Steel. Dorothy spent decades working as a senior revenue officer for the
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Auditors on Deck

Changes May Affect Trades Between Professional Sports Teams Baseball is back, even as some teams are looking at early-season snow days. Little-leaguers across the land are donning gloves and getting ready to watch their favorite big-leaguers take to the field. Stats geeks are prepping spreadsheets to crunch numbers like WAR (Wins Above Replacement), BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play), and LWCT (Largest Wad of Chewing Tobacco). And the umpires at the IRS are watching a new pitch that Washington just threw across their plate, too. Since 1921, code section 1031 has let you exchange property you’ve held for business or investment without
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Where Does Cardi’s Money Go?

Funny Rant by Cardi B on Money The rapper Cardi B grew up in the South Bronx’s Highbridge neighborhood, where the median family income barely tops $27,000. Cardi, born Belcalis Armanzar, couldn’t wait to get out. She spent much of her time at her grandmother’s home across the Harlem River in Washington Heights. By age 23 she released her debut video and album. Last year she joined the A-list with her hit “Bodak Yellow,” where she raps about being rich and arriving at “the club” in a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Apparently, Cardi really is stacking some nice paper. On March
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Ooops!

When You Rush, You Make Mistakes Back in 1985, a group of ambitious lawmakers set out to reform the federal income tax code. House Ways & Means Chair Dan Rostenkowski introduced the legislation. (This was before he became inmate #25338-016 at the Oxford Federal Correctional Institution.) Congress held dozens of hearings, cast 29 roll call votes, and debated 111 amendments on philosophical questions like Dan Quayle’s proposal “to provide that the period during which an individual is in the United States competing in a charitable sporting event shall not be taken into account in determining whether such individual is a resident alien.”
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IRS Investigates Pot of Gold at End of Rainbow

Tax Code Special Rules Help IRS Get Leprechaun’s Treasure   St. Patrick’s Day is here, and every “Irish for a day” tippler in your social circle will take advantage of this convenient excuse to haul grandma out of the house for a little day-drinking. (It seems unnecessary on a Saturday, but whatever.) Faux-Irish saloons across America are tapping kegs of Guinness, pouring shots of Jameson, and covering their walls and ceilings in every Celtic cliche they can find: the shamrocks, the hats, the green beads, and of course, the leprechaun jealously guarding his pot of gold at the end of the
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Area Man Treats Colleague to Dinner, Drinks

Can This Company Bar Tab Qualify As A Deductible Business Expense? The three-martini lunch has a long and mostly honorable history as a deductible business expense. As former President Gerald Ford once said, “Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful, and snootful at the same time?” Ford’s successor, famed buzzkill Jimmy Carter, tried (and failed) to cut the deduction from 100% to 50%. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 succeeded in that goal, and today’s business diner has probably switched from martinis to white wine. But old habits die hard — check any happening lunch spot and you’ll
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This Will Make You Love the Income Tax . . .

An Income Tax on “Potential Earnings” We Americans have fought with our internal revenue code since 1913. But slicing and dicing income, deductions, and a dizzying array of business and personal credits is hardly the only way that Uncle Sam could raise the money he needs to pay for guns and butter. State and local governments also use sales taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, and “gross receipts” taxes to fill their hungry coffers, too. And then there are the more exotic taxes, the kind that sometimes live only in philosophers’ heads. The nineteenth-century economist Henry George argued that
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Free App Avoids 100% of This Tax

A Way Around the Soda Tax! Traffic apps have revolutionized how many of us get from Point A to Point B. They started with in-dash navigation systems that needed updates every time a new subdivision or interchange appeared. Then they migrated to the phone with Google Maps and real-time traffic updates. Now, apps like Waze tell you where to get off the highway to avoid traffic jams altogether — and terrorize quiet residential neighborhoods in the process. At this point, your kids probably wouldn’t recognize the vintage navigation tool known as the “folding paper map” if you used it to
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Romantic Tax Collectors Love Valentine’s Day, Too

Valentine’s Day Great for Taxes It’s February, and love is in the air. Restaurants are advertising intimate Valentine’s Day specials for two. Florists are rolling out the red carpet. And in the greeting card racks across the country, Hallmark’s most accomplished poets are debuting their new verse. We’re talking about Valentine’s Day, of course. 62% of Americans say they’ll celebrate the occasion. (Of course, that means the rest of us will just try to keep our heads down and pretend it’s just another blah February day.) But with all those Cupid’s arrows flying around, shouldn’t the tax man get a
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