Tax Strategies for Trick or Treats

Interesting Halloween Tax Strategies!  Halloween is almost here, and if it seems like things have changed since you were a kid, you’re right! Halloween has become big business, with the National Retail Federation predicting Americans will spend $9.1 billion on the festivities. That includes $3.4 billion on costumes, with top choices being superheroes, animals, princesses, witches, vampires, and zombies. And, “pets will not be left behind, with 10 percent of consumers dressing their pet as a pumpkin.” (If you’ve got a dachshund, of course, you have to dress it up as a hot dog. Rule of law.) So how does
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The Long and Short of It – Tax Strategy Tricks

Tax Strategy Gone South  Consumer surveys consistently show that CPAs are the most trusted financial advisors of all. But what happens in the rare instance when you can’t trust your CPA? Nothing good, that’s for sure! Back in 2001, John Baldwin helped engineer a deal to sell Louisiana’s Delta Downs racetrack for a $74 million profit. Baldwin took a $10 million fee for his work, along with some hefty interest payments on a $17 million loan his company had extended to finance it. But Baldwin didn’t want to share those hard-earned gains with the IRS. So he went to the
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They Hate Him at the IRS, Too

CEO “Retires” With Millions After Major Data Breach  We live in an unfortunate era of disunity. Cultural divides, racial divides, religious divides, and political divides are threatening to tear America apart. Every so often, though, someone comes along to unite us all in a great primal scream of rage. Remember “Pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who bought the company that manufactures the prescription Daraprim, then jacked the price from $13.50 to $750 per pill? We really do need more people like him to unite us against a common enemy. Rick Smith probably never imagined his company would become one of those
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Too Tasty for the IRS

Restaurant Owners Stretch Meaning of Expenses  Most of us like to eat, even if we choose to deny ourselves this pleasure from time to time. And those of us with an entrepreneurial bent often dream of opening a restaurant. Sometimes it’s a bustling cafe fronting a busy urban sidewalk. Sometimes it’s comfort food served on a rural byway. And when the dream works, it really is a dream. Just ask celebrity restaurateurs like Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, proprietor of Greenwich Village’s Waverly Inn, or Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood, whose Mission Ranch eatery draws diners and fans to Carmel, California. Unfortunately, opening a restaurant
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Sink Your Teeth Into This One

Who knew! The IRS loves pizza!  “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra The calendar is full of little-known commemorations that probably escape your attention, and this month is no exception. Some of them are just silly, like September 19’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. (Although, really, if you don’t think pirates are cool, what’s wrong with you?) Some are obscure, like September 23’s Restless Leg Awareness Day. But some of those special days resonate with everyone. And that brings us to September 20: Pepperoni Pizza Day. Yes,
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Help With Help – How to Help Storm Victims

Help Storm Victims With Donations After Hurricane Devastation Ordinarily we use this space for lighthearted stories that poke fun at the tax system and some of the clever ways that people endeavor to make it work for them, successfully or not. But the recent stories coming out of Harvey-ravaged Texas and Irma-ravaged Florida suggest a more serious tone for a change. Today we’re going to walk through some tax-related opportunities when it comes to reaching out to help storm victims. You might be surprised to see how our friends at the IRS are jumping in to help, too: If you
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A Match Made in Dallas

A Match Made in Dallas – The Deciding Factor in this CEO’s Tax Case Where is “home”? Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever you make it. Home is wherever I’m with you. And, of course, I’ll be home for Christmas. But what does the tax man think of all of this?  In 2009, Greg Blatt was Executive Vice-President, General Counsel & Secretary of InterActive Corp (IAC), which ran 150+ web sites including About.com, Vimeo, and The Daily Beast. Blatt’s title sounded impressive, but IAC had reorganized him out of much of his responsibility, and he started looking for a
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TurboTax Made Me Do It – On Filing Your Own Taxes

Filing your own taxes using tax software can be very tempting One of the highlights of living in our technologically-advanced age is the ability to buy tools to do almost anything. If your kid fractures his arm playing baseball, you can hop on over to Amazon and order an orthopedic bone saw for less than the cost of a tank of gas. Then you can (probably) head over to YouTube and watch a video explaining how to smooth off the rough edges and set it for best results. You might not want to do that all yourself. But the tools are there
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Oops! You Fail To File Taxes

Penalties aren’t the only risk if you fail to file taxes Mark Twain once said, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.” But Twain’s advice doesn’t always pay when it comes to taxes. The calendar watchers at the IRS charge a 5% per month failure to file penalty, up to 25% of the amount due, along with a half %  per month failure to pay penalty, also up to 25% of the total amount due. And the IRS isn’t the only tax man to pay attention to deadlines, even if they
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