The Postman Always Rings Twice

Getting mail from the IRS is rarely something to celebrate. If it’s a bill, consider yourself lucky — at least you can just pay it and be done. If it’s a “CP 2000” notice proposing a change to your taxes, get ready for a ride on the paperwork tilt-a-whirl. If it’s an audit notice, all bets are off. (Relax — it only feels like you’re a prisoner at a CIA black-ops site.) But one taxpayer may have won the booby prize for “worst IRS correspondence ever” when he got a letter helpfully notifying him he had died. Deceased. Croaked. Bought
Read More

Some Modest Proposals

Here in America, most of our tax debates center on “income.” How do we define it? How do we count it? What do we get to exclude from it, deduct from it, or credit towards it. And finally, how much of it do we take, to make sure everyone pays their “fair” share. The end result is our tax code, a many-headed hydra that several wags have noted contains twice as many words as the Bible, but with none of the good news. Of course, income isn’t the only thing we tax. Uncle Sam and most states tax sales. They
Read More

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year?

Way back in 1963, the singer Andy Williams introduced one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Decades later, the office-supply store Staples repurposed it to sell school supplies, and Miller recycled it once again to sell light beer. But for our friends at the IRS, the most wonderful time of the year starts right now. So here are some tax time quotes to get you in the spirit of the season: “It’s tax time. I know this because I’m staring at documents that make no sense to me, no
Read More

Trick Play Backfires; Team Thrown for Loss

College football fans have been crying for a season-ending playoff tournament for years, to replace the invitational “bowl championship” series that usually prompted as many questions as it answered. Monday night they got their wish, as the third-string quarterback Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes overcame four turnovers to stun the Oregon Ducks, 42-20, in the very first College Football Playoff Championship Game. Somewhere lower in the college football hierarchy, the University of South Dakota Coyotes aren’t anyone’s idea of national champions. They didn’t even play Division I ball until 2008, when they joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Read More

A Royal Mess!

Most of us don’t get to choose our parents. And while we’re usually grateful for the ones we have, we’ve also dreamed of lives that might have been. What little girl hasn’t dreamed of growing up a princess, living in a palace, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a tiara? And don’t forget marrying a handsome prince! Infanta Cristina de Borbon, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, is the brother of Spain’s King Felipe VI and sixth in line to the Monarquía Hispánica. The Infanta grew up in the Royal Palace of Madrid, where she probably logged a ride or two
Read More

Decoding The Code

The Imitation Game is the critically acclaimed story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician who is widely credited as being the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing, whose work in cracking Nazi Germany’s “ENIGMA” code helped lift the Allies to victory in World War II. Seventy years later, retiring Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has picked up the code-breaking bug. But Coburn has decided to take on something even more twisted and fiendish than Nazi ciphers. That’s right — he’s just issued a 312-page “Tax Decoder” taking on our tax system. (Read it at your peril
Read More

Delay Paying Taxes With A Like-Kind Exchange

Sitting on a piece of investment property that you would like to sell? By structuring the transaction as a tax-deferred exchange, you can delay paying taxes on the full amount of the gain realized. Also known as a “like-kind exchange” or a “1031 exchange,” these transactions are only available for investment or business assets. Certain types of assets don’t qualify for a tax-deferred exchange, including inventory, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds, and your personal residence. Keep in mind, too, that the like-kind exchange rules only defer the tax. Any gain will be recognized upon a taxable disposition of the replacement
Read More

Planning Can Save Your Vacation Home Tax Deductions

You can enjoy a vacation home and cut your taxes – with some careful planning and a little discipline. The IRS rules can be complex and potentially restrictive, so a word of caution is in order as you plan the use of your vacation home. Owners of vacation homes often rent out the property when they’re not using it themselves. Renting out your vacation home may or may not make sense for you. The principal variables are the number of days you rent the property, the number of days of personal use, your individual tax situation, and your personal wishes
Read More

Nonprofit Organizations May Have Tax Obligations

If you’re an officer or on the board of a community organization, you may wonder about the tax requirements that apply to your group. Generally, an organization will not owe taxes if two things are true: * It has registered as an exempt nonprofit organization with the IRS, and * It has no business income from activities unrelated to its exempt purpose. Registration is quite straightforward. The IRS grants exempt status to groups organized for charitable or mutual benefit purposes. You must submit your application within the first 15 months of the group’s existence. The package consists of an application
Read More

IRS Refund For Bonds Not Used Yet

If you’re receiving a tax refund this year, the IRS reminds you that you can use it to buy U.S. savings bonds directly from the IRS. Here are the details. * You may purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I savings bonds. * The total amount of bonds you purchase must be a multiple of $50. Any refund over the specified bond purchase amount can be deposited in your bank savings account, or you can request a check by mail. * Bonds will be issued in your name. If you’re married and file a joint return, the bonds will
Read More

Archives

Categories

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Getting mail from the IRS is rarely something to celebrate. If it’s a bill, consider yourself lucky — at least you can just pay it and be done. If it’s a “CP 2000” notice proposing a change to your taxes, get ready for a ride on the paperwork tilt-a-whirl. If it’s an audit notice, all bets are off. (Relax — it only feels like you’re a prisoner at a CIA black-ops site.) But one taxpayer may have won the booby prize for “worst IRS correspondence ever” when he got a letter helpfully notifying him he had died. Deceased. Croaked. Bought
Read More

Some Modest Proposals

Here in America, most of our tax debates center on “income.” How do we define it? How do we count it? What do we get to exclude from it, deduct from it, or credit towards it. And finally, how much of it do we take, to make sure everyone pays their “fair” share. The end result is our tax code, a many-headed hydra that several wags have noted contains twice as many words as the Bible, but with none of the good news. Of course, income isn’t the only thing we tax. Uncle Sam and most states tax sales. They
Read More

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year?

Way back in 1963, the singer Andy Williams introduced one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Decades later, the office-supply store Staples repurposed it to sell school supplies, and Miller recycled it once again to sell light beer. But for our friends at the IRS, the most wonderful time of the year starts right now. So here are some tax time quotes to get you in the spirit of the season: “It’s tax time. I know this because I’m staring at documents that make no sense to me, no
Read More

Trick Play Backfires; Team Thrown for Loss

College football fans have been crying for a season-ending playoff tournament for years, to replace the invitational “bowl championship” series that usually prompted as many questions as it answered. Monday night they got their wish, as the third-string quarterback Cardale Jones and the Ohio State Buckeyes overcame four turnovers to stun the Oregon Ducks, 42-20, in the very first College Football Playoff Championship Game. Somewhere lower in the college football hierarchy, the University of South Dakota Coyotes aren’t anyone’s idea of national champions. They didn’t even play Division I ball until 2008, when they joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
Read More

A Royal Mess!

Most of us don’t get to choose our parents. And while we’re usually grateful for the ones we have, we’ve also dreamed of lives that might have been. What little girl hasn’t dreamed of growing up a princess, living in a palace, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a tiara? And don’t forget marrying a handsome prince! Infanta Cristina de Borbon, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, is the brother of Spain’s King Felipe VI and sixth in line to the Monarquía Hispánica. The Infanta grew up in the Royal Palace of Madrid, where she probably logged a ride or two
Read More

Decoding The Code

The Imitation Game is the critically acclaimed story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician who is widely credited as being the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing, whose work in cracking Nazi Germany’s “ENIGMA” code helped lift the Allies to victory in World War II. Seventy years later, retiring Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) has picked up the code-breaking bug. But Coburn has decided to take on something even more twisted and fiendish than Nazi ciphers. That’s right — he’s just issued a 312-page “Tax Decoder” taking on our tax system. (Read it at your peril
Read More

Delay Paying Taxes With A Like-Kind Exchange

Sitting on a piece of investment property that you would like to sell? By structuring the transaction as a tax-deferred exchange, you can delay paying taxes on the full amount of the gain realized. Also known as a “like-kind exchange” or a “1031 exchange,” these transactions are only available for investment or business assets. Certain types of assets don’t qualify for a tax-deferred exchange, including inventory, accounts receivable, stocks and bonds, and your personal residence. Keep in mind, too, that the like-kind exchange rules only defer the tax. Any gain will be recognized upon a taxable disposition of the replacement
Read More

Planning Can Save Your Vacation Home Tax Deductions

You can enjoy a vacation home and cut your taxes – with some careful planning and a little discipline. The IRS rules can be complex and potentially restrictive, so a word of caution is in order as you plan the use of your vacation home. Owners of vacation homes often rent out the property when they’re not using it themselves. Renting out your vacation home may or may not make sense for you. The principal variables are the number of days you rent the property, the number of days of personal use, your individual tax situation, and your personal wishes
Read More

Nonprofit Organizations May Have Tax Obligations

If you’re an officer or on the board of a community organization, you may wonder about the tax requirements that apply to your group. Generally, an organization will not owe taxes if two things are true: * It has registered as an exempt nonprofit organization with the IRS, and * It has no business income from activities unrelated to its exempt purpose. Registration is quite straightforward. The IRS grants exempt status to groups organized for charitable or mutual benefit purposes. You must submit your application within the first 15 months of the group’s existence. The package consists of an application
Read More

IRS Refund For Bonds Not Used Yet

If you’re receiving a tax refund this year, the IRS reminds you that you can use it to buy U.S. savings bonds directly from the IRS. Here are the details. * You may purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I savings bonds. * The total amount of bonds you purchase must be a multiple of $50. Any refund over the specified bond purchase amount can be deposited in your bank savings account, or you can request a check by mail. * Bonds will be issued in your name. If you’re married and file a joint return, the bonds will
Read More

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