Don’t Bogart That Deduction, My Friend

Imagine you’re a hardworking pot dealer just trying to operate an honest shop in the newly legal marijuana industry. You get audited, and the examiner hits you with a $290,000 bill. He then asks to talk “off the record,” and tells you he was lenient with your examination. The real bill, he says, should have been a million dollars higher. Then he looks you in the eye and says, “Hey . . . how about a little something, you know, for the effort?” That’s pretty much what happened to one marijuana dispensary owner in Seattle. Except the auditor’s dopey request
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Share a Coke with the IRS

Coca Cola has earned a lot of headlines for their “Share a Coke with . . . ” marketing campaign, printing bottles and cans with 1,000 of the most popular names in the country, along with nicknames like “Mom,” “Dad,” Soulmate,” and “BFF.” You can even go online to customize your own bottle for just five bucks. (Just imagine the possibilities . . . “Share a Koke with a Kardashian” for reality-TV wannabes, or “Share a Diet Coke with Your Yoga Instructor” for fitness fanatics? The Center for Science in the Public Interest even created a “Share a Coke with
Read More

Alibaba and the Forty Percent

Turn on the financial news and you’ll hear all sorts of explanations for the stock market’s ups and downs. Oh no, the Fed’s going to raise rates! Oh no, they’re not! Who knows what the real answer is? But last week, the IRS moved the market — when they casually signaled they wouldn’t be greenlighting Yahoo’s plan to spin off their remaining stake in the Chinese company Alibaba. Yahoo was the first big online search engine, and they helped popularize services like free email addresses. It’s still the most-read news website and fourth-most visited site in the world. But those
Read More

Vive le Tax!

This year, as usual, millions of American tourists took advantage of summer vacation to travel abroad. Favorable exchange rates made European destinations especially attractive. Seeing Old World cultures gives us perspective that we just can’t get when we load up the family truckster and head for Disney World. The sights, the sounds, and the great big smells we encounter abroad shed new light on our ordinary lives. New languages, new governments, and even new taxes can prompt us to reconsider our place in the world. Take Paris, for example. France is the most popular tourist destination in the world, and
Read More

What’s in a name?

Sports fans go nuts this time of year. Baseball fans are watching pennant races heat up; football fans are watching the NFL take the gridiron to kick off the new season; and tennis fans are moving their heads from side to side to take in the U.S. Open. Naturally, this means we’re going to talk about basketball. In Shakespeare’s archetypal tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers bemoan the feud between their families that keeps them apart. In Act II, Scene II, Juliet gazes out her window and wonders, “What’s in a name?” The answer, according to a Chicago jury:
Read More

Cadillac Taxes for Everyone

Employers have played a key role in financing their employees’ healthcare since World War II, when they threw in tax-free benefits to attract talent in a time of wage controls. So it’s no surprise that when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, they gave employers all sorts of carrots and sticks to boost coverage. But Congress wanted to control overall costs, too, and didn’t want employers being too generous. So they imposed a new tax on so-called “Cadillac” plans. Technically, it takes the form of a 40% penalty on annual premiums exceeding $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a
Read More

Bug Bonus

It seems like every day brings word of a new internet hack or data breach. Target got hacked by Russian teenagers and millions of credit cards had to be replaced. Sony got hacked by the North Koreans and a loungeful of smug Hollywood executives got embarrassed. The Office of Personnel Management got hacked by the Chinese and thousands of spies got their covers blown. It’s almost enough to make you long for the return of old-fashioned computer punch cards. United Airlines depends on internet technology as much any big business — the days of friendly travel agents patiently walking you
Read More

Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Campaign 2016 is here! Last Thursday, 10 Republican presidential candidates squared off against each other in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, tackling such crucial topics as hugs, pimps, and Rosie O’Donnell. That same day, the Democratic National Committee announced their schedule of six debates to begin on October 13 in early-primary state Nevada. Sooner rather than later, we’ll all be drowning in the vicious sort of campaign commercials that make some of us envy the North Koreans. That also means now’s the season when candidates are releasing tax returns and financial disclosures. Mitt Romney took heat when he ‘fessed up to
Read More

2015: A Tax Odyssey

On July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the first potentially Earth-like planet within the “habitable zone” of a star like our Sun. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away, meaning the New Horizons space probe that just passed Pluto should get there in another 26 million years. (Mom, are we there yet?) It’s 60% bigger than Earth, with a “better than even chance” of having a rocky composition, and takes 385 of our days to orbit its sun. Reporters instantly dubbed the planet “Earth 2.0,” and scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute have already begun targeting it for
Read More

Toxic Deductible Sludge

Back in 2010, British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and spilled millions of barrels of oil off the Louisiana coast. Countless small business owners, including fishermen, hotel operators, restaurants, rental companies, and seafood processors, suffered and went bankrupt. State and local governments lost billions more in tax revenue. Lawyers, who may be some of the few people to actually profit from the disaster, are still fighting over compensation and claims, and will probably still be fighting until long after anyone reading these words is still alive. BP has been gushing cash ever since the spill to clean up its
Read More

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Archives

Don’t Bogart That Deduction, My Friend

Imagine you’re a hardworking pot dealer just trying to operate an honest shop in the newly legal marijuana industry. You get audited, and the examiner hits you with a $290,000 bill. He then asks to talk “off the record,” and tells you he was lenient with your examination. The real bill, he says, should have been a million dollars higher. Then he looks you in the eye and says, “Hey . . . how about a little something, you know, for the effort?” That’s pretty much what happened to one marijuana dispensary owner in Seattle. Except the auditor’s dopey request
Read More

Share a Coke with the IRS

Coca Cola has earned a lot of headlines for their “Share a Coke with . . . ” marketing campaign, printing bottles and cans with 1,000 of the most popular names in the country, along with nicknames like “Mom,” “Dad,” Soulmate,” and “BFF.” You can even go online to customize your own bottle for just five bucks. (Just imagine the possibilities . . . “Share a Koke with a Kardashian” for reality-TV wannabes, or “Share a Diet Coke with Your Yoga Instructor” for fitness fanatics? The Center for Science in the Public Interest even created a “Share a Coke with
Read More

Alibaba and the Forty Percent

Turn on the financial news and you’ll hear all sorts of explanations for the stock market’s ups and downs. Oh no, the Fed’s going to raise rates! Oh no, they’re not! Who knows what the real answer is? But last week, the IRS moved the market — when they casually signaled they wouldn’t be greenlighting Yahoo’s plan to spin off their remaining stake in the Chinese company Alibaba. Yahoo was the first big online search engine, and they helped popularize services like free email addresses. It’s still the most-read news website and fourth-most visited site in the world. But those
Read More

Vive le Tax!

This year, as usual, millions of American tourists took advantage of summer vacation to travel abroad. Favorable exchange rates made European destinations especially attractive. Seeing Old World cultures gives us perspective that we just can’t get when we load up the family truckster and head for Disney World. The sights, the sounds, and the great big smells we encounter abroad shed new light on our ordinary lives. New languages, new governments, and even new taxes can prompt us to reconsider our place in the world. Take Paris, for example. France is the most popular tourist destination in the world, and
Read More

What’s in a name?

Sports fans go nuts this time of year. Baseball fans are watching pennant races heat up; football fans are watching the NFL take the gridiron to kick off the new season; and tennis fans are moving their heads from side to side to take in the U.S. Open. Naturally, this means we’re going to talk about basketball. In Shakespeare’s archetypal tragedy Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers bemoan the feud between their families that keeps them apart. In Act II, Scene II, Juliet gazes out her window and wonders, “What’s in a name?” The answer, according to a Chicago jury:
Read More

Cadillac Taxes for Everyone

Employers have played a key role in financing their employees’ healthcare since World War II, when they threw in tax-free benefits to attract talent in a time of wage controls. So it’s no surprise that when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, they gave employers all sorts of carrots and sticks to boost coverage. But Congress wanted to control overall costs, too, and didn’t want employers being too generous. So they imposed a new tax on so-called “Cadillac” plans. Technically, it takes the form of a 40% penalty on annual premiums exceeding $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a
Read More

Bug Bonus

It seems like every day brings word of a new internet hack or data breach. Target got hacked by Russian teenagers and millions of credit cards had to be replaced. Sony got hacked by the North Koreans and a loungeful of smug Hollywood executives got embarrassed. The Office of Personnel Management got hacked by the Chinese and thousands of spies got their covers blown. It’s almost enough to make you long for the return of old-fashioned computer punch cards. United Airlines depends on internet technology as much any big business — the days of friendly travel agents patiently walking you
Read More

Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Campaign 2016 is here! Last Thursday, 10 Republican presidential candidates squared off against each other in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, tackling such crucial topics as hugs, pimps, and Rosie O’Donnell. That same day, the Democratic National Committee announced their schedule of six debates to begin on October 13 in early-primary state Nevada. Sooner rather than later, we’ll all be drowning in the vicious sort of campaign commercials that make some of us envy the North Koreans. That also means now’s the season when candidates are releasing tax returns and financial disclosures. Mitt Romney took heat when he ‘fessed up to
Read More

2015: A Tax Odyssey

On July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the first potentially Earth-like planet within the “habitable zone” of a star like our Sun. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away, meaning the New Horizons space probe that just passed Pluto should get there in another 26 million years. (Mom, are we there yet?) It’s 60% bigger than Earth, with a “better than even chance” of having a rocky composition, and takes 385 of our days to orbit its sun. Reporters instantly dubbed the planet “Earth 2.0,” and scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute have already begun targeting it for
Read More

Toxic Deductible Sludge

Back in 2010, British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and spilled millions of barrels of oil off the Louisiana coast. Countless small business owners, including fishermen, hotel operators, restaurants, rental companies, and seafood processors, suffered and went bankrupt. State and local governments lost billions more in tax revenue. Lawyers, who may be some of the few people to actually profit from the disaster, are still fighting over compensation and claims, and will probably still be fighting until long after anyone reading these words is still alive. BP has been gushing cash ever since the spill to clean up its
Read More

Click to Get Your FREE Tool Audit

Archives