Who Won Most at Roland Garros?

For two weeks every spring, the tennis world focuses its attention on Roland Garros, the Parisian center that hosts the French Open. This year, fans yawned as the dominant Serena Williams cruised to her 20th career major title in the 2015 French Open, defeating the 13th-ranked Czech Lucie Safarova. On the men’s side, fans saw an actual contest, as the Swiss Stan Wawrinka used his devastating backhand to take his second major in four sets, upsetting top-ranked Novak Djokovic and denying him a career Grand Slam. Both winners claimed €1.8 million, or about $2 million, in prize money. But does
Read More

Red Card!

Picture a greedy cabal of shameless officials lording over a famously corrupt international cartel. Add suitcases full of cash bribes, and multimillion-dollar payoffs coursing through a shadowy network of shell companies and offshore accounts. Throw in a loud, colorful “mole” celebrating a life of private jets, Michelin-starred restaurants, and vintage wines. Now stir in an ongoing investigation, secret indictments, and a pre-dawn stakeout leading to a series of arrests at a luxury hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. It sounds like the plot from the latest Jason Bourne movie, right? The only thing missing is the car chase. But it’s no big-screen
Read More

Blockbuster Taxes

Memorial Day came early this year, and that means we get more time with our summer whites! (Of course, summer doesn’t “officially” start until June 21, but who’s counting?) For millions of Americans, cooling off at the movies with a bucket of popcorn and gallon of soda is a favorite part of the season. So we wondered . . . what would all that carnage look like from a tax perspective? San Andreas: “The Big One” finally hits California, and helicopter rescue pilot Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson melodramatically sets off to save his estranged daughter. Meanwhile, up and down the
Read More

Top 10 Taxing Words That (Sort Of) Rhyme With “Tax”

Late-night talk-show host David Letterman has delighted audiences with his wry, subversive sense of humor for an impressive 33 years. But this week he bids us farewell. We’ll remember him for his Stump the Band bits, his Stupid Pet Tricks, and — most of all — his Top 10 lists. So here, in Dave’s honor (from the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska), we present The Top 10 Taxing Words That (Sort Of) Rhyme With “Tax.” Drumroll, please! 10. Cadillacs: Americans love to drive. Why else would we invent interstate highways, suburbs, and traffic jams? (So many traffic jams.) Good thing
Read More

The Original Tax “Shelter”

New York City is the indisputable hub of American capitalism. Its glittering streets are home to the worlds of finance, advertising, fashion, publishing, and even organized crime. The island of Manhattan is home to some of the richest people on the planet, and they own some of its priciest real estate in the world. You would think all those rich people living in all those expensive apartments would keep the tax collectors satisfied. But in fact, the oceans of money sloshing ashore are managing to bypass some of the most obvious tax tollbooths. A generation ago, New York’s bold-faced names
Read More

Accountants Behaving Badly

Every year, “true crime” fans look forward to the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit’s annual report detailing their efforts to combat the cheats who don’t pay their share. This year’s edition is no exception, with dozens of entertaining stories about clever scammers who just . . . weren’t . . . clever . . . enough. You would think accountants would be the last group of people to try and game the system. That guy with the green bow tie in the H&R Block commercials? He wouldn’t even bend the rules, let alone break them. But the Criminal Investigation report reveals
Read More

Bet They Didn’t Think About This!

Last week, a New York judge issued writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo, currently living in a research lab at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. The next day, she walked back the scope of her ruling, emphasizing she was merely directing the university to appear in court. Still, the decision gives the chimps a day in court and possibly clears the way for them to move from the lab to a sanctuary in Florida. Animal rights activists were thrilled. Natalie Prosin, Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, told
Read More

Guaranteed Loser

You’ve bought a lottery ticket or two in your time, right? The Powerball jackpot hits a kajillion dollars, and you realize you really can’t win if you don’t play. So you buy a ticket or two just to nurse that fantasy of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Forget the reality that most lottery players never win, and even the ones who do make headlines usually seem to go bankrupt faster than a professional footballer who tears his ACL two games into his rookie season. Most people who buy lottery tickets really do want to win. In fact, a 2006 study
Read More

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Every year, the IRS Criminal Investigations unit (IRS-CI) releases a surprisingly entertaining report detailing their efforts to protect the Treasury from scammers, fraudsters, and cheats. This year’s edition reveals that, due to budget cuts, activity is actually down. In 2014, IRS special agents initiated 4,297 criminal investigations (down 19.1% from 5,314 in 2013) and recommended 3,478 prosecutions (down 20.4% from 4,364 in 2013). There were 3,272 indictments and 3,110 convictions, which shows the IRS won’t take you to criminal court unless they’re pretty sure they can really nail you to the wall. And 80% of those who were convicted won
Read More

The Tax Man Runneth

The 2016 presidential election is 20 months away. Sadly, for those of us who don’t watch C-SPAN for fun, that basically means it’s right around the corner. (Keep a sharp eye out for negative campaign ads, coming soon to a TV near you!) Candidates are already lining up donors and hustling voters in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. If it seems like some of them have been running since the end of the last election, it’s probably because they have. Americans like promoting military heroes to the White House. George Washington won the Revolutionary War and became
Read More

Archives

Who Won Most at Roland Garros?

For two weeks every spring, the tennis world focuses its attention on Roland Garros, the Parisian center that hosts the French Open. This year, fans yawned as the dominant Serena Williams cruised to her 20th career major title in the 2015 French Open, defeating the 13th-ranked Czech Lucie Safarova. On the men’s side, fans saw an actual contest, as the Swiss Stan Wawrinka used his devastating backhand to take his second major in four sets, upsetting top-ranked Novak Djokovic and denying him a career Grand Slam. Both winners claimed €1.8 million, or about $2 million, in prize money. But does
Read More

Red Card!

Picture a greedy cabal of shameless officials lording over a famously corrupt international cartel. Add suitcases full of cash bribes, and multimillion-dollar payoffs coursing through a shadowy network of shell companies and offshore accounts. Throw in a loud, colorful “mole” celebrating a life of private jets, Michelin-starred restaurants, and vintage wines. Now stir in an ongoing investigation, secret indictments, and a pre-dawn stakeout leading to a series of arrests at a luxury hotel in Zurich, Switzerland. It sounds like the plot from the latest Jason Bourne movie, right? The only thing missing is the car chase. But it’s no big-screen
Read More

Blockbuster Taxes

Memorial Day came early this year, and that means we get more time with our summer whites! (Of course, summer doesn’t “officially” start until June 21, but who’s counting?) For millions of Americans, cooling off at the movies with a bucket of popcorn and gallon of soda is a favorite part of the season. So we wondered . . . what would all that carnage look like from a tax perspective? San Andreas: “The Big One” finally hits California, and helicopter rescue pilot Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson melodramatically sets off to save his estranged daughter. Meanwhile, up and down the
Read More

Top 10 Taxing Words That (Sort Of) Rhyme With “Tax”

Late-night talk-show host David Letterman has delighted audiences with his wry, subversive sense of humor for an impressive 33 years. But this week he bids us farewell. We’ll remember him for his Stump the Band bits, his Stupid Pet Tricks, and — most of all — his Top 10 lists. So here, in Dave’s honor (from the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska), we present The Top 10 Taxing Words That (Sort Of) Rhyme With “Tax.” Drumroll, please! 10. Cadillacs: Americans love to drive. Why else would we invent interstate highways, suburbs, and traffic jams? (So many traffic jams.) Good thing
Read More

The Original Tax “Shelter”

New York City is the indisputable hub of American capitalism. Its glittering streets are home to the worlds of finance, advertising, fashion, publishing, and even organized crime. The island of Manhattan is home to some of the richest people on the planet, and they own some of its priciest real estate in the world. You would think all those rich people living in all those expensive apartments would keep the tax collectors satisfied. But in fact, the oceans of money sloshing ashore are managing to bypass some of the most obvious tax tollbooths. A generation ago, New York’s bold-faced names
Read More

Accountants Behaving Badly

Every year, “true crime” fans look forward to the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit’s annual report detailing their efforts to combat the cheats who don’t pay their share. This year’s edition is no exception, with dozens of entertaining stories about clever scammers who just . . . weren’t . . . clever . . . enough. You would think accountants would be the last group of people to try and game the system. That guy with the green bow tie in the H&R Block commercials? He wouldn’t even bend the rules, let alone break them. But the Criminal Investigation report reveals
Read More

Bet They Didn’t Think About This!

Last week, a New York judge issued writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo, currently living in a research lab at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. The next day, she walked back the scope of her ruling, emphasizing she was merely directing the university to appear in court. Still, the decision gives the chimps a day in court and possibly clears the way for them to move from the lab to a sanctuary in Florida. Animal rights activists were thrilled. Natalie Prosin, Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project, told
Read More

Guaranteed Loser

You’ve bought a lottery ticket or two in your time, right? The Powerball jackpot hits a kajillion dollars, and you realize you really can’t win if you don’t play. So you buy a ticket or two just to nurse that fantasy of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Forget the reality that most lottery players never win, and even the ones who do make headlines usually seem to go bankrupt faster than a professional footballer who tears his ACL two games into his rookie season. Most people who buy lottery tickets really do want to win. In fact, a 2006 study
Read More

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Every year, the IRS Criminal Investigations unit (IRS-CI) releases a surprisingly entertaining report detailing their efforts to protect the Treasury from scammers, fraudsters, and cheats. This year’s edition reveals that, due to budget cuts, activity is actually down. In 2014, IRS special agents initiated 4,297 criminal investigations (down 19.1% from 5,314 in 2013) and recommended 3,478 prosecutions (down 20.4% from 4,364 in 2013). There were 3,272 indictments and 3,110 convictions, which shows the IRS won’t take you to criminal court unless they’re pretty sure they can really nail you to the wall. And 80% of those who were convicted won
Read More

The Tax Man Runneth

The 2016 presidential election is 20 months away. Sadly, for those of us who don’t watch C-SPAN for fun, that basically means it’s right around the corner. (Keep a sharp eye out for negative campaign ads, coming soon to a TV near you!) Candidates are already lining up donors and hustling voters in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. If it seems like some of them have been running since the end of the last election, it’s probably because they have. Americans like promoting military heroes to the White House. George Washington won the Revolutionary War and became
Read More

Archives