On December 22, the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law in just 50 days from start to finish. That’s less time than it usually takes to rename a post office after a local school board member. Now those lawmakers may be rediscovering something their grandmothers told them back when they were little: namely, “marry in haste, repent in leisure.” It turns out Congress may have skipped ahead to the bottom of their homework a little too quick, and made a teensy-weensy boo-boo or two along the way.Continue reading →
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and how jolly could we be without Christmas trees on display? For some of us it’s the classic Pinus Sylvestris, or scotch pine. For others it’s the soft-needled Abies fraserie, or Fraser fir. Still more make do with the store-bought plasticus annualensis, or “Target special.” (Artificial trees can be beautiful, too!) Christmas trees are a festive symbol of holiday spirit, and most of us can’t help but smile when we see one. (Unless we’re at a department store in August.)
We’re pretty sure that taxes are the last thing you think about when you see a gaily-decorated tree. But this is a tax column you’re reading, and part of the fun is taking something you think has nothing to do with taxes, and showing how they fit behind the scenes. With that in mind, let’s look at how the IRS treats your tree’s trip from the stump to the stand.Continue reading →
Americans love awards shows — the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, and the Tonys. So we all watched eagerly as the nonpartisan Tax Foundation rolled out the red carpet and released “International Tax Competitiveness Index 2016.” The ranking rewards countries with low marginal rates to discourage businesses from fleeing abroad and simple systems to raise the most revenue with the fewest “economic distortions.”
Which of the 35 member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) took home the gold? Was it our own United States? Maybe some sunny Caribbean tax haven where international gangsters travel to sip Pina Coladas and light cigars with their money? Perhaps one of those dinky European “Grand Duchies” tucked away in the Alps with strict bank secrecy laws?Continue reading →
Turn the dial on the Way-Back Machine to the days of the Great Depression. Millions of Americans are jobless, struggling just to eke out a living. But one man named Willie Sutton has discovered unlimited opportunities in a truly recession-proof field: robbing banks. And why did he choose banks, an enterprising reporter asked? “Because that’s where the money is,” Sutton supposedly replied.
Now it seems our friends at the IRS have stumbled upon Sutton’s Law, too. Last month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a 34-page report arguing the service spends too much time auditing people who make “merely” $200,000-400,000, and should spend more time on “Global High Wealth” taxpayers earning even more. We know you don’t want to read that report, so we’ll go ahead and summarize it for you.
Every so often a new show hits Broadway with lights that shine brighter than the rest. But who would have thought today’s hottest ticket would be a rap-driven bio of the Founding Father responsible for the financial system that collects those taxes we all hate?
We realize that when the curtain rises on April 15, you probably aren’t humming show tunes. But it’s worth remembering, at least occasionally, that taxes really <em>are</em> the price we pay for civilization. And while our current tax code may seem as illegitimately-conceived as the Founding Father who paved its way, it’s the product of a uniquely American experiment in self-government that seems to still be working 200 years later.Continue reading →
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?)
Reporters instantly dubbed the planet “Earth 2.0,” and scientists from the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute have already begun targeting it for signs of intelligent life.
Ironically, at the same time, officials in Washington are searching for signs of intelligence in the tax code. (So far, they’re not doing any better than the astronomers at NASA.) So we got to wondering . . . is there any way that our search for extraterrestrial life might help us out of our current budget jam? In plainer terms, can we tax it?Continue reading →
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 … Continue reading →
Remember, no matter how complicated your taxes are likely to be this year, Laura M. Mikeworth can take all of the frustration out of filing your tax returns. And, Customer Service? That’s what we are all about; we understand our clients’ needs and expectations regarding taxes. Who needs the IRS?Continue reading →
The personal finance website mint.com reports the average American woman spends $15,000 on makeup in her lifetime, including $3,770 on mascara, $2,750 on eyeshadow, and $1,780 on lipstick. Americans spent $33.3 billion on cosmetics and other beauty products in 2010 … Continue reading →
The world of comedy lost a giant this month. Joan Rivers may have topped out at just 5’2″ and weighed 110 pounds soaking wet, but when it comes to influence, she towered above her peers. Rivers established that women can … Continue reading →