Forgiving Debt–Good Deeds are Taxable

Forgiving Debt–Good Deeds are Taxable
Our government taxes gifts, at least any over a certain amount (currently $13,000). Exceptions exist, of course, like between spouses, but the general rule is if you gift, you pay. In a new twist I ran into today, Section 2511(a) includes ‘forgiving debt’ as an indirect gift. This makes sense—it’s essentially the same as giving ...

The Dangers of Casual Sales

The Dangers of Casual Sales
Last time you had a garage sale, did you collect sales tax? If not, you may be breaking the law. Okay, that’s only the case if you live in Colorado, Oklahoma, or Wyoming, which makes up about 3% of the US. Those three states, oddly enough, do not include exceptions for occasional, or casual, sales. ...

Mitten’s Return 2011

Mitten’s Return 2011
I chose the wrong day to not look at my tax feed. Once I noticed an explosion of hits to my original look at Mitt Romney’s tax return, I knew something was up. Lo and behold, Mitt had made his 2011 tax return available. As a follow up to my look through 2010, I decided ...

Thank you Kansas

Thank you Kansas
It hasn’t been the most fun busy season. It should be over by now, but due to various office issues, we suddenly have no associates with free time, so I’m stuck preparing some state returns. It’s the mindless, data entry part, only marginable enjoyable with some good music. I had one unexpected boon, though: Kansas ...

Apparently We All Agree on Tax Cuts

Apparently We All Agree on Tax Cuts
Yesterday, the Democrats released their party platform. Like the Republican platform released last week, it is high on rhetoric and short on details. That’s to be expected—it is politics after all. One line in it, however, caught my eye: “We Democrats support lowering the corporate tax rate…” Haven’t I heard that line before? “…we call ...

Finally a Study Showing I Work Too Hard

Finally a Study Showing I Work Too Hard
Reuters reported today on a new study showing that states with simpler tax codes more closely linked with federal taxation do better than those that have their taxpayers reinvent the wheel. The study says more than that, of course. Something about welfare payments, non-policy factors, blah blah blah. It doesn’t really go into correlation or ...

Two Cheers if You’re Against Tax Shelters

Two Cheers if You’re Against Tax Shelters
Since people are getting riled up at the tax planning methods of insidious corporations like Bain Capital and Gawker Media, I thought I’d soothe some frothing frustration with a new court case showing that not just anyone can weave a tax-free tapestry. Gerdau Macsteel, Inc., awesome name aside, planned two large sales back in the ...

Bonus Depreciation Frustrations

Bonus Depreciation Frustrations
I have way too many billable hours already this week, so rant time: throw out bonus depreciation. Mostly because it makes my life more difficult. And I’m pretty sure my life is all that matters. When a taxpayer purchases items with a life over a year to be used in their business (think computers and ...

Pennsylvania Loves The 90’s

Pennsylvania Loves The 90’s
I know some states are behind the times, but I expected more from the great PA. On their Secretary of State site, I found the following recommendation: My software current? With Netscape? Can you even get that? I got pretty excited for a moment, even finding a helpful guide for my trip into retroland. Unfortunately, ...

Are We All Tax Hypocrites?

Are We All Tax Hypocrites?
When I sat down this week to start planning next year’s budget (to see if I can lock myself into new 2 year phone contract), I realized I’ll likely be worse off January 1st than I am today. Yes, health insurance costs will go up as always, political pandering aside, but, for once, that won’t ...