The tortuous life of tax-cut legislation
Family tax advice


Careful readers of Don’t Mess With Taxes will notice a new look today. Of course, you don’t even have to be very careful. That big ol’ snowman now up top pops right out at you, sporting a glazed look very reminiscent of someone who’s just been audited. Maybe he got the same notice that our South Wales Santa got a couple of days ago.

In addition to going all wintry on you, I’ve also changed the layout. Now the very crucial tax information is squeezed between two side columns. I know this makes you have to scroll down a bit to finish an entry (that and the fact that sometimes I do go on and on and on … my husband is smiling over there in the corner; exactly when did he learn to mind read computer screens?).

But my previous right-only column just kept getting longer and longer as I added new things (more, yes more, on some of these features in a minute) and I was afraid they might get overlooked. So I opted to add the left side column. Plus, personally, I always was a little uncomfortable with all that “right” skew of the page. I had to “fair and balance” it out with items on the left, too. Read what you will from the fact that the left column, at least in my browser, is longer.

Now about those new features.

First, searching the blog. In case you’re a new reader, or one who’s been around a while but wants to find a post you read last month, you have a couple of ways to search. They’re available in the new “what are you looking for?” section toward the bottom of the right column. Check them out and have fun delving deeper into the blog, courtesy TypePad (category search) and Google/Feedster (keyword search).

Secondly, subscriptions. TypePad, the company I use to create my blog has always offered RSS feeds. You’ll still see that option near the very bottom of the right column as the "Subscribe to this blog's feed" link. Click on it and you’ll start getting RSS updates when Don’t Mess With Taxes has new info.

RSS, which stands for Real Simple Syndication, is a way for aggregators to share headlines and other Web content, but you need to download a reader to find and display the sites and blogs you want to track. There are several readers out there (e.g., Pluck, Atom, FeedReader, Syndic8), and once you set up your system, it is a handy way to keep track of constantly changing sites and blogs. Many folks, however, aren’t comfortable with the process.

So I’ve added an e-mail subscription option. It’s the box right above the RSS link. Just enter your e-mail address and click “Subscribe me!” Then FeedBlitz, the company that manages this process, will send you an e-mail confirming that you want to be notified by e-mail, usually once a day, when Don’t Mess With Taxes is updated.

When you get the FeedBlitz confirmation e-mail, just click on that link and you’re done. The confirmation page that will pop up has lots of other options, but if all you want is the e-mail about new blog postings, you don’t have to worry about doing anything else. Just close that page and head on back to Don’t Mess With Taxes for the latest tax scoop.

Sorry to bore you with all this administrative housekeeping, but as we get ready to head full bore into the coming tax-filing season, we want to make finding Don’t Mess With Taxes and its tips, hints and news as easy as possible so you can get your returns done with the least amount of hassle.


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