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December 2005

The hell you say

So Saddam Hussein told his trial judge to go to hell. Of all the things going on in the world (tax and otherwise) and in this trial, this caught my eye. Why? Because a similar quote leads off our annual Christmas letter. No. We are not quoting Saddam Hussein. I said “similar” quote. Yes. We are one (well, my husband and I, so I guess we are two) of those: People who stay blithely out of touch with far-flung friends and relatives for the better part of a year and then in December presume that they want to hear all... Read more →

Tax overhaul over and out … for now

Hmmm. Six weeks ago the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform formally presented its recommendations on how to overhaul the current tax code. Now it looks the President himself wants to put the Panel’s report on the shelf. In fact, he apparently wants to shove it to the back of the bottom shelf so that it won’t get any attention during the coming mid-term elections. When this whole process began, the White House had hoped to use comprehensive tax reform as the theme for the coming State of the Union address. Looks like the speechwriters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue... Read more →

Musical break

Fellow journalist Holden Lewis, who tracks the intricacies of mortgages in his Mortgage Matters blog, pulled a blast out of my musical past: Joe King Carrasco and the Crowns. Yes, Holden, I remember King Carrasco very well (see, I am reading your blog!). He was among the wildest groups around and he still bills himself as the number one party act in music. That explains why Carrasco was so popular among the college crowd (not that I didn't study, but there's a time for everything). Of course my husband, who covered entertainment events for our college newspaper, got better seats... Read more →

Counting down to Christmas and tax savings

The first full week of December begins today. It’s also only 20 days until the packages get ripped open, another turkey is consumed -- although we opt for ham (love that HoneyBaked). Who came up with the great idea of eating the same meal twice within one month, anyway? The American Turkey Council? -- and the realization hits that one more year has zoomed by. Things are going to get really crazy in these next 20 days, especially if you’re one of those adrenaline shoppers who loves the rush of buying the last gift at the really, really last moment.... Read more →

Love and taxes

Even I, a certified (insert your own joke; “certifiable” is usually the easy one my smart aleck husband falls back on) tax geek, was taken aback by this: Taxes are standing in the way of true love. Well, more specifically, the tax-related jobs of a Kerr County, Texas, couple are standing in their nuptial way. R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle reports that a county tax collector and a county property tax appraiser who want to get married have run afoul of the state’s nepotism law. The official word has been handed down by the Texas Attorney General: One or... Read more →

The Office, holiday tax edition

Are you hoping for a little thank-you gift from the boss this holiday season? Such a reward for a job well done might be nice, but it also could cost you tax-wise. If your boss is like most, you probably don’t have to worry. Most workplaces present nominal gifts such as turkeys or hams. These are considered “de minimus” fringe benefits by the IRS. That’s Latin for Uncle Sam doesn’t care. Basically, these types of traditional gifts that promote goodwill to all workers are deemed to have a value that is, in the IRS’s estimation, “so small as to make... Read more →

Happy, happy, the holidays are here!

I’m a Christmas nut. I think it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I wait for 11 months for this one month of songs, decorations, TV specials (you go George Bailey!) and holiday food. The joy of celebrating Christmas is always in the back of my mind, so much so that I even co-opted the sentiment when I began this blog. Finally, finally, FINALLY it is here! To kick off the season, we went out last night to a special sale at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. We hadn’t been out for a night drive... Read more →