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October 2010

Wow! Apparently everybody loves German cuisine and its hearty brews. This year's annual tax salute to OktoberFest garnered the most contributions in a while for a Tax Carnival. And I thought beer only worked when you were trying to get your friends to help you move! Tax Carnival #75: TaxtoberFest 2010 features a vast menu of tasty tax tidbits. We have hearty entrees on the still-in-limbo Bush tax cuts, health care tax concerns and how taxes affect retirement plans. Among our appetizers are tasty tidbits on investing, tax credits and tax pros. Be sure to try our many side dishes,... Read more →

Nobody lives forever. Yeah, I know. That's not the best way to kick off a Monday. Sometimes, though, you just have to face life head-on and deal with good ol' Ben Franklin's observation that death and taxes are our only certainties. That means we all, regardless of our financial situations, need to do some estate planning. Bankrate's new estate planning guide can help. Unfortunately, Congress isn't helping with this task right now. The estate tax is still in limbo. Yes, that link is a shameless plug, taking you to my contribution to the guide. But as we wait for lawmakers... Read more →

We're always advised to get receipts for our tax-related expenditures. Not having documentation could be quite costly if the IRS ever questions an itemized deduction or business expense. Well, the folks at Third Way, which describes itself as "the leading moderate think-tank of the progressive movement," took that taxpayer documentation concept to the next level. "We suggest that everyone who files a tax return receive a taxpayer receipt.' This receipt would tell them to the penny what their taxes paid for based on the amount they paid in federal income taxes and FICA," said David Kendall and Jim Kessler, policy... Read more →

Some Saturday tax-related reading

Hate college football? Your team losing? Whatever the reason you're looking for something else to do this afternoon, I've got the perfect diversion: Some Saturday afternoon tax-related reading. The Government Accountability Office, or GAO if you're into acronyms, recently released a couple of new tax studies. The first, dealing with the tax gap, says the IRS Has Modernized Its Business Nonfiler Program but Could Benefit from More Evaluation and Use of Third-Party Data. The other GAO report looks at the tax administration issue of how Expanded Information Reporting Could Help IRS Address Compliance Challenges with Forgiven Mortgage Debt. Then there's... Read more →

For about a year now, I've been taking morning walks in my neighborhood, something you might know if you follow my personal "social network" page, where I post an occasional walk haiku, rather than the ol' blog's Facebook page. But today was the scariest walk day I've encountered since I fell back in May and broke my wrist. It's our neighborhood's annual fall garage sale. Neighbors I rarely see are out, hawking their old wares. Getting to touch base with them is good. But their forays into retail mean there are lots of cars jamming the roads and cul-de-sacs. They... Read more →

IRS files tax lien against Al Sharpton

The Rev. Al Sharpton usually gets headlines for events that he stages. This time, though, the attention is not the kind that anyone wants. The IRS this week filed a $538,652 lien against Sharpton in connection with what Uncle Sam says are unpaid taxes assessed in 2009. Sharpton's lawyer, Michael Hardy, told the Detroit News' Tax Watchdog column that he and the political activist are confused by the IRS action. Hardy said the pastor was granted an extension to file his 2009 taxes by Oct. 15. "It's kind of odd. I totally don't understand why they would file a lien... Read more →

Welcome to the fourth quarter of 2010. Where in the heck has this year gone?! Although the year is quickly winding down, there still are 2009 tax tasks to complete (I'm talking to you filing procrastinators) and tax moves to make to help cut your 2010 tax bill. Find them in the monthly tax moves calendar over in the left column (scroll down a tad). With the October tax moves calendar completed, now all I have to do is figure out what tax-related Halloween costume I'll wear this year! Related posts: Weekly tax tips Daily tax tips Midyear Tax Moves... Read more →