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September 2015

Next week, Colorado's recreational marijuana users are in for a tax treat. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the state's two marijuana related taxes, which come to a combined 25 percent, will be waived. Sweet Leaf marijuana retail shop in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Pot Guide. For folks who enjoy taking time for a little toking, this is way better than any of the back-to-school sales tax holidays that 18 states held earlier this summer. Day off for sales and excise taxes: Thanks to the intricacies Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requirements, the state's 10 percent retail marijuana sales tax... Read more →


I am so jazzed for tonight. Tom Brady Deflators New England Patriots vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. Football is finally here! I know, college games started last weekend, but I'm not a big fan of any college sport. I always feel a little guilty yelling at ostensible student athletes. But I have no qualms unloading on the highly-paid pros. They're getting very good money to deal with my verbal admonishments, even though they can't hear them through my TV (yet). I've been getting ready for the kickoff of the NFL's golden Super Bowl season by stocking up on throat lozenges, reading a... Read more →


I don't have children, and I never played one on TV. But I was a kid once and I still remember the early money lessons from my parents. This little guy is too young for a discussion about money and taxes, but a solid financial education for current and future taxpayers could be key to improving a country's tax compliance rate. Most notably, everything has a price. One year when my younger brother and I had exceptionally long Christmas lists, we defended our extreme requests by noting that the items would come from Santa Claus. Our mom, not wanting to... Read more →


Tax identity theft techniques continue to morph. This summer, the con artists started sending out paper letters masquerading as real Internal Revenue Service tax-due notices. The move was made to counter real IRS warnings that he agency doesn't call taxpayers demanding payments. Now the persistent tax telephone scammers, who have illicitly pocketed millions from duped taxpayers since October 2013, are using spoofed phone numbers. In case you're not familiar with phone spoofing, it basically allows the caller's telephone number to appear to be another number on the recipient's caller ID screen. Email addresses also are spoofed by con artists trying... Read more →


I grew up in Texas. West Texas, to be specific, where independence is, in large part because of the vast distances between towns, not just a concept but a necessity. So it's no surprise that labor unions essentially were nonentities in my early life. That said, I grew up appreciating the value of unions. My dad, an oil field worker his whole life, made sure my brother and I knew that labor unions are to be valued by all workers, regardless of whether they belong to one. Sally Field won her first Oscar for her portrayal of title character Norma... Read more →


Labor Day weekend means one thing for NASCAR fans: The Southern 500 from Darlington, South Carolina. The race at the Track Too Tough to Tame was a tradition ... until 2004 when the NASCAR fools in charge powers that be decided to move the early September race to other spots in the schedule. But this year the race is back where and when it belongs, underscoring not only the sport's roots, but America's enduring love affair with cars. Kansas car lover's tough tax choice: Dorce Stapleton knows a thing or two about what a car can mean. The 78-year-old Hutchinson,... Read more →


Donald J. Trump, the leader for the Republican nomination for president, is still finalizing his plan to reform the country's tax system. Meanwhile, however, he still has to worry about his own taxes. Case in point, the real estate tax bill his Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, is facing. Donald Trump's New York City area golf club is fighting its property tax assessment, seeking a lower value on the luxury property so it will get a nearly 90 percent cut in its latest property tax bill. Trump seeks less huge tax bill: The 140-acre property in... Read more →


How do you plan to spend your three-day Labor Day break? Some folks will go shopping. And if they're shopping in Louisiana and Mississippi for firearms, they'll save some tax dollars. At 12:01 a.m. today, Friday, Sept. 4, cash registers in those two states stopped added sales tax charges to certain firearm, ammunition and hunting supply purchases. The tax-free status remains in effect until midnight Sunday, Sept. 6. Both Louisiana and Mississippi officials have dubbed the three no-tax days as Second Amendment sales tax holidays. But rather than, for the most part, having to do with a well-regulated militia, the... Read more →


Computer hackers have taken over, in popular culture as well as in real-life situations adversely affecting the lives of millions of individuals. And we're all paying the price. Hacker extraordinaire Eliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek in USA Network's hit show Mr. Robot, crashed the computer system of Evil Corp. to free billions of global consumers from the giant company's financial clutches. Real-life hackers aren't as benevolent, generally opting to take over individuals' identities to access their bank and credit accounts. (Photo courtesy USA Network) The latest case in point is Uncle Sam's decision to pay more than $133 million... Read more →


Hello, September! We've been waiting all summer for you. Parents are thrilled that their children of all ages are back to school. The promise of cooler weather is on the horizon. Football season is here. And if we can make it through the next 30 days without a major hurricane hit, we'll be in good shape. September also is a great month to make some key tax moves. Covering classroom costs: Let's start with the kids' return to their classrooms. If your children are in college, there are many tax-saving ways to pay for those higher education expenses. One of... Read more →


Somebody is $11.6 million richer and somebody else (or some company) is in big trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Sorry for the vagueness, but that's basically how things work when you rat out tax cheats. The feds are eager to get the scoop on whoever is not paying up, but the whistleblowers often don't want the world to know who they are. As for the identity of the alleged tax evaders, we're at the mercy of Uncle Sam's willingness to announce his whistleblower-assisted collection success. What we do know about this latest case comes from attorneys Stephen Kohn and... Read more →