Tax avoidance Feed

Yes, cash sometimes is called lettuce, but tax gain harvesting isn't just about more green for your wallet. It could help reduce taxes you sell on assets you sell in the future. Even if you're not among the wealthiest, if you have invested a bit, you probably keep an eye on the markets. And you probably took a long look yesterday, when the Dow topped 36,000 for the first time ever. Hey, I'm right there with you. I checked my holdings to see how much they were up at that point. We all like positive reinforcement. If you're investing for... Read more →


The tax voyeur in all of us enjoyed the latest unsurprising revelations of how rich people hide money around the world, including a dozen U.S. states and D.C., to avoid paying taxes. The attention to this not really news item also is a good time to note the difference between illegal tax evasion and legal tax avoidance. The South Dakota capitol building is in the state's capital city of Pierre. The state itself is the U.S. capital as far as the most trusts identified in the Pandora Papers. (Photo by Jake DeGroot via Wikipedia) Last week we got news that... Read more →


The big deadline change for 2021 was when the Internal Revenue Service extended the regular income tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17. But it also made a few more calendar moves, including one that this month affects folks with foreign financial accounts. The IRS left in place the due date for filing Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, usually referred to as FBAR. Sort of. Although the tax agency didn't move the April deadline, it did grant FBAR filers an automatic extension until Oct. 15. That's right. Owners of foreign accounts now face the... Read more →


Looking to hide money from the Internal Revenue Service in another country? The tax agency makes finding such funds a priority, but one man accused of helping set up tax shelters has managed to slip through U.S. tax officials' hands. (Photo from Pixabay via Pexels) More than five years ago, 11.5 million leaked documents detailing information for more than 214,000 offshore companies were made public. The world was fascinated with the tale of how wealthy individuals, with the help of money managers and bankers, created tax shelters. That reveal by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, dubbed the Panama Papers... Read more →


View from the Astros' dugout in Minute Maid Park. (Photo by Kay Bell) The National Basketball Association's (NBA) championship series is on and, at least to this casual fan, surprisingly competitive. Major League Baseball (MLB) has started its second-half, with my two favorite teams at polar opposite ends of the playoff picture. National Football League (NFL) players will report to training camps this month. But aside from summer crossover, there's one other thing professional sports teams have in common. The billionaire owners of major league sports franchise owners are always the winners, even when their teams lose. How? By utilizing... Read more →


If it feels like you just filed required federal forms about your overseas financial holdings, you're probably right. Last year, as we all were working to adjust to the myriad tax (and life) changes precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of tax deadlines got pushed back. Some way back. One of those was the filing extension for Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, usually referred to as FBAR. Some individuals didn't have to submit this document until Dec. 31, 2020. Now FBAR filers are facing a new deadline. Next week. On Thursday, April 15. That's right. The... Read more →


Archer Daniels Midland is one of the major corporations cited in a new report of companies that paid no taxes in 2020. The Biden Administration's infrastructure plan has ramped up the perennial tax debate between Democrats and Republicans. The White House wants to increase tax collections on companies to pay for the proposal, dubbed The American Jobs Plan. And that approach is getting some support from a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) report. The Washington, D.C. nonprofit found that 55 of the largest U.S. companies paid nothing in federal income taxes last year. The $0 tax payments... Read more →


My local H-E-B Grocery smartphone app's barcode reader helps me discover the price of a product if it's not shown on the item packaging or store shelf. I love the technology almost as much as I love potato chips! I love my grocery store app. Not only does it offer digital coupons, it lets me make shopping lists, find the aisles where the products I want are located and if there's no price sticker on the item the shelf, I can use the app to scan the package's barcode code for that info. Now the Internal Revenue Service is becoming... Read more →


You're working on your tax return and discover that you are that close to shaving a few more dollars off what you owe Uncle Sam. Many in this situation are tempted to get creative. Don't. The Internal Revenue Service has seen it all. OK, most of it. The bottom line is that sketchy tax deduction claims are invitations to IRS auditors. Crazy and possibly costly tax break claims: Earlier this year before Tax Day got pushed to July 15 by coronavirus precautions, Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary talked with some tax professionals about the wild write-offs they've seen. Singletary... Read more →


National Guard troops have been deployed to help states meet COVID-19 needs, ranging from personal protective equipment training, support of medical testing facilities and healthcare professionals and assisting with disinfecting and cleaning common public spaces. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense) Taxes have been in the public spotlight this week, not because right about now we normally would be nearing the annual filing deadline, but because of how the coronavirus pandemic has thrown normal, including our tax obligations, out the window. By now you know that April 15 is not Tax Day this year. Instead, it's been pushed to July... Read more →


Having plenty of money apparently also has some drawbacks. Really. One is that you could soon get more attention from the Internal Revenue Service, especially if you've been, shall we say, a bit lax in letting Uncle Sam know about your how well you're doing. The IRS announced today that it will be sending agents to visit taxpayers who haven't filed returns or didn't do so in a timely manner in 2018 or previous years. These particular in-person tax inquiries, according to the IRS, will be on those whose income is $100,000 or more. Audit income disparities: These in-person audits... Read more →


A walk along Long Bay in the British Virgin Islands (Photo courtesy Long Bay Beach Club Resort) The first Caribbean vacation the hubby and I took was to the British Virgin Islands (BVI). We had a lovely suite on a hillside overlooking Long Bay. The beaches were fantastic, the weather was ideal, the food superb and we — and by we, I mean the hubby — got in some scuba diving during a day-sail trip. I saw that barracuda in the water and opted to stay on deck. Since then, we've hit a few other island getaway spots, but BVI... Read more →


Yes, that could be a real IRS revenue officer knocking on your door if live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin and have ignored prior notices to pay your overdue tax bill. Have you been a bit remiss in meeting your tax duties? If so and you live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin, you've likely or soon could find an Internal Revenue Service agent on your doorstep. The IRS has announced that these in-person visits are part of a larger effort by the agency to, it its words, ensure fairness in the tax system. The special compliance efforts will encompass both... Read more →


Photo by Chris/spike55151 via Flickr There's a saying that any tax law bill should be subtitled the Perpetual Employment for Accountants Act. The thinking, in both the financial and political worlds, is that no matter what Congress does to the Internal Revenue Code, we'll need tax professionals to decipher at least some of it. Or to help guide you, if you can afford it, through the legislative and legal maze that will allow you to avoid or at least reduce the effects of some of the tax laws. That's the point of Paul Sullivan's analysis of proposed wealth taxes. "Name... Read more →


Even more intriguing, will Donald J. Trump now become social media's definitive Florida Man? Donald Trump, especially early in his presidency, spent a lot of time at Mar-a-Lago, his South Florida club and residence. Here, Trump and Melania in April 2017 welcomed the People's Republic of China president Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan to the Palm Beach abode. Now Trump says it, not Trump Tower in New York City, will be his official residence. (Photo via Trump's Twitter account and Wikipedia Commons). The hubby and I used to live in Donald J. Trump's future full-time home. Alas, for... Read more →


Teslas are the most popular electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States. Creator Elon Musk, however, isn't riding on his EV's laurels. The space exploration and auto impresario says some unusual custom horn sounds are coming. That's right, the honk of your high-dollar Tesla soon could replicate fart and goat noises. That should spark more potential owner interest, although the biggest market for this change, 9-year-old boys, can't drive. Still, Musk knows he needs to do something to keep interest in Teslas high since the EVs no longer qualify for the federal tax credit. Worse, a new report from an... Read more →


The tax gap is holding as steady as this gap on the old Florida Keys bridge. (Photo by Ewen Roberts via Flickr) We might want to revise Benjamin Franklin's famous tax saying. The new version could read, "In in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and the tax gap." The tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax that filers should pay and the amount that they actually hand over voluntarily and on time to the Internal Revenue Service. And IRS data continues to show that while tax years come and tax... Read more →


Darth Maul apparently — spoiler alert — was killed in The Phantom Menace, but later showed up in subsequent Star Wars productions. His persistence is akin phantom investment transactions that are created simply to lower multinational companies' tax bills. (Photo via Lucasfilm) What I consider the real Star Wars trilogy came out when I was in college. That's why I've not bothered to see any of the subsequent sequel/prequel movies. But they came to mind last week when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the University of Copenhagen released a new study on the growth of so-called phantom capital and... Read more →


Much is made of the United States' voluntary compliance tax system. The IRS depends on every taxpayer to honestly and accurately report his or her earnings and figure the correct tax due on the amounts. Apparently, we agree with the self-reporting system, with most taxpayers saying cheating on taxes is wrong. Of course, part of the reason we look askance at fudging Form 1040 figures is because we're afraid the IRS will catch us. However, our fear of a tax audit might be exaggerated, according to the latest IRS Data Book. Fewer return reviews: Audits, or examinations as they're called... Read more →


Michael Cohen (left) and Tom Arnold run into each other in New York City in June 2018. (Photo via Tom Arnold on Twitter) Michael Cohen, Donald J. Trump's former attorney and previously self-described fixer, is heading to federal prison in a couple weeks. But in a recent conversation with actor Tom Arnold, Cohen said he didn't commit all of the crimes for which he will do time. Specifically, according to the story on the telephone discussion that the Wall Street Journal broke, Cohen says he's not guilty of tax evasion, one of the charges for which he's going to jail.... Read more →