Get a jump start on your taxes! (And depression!)

imageFor the last several years I’ve promised myself I would do my taxes early. And for the last several years I have found myself Tokyo-drifting my way to the post office at 11:59 p.m. April 14. This year, I was determined to get an early start. After clearing off the kitchen table and finding an outlet for the calculator, I sat down to do my taxes. As always, I made sure to have all the necessary documentation and forms, like W4s, tax forms, bank statements, insurance reports, tax schedules and, most importantly, a box of Kleenex.

As I sat staring at this year’s tax booklet, I noticed a special section of “Tax Terms,” which is an alphabetical listing of terms one may encounter during the tax preparation process. Each term is followed by a brief description meant to enlighten the truth-seeking taxpayer through “real-life” examples. For instance, the IRS uses “Jane” and “John” to illustrate the term “Ability to Pay.” In this scenario, Jane is filthy rich, with homes on both coasts that she visits by way of her own Lear jet.

By comparison, John earns what the IRS calls a “more modest salary,” which affords him a flashlight and a camper shell to live in.  Continue reading

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HURRY! Time is running out if you want to claim your dog as a dependent

IRS and ostrich It used to be that when the IRS discovered you’ve been claiming a child who is actually a 50-pound Labrador retriever named “Billy,” everyone would have a good laugh. Not any more. The Treasury Department says it will be cracking down on “aggressive tax deductions” filed by U.S. taxpayers in order to keep the federal government from being bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars — money that could otherwise be spent on important federal programs, such as the Congressional Caribbean Getaway Fund.

As a service to readers, several of whom are actual U.S. taxpayers, I thought I’d contact some of the brightest minds in tax law in order to clarify what we can still get away with. Unfortunately, everyone was too busy working on the Clinton family’s tax returns to help. So, as aresponsible member of the news media, I was left with only one option:

Forget taxes! Let’s talk about who’s next on Dancing With The Stars!

Just kidding. I rolled up my sleeves. Got on the Internet. Made phone calls. And eventually came up with some real-life tax claims you should NOT make unless you want to end up in jail — or worse, on the computer screen of a humor columnist trying to meet a deadline. Continue reading

Tax terms that can help cover your assets

image After clearing off the kitchen table and finding an outlet for the calculator, I sat down to do my taxes. As always, I made sure to have all the necessary documentation and forms — W4s, tax forms, bank statements, insurance reports, tax schedules and, most importantly, a full box of Kleenex.

As I sat staring at this year’s tax booklet, I noticed a special section of “Tax Terms,” which is an alphabetical listing of terms one may encounter during the tax preparation process. Each term is followed by a brief description meant to enlighten the truth-seeking taxpayer through “real-life” examples. For instance, the IRS uses “Jane” and “John” to illustrate the term “Ability to Pay.” In this scenario, Jane is filthy rich, with homes on both coasts that she visits by way of her own Lear jet.

By comparison, John earns what the IRS calls a “more modest salary,” which affords him a flashlight and a camper shell to live in.

(Read the rest at Long Awkward Pause!)

Don’t worry: tougher tax laws will still let you depreciate your ostrich

IRS and ostrich It used to be that when the IRS discovered you’ve been claiming a child who is actually a 50-pound Labrador retriever named “Billy,” everyone would have a good laugh. Not any more. The Treasury Department says it will be cracking down on “aggressive tax deductions” filed by U.S. taxpayers in order to keep the federal government from being bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars — money that could otherwise be spent on important federal programs, such as the Government Shutdown Caribbean Getaway Fund.

As a service to our readers, several of whom are actual U.S. taxpayers, we thought we’d contact some of the brightest minds in tax law in order to clarify what we can still get away with. Unfortunately, everyone was too busy working on the Osbourne family’s latest tax returns to help us so, as responsible members of the news media, we were left with only one option:

Forget taxes and talk about The Bachelor!

Just kidding. We rolled up our sleeves. Got on the Internet. Made phone calls. And eventually came up with some real-life tax claims you should NOT make unless you want to end up in jail, or worse, on the computer screen of a humor columnist trying to meet a deadline. Continue reading

Don’t worry: tougher tax laws still let you depreciate your ostrich

IRS and ostrich It used to be that when the IRS discovered you’ve been claiming a child who is actually a 50-pound Labrador retriever named “Billy,” everyone would have a good laugh. Not any more. The Treasury Department says it will be cracking down on “aggressive tax deductions” filed by U.S. taxpayers in order to keep the federal government from being bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars — money that could otherwise be spent on important federal programs, such as the Government Shutdown Caribbean Getaway Fund.

As a service to our readers, several of whom are actual U.S. taxpayers, we thought we’d contact some of the brightest minds in tax law in order to clarify what we can still get away with. Unfortunately, everyone was too busy working on the Osbourne family’s latest tax returns to help us so, as responsible members of the news media, we were left with only one option:

Forget taxes and talk about The Bachelor!

Just kidding. We rolled up our sleeves. Got on the Internet. Made phone calls. And eventually came up with some real-life tax claims you should NOT make unless you want to end up in jail, or worse, on the computer screen of a humor columnist trying to meet a deadline. Continue reading