“The Buffett thing is just theatrics. If Warren Buffett made his money from ordinary income rather than capital gains, his tax rate would be a lot higher than his secretary’s,” he said. “I think it’s not fair to say that wealthy people don’t pay their fair share. They pay a much higher percentage of their income, they have a higher rate than people who make less,” Bloomberg added. [CBS/AP]
- Caleb Newquist
- March 18, 2010
There is plenty of tax advice floating around this time of year but the problem, as you may expect, is that not all of it is useful for everyone. Sure, you can throw read every piece of advice out there but some of that advice is worth ignoring or at the very least, investigating further so you can find out for yourself if it will actually benefit you.
We asked Mike Callahan, tax director at Spicer Jeffries LLP in Greenwood Village, CO, to pay us another visit, this time with ideas or strategies that he thought were overrated so that you can sort out some of the noise.
• Buying a car for the “write-off” – Mike told us that deductions related to depreciation on cars are extremely limited. He said, “If you need a new car, fine. But don’t expect a huge tax benefit.”
• Maxing out your mortgage – According to Mike, borrowing as much as possible to purchase a home because of the interest deduction is not worth it. “If your combined federal and state tax rate is 30%. 70% of your interest payments are going out the door.”
• Check your W-4 – Withholding a lot of taxes during the year so you can get a big refund is not the way to go. Mike puts it this way, “You just gave Uncle Sam an interest free loan. Adjust your withholding so you come close to breaking-even at tax time.”
• Running up a credit card on deductible expenses before year-end – This one should be a face-slap moment but, “Using a credit card to prepay expenses before year-end if you can’t afford to pay the balance when the bill comes next month.”
• Don’t sock money in an IRA away if you need it now – Mike said that saving money doesn’t do much good if you plan to withdrawal it later, “[Don’t] contribute to an IRA when you need the money. You’ll end-up withdrawing the funds andsubjecting yourself to a 10% penalty,” and more taxes. And by “need” Mike isn’t referring to your Range Rover payment. Good choices people.
- Caleb Newquist
- August 5, 2010
When Young Buck woke up yesterday morning, he probably wasn’t expecting IRS agents armed to the teeth barging in and taking everything in sight.
But according to TMZ, that’s exactly what happened.
According to Young’s rep, IRS agents rolled up to the platinum-selling rapper’s house in Nashville this morning to go on a repossession rampage over the alleged tax debt — seizing assets like recording equipment, jewelry, furniture, his platinum wall plaques … and even his kids’ PlayStation.
Allegedly YB owes $300k in back taxes which isn’t the largest sum but it’s sizable enough. When TMZ asked Mr Buck how he got himself into such a pickle he responded, “This IRS situation came about because I trusted accountants, lawyers, and managers to handle my business for me while I focused on making music. From now on, I am going to stay on top of my own business.”
Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the music doesn’t suffer like the business did. We can’t imagine such a huge blow to the culture.
- Caleb Newquist
- February 17, 2011
Taxes are a touchy subject with Americans. This is known. On the one hand, a Tennessee CPA combined his love for 1040s and firearms, issues coupons to clients who, in their jubilation, can spend their refunds at his gun shop. Even if someone were not due a refund, it wouldn’t be tough to convince someone in small-town Tennessee that purchasing a gun is bound to make you feel better about the IRS impending on your freedom. For others, finding out that their sophisticated tax planning didn’t go as intended, may just cause them to grab the nearest bottle of hooch and try to forget their troubles for awhile.
Thanks to Kay Bell, we have learned that one liquor store in Delaware has made this latter scenario more convenient for its customers:
Because we were curious to know more, we called up Steve’s to find out the situation. We spoke to someone who said that returns start at $65 but the lady in charge was out and could call us back with the details. We’ll have the lowdown for you when we hear back from her.
UPDATE: We just got off the phone with Yvette Nidwik, who does the tax prep over at Steve’s and she shared with us a few more details. Unfortunately, the answer to the question on everyone’s mind, “Do we get a discount on booze?” is a flat “No.” Apparently it’s illegal in Delaware law to give discounts on liquor associated with another service (or something). Be that as it may, we were surprised when Yvette told us that she has a lot of “church people” as clients despite the proximity to the Devil’s brew. Yvette has been preparing tax returns for eleven years, five of those at Steve’s. She is not a CPA but plans on becoming an Enrolled Agent soon. She also doesn’t have a problem with the IRS’s forthcoming preparer regulations, saying, “it’s a good thing,” and that she’s “a fixer” meaning she has lots of clients who come in with prior year returns and she find lots of mistakes (especially from discount preparers that will remain nameless).
So if you’re in the area and don’t have the time or willingness to do your own, look Yvette up at Steve’s but she’s a busy lady, so no messin’ about and she’d probably prefer if you stopped in the liquor store after speaking with her.