A Tax Odyssey

On July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the first potentially Earth-like planet within the “habitable zone” of a star like our Sun. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away, meaning the New Horizons space probe that just passed Pluto should get there in another 26 million years. (Mom, are we there yet?) It’s 60% bigger […]

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Toxic Deductible Sludge

Back in 2010, British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and spilled millions of barrels of oil off the Louisiana coast. Countless small business owners, including fishermen, hotel operators, restaurants, rental companies, and seafood processors, suffered and went bankrupt. State and local governments lost billions more in tax revenue. Lawyers, who may be some of […]

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Click!

Nina Olson is the most important person you’ve never heard of at the IRS. She’s the “National Taxpayer Advocate,” and she heads up an organization created to cut through the red tape when the Service can’t get the job done itself. If you’re stuck between cogs in the IRS machine, Olson and her staff of […]

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Forensic Filings

We tend to think of the Internal Revenue Service mainly as Uncle Sam’s “collections department.” But it’s also a true law enforcement agency. Special agents from the Criminal Investigations unit take on obvious crimes like tax evasion and tax preparer fraud. They also partner with local police, the FBI, the DEA, and even foreign governments […]

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A Tax in a Pineapple Under the Sea

You know what’s even worse than paying tax on money you make? Try taking a loss on money you lose. Make $100, pay a 40% tax, and you’ve still got $60 left. But lose $100, take a tax loss, and you’re still out your $100. Yeah, you can deduct it against future income. But it’s […]

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What Goes Around Comes Around

Ask anyone what makes them happy. (Go ahead, see who’s around and ask them.) We’re pretty sure they didn’t say “paying taxes.” Most of us just grumble and pay up. But millions of citizens from all walks of life express their unhappiness by choosing not to pay. The IRS currently has over 12 million accounts […]

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Blockbuster Taxes

Memorial Day came early this year, and that means we get more time with our summer whites! (Of course, summer doesn’t “officially” start until June 21, but who’s counting?) For millions of Americans, cooling off at the movies with a bucket of popcorn and gallon of soda is a favorite part of the season. So […]

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Bet They Didn’t Think About This!

Last week, a New York judge issued writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo, currently living in a research lab at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. The next day, she walked back the scope of her ruling, emphasizing she was merely directing the university to […]

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Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Every year, the IRS Criminal Investigations unit (IRS-CI) releases a surprisingly entertaining report detailing their efforts to protect the Treasury from scammers, fraudsters, and cheats. This year’s edition reveals that, due to budget cuts, activity is actually down. In 2014, IRS special agents initiated 4,297 criminal investigations (down 19.1% from 5,314 in 2013) and recommended […]

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