Tag Archives: too clever by half

Hastert and FIFA cases prove the oldest rule in the book: Follow the money!

What does Dennis Hastert’s indictment on apparently Very Very Bad Horrible Terrible Behavior (kudos to Kaili Joy Gray of Wonkette) and the FIFA bribery and kickback scandal (New York Times version here) have in common? They both in part involve people charged with trying to hide or disguise transfers of money—something that is of tremendous interest these days to both the FBI and the IRS.

In Hastert’s case, you have to wonder how he could have thought that making regular cash withdrawals of less than $10,000 would keep him from attracting the attention of regulators (had he never heard of Eliot Spitzer?) One thread of the FIFA investigation (NYT’s take here) involved a soccer official who had stopped filing personal income tax returns and later cooperated with investigators, as The Daily News first reported.

People! Simple Rule #1: If you look like you’re trying to hide something financial, you’re probably trying to hide something financial. And it’s darned hard to get away with in this age of heightened bank reporting.

Apple avoids billions in taxes, and it all looks legal; those guys really are smart

Lawmakers are using words like “gimmicks” and “schemes” to describe how Apple Corporation has used a web of subsidiaries spanning the globe to avoid taxes. There are hearings this week at which Congressmen are expected to say they are shocked, shocked, to hear of tax loopholes being exploited. As The New York Times reported, Congressional…Continue Reading

Oops: No paperwork, no $18.5 million deduction

Does the IRS turn a laser-like eye on tax returns that claim large deductions for non-cash contributions to charity? You bet. Will the Service disallow deductions for contributions when people don’t have all their paperwork in order? You double-bet. The IRS and the U.S. Tax Court hammered this home in May 2012, when it disallowed…Continue Reading

Arranging a tax-deductible fire

Ever want to help support your local fire department? Several taxpayers over the years have done just that, by allowing the fire department to use their house for training purposes, including–yes–burning down the house. Why would someone do that? Well, for the tax benefit! No kidding. The idea is that you get to deduct the…Continue Reading

$2 million tax refund equals 66 months in prison

She could have been Turbotax‘s Poster Child For Getting Your Maximum Refund–“I used Turbotax and got a $2.1 million refund!” The only problem is that there wasn’t much truthful about the Oregon tax return filed by Krystle Marie Reyes of Salem once you got to the lines below her name and the address where you…Continue Reading

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Mitt Romney, through the funhouse mirror

Mitt Romney famously told a heckler on the campaign trail that corporations are people, too. A fellow named Geoff Sugerman was paying attention. Here’s his proposal: If corporations are people, why can’t people be corporations–with all the tax benefits of corporations Geoff has a website, peoplearecorporations.org., where he also promotes his political action committee, People…Continue Reading

Is a zygote a person? Ask your tax guy.

More than a half-dozen states are considering constitutional amendments, ballot measures or legislation that would declare a fertilized human egg (think back to your high school science classes and the word, “zygote”) to have the legal rights of a person. I’m not going to get into the logic of this. Oh, heck, sure I will—it’s…Continue Reading

It’s hard to hang a tax break on a thong

Repeat after me: Just Because You Wear It For Business Doesn’t Make It Deductible I want my small business clients to write off every expense they’re entitled to. Supplies, business travels, meals, conferences–we take everything that’s allowed. I get very skeptical, though, when they start telling me how much they had to spend on business-related…Continue Reading