Tag Archives: welcome to the real world

The only thing worse than talking to the IRS is NOT talking to the IRS

Will taxpayers need to “pay to play” in dealing with the IRS?

Nina Olson is head of the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the office of the IRS that actually reports on how the IRS performs in dealing with taxpayers. She is your voice within the IRS. So when she says something, I pay attention.

Patricia Cohen of The New York Times writes that in her annual report to Congress, Olson said her office “has been left with the distinct impression that the I.R.S.’s ultimate goal is “to get out of the business of talking with taxpayers” altogether.

Fewer taxpayer services. More incorrect processing of returns. Higher costs to taxpayers who wind up having to use tax pros to deal with problems that consumers used to be able to handle themselves. No good spin on this story, but the report is highly readable and you can find it here. I recommend having an adult beverage by your side while you read.

“The Situation” is in a not-so-good tax situation

Did you know that “Jersey Shore” reality show personality Michael Sorrentino, aka “The Situation”, and his brother Marc, grossed almost $9 million in a variety of ventures over four years? Me neither, until I read the U.S. District Court indictment, reported inThe New York Times,charging the brothers with conspiracy and filing false tax returns. Michael… Continue Reading

Washington Post’s maps paint a fascinating – and unexpected – picture of the USA

The Washington Post’s “GovBeat” feature is doing some great work, including this story and link to 25 maps and charts of the United States (your first 10 stories a month at Washingtonpost.com are free; then the paywall rises up.) One, “Finding America’s Uninsured,” (#23) shows that the national problem of people not having health insurance… Continue Reading

Super-rich have super-low tax rates, in super times or bad ones

Let’s stop a moment to reflect on the tax lives of the 400 highest-earning Americans, and how they suffered in the Great Recession of 2008-2009. Oh, wait a minute—they didn’t suffer. As James B. Stewart points out in The New York Times, the fortunate 400 still averaged $202 million apiece in adjusted gross income in… Continue Reading

Now that’s a home run: McCourts back in court over billion-dollar Dodgers franchise

Nasty multi-million dollar divorces make for some great financial insights, especially when they wind up in court. Today’s lesson: How profitable it can be to own a professional sports franchise, and how the tax code’s preferential rates for capital gains benefit the super-wealthy. Frank McCourt owned the Los Angeles Dodgers. When he and his wife… Continue Reading