Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

Archive for July 1st, 2003

Most State Budgets Take Effect July 1

Posted by taxguru on July 1, 2003

Market Flop, Overspending Led to State Budget Calamities, Say Analysts

States borrow record amounts & raise taxes

Budgets prompt refrain: ‘We ran out of money’

Smokers Face July 1 Cigarette Tax Increases – I should amend my earlier comments on acceptable targets for persecution by our society to include nicotine addicts.

Private tax collectors get nod from Washington – A chance for people like Tony Soprano to apply their skills in support of our rulers in DC.

Is Taxation Theft? – If Robin Hood was considered to be a thief for taking from the rich and giving to the poor, how does that differ from what the IRS does?

Harrison Abstract shut; assets frozen – With the largest part of my practice involving real estate tax issues, I have always warned people that a deal isn’t real until it closes and the money is actually received. This shocking case, where an escrow company is seized, shows that a deal isn’t even real when it closes, if the funds haven’t been disbursed to the sellers. This case hits more close to home for me than similar cases that happen all the time around the country. Many of our clients used Harrison Abstract for their sales and purchases. In fact, Sherry had just delivered some exchange trust funds to Harrison Abstract last Thursday, the day before the seizure took place. We’re still waiting to see if that deal was completed in time. From another perspective, Harrison Abstract had been handling the collection of our loan payments for the purchase of our ranch. I have already been in direct contact via email with the one of the sellers to see if they lost any money from this embezzlement. From our early communications, it seems that may be the case, with some of our payments not being forwarded to the sellers. This will be a messy situation for quite a while.

Judge Tosses Out Big Stock Case(link to article expired) – A little common sense in the courtroom. As I’ve always said, stock market investing, especially during the dot-com bubble, is no different than playing the games in a casino. If you lose, be mature enough to take your lumps and stop trying to force someone else to pay you for your bad luck.

Most Workers Are in Dark On Health of Their Pension (link to article expired) – Unfortunately, things are often much worse than just being in the dark for many employees and former employees. That is why, whenever possible, it has always been my preference that clients have retirement accounts that they can control and monitor closely. When leaving an employer, it’s best to opt to roll any pension funds over into a self controlled IRA rather than leave them with the former organization.

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Posted by taxguru on July 1, 2003

There are actually lots of people who believe this is a good thing from the employee’s perspective; that it’s better to refuse additional income so as to not be pushed into a higher tax bracket. That is crazy. More often, people turn down opportunities for employer reimbursements of expenses, thinking they will be better off by just deducting it on their personal tax returns. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First, any tax deduction is only going to result in a small percentage of that amount in actual tax savings, depending on your tax brackets. A 100% reimbursement is always a much better thing than a tax deduction.

Second, IRS does not allow any deduction for an expense that could have been reimbursed, but you chose not to claim. There was an interesting case about ten or so years ago, where an IRS auditor was denied travel deductions because he could have submitted them for reimbursement, but didn’t because he was afraid of upsetting his superiors and harming his chances for promotion.

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