Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

Helping real people win the tax game.

Archive for July, 2003

Posted by taxguru on July 30, 2003

Tax increase a tough sell in Alabama – The governor is trying to sell the concept of a massive tax increase as everyone’s Christian duty.

Alabama governor calls tax hike Christian duty

The odd tax dodge – Another idiotic tax protestor trying to twist the language of the tax code to nullify the entire income tax system in this country. These tax protestor morons are just like religious fanatics who take one passage from the Bible and establish an entire cult based on those few words, even though the rest of the bible says the complete opposite.

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Posted by taxguru on July 30, 2003

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Grab Bag

Posted by taxguru on July 30, 2003

I’ve long believed that ballots for elective office should have an option of NOTA (None Of The Above) so that people don’t have to choose the lesser evil. With the coming free-for-all in the PRC, where the highest vote-getter wins the governorship without needing over 50%, it will be as close to a NOTA opportunity as I can recall. Perhaps someone will add his/her dog’s name to the ballot, as has been the case with some other elections, so that voters who don’t like any of the human candidates can have a real alternative.

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Posted by taxguru on July 30, 2003

Hey, Big Spender. Ted Kennedy wants to give a subsidy to people who’ve already had a tax cut. Seriously. – The Oldsmobile submarine captain has become a walking cliche as the icon of bloated big government.

Man Wins ‘Dream House’ Raffle – A million dollar house for a $300 investment in two raffle tickets. This brings up all sorts of tax issues that I hope he is working on with his tax advisor. He will have to report a million dollars of gambling income for 2003, whether he keeps the house or sells it. However, this opens up the door for him to deduct gambling losses of all kinds up to a million dollars. He should be asking all of his friends to save their losing lottery tickets for him for the rest of the year.

Scam Alert: ATM thief does his work with a smile – We may be seeing some new racial profiling here based on this new scam, called the Lebanese Loop. If your ATM card gets stuck in the machine and their is a Lebanese-looking person standing behind you, calling the cops may be a good idea.

Committee Highlights $200M in Waste, Fraud in Federal Programs – With a multi-trillion dollar annual budget, this is a mere drop in the bucket; but there are easily thousands of government programs where this kind of money is flushed down the crapper. Maybe I’m overly naive in cases like this, but I can’t help considering this to be money that is taken out of our pockets, and not from some big magical pot of gold in the sky, as too many people envision government largesse.

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Posted by taxguru on July 30, 2003

With the similarities between the attacks on tobacco and fast food, this may not be very far from what is heading our way. Nicotine addicts have been forced to pay huge taxes on their drug of choice. Food addicts shouldn’t be surprised to find the same kind of bull’s-eye on their wallets. Recent stories claiming that junk food is as addictive as heroin are too reminiscent of the discussion of nicotine to be anything other than the opening salvo in treating food users in the same manner as tobacco users have been.

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Posted by taxguru on July 29, 2003

IRS upgrade hits another glitch – IRS has a long tradition of flushing millions of dollars down the toilet in attempts to modernize their computer systems. Having the deep pockets of the Federal taxpayers to bail them out prevents the IRS from suffering the same fate that private companies would have met under similar incompetencies.

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Posted by taxguru on July 29, 2003

The unachievable goal of a perfect trading market for stocks and other things is that everybody has access to the exact same information as everyone else has, so that nobody has any advantage over anyone else. As Martha Stewart has discovered, what constitutes illegal insider info is a very subjective assessment.

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Radio Interview

Posted by taxguru on July 29, 2003

This morning’s interview with Baltimore radio station WBAL was moved up at the very last minute. I’m not a morning person, and was up much earlier than normal for the original interview time of 7:25 our time. Luckily, I got up at 6:30, with the goal of browsing the current news beforehand. However, a call came in from the WBAL producer before I could even check the first site. She said they were running behind and needed to put me on earlier than planned. We ended up only having three minutes for this interview.

Since it’s not likely many of you heard the interview at the time, we recorded it off the WBAL Internet feed and I have posted it in standard MP3 format on my site. It runs just over three minutes and the file size is 2.3mb, which is much smaller than the 17mb original wav file.

For anyone interested in how to record things like this, I have been using the Total Recorder program for a few years now and have been very happy with its ability to record anything that is playing through our computers.

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Posted by taxguru on July 28, 2003

Democrats Not Shying Away From Tax Talk. Candidates Discuss Raises, Not Cuts – Just one of many reasons to despise DemonRats.

Why Medicare Expansion Threatens the Bush Tax Cuts and Undermines Fundamental Tax Reform – As with all government programs the actual costs will be several times what the proponents claim they will be. As with such boondoggles as MediCare, the big government fans know that once people are hooked on the program, it will be impossible for it to be scuttled just because it costs a hundred times as much as they told us it would at the beginning.

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Posted by taxguru on July 28, 2003

CNBC Disclosure Stirs Ethics Debate in Business Media

It’s always been a dilemma in regard to financial writers who tout certain stocks. While many media companies have rules forbidding their writers from covering stocks that they personally own, if it’s such a good investment, it does give one pause if that person doesn’t put his/her own money where his/her mouth is. On the other hand, there is also the concern that the writers are using their clout to stimulate buyers to run up the prices so they can be unloaded; pump & dump. I don’t have a preference for either; but I think it is a god idea to have writers disclose their personal ownership.

I always get a big kick out of the hot stock tips that come via email. They imply that the analysis is objective, yet the fine print at the end often says that the writer was given several thousand dollars or several thousand shares of the stock for sending out the emails. I always wonder how many people are stupid enough to actually buy those shares regardless of the obvious blatant conflicts of interest.

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