Our Blog

Data Security – Priority One - Liscio

Melinda Lain

December 14th 2018

We’ve all heard the stories about cyber security compromises and the risk of identity theft.  As your trusted advisors, we are very aware of the risks and take every precaution to make sure your data remains safe and secure.  High levels of sensitive information make the accounting profession a natural target, which is why we are working hard to keep your information...

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Romantic Tax Collectors Love Valentine's Day Too

Deanna Johnson

February 14th 2018

It's February, and love is in the air. Restaurants are advertising intimate specials for two. Florists are rolling out the red carpet. And in the greeting card racks across the country, Hallmark's most accomplished poets are debuting their new verse. We're talking about Valentine's Day, of course. 62% of Americans say they'll celebrate the occasion. (Of course, that means the rest of...

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How Will I Know?

Deanna Johnson

January 17th 2018

In 2012, the singer Whitney Houston died suddenly, drowning in a hotel bathroom after years of battling drug addiction. Yet the world will always treasure her musical legacy. The Guinness Book of World Records reports that she was the most awarded female artist of all time, with two Emmys, six Grammys, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and 22 American Music Awards, among 400+ awards. Rolling Stone...

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iTaxes Version 38 Billion.0

Deanna Johnson

January 14th 2018

In 2016, SyFy debuted a new show called Incorporated about a dystopian future where corporations, not governments, rule the world. If that nightmare ever comes true, we all know which real-world corporation will rule them all. It's Apple, of course, which just took the shrink-wrap off their $5 billion ring-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, CA and is on the verge of becoming the world's first...

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We Now Interrupt This Broadcast . . .

December 27th 2017

On Sunday, October 30, 1938, Mercury Radio Theatre fans, who were listening to Ramon Racquello and His Orchestra, were interrupted by a news broadcast reporting an odd explosion on the planet Mars. Soon after, they learned that a cylindrical object had fallen on a farm in Grovers Mills, New Jersey. The radio audience listened in horror as a pulsating Martian emerged from the cylinder and...

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The Twelve Days of Taxmas

December 20th 2017

Every year, PNC Bank publishes their "Christmas Price Index" to track the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas. For 2017, it's a hefty $157,558. (And you thought your holiday spending was out of control!) The index may not be completely accurate — for example, the ten lords-a-leaping are valued using...

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A Different Kind of Holiday Party

December 13th 2017

Your kids have finally finished eating their Halloween candy, which means that the real holidays are right around the corner. But before you sit down to open presents, December 16th marks the 244th anniversary of an important holiday in tax history — a pop-up costume ball in Boston Harbor called the Boston Tea Party. From 1698 through 1767, Britain's Parliament passed a series...

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Area Actress to Wed Ex-Soldier

December 6th 2017

Two hundred and forty one years ago, we declared our independence from Mother England — over taxes, of course. But here on our side of the pond, we've never completely lost our affection for all things British. We applauded as the Queen celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary. Netflix fans who just finished binge-watching Stranger Things are eagerly awaiting Season Two of The Crown. And...

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Good Guys Share $175 Million Refund

November 29th 2017

April 15 hasn't always been the national exercise in self-flagellation that it is today. Up until the 1940s, you could just waltz into your local IRS office and they would do your taxes for you. But those days have long since passed. You're still welcome to do it yourself, if you need more stress in your life. But how will you know if you're paying too much? Even software like TurboTax can't...

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Ivy League Tax Problems

November 22nd 2017

They say that "what goes up must come down." But that's not true when it comes to college costs. U.S. News reports the average private college tuition stood at $16,233 back in 1997-98 — roughly $24,973 in 2017 dollars. But the same...

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Sales Tax Exemptions for Nonprofits

November 20th 2017

“Hoosier Hospitality” is at its highest during the holiday season, especially for nonprofit organizations. Pageants, food kitchens, holiday craft shows, toy collections, bake sales, and other activities send volunteers bustling to the stores for supplies. During the helter-skelter of the holidays, it’s sometimes difficult to remember the rules regarding sale...

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The Rock Star, The Nude Estates, and the Lithuanian Shopping Mall

November 15th 2017

incorporated in Lithuania called UAB Nude Estates 2. In 2012, Nude Estates Malta Ltd. transferred the ownership of both Nude Estates 2 and the mall to a new offshore company, Nude Estates 1, based on the English island of Guernsey. Both Malta and Guernsey are low-tax jurisdictions, though foreign investors pay a five percent tax on company profits in Malta, while they pay no tax in...

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Stranger Taxes

November 8th 2017

The streaming video service Netflix has earned a reputation for providing quality content like Narcos, Orange is the New Black, and The Queen. But Netflix has also upended how millions of people consume television. How have they done that? By dropping an entire season's worth of a series all at once, letting you "Netflix and chill" with a single episode or binge for an entire weekend. (What...

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Talk About "Prime" Real Estate!

November 1st 2017

Former President Jimmy Carter once called our tax code "a disgrace to the human race," and there's really not a lot to like about it. There's at least some consolation, though, in the fact that we're all stuck with the same maddening rules. If you and your spouse file jointly, and your ordinary taxable income is $100,000, you'll pay the same amount as any other joint filers reporting the same...

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For the Love of Art

October 25th 2017

In today's new Gilded Age, Americans are constantly vying to one-up each other. You show up at your high-school reunion in a new Mercedes E-Class; then your classmate pulls up in a Maserati Quattroporte. (Some would call it a $50,000 car with a $50,000 hood ornament, but still, it's a Maserati.) You show off a picture of your 42-foot sloop; your neighbor whips out his phone to show off his...

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Tax Strategies for Trick or Treats

October 18th 2017

Halloween is almost here, and if it seems like things have changed since you were a kid, you're right! Halloween has become big business, with the National Retail Federation predicting Americans will spend $9.1 billion on the festivities. That includes $3.4 billion on costumes, with top choices being superheroes, animals, princesses, witches, vampires, and zombies. And, "pets will not be left...

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The Long and Short of It

October 11th 2017

Consumer surveys consistently show that CPAs are the most trusted financial advisors of all. But what happens in the rare instance when you can't trust your CPA? Nothing good, that's for sure! Back in 2001, John Baldwin helped engineer a deal to sell Louisiana's Delta Downs racetrack for a $74 million profit. Baldwin took a $10 million fee for his work, along with some hefty interest...

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They Hate Him at the IRS, Too

October 4th 2017

We live in an unfortunate era of disunity. Cultural divides, racial divides, religious divides, and political divides are threatening to tear America apart. Every so often, though, someone comes along to unite us all in a great primal scream of rage. Remember "Pharma bro" Martin Shkreli, who bought the company that manufactures the prescription Daraprim, then jacked the price from $13.50 to...

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Too Tasty for the IRS

September 27th 2017

Most of us like to eat, even if we choose to deny ourselves this pleasure from time to time. And those of us with an entrepreneurial bent often dream of opening a restaurant. Sometimes it's a bustling cafe fronting a busy urban sidewalk. Sometimes it's comfort food served on a rural byway. And when the dream works, it really is a dream. Just ask celebrity restaurateurs like Vanity Fair editor...

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Sink Your Teeth Into This One

September 20th 2017

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six." Yogi Berra The calendar is full of little-known commemorations that probably escape your attention, and this month is no exception. Some of them are just silly, like September 19's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. (Although, really, if you don't think pirates are cool, what's wrong with...

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Help With Help

September 13th 2017

Ordinarily we use this space for lighthearted stories that poke fun at the tax system and some of the clever ways that people endeavor to make it work for them, successfully or not. But the recent stories coming out of Harvey-ravaged Texas and Irma-ravaged Florida suggest a more serious tone for a change. Today we're going to walk through some tax-related opportunities when it comes to...

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$50 Million, Hut!

September 6th 2017

The 2017 college football season kicked off this week, and for most people that means talk of pre-season polls, Heisman trophy hopefuls, and BCS championship prospects. But we're not "most people," are we? So today we're going to ignore all that boring on-field action and see how one coach's financial advisors lined up the X's and O's to outwit the defensive line at the IRS. Here's a...

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A Match Made in Dallas

August 30th 2017

Where is "home"? Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever you make it. Home is wherever I'm with you. And, of course, I'll be home for Christmas. But what does the tax man think of all of this?In 2009, Greg Blatt was Executive Vice-President, General Counsel & Secretary of InterActive Corp (IAC), which ran 150+ web sites including About.com, Vimeo, and The Daily Beast. Blatt's...

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TurboTax Made Me Do It

August 23rd 2017

One of the highlights of living in our technologically-advanced age is the ability to buy tools to do almost anything. If your kid fractures his arm playing baseball, you can hop on over to Amazon and order an orthopedic bone saw for less than the cost of a tank of gas. Then you can (probably) head over to YouTube and watch a video explaining how to smooth off the rough edges and set it for...

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Oops!

August 16th 2017

Mark Twain once said, "Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well." But Twain's advice doesn't always pay when it comes to taxes. The calendar watchers at the IRS charge a 5% per month failure to file penalty, up to 25% of the amount due, along with a ½% per month failure to pay penalty, also up to 25% of the total amount due. And the IRS isn't...

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Bottoms Up!

August 9th 2017

What were you doing at the end of your day on Friday, August 4? Were you knocking back a bottle of suds at your favorite happy-hour bar? Enjoying vacation time with a cold one overlooking a beach or a harbor? Maybe feeling ripped off paying $14 for a tallboy of St Louis's finest at your local ballpark? Well, hopefully you were doing something like that, because the first Friday in August is...

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Making More By Paying Less

August 2nd 2017

When affluent clients want to pay less tax, they turn to accountants, attorneys, and financial advisors, among other advisors. And we can make a nice living helping clients accomplish that goal. (At the risk of sounding self-serving, it's because we're worth it.) But you won't find any tax professionals populating the Forbes 400, or your hometown paper's list of richest local...

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Celebrities Behaving Badly

July 26th 2017

One day back in March, 2002, Us Weekly editor Bonnie Fuller spotted a photo of actress Drew Barrymore bending over to pick a coin off the ground. A light bulb flipped on over her head, and on April 1, her magazine debuted a brand-new photo feature that changed the paparazzi game forever. We're talking, of course, about "Stars — They're Just Like Us." (Of course, they're still not quite...

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Caliente

July 19th 2017

Summer is here, and in most of the country, it's hot! The All-Star game has come and gone, dog days are right around the corner, and if your air conditioner makes a funny noise, the hair stands up on the back of your neck. Now, we can't help you if your air conditioner breaks, but we can try and put a smile on your face with a few tax quotes to start your day. Try and spot the summer...

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Accountants Behaving Badly

July 12th 2017

Actress Alyssa Milano first gained fame playing Tony Danza's daughter on the television sitcom Who's the Boss. The show ran for eight seasons, snagged ten Emmy and five Golden Globe nominations (winning one of each), and established Milano as a bone fide teen idol. While her star has dimmed since then, she continues to work in Hollywood and seems to be one of the few child stars in recent...

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IRS Slapshot Misses

July 5th 2017

Summer is here, so naturally, everyone's thinking about hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins have just taken their second Stanley Cup in a row, and the rest of the NHL is working to make sure there's no three-peat. But one of those teams just won a different sort of contest, in Tax Court of all places. So let's go to the tape . . . Jeremy Jacobs is the owner and chairman of Delaware North,...

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Clean Tax Savings Here

June 28th 2017

Businesses generally try to get the highest price possible for their products. It's called "capitalism," and it generally works to establish "equilibrium prices" between knowledgeable buyers and willing sellers. But every so often, this mechanism breaks down and prices soar, resulting in howls of "price gouging!" from ticked-off customers. This is especially true with pharmaceuticals. In...

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This Is Spinal Tax

June 21st 2017

In 1984, the documentary filmmaker Marty Di Bergi scored a hit with This is Spinal Tap, a look inside Britain's loudest band and their 1982 Smell the Glove concert tour. Lead singer David St. Hubbins, lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel, and bassist Derek Smalls, were joined by a series of drummers who died under mysterious circumstances, including spontaneous combustion and a bizarre gardening...

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Does Your Money Need a Passport?

June 14th 2017

Economic inequality is a hot topic in today's world. Researchers here and abroad consistently show the top 1% of earners gobbling a disproportionate share of gains throughout the world. This trend has more and more thinkers debating what to do about it. Do we redistribute the pie, so that everyone has a more equal share? Or do we grow it so that everyone can have a bigger slice? (There, we've...

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Trigger Warning: Snakes

June 7th 2017

What scares Americans most? It's not the IRS, or public speaking, or even sharks. No, the answer, as you probably guessed, is snakes. Gallup once polled 1,016 American adults, and found that fully 51% of us are afraid of the scaly, coldblooded carnivores. Snakes have been bad guys going as far back as the Book of Genesis, when the serpent tempted Eve with an apple. And they've terrorized the...

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No Soup for You!

May 30th 2017

November 2nd, 1995, was a delicious day in television history. That's when Jerry Seinfeld and the rest of his gang introduced us to the "Soup Nazi", a stern-looking chef who demands his customers follow his obsessive rules for lining up and ordering. The Soup Nazi didn't win any awards for customer service, but his soup was so good...

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Hitting a Tax Gapper

May 24th 2017

Summer is almost here, and sports fans across America have a lot to look forward to. Basketball's 13-month-long season is (finally) starting to heat up. Hockey playoffs are coming to a close. Baseball is in full swing, and NFLers are about to report to training camps. Stop at any bar or water cooler in the land, and you'll hear talk of wins, losses, and plays that you just have to...

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"And the Award Goes To . . . ."

May 17th 2017

Right now, all across America, thousands of talented youngsters are dreaming of careers in performing arts. Whether they aspire to be the next Meryl Streep, or Taylor Swift, or Lin-Manuel Miranda, they understand the odds of success are long. But they still dream that one day they'll find themselves in the audience at the Oscars, the Grammys, or the Tonys, waiting with their hearts in their...

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Taxing the Roses

May 10th 2017

Every year on the first Saturday in May, an enormous crowd of socialites, "turf investors," and people just looking for a party descends on Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. It's an unforgettable pageant of mint juleps, fashionable hats, and the most exciting two minutes in sports. This year, the favorite Always Dreaming leaped first out of the gate, left challenger Battle of Midway...

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The Taxing History Behind Cinco de Mayo

May 3rd 2017

Americans are great at taking perfectly serviceable holidays and turning them into excuses for parties. On St. Patrick's Day, millions of Irish-for-a-day drinkers belly up to their favorite fake Irish bar to down pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson. Next on the calendar is Cinco de Mayo, when all those same St. Paddy's fans become Mexicans for a day to down bottles of Corona and pitchers...

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Why Did the Loophole Cross the Road?

April 26th 2017

We've just made it through our annual exercise in self-flagellation known as "tax filing season." And who's fault is that? Don't blame the IRS, blame the Congress that wrote the four million-odd words that make up the tax code. So it's always refreshing to see someone inside that particular lion's den take a critical look at what Congress has wrought. Jeff Flake is a freshman Senator...

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Monopoly Money

Jerica Hernandez

April 19th 2017

In 1935, Americans were mired in the depths of the Great Depression. Gross domestic product had shrunk from $103.6 billion in 1929 to $73.3 billion. Unemployment stood at a horrendous 20.1%. Even the suicide rate was higher during those dark years. And on February 6th of that year, the Parker Brothers company started selling an escape from all that misery: a family-friendly board game that...

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What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?

Jerica Hernandez

April 11th 2017

In 1982, Unilever came up with a catchy jingle to sell Klondike bars, a sort of Eskimo pie without a stick: "What would you do for a Klondike Bar?" The challenges weren't especially grueling. Would you make monkey sounds? Act like a chicken? In one spot, a boneheaded dudebro actually listened to his wife talk (about painting the foyer yellow) for five seconds to get his hands on the creamy...

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Batter Up!

Jerica Hernandez

April 4th 2017

Baseball is back! On April 2, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays spanked the visiting New York Yankees, 7-3, to kick off the 2017 season. Later that day, the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubbies fell to their usual last place in the National League Central. And Cincinnati Reds fans are still bitter that they don't get to host the season's first game like they did for so many...

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Rich as Rockefeller

Jerica Hernandez

March 28th 2017

Last week marked the end of an era as David Rockefeller, the last grandchild of Standard Oil baron John D. Rockefeller, died at age 101. Rockefeller, whose name was once synonymous with "wealth," symbolized the eastern establishment in all its glory. His death marks a last living link to an age of robber barons-turned-philanthropists whose fortunes still shape our nation. Patriarch...

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I, Robot

Jerica Hernandez

March 21st 2017

For decades now, governments across the world have struggled with where to impose taxes to raise the revenue they need to offer modern services. Should they simply raise rates? Should they broaden the base by eliminating loopholes and deductions? Should they sock it to smokers, drinkers, or other disfavored groups? How about entirely new levies designed to influence behaviors, like a carbon...

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Monkey Business

Jerica Hernandez

March 14th 2017

In Roman mythology, the hero Hercules used his divine strength to smash through the mountain that used to be Atlas. This created the Straits of Gibraltar, linked the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and forged the famed Rock of Gibraltar. The so-called "rock" is an enormous limestone monolith, rising 1,398 feet nearly straight up from the sea, and making Gibraltar a key strategic crossroad....

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Fixed This for You

Jerica Hernandez

March 7th 2017

For generations, Americans fostered a culture of thrifty self-reliance, especially where it comes to taking care of our stuff. It started all the way back in pioneer days, and living on the frontier's edge. Back when Pa Ingalls lived in that little house in the big woods, if his saw broke, he couldn't just order up a replacement on Amazon. He had to fix it, or he would have a tough time...

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Survey Says . . . !

Jerica Hernandez

February 22nd 2017

The people who work at the IRS can be proud to do an important job. They're the "accounts receivable" department for the federal government, and whether you think we need more government or less, we should collect the revenue to finance it as effectively as possible. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has already stated that the incoming administration's ban on new government hiring shouldn't apply...

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