Our Blog

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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Better Call Saul

Jerica Hernandez

February 15th 2017

On January 20, 2008, AMC debuted a promising new drama called Breaking Bad. The series chronicled the highs and lows of high-school chemistry teacher Walter White, who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and put his knowledge to work opening a meth lab to secure his family's financial future. Millions of viewers became addicted to White's exploits as he plunged deeper and deeper into a...

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Star Power

Jerica Hernandez

February 8th 2017

On January 23, the IRS began accepting 2016 tax returns, and that means refund season is officially here. For 2017, the IRS expects 70% of Americans will get refunds, and those refunds will average around $2,840. Yes, if you're among that 70%, it means you paid in too much over the course of the year and gave the IRS an interest-free loan. (And no, they won't return the favor.) But millions...

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Step Away From That Soda, Sir . . .

Jerica Hernandez

February 1st 2017

Last year, the Philadelphia City Council slapped a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on soda and artificially-sweetened drinks. The new tax, which became effective on January 1, sounds like something intended to fight obesity, diabetes, and other public health threats. Council actually designed it to finance universal pre-kindergarten for Philadelphia schoolchildren and pay for local development...

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Tax Apprentice

Jerica Hernandez

January 25th 2017

  Back in 2004, Donald Trump was just another overextended real-estate developer with two divorces and four bankruptcies under his belt. That all changed with the debut of The Apprentice, the show that made "you're fired!" a national catchphrase. It's safe to say that without the popularity of The Apprentice, Trump wouldn't have just taken the oath of office to become the...

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Politicians Behaving Badly

Jerica Hernandez

January 18th 2017

Last week, we presented three stories from the IRS Criminal Investigation unit's most recent annual report outlining their work to protect the Treasury's revenue from grifters, cheats, and cons. It's a "true crime" fan's favorite IRS report that puts TV cop dramas to shame. Most public servants are as honest and dedicated as we could want them to be. But some find ways to use their...

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Happy

Jerica Hernandez

January 11th 2017

The IRS publishes hundreds of reports every year, covering all sorts of topics. You'll find routine statistical summaries, like the always-popular "Number of Individual Income Tax Returns, Income, Exemptions and Deductions, Tax, and Average Tax." You'll find page-turners worthy of a Tom Clancy thriller, like last summer's "Actions Can Be Taken to Better Address Potential Noncompliance for...

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Tax Thoughts for the New Year

Jerica Hernandez

January 4th 2017

2017 is likely to be a big year for taxes. House Speaker Paul Ryan and President-elect Donald Trump haven't been shy about their New Year's resolutions to rewrite the tax code, and we could be in for quite a ride. So here are some thoughts to start exercising your 2017 tax-planning muscles: "If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead — if you strike...

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Creepy Little Elf Has Nothing on the IRS

Jerica Hernandez

December 28th 2016

If you have kids and you celebrate Christmas, you're probably familiar with the Elf on the Shelf — a storybook and accompanying doll that help encourage your little darlings to behave themselves before the holidays. The book tells wide-eyed children how Santa marshals an army of scout elves to sneak into their houses before Christmas, then fly back to the North Pole every night to rat...

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Christmas Tax Breaks for Christmas Tree Growers

Jerica Hernandez

December 21st 2016

'Tis the season to be jolly, and how jolly could we be without Christmas trees on display? For some of us it's the classic Pinus Sylvestris, or scotch pine. For others it's the soft-needled Abies fraserie, or Fraser fir. Still more make do with the store-bought plasticus annualensis, or "Target special." (Artificial trees can be beautiful, too!) Christmas trees are a festive symbol of holiday...

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Sweet!

Jerica Hernandez

December 14th 2016

December is a busy month for holidays, what with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all crowding calendars. But there's a lesser-known holiday that falls on December 16 that we don't want you to miss. It's not Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or Free Shipping Day (although those are both fun, too). We're talking, of course, about the obvious celebrations surrounding Chocolate Covered Anything Day....

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400 Cigar-Chomping Fat Cats Aren't Enough Anymore

Jerica Hernandez

December 7th 2016

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who brought us the Great Gatsby among other well-heeled characters, once said the rich are very different from you and me. To which Fitzgerald's jazz age compatriot Ernest Hemingway sarcastically retorted, "Yes, they have more money." But how much more money do they really have? Nosey parkers want to know! Every year, the financial snoops at the IRS release...

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Over the River and Through the Woods

Jerica Hernandez

November 30th 2016

Thanksgiving is a time for homecoming, and some of us are fortunate to return to a place where we've spent decades of holidays. Who wouldn't relish celebrating in a cozy farmhouse out of a Norman Rockwell print, with an overstuffed chair in front of a crackling fire and a warm kitchen smelling of pumpkin pie? But these days, more Americans spend their Thanksgiving in a different...

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Talking Turkey on Taxes

Jerica Hernandez

November 23rd 2016

A hardy band of refugees board a leaky wooden boat, just 106 feet long to hold 132 of them, and set off for freedom across an unknown sea. Syrian refugees fleeing sectarian violence? Cuban marielitoes risking wretched lives to escape Castro's brutal regime? No . . . it's November, so we must be talking about the Pilgrims and the Mayflower. William Bradford, Myles Standish, and the...

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All You Need is Love

Jerica Hernandez

November 16th 2016

No matter who we voted for, we can all agree that this has been the nastiest presidential election since Thomas Jefferson called John Adams a hermaphroditic bastard. This week it's finally (finally!) come to an end. Whether you're elated or nauseated by the results, there's probably one emotion you share with most Americans right now: relief that the campaign is over. You've taken a long hot...

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No, They Don't Want Justin Bieber Back

Jerica Hernandez

November 9th 2016

Given how long the 2016 presidential election season was, you're probably in one of two camps right now: ready to move to Canada, or relieved you don't have to. Either way, it's likely more Americans have actually thought about Canada in the last year than in the entire last century. So let's take a look at how Canada's tax system works, eh? Here's what you're in for (or what you're missing)...

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Hut, Hut, Hike! (Your Tax Bill)

Jerica Hernandez

November 2nd 2016

The 2016 NFL season is in full swing, and fans are spending billions of dollars to show their loyalty to their teams. The average ticket costs $92.98. The average beer runs $7.38. Even parking can cost as much as $75 to see the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. And fans spend billions more on licensed hats, jerseys, jackets, and other apparel. But teams don't always return that loyalty. In...

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Warren Buffett's Real Superpower

Jerica Hernandez

October 26th 2016

Spend an afternoon at any area theater, and you'll see heroes with superpowers wreaking havoc wherever they go. Superman is faster than a speeding bullet (and leaps tall buildings in a single bound). Superheroes band together to save the world and debate whether they can ignore civilian authorities while they do it. Sometimes they even get married — just witness the Incredibles, an...

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We're Number One!

Jerica Hernandez

October 19th 2016

Americans love awards shows — the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, and the Tonys. So we all watched eagerly as the nonpartisan Tax Foundation rolled out the red carpet and released "International Tax Competitiveness Index 2016." The ranking rewards countries with low marginal rates to discourage businesses from fleeing abroad and simple systems to raise the most revenue with the fewest...

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Will it Blend?

Jerica Hernandez

October 12th 2016

If you've spent any time on the internet, you know it's a vast rabbit hole of places to waste precious minutes of your life. "Will it Blend?" is one of those places, a video series showing off the Blendtec line of blenders. The videos feature the company's founder, smiling in a white lab coat and safety goggles, dropping the day's experiment...

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Round 'em Up and Shake 'em Down

Jerica Hernandez

October 5th 2016

Last month, Hollywood brought back the classic western with a remake of The Magnificent Seven. It's a tale as old as the West itself. An evil land baron terrorizes a town to satisfy his insatiable greed . . . and a ragtag squad of outlaws rides in to the rescue. You might be surprised to learn that the IRS has its own elite posse, too. They ride into battle wearing wool suits and...

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Moneyball? Ehhh, Not Really

Jerica Hernandez

September 28th 2016

America is a nation divided. Cat people vs. dog people. Trump people vs. Clinton people. And last week, we discovered a new gulf to bridge: "Brad" people and "Angelina" people. That's right, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are filing for divorce after two years of wedded non-bliss. Will the "Brangelina" breakup turn into a fight club? Will it drag out, or will she be gone in 60...

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Zero Tax Thirty

Jerica Hernandez

September 21st 2016

Matt Bissonnette grew up in a dinky flyspeck of a town off the Alaskan coast that you can't get to without a boat or a plane. He ultimately escaped to join SEAL Team Six, the Navy's most elite counterterrorism force. He took part in the 2009 mission to rescue Captain Mark Phillips from Somali pirates, a story which was told in the movie Captain Phillips. But that was just a warmup for his...

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Ahoy, Mateys!

Jerica Hernandez

September 14th 2016

Labor Day has faded into memory, and before you know it, the holidays will be here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the year-end Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa cavalcade of commercialism are the obvious "Big Three." But in all the holiday season hype, it's easy to overlook a newer celebration that grows more popular every year. We're talking, of course, about International Talk Like a Pirate Day...

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Red Tax Rising

Jerica Hernandez

September 6th 2016

Novelist Tom Clancy shot to the top of the best seller lists when former president Ronald Reagan called his debut, The Hunt for Red October, "the best yarn." His stories featuring CIA analyst-turned-president Jack Ryan redefined the "techno-thriller" genre, with hyper-realistic plots that foreshadowed real-world developments. Clancy earned special praise for his obsessive attention to detail,...

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2016 Campaign - Proposed Tax Changes

Jerica Hernandez

September 2nd 2016

Most say the presidential campagin doesnt really begin until Labor Day. Over the next few months you will be bombarded with information as you decide who you will cast your vote for at the polls. Don't forget to take all the issues into consideration, especially proposed tax changes. We have provided a chart below with each candidates platform in regards to taxes. We won't express an opinion...

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Back to School Tax Time

Jerica Hernandez

August 30th 2016

Now's the time of year when kids across America start heading back to school. New kindergartners eagerly don their snazziest big-kid outfits to pose for smiles and pictures. (The tears come after they get dropped off. We're talking the mom and dad, of course.) New high-schoolers hit the snooze button and look forward to sleeping through morning classes. (Why yank teens out of bed so early...

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Go for the Gold

Jerica Hernandez

August 25th 2016

For awhile there, it looked like the just-concluded Rio Olympics would be a carnival of chaos. Golfers boycotting to avoid the Zika virus? Check. Swimmers making their way through raw sewage? Check. And those were just the disasters we anticipated before the opening ceremonies! Who could have predicted divers splashing into a pool of green water, or Ryan Lochte "

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Up in Smoke

Jerica Hernandez

August 17th 2016

The Mafia. The Mob. La Cosa Nostra. Call it what you will, this "certain Italian-American subculture" has a long and storied history. Mobsters like Al Capone, Henry Hill, and John Gotti have become folk heroes of a certain sociopathic sort. Fictional mobsters make special guest appearances alongside pop culture icons — witness The Simpsons' "Fat Tony" D'Amico, crime boss of...

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The Darker Side of Reality TV

Jerica Hernandez

August 10th 2016

Americans can't seem to get enough of reality television. Most critics think that's because reality TV presents us as we all aspire to be. Something about the camera seems to bring out the best in people, whether they're bachelorettes, drag queens, or cake chefs. Reality TV is where we go to restore our faith in the simple human dignity in everyone, from hoarders to pawn stars to ice-road...

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Like This!

Jerica Hernandez

August 3rd 2016

If you're like most Facebook users, you get plenty of friend requests from people who aren't really friends. Co-workers you never respected from your last job; classmates you never really liked 30 years ago; annoying blowhards you meet at your in-laws' anniversary party. If you're lucky, you can just ignore those requests and hope they go away. But sometimes a request is harder to...

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Need an idea to build team unity?

Jerica Hernandez

July 28th 2016

Are you looking for a way to engage your staff while bettering your business? Check out the article Shelley wrote recently then start thinking about what books are relevant to your business and get started on your own book club. Read the article

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Now That's Prime

Jerica Hernandez

July 27th 2016

Now That's Prime Americans love peeking into the wallets of the rich and famous. Just how much are they really worth? How did they get there? And who's on top of the pile? For years, Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($76 billion) has been the king of that particular gilded hill, with Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett ($65 billion) capturing a respectable second place. But...

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Plymouth Rocks!

Jerica Hernandez

July 20th 2016

Let's say the IRS decides they don't like your tax return from a couple of years ago. They audit you, and send you a "deficiency notice" for, say, $10,000. You appeal it, and they say "nope, sorry, it's $10,000." If you're still not happy (and why would you be happy with a $10,000 tax bill), you can take your case to court — specifically, the U.S. Tax Court. Congress set up the...

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Shell Games on the Big Screen

Jerica Hernandez

July 13th 2016

The dog days are here, and multiplexes across America are delighting audiences with the usual summer fare. Down to the left in Theatre Three, a motley crew of undersea chums are busy finding their friend Dory. Across the hall in Theatre Five, Universal Studios has ripped off reimagined the Toy Story premise with pets instead of...

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Shelley is at it again- Listen to her latest podcast interview here

Jerica Hernandez

July 11th 2016

As mentioned in the last blog entry Shelley has been working hard at getting our name out there for all to know the great things we can do for you. Listen here to a podcast interview Shelley did with Jetpack Workflow. Shelley talks about where we see the firm going and how we are getting there. This is a great...

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Shelley interviews with iris-works to discuss Allman Johnson

Jerica Hernandez

July 7th 2016

Shelley has such a people personality and does such a great job of promoting Allman Johnson and all the great things we can do for business owners and those needing tax and financial services.  Shelley recently had the opportunity to discuss Allman Johnson and all we offer with Iris Works. You can read the interview 

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Tax Bill

Jerica Hernandez

July 6th 2016

Harry Potter's sidekick Ron Weasley has challenged opponents from a mountain troll to the Horcruxes to the Death Eaters. Now the actor who plays him, 27-year-old Rupert Grint, is taking on a foe as powerful as Voldemort himself. Last month, he challenged a squad of dementors taking on the deceptively ordinary appearance of bureaucrats at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Great Britain's...

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This Too Shall Pass

Jerica Hernandez

June 29th 2016

Filing your tax return usually isn't much of a chore. If you're like most people, you e-file it and call it a day. (Maybe you cross your fingers in hope that teenage Russian hackers don't steal your identity.) If you're old-school, you trudge down to the post office to snail mail a paper return. But if Representative Gwen Moore's new bill passes, filing might get a little...

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Take This Tax and Shove It

Jerica Hernandez

June 22nd 2016

Country music has a long history of celebrating outlaw behavior, which naturally extends to celebrating "outlaw" performers. Plenty of fans have heard the album Johnny Cash recorded of his first prison concert at California's San Quentin penitentiary. But Cash's fellow country icon Merle Haggard, who recently passed away at age 80, was...

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Thrilla in Manila Envelopes

Jerica Hernandez

June 15th 2016

Words like "hero" and "icon" get tossed around pretty casually these days. But the world lost a true card-carrying legend with the passing last week of boxer Muhammed Ali after a long and public battle with Parkinson's disease. Ali first gained fame in the ring, of course, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. But he made his real mark, and redefined the power of an athlete's...

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Have a Coke and a Tax

Jerica Hernandez

June 8th 2016

When most of us hear the word "tax," we immediately think "IRS." It's natural to associate those three-letter words with each other (even if "IRS" is an acronym and not a word). But our friends at the IRS are hardly the only tax collectors with their hands out for your money. State and local governments need love money too, and they don't have as many options for raising it as Uncle Sam. So...

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Barry Good!

Jerica Hernandez

June 1st 2016

Humorist Dave Barry entertained millions of readers with his nationally syndicated column from 1983 to 2004. Along the way, he earned a Pulitzer Prize for commentary, inspired a television series (Dave's World), and even, after mocking the cities of Grand Forks, South Dakota and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, earned the honor of having a sewage pumping station named after him. Dave's slowed...

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Mickelson Lands in the Rough

Jerica Hernandez

May 25th 2016

Spring is here, and golfers across the country are busting out their loudest pants to hit the links. Tiger Woods is taking a break from chasing pancake-house waitresses to shank wedges into water hazards. And Phil Mickelson, everyone's favorite lefty champ, is struggling with a different sort of hazard right now . . . specifically, legal problems over a hole-in-one he shot on Wall Street four...

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A Tale of Two CEOs

Jerica Hernandez

May 18th 2016

Every year, business reporters look forward to listing the country's highest-paid CEOs. Corporate chiefs have always done well for themselves — in 1980, the average S&P 500 head earned 42 times more than the average worker. But lately those compensation numbers have swollen fat enough to boggle Stephen Hawking's mind — in 2000, the CEO-to-worker ratio reached a high of...

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The Gambler, The Billionaire, and The Game of Kings

Jerica Hernandez

May 11th 2016

Backgammon is an ancient game of dice, strategy, and skill. The name dates back to the 1600s, but the game itself goes back to the Byzantine Emperor Zeno (AD 476-481). While it's never been as popular here as poker or chess, it became a huge fad in the 1960s, with Playboy founder Hugh Hefner hosting high-profile games at his Chicago mansion.  John McManus is an Irish gambler who...

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Sign "O" the Times

Jerica Hernandez

May 4th 2016

The artist forever to be remembered as Prince shocked the world with his unexpected death last month at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis. As is often the case when legendary musicians pass away, his album sales have soared. Fellow artists from Bruce Springsteen to the cast of the Broadway smash Hamilton quickly honored the seven-time Grammy award winner with their own versions of...

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POTUS Meets IRS

Jerica Hernandez

April 27th 2016

For most of us, filing a tax return is a fairly private affair, just between us and our friends at the IRS. But for President Obama and his family, it's a high-profile event. Last week the White House posted the Obamas' return online, and it reveals a lot about how the tax laws apply at the highest levels. The President's base pay is $400,000 per year, the same as when he took office...

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Born to Run

Jerica Hernandez

April 20th 2016

Lots of states get a bad rap. California is too flaky. New Yorkers are too unfriendly. North Dakota is too cold. (Wait a minute . . . you mean we've got two Dakotas?) But there's one state that may get the worst rap of all, and that's New Jersey. Too many Americans hear the name and think of clogged freeways, bumbling second-rate mobsters, knuckleheads at the shore, or the one miserable night...

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Share Some Good News on Taxes

Jerica Hernandez

April 18th 2016

Tax "season" is almost over! Soon it will be time to take down your IRS decorations, just as the sounds of IRS carols begin to fade from your ears. You might even think it's time to forget about taxes until next year! But that could be an expensive mistake. Here's the sad reality. Whether you like it or not, just about every financial decision you make has at least some tax...

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Where Are All the Americans?

Jerica Hernandez

April 13th 2016

Last Sunday, the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism stunned the world with their release of findings from 11.5 million files leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The "Panama Papers" blow the lid off the firm's creation of over 214,000 companies, mostly in the British Virgin Islands and similar "sunny places for shady people" where financial miscreants go to...

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Start Warming Up Your Texting Thumbs

Jerica Hernandez

April 6th 2016

If you're not already one of the millions of Americans with a smartphone glued to your hands, this story may make you reconsider . . . .  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has fired up the progressive left with his long-shot White House run. Sanders describes himself as a "democratic socialist," and asks Americans, "What's wrong with being more like Scandinavia?" Naturally, his...

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The Great Eskimo Tax Scam

Jerica Hernandez

March 30th 2016

Spring is here, at least according to the calendar, and you probably aren't thinking much about Eskimos as April 15 approaches. But here's a fun story from the Wayback Machine to remind you it's never the wrong time to pay attention to taxes. Back in 1971, President Nixon signed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. The law was intended to settle a long history of land disputes...

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A Little Tax Magic

Jerica Hernandez

March 23rd 2016

You already know that our Congress is as gridlocked as at any time in recent history. Budget and spending bills get rolled up into year-end monstrosities. Urgent priorities like immigration reform get hijacked by partisan posturing and "appeals to the base." The wizard Merlin himself would have a hard time pulling a sword from the solid block of stone that is today's U.S. Senate. So...

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The Humor Endures

Jerica Hernandez

March 16th 2016

The passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan last week at age 94 marks a bit of an end to the 1980s. Nancy earned both praise and criticism for restoring what she saw as some much-needed Kennedy-esque pomp and circumstance to the White House. Later, she earned praise for her work against drug use and, in later years, for championing embryonic stem-cell research. The passage of time proved...

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We Don't Really Like You

Jerica Hernandez

March 9th 2016

The actress Sally Field has appeared in dozens of television and movie roles since first appearing as "Gidget." But she's perhaps best known for a 45-second acceptance speech at the 57th Academy Awards, when she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress and told the audience "you like me . . . you really like me!" Late last month, that same group of the world's most narcissistic people...

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Taxes Without Zaxes

Jerica Hernandez

March 2nd 2016

March 2 marks the birthday of Theodore Geisel — better known to millions of children and former children as Doctor Seuss. That's reason enough to celebrate. But the beloved author's birthday is especially noteworthy this year. Archivists working at the Geisel Library have discovered an early draft of the author's most famous classic — and it seems there's something the book's...

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Men, Boys, Price, Toys

Jerica Hernandez

February 24th 2016

How much is a classic bright-red Ferrari worth? Well, if it's the 1957 335 S Spider Scaglietti that the French Bardinon family auctioned earlier this month, the answer is €32 million, or around $35.8 million. But if there isn't a convenient auction to establish how much someone will pay for something, and you need to set a price, how exactly do you go about establishing a...

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Rats Finding Cheese

Jerica Hernandez

February 17th 2016

Anyone who's ever watched a gangster movie knows there's nothing worse than a rat . . . a snitch . . . a stool pigeon. Life is hard for that much-maligned species! In Martin Scorsese's classic mob saga Goodfellas, Henry Hill rats out his partners in crime to get a reduced sentence — then pays the heavy price of having to "live like a schnook" in the witness protection program. But...

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Deee-Fence!

Jerica Hernandez

February 10th 2016

Football fans who enjoyed Super Bowl 50 all know that while offense may sell tickets, it's defense that wins championships. The Carolina Panthers learned this lesson the hard way Sunday night, losing to the underdog Denver Broncos, 24-10. The Broncos scored just one offensive touchdown on their way to winning the Lombardi Trophy, and gained just 194 yards in total offense, the lowest for any...

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Jerica Hernandez

February 3rd 2016

Rock & roll fans lost an icon last month with the death of David Bowie just two days after his 69th birthday. Bowie made a career out of breaking molds, pioneering "glam rock" and reinventing himself constantly along the way. Rolling Stone magazine's obituary hailed him as "one of the most original and singular voices in rock & roll for nearly five decades," whose "flair for...

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Critical business information in real time

Jerica Hernandez

February 2nd 2016

Every successful business has its finger on the pulse. You need to know the key numbers.  Not the numbers in last year’s accounts; they’re out of date.  Redundant. You need today’s numbers. And that’s where your cloud accounting system comes in.  If you don’t have a cloud accounting system this blog will explain the...

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We Bring Good Things to Boston

Jerica Hernandez

January 27th 2016

Way back in 1889, the inventor Thomas Edison and the financier J.P. Morgan put their heads together to create the Edison General Electric Company. Just seven years later, it was one of the original twelve companies listed on the new Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today, GE is the fourth-largest company in the world. It's the very model of a modern "multinational," with 350,000 employees...

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Spinning Garbage Into Gold

Jerica Hernandez

January 20th 2016

Centuries ago, medieval alchemists used all the technology at their disposal to try to transform base elements like lead into precious substances like gold. Occasionally they even succeeded! Alas, in most cases, transmutations that seemed too good to be true turned out to be just that, and alchemists who tried to pass off their fools' gold as the real thing could count themselves lucky if...

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Golf Course Owners Go for the Green

Jerica Hernandez

January 14th 2016

Golf courses may be some of the most beautiful manmade environments on earth. Millions of Americans actually hate the game itself, but tolerate topping their drives, shanking their wedges, and losing $2 Nassau bets by missing three-foot putts just because they get to do it all on a golf course. But while most of us can appreciate the serene beauty of the links, that lush green doesn't always...

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The Rich Are Different

Jerica Hernandez

January 6th 2016

Back in the Gilded Age, an ambitious social climber and noted toady named Ward McAllister coined the phrase "the Four Hundred," named for the number of people that Manhattan heiress Caroline Astor could fit in her Fifth Avenue ballroom. In 1982, Forbes magazine borrowed that same number for their annual "Forbes 400" list of the richest Americans. Ten years later, our friends at the IRS...

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Smile!

Jerica Hernandez

December 23rd 2015

"Bar Rafaeli" sounds like a happening watering hole in a trendy part of Brooklyn — the kind of place where bearded hipsters rocking flannel shirts and man-buns tip back craft beers and artisanal cocktails with their tattooed girlfriends. But Bar Rafaeli is actually a 30-year-old Israeli supermodel. She's appeared on dozens of magazine covers, including the Sports Illustrated swimsuit...

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Indiana Department of Revenue is paying the printers.....Form 1099G

Jerica Hernandez

December 22nd 2015

Indiana Department of Revenue uses December to catch up on mailings they need to send out so you most likely will be receiving a 1099G from them if you received a refund for the 2014 tax year. Don't be alarmed. This is not a notice nor is it a document that is going to require your 2014 tax return to be amended. Simply put it is just a recap of the 2014 overpayment on the Indiana tax return,...

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Tax Advice for the Grinch

Jerica Hernandez

December 17th 2015

The holiday season is in full swing, and we expect you're on your best behavior to make Santa's nice list. But there's one famous guy who works harder than anyone else to be naughty this time of year, and that's everyone's favorite Dr. Seuss anti-hero, the Grinch. We don't care if you prefer the original animated cartoon or Jim Carrey's 2000 live-action remake. Either way, when you...

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IRS Employees Make the Naughty List

Jerica Hernandez

December 9th 2015

Back in 2002, Steve Epstein, the director of the Pentagon's Standards of Conduct Office, faced a common dilemma among ethics officials: how to keep his training sessions fresh and relevant? His answer was to avoid discussing dry statutes like 18 U.S.C. § 205, and focus instead on telling stories. "We discovered that the first thing you have to do is you have to entertain folks enough so...

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New Tax Collection "Law"

Jerica Hernandez

December 2nd 2015

Turn the dial on the Way-Back Machine to the days of the Great Depression. Millions of Americans are jobless, struggling just to eke out a living. But one man named Willie Sutton has discovered unlimited opportunities in a truly recession-proof field: robbing banks. And why did he choose banks, an enterprising reporter asked? "Because that's where the money is," Sutton supposedly...

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Cast Your Ballot

Jerica Hernandez

November 30th 2015

The 2016 presidential election is almost here. Are you excited yet? (Some cynics would say the campaign actually started as long ago as November 7, 2012 — the day after the last election!) In just a few weeks, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will gather to cast the first ballots to determine who takes the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States. And while we...

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Uncle Sam, Knowing When to Hold 'em

Jerica Hernandez

November 25th 2015

Last month, millions of fans across America sat down in front of their televisions to watch the Kansas City Royals beat the New York Mets, 4 games to 1 in baseball's World Series. But few of those fans would ever dream they could suit up and join the players in the dugout. That's because, while many of us played as children or teens, America's national pastime is, for the most part, a...

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AJC is even more accessible!

Jerica Hernandez

November 23rd 2015

The staff at Allman Johnson is always thinking about ways to improve for our clients and our most recent change is something we believe many will LOVE! You can now text the AJC staff. So now if you have that quick question or you need to snap a picture of a document that you can't scan, you can send it on over in a quick text to 317-800-CPA3 (2723) Drop us a line and let us know what...

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“Last minute” year-end 2015 tax-saving moves for businesses, call us to see what applies to you.

Jerica Hernandez

November 19th 2015

Accelerating or deferring income can preserve estimated tax break. Corporations (other than certain “large” corporations, see below) can avoid being penalized for underpaying estimated taxes if they pay installments based on 100% of the tax shown on the return for the preceding year. Otherwise, they must pay estimated taxes based on 100% of the current year's tax. However,...

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"Easily Satisfied with the Very Best"

Jerica Hernandez

November 18th 2015

Few figures from recent history loom larger than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, "the Last Lion." He spent "the wilderness years" of the 1930s fighting the Conservative Party's leadership, most notably Neville Chamberlain, to campaign for rearmament. As prime minister, he fought the Nazis to victory in World War II. Throughout his life, he fought the "black dog" of depression. But...

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Quantum Mechanics (or Something Equally Complicated)

Jerica Hernandez

November 11th 2015

How big a tax bill would you have to pay before it really hurt? Would sending the IRS $10,000 do it? What about $100,000? What about $1 million? Would you toast the good fortune that left you with enough income to owe that much tax, or would you stamp your foot and call for the peasants to storm Washington with pitchforks and torches?   Now imagine that you're hedge fund...

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Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

Jerica Hernandez

November 4th 2015

Every so often a new show hits Broadway with lights that shine brighter than the rest. In 1996, Rent celebrated a group of impoverished East Village artists struggling to thrive in the shadow of AIDS. In 2003, Wicked imagined the lives of the witches of Oz before Dorothy's unexpected arrival. But who would have thought today's hottest ticket would be a rap-driven bio of the Founding Father...

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No Extra Credit Here

Jerica Hernandez

October 28th 2015

  Paying your taxes is one of those responsibilities that most of us accept when the time comes. Sure, we grumble about it. But we pay, then get on with the day. We don't expect to get brownie points just for doing our duty. In fact, if you give yourself too much credit for doing it, you might get yourself in trouble, as one tone-deaf tech company recently found...

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Tax Man Makes $1=$10,001

Jerica Hernandez

October 21st 2015

Here in the United States, Uncle Sam imposes a "progressive" income tax. As your income goes up, so does your tax rate. However, those rates go up incrementally. If you're married, filing jointly with your spouse, the 39.6% top rate kicks in at $413,201. (We use the term "kicks" deliberately because that's how it feels when you're giving Uncle Sam nearly 40 cents on the...

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Fahrvergtaxen

Jerica Hernandez

October 14th 2015

Every once in awhile, some knucklehead in a position of power at one of the world's biggest businesses does something so incredibly stupid, you wonder how they can remember to put their shoes on before they head to work in the morning. Bernie Madoff did it for decades by running a classic Ponzi scheme out of his New York office. The folks who ran Enron did it for years when they lied about...

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Yogi Berra on Taxes

Jerica Hernandez

October 7th 2015

Last month, one of the most truly American lives came to an end at age 90. Baseball legend Lawrence "Yogi" Berra was a superstar both on and off the field. As a player, he won 10 World Series rings and made the All-Star team 18 times in 19 seasons. He was American League MVP five times and won election to the Hall of Fame in 1972. Off the field, he managed and coached the New York Yankees,...

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Allman Johnson CPAs Win National Award - Recognized as a Firm of the Future

Jerica Hernandez

September 30th 2015

We are very excited to share some great news with you! Recently, Allman Johnson CPAs was selected as a Top 20 Firm of the Future by Intuit. This award is presented to firms that are proven leaders in the accounting profession—operating a technology-driven, progressive practice. We were selected because of our modern business model, which includes use of advanced cloud technologies,...

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Don't Bogart That Deduction, My Friend

Jerica Hernandez

September 30th 2015

Imagine you're a hardworking pot dealer just trying to operate an honest shop in the newly legal marijuana industry. You get audited, and the examiner hits you with a $290,000 bill. He then asks to talk "off the record," and tells you he was lenient with your examination. The real bill, he says, should have been a million dollars higher. Then he looks you in the eye and says, "Hey . . . how...

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Share a Coke with the IRS

Jerica Hernandez

September 23rd 2015

Coca Cola has earned a lot of headlines for their "Share a Coke with . . . " marketing campaign, printing bottles and cans with 1,000 of the most popular names in the country, along with nicknames like "Mom," "Dad," Soulmate," and "BFF." You can even go online to customize your own bottle for just five bucks. (Just imagine the possibilities . . . "Share a Koke with a Kardashian" for...

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Alibaba and the Forty Percent

Jerica Hernandez

September 16th 2015

Turn on the financial news and you'll hear all sorts of explanations for the stock market's ups and downs. Oh no, the Fed's going to raise rates! Oh no, they're not! Who knows what the real answer is? But last week, the IRS moved the market — when they casually signaled they wouldn't be greenlighting Yahoo's plan to spin off their remaining stake in the Chinese company...

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Vive le Tax!

Jerica Hernandez

September 9th 2015

This year, as usual, millions of American tourists took advantage of summer vacation to travel abroad. Favorable exchange rates made European destinations especially attractive. Seeing Old World cultures gives us perspective that we just can't get when we load up the family truckster and head for Disney World. The sights, the sounds, and the great big smells we encounter abroad shed new light...

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What's in a Name?

Jerica Hernandez

September 2nd 2015

Sports fans go nuts this time of year. Baseball fans are watching pennant races heat up; football fans are watching the NFL take the gridiron to kick off the new season; and tennis fans are moving their heads from side to side to take in the U.S. Open. Naturally, this means we're going to talk about basketball.   In Shakespeare's archetypal tragedy Romeo and...

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Cadillac Taxes for Everyone!

Jerica Hernandez

August 26th 2015

Employers have played a key role in financing their employees' healthcare since World War II, when they threw in tax-free benefits to attract talent in a time of wage controls. So it's no surprise that when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, they gave employers all sorts of carrots and sticks to boost coverage. But Congress wanted to control overall costs, too, and didn't want employers...

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Bug Bonus

Jerica Hernandez

August 19th 2015

It seems like every day brings word of a new internet hack or data breach. Target got hacked by Russian teenagers and millions of credit cards had to be replaced. Sony got hacked by the North Koreans and a loungeful of smug Hollywood executives got embarrassed. The Office of Personnel Management got hacked by the Chinese and thousands of spies got their covers blown. It's almost enough to...

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Ready or Not, Here We Come!

Jerica Hernandez

August 12th 2015

Campaign 2016 is here! Last Thursday, 10 Republican presidential candidates squared off against each other in Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, tackling such crucial topics as hugs, pimps, and Rosie O'Donnell. That same day, the Democratic National Committee announced their schedule of six debates to begin on October 13 in early-primary state Nevada. Sooner rather than later, we'll all be...

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AMERICAN ARBITRATION ISSUES NEW ARBITRATION RULES

Guest Writer - J. Greg Easter

August 6th 2015

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) recently issued Revised Construction Industry Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures that went into effect on July 1. There are only a few changes from the prior rules and procedures, but a few of the changes are noteworthy.   For the first time ever, the rules call for all cases with claims of $100,000 or more to go to...

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2015: A Tax Odyssey

Jerica Hernandez

August 5th 2015

On July 23, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b, the first potentially Earth-like planet within the "habitable zone" of a star like our Sun. Kepler-452b is 1,400 light-years away, meaning the New Horizons space probe that just passed Pluto should get there in another 26 million years. (Mom, are we there yet?) It's 60% bigger than Earth, with a "better than even chance" of having a...

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Wake-up call for employers on complex ACA information reporting requirements

Jerica Hernandez

July 30th 2015

The Summer, 2015 issue of the SSA/IRS Reporter, a Newsletter for Employers, carries an important reminder that employers subject to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer shared responsibility (ESR) provisions should already be tracking the data they'll need to file complex information reporting forms early in 2016. The newsletter cautions that many employers will need close coordination of...

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2015 Reporting Required by the Affordable Care Act

Jerica Hernandez

July 30th 2015

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reminds employers subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provisions, those with 50 or more full-time employees (including equivalents) during the preceding calendar year, to currently track the data they will need to file the 2015 information forms due in early 2016. The data may reside in the payroll, human resources, and...

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Required Reporting by Employers Providing Self-insured Health Coverage

Jerica Hernandez

July 30th 2015

The IRS reminds taxpayers that, starting with 2015 coverage, all providers of health coverage, including employers that provide self-insured coverage, must file annual returns with the IRS to report information about the coverage and about each covered individual. Applicable large employers subject to the Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provisions should report this information on Form...

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Toxic Deductible Sludge

Jerica Hernandez

July 29th 2015

Back in 2010, British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and spilled millions of barrels of oil off the Louisiana coast. Countless small business owners, including fishermen, hotel operators, restaurants, rental companies, and seafood processors, suffered and went bankrupt. State and local governments lost billions more in tax revenue. Lawyers, who may be some of the few...

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Click!

Jerica Hernandez

July 22nd 2015

Nina Olson is the most important person you've never heard of at the IRS. She's the "National Taxpayer Advocate," and she heads up an organization created to cut through the red tape when the Service can't get the job done itself. If you're stuck between cogs in the IRS machine, Olson and her staff of 1,400 Case Advocates are poised to pull you out. She's like the Lorax, except she speaks for...

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National My Social Security Week- July 19th - 25th

Jerica Hernandez

July 21st 2015

July 19th through 25th marks the celebration of the second National my Social Security Week. You may or may not be aware of what a great financial planning and benefit management tool it is! If you are, I hope that you take this opportunity to spread the word to your colleagues, friends and family, about the benefits of signing up for a my Social...

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Forensic Filings

Jerica Hernandez

July 15th 2015

We tend to think of the Internal Revenue Service mainly as Uncle Sam's "collections department." But it's also a true law enforcement agency. Special agents from the Criminal Investigations unit take on obvious crimes like tax evasion and tax preparer fraud. They also partner with local police, the FBI, the DEA, and even foreign governments to combat public corruption, money laundering, drug...

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A Tax in a Pineapple Under the Sea

Jerica Hernandez

July 8th 2015

You know what's even worse than paying tax on money you make? Try taking a loss on money you lose. Make $100, pay a 40% tax, and you've still got $60 left. But lose $100, take a tax loss, and you're still out your $100. Yeah, you can deduct it against future income. But it's kind of like those "mail-in" rebates you get when you walk out of Staples with a new printer. It sounds good when...

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What Goes Around Comes Around

Jerica Hernandez

July 1st 2015

Ask anyone what makes them happy. (Go ahead, see who's around and ask them.) We're pretty sure they didn't say "paying taxes." Most of us just grumble and pay up. But millions of citizens from all walks of life express their unhappiness by choosing not to pay. The IRS currently has over 12 million accounts in collections, with state and local governments managing millions more. That's a lot...

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Little Tax Lien on the Prairie

Jerica Hernandez

June 24th 2015

Us Weekly is one of those glossy tabloid magazines you see in the checkout line at your local supermarket. Every week, they run a photo feature called "Stars: They're Just Like Us," with revealing, slice-of-life gems such as a Bachelorette throwing a ball to her dog in the park, a former supermodel cheering at her kid's soccer game, or Matt Damon adjusting his fly while he waits in line to...

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Pomp and Circumstance

Jerica Hernandez

June 17th 2015

June is Graduation Season, and odds are good that you've spent some time seated on a cheap folding chair or arena bleacher watching someone proceed down an aisle in an expensive cap and gown. Commencement speakers will thank the faculty, staff, and parents who made it all possible. But how many of them thank the folks in Washington who drafted Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c) back in...

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Who Won Most at Roland Garros?

Jerica Hernandez

June 10th 2015

For two weeks every spring, the tennis world focuses its attention on Roland Garros, the Parisian center that hosts the French Open. This year, fans yawned as the dominant Serena Williams cruised to her 20th career major title in the 2015 French Open, defeating the 13th-ranked Czech Lucie Safarova. On the men's side, fans saw an actual contest, as the Swiss Stan Wawrinka used his devastating...

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Red Card!

Jerica Hernandez

June 3rd 2015

Picture a greedy cabal of shameless officials lording over a famously corrupt international cartel. Add suitcases full of cash bribes, and multimillion-dollar payoffs coursing through a shadowy network of shell companies and offshore accounts. Throw in a loud, colorful "mole" celebrating a life of private jets, Michelin-starred restaurants, and vintage wines. Now stir in an ongoing...

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Blockbuster Taxes

Jerica Hernandez

May 27th 2015

Memorial Day came early this year, and that means we get more time with our summer whites! (Of course, summer doesn't "officially" start until June 21, but who's counting?) For millions of Americans, cooling off at the movies with a bucket of popcorn and gallon of soda is a favorite part of the season. So we wondered . . . what would all that carnage look like from a tax...

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Top 10 Taxing Words That (Sort Of) Rhyme With "Tax"

Jerica Hernandez

May 20th 2015

Late-night talk-show host David Letterman has delighted audiences with his wry, subversive sense of humor for an impressive 33 years. But this week he bids us farewell. We'll remember him for his Stump the Band bits, his Stupid Pet Tricks, and — most of all — his Top 10 lists. So here, in Dave's honor (from the Home Office in Wahoo, Nebraska), we present The Top 10 Taxing Words...

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The Original Tax "Shelter"

Jerica Hernandez

May 13th 2015

New York City is the indisputable hub of American capitalism. Its glittering streets are home to the worlds of finance, advertising, fashion, publishing, and even organized crime. The island of Manhattan is home to some of the richest people on the planet, and they own some of its priciest real estate in the world.   You would think all those rich people living in all...

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Some accountants that need to be put in a time out

Jerica Hernandez

May 6th 2015

Every year, "true crime" fans look forward to the IRS Criminal Investigation Unit's annual report detailing their efforts to combat the cheats who don't pay their share. This year's edition is no exception, with dozens of entertaining stories about clever scammers who just . . . weren't . . . clever . . . enough.  You would think accountants would be the last group of people to...

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Bet They Didn't Think About This

Jerica Hernandez

April 29th 2015

Last week, a New York judge issued writs of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees named Hercules and Leo, currently living in a research lab at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. The next day, she walked back the scope of her ruling, emphasizing she was merely directing the university to appear in court. Still, the decision gives the chimps a day in court and possibly...

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Guaranteed Loser

Jerica Hernandez

April 22nd 2015

You've bought a lottery ticket or two in your time, right? The Powerball jackpot hits a kajillion dollars, and you realize you really can't win if you don't play. So you buy a ticket or two just to nurse that fantasy of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Forget the reality that most lottery players never win, and even the ones who do make headlines usually seem to go bankrupt faster than a...

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Happy Tax Day America

Jerica Hernandez

April 15th 2015

Every year, the IRS Criminal Investigations unit (IRS-CI) releases a surprisingly entertaining report detailing their efforts to protect the Treasury from scammers, fraudsters, and cheats. This year's edition reveals that, due to budget cuts, activity is actually down. In 2014, IRS special agents initiated 4,297 criminal investigations (down 19.1% from 5,314 in 2013) and recommended 3,478...

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Tax Man Runneth

Jerica Hernandez

April 8th 2015

The 2016 presidential election is 20 months away. Sadly, for those of us who don't watch C-SPAN for fun, that basically means it's right around the corner. (Keep a sharp eye out for negative campaign ads, coming soon to a TV near you!) Candidates are already lining up donors and hustling voters in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. If it seems like some of them have been...

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Big News From Washington

Jerica Hernandez

April 1st 2015

Americans have been complaining about income taxes since the IRS unleashed the first Form 1040 on us back in 1913. Sure, we all hate paying them. But as the tax code has ballooned to twice the length of the Bible (with none of the good news), preparing them has become just as big a problem. As Albert Einstein once put it, "the hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."...

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'Schock'ing News that may not be so shocking

Jerica Hernandez

March 25th 2015

This time of year, taxpayers across America are scrambling to put together their last year's mileage records. First you've got to total up how many miles you drove for your trade or business. Then you've got to add up all the costs of operating your vehicle — depreciation, interest or lease payments, gasoline, maintenance and repairs, registration, and even your satellite radio bill....

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007 For a Day

Jerica Hernandez

March 18th 2015

Who hasn't wanted to be a spy at some point or another? Boys see their first James Bond movie, and they don't want to be like 007 — they want to be 007. Girls learn how Mata Hari put her charms to work as a lethal double agent and think they can show the boys a thing or two. But sooner or later, most of us abandon that dream. And sadly, those job aptitude tests your high school guidance...

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"I saw the speed limit Officer, I just didn't see YOU!"

Jerica Hernandez

March 11th 2015

You know that sinking feeling. You're driving down the road, minding your own business, when you see a cop's "cherries and berries" flashing in your mirror. Then you look down at your speedometer, and realize he's gunning for you. Sure, it's a bummer. But it's not that big a deal. The cop checks your license, registration, and proof of insurance. He runs your name through the computer to make...

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You Taxin' Me?

Jerica Hernandez

March 4th 2015

Actor Robert DeNiro has played some of the most compelling characters in movie history: the schizophrenic ex-marine Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, the young mob boss Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, the Chicago bootlegger Al Capone in The Untouchables, the "gentleman" gangster Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, and the shrewd bookmaker "Ace" Rothstein in Casino. He's accumulated seven Oscar...

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Upcoming Workshops for Entrepreneurs

Jerica Hernandez

March 2nd 2015

Growing Forward'sBusiness EXCELerator™ Workshop Seriesfor Entrepreneurs! Achieve Your SuccessFebruary 19 - 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.March 5, 2015 - 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - DEADLINE TO REGISTER MONDAY, MARCH 2!Are you carrying goals over from last year?...

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It's freezing where??!!

Jerica Hernandez

February 25th 2015

Taxpayers across much of the Midwest and east coast have enjoyed a relatively light winter this year, with mild temperatures and little snow. But Old Man Winter made up for it last week. Temperatures dropped well below zero and wind chills broke records across the country. Friday morning saw thermometers dip below freezing in the Florida Everglades, and parts of North Carolina were colder...

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IRS warns against phishing scams

Jerica Hernandez

February 20th 2015

The Internal Revenue Service today warned return preparers and other tax professionals to be on guard against bogus emails making the rounds seeking updated personal or professional information that in reality are phishing schemes. “I urge taxpayers to be wary of clicking on strange emails and websites,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “They may be scams...

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Creepy Stalker or Clever Management...

Jerica Hernandez

February 19th 2015

State governments collect billions of dollars in taxes every year, and they work just as hard to protect their revenue base as their friends at the IRS. Sometimes that means putting lots of eggs in one basket — then watching that basket very, very carefully. But one state acknowledges taking that particular strategy to a new level. In a move that falls somewhere between "I can't believe...

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Tax Season Scam Warnings

Jerica Hernandez

February 17th 2015

It's that time of the year again, Tax Season. As if the thought of paying your taxes and the stress of it all wasn't enough, you also have to be on high alert for the scammers that come out of the woodwork. They arrive in full force this time of year hoping to get money from you. In order to help you not fall vicitm to their fraudulent activities we have listed a couple of the current issues...

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Record Retention

Jerica Hernandez

February 13th 2015

We get asked from time to time how long should someone hold on to their records and source documents. The decision depends on the type of documents, the services offered, and laws or regulations that define the holding period. Since these rules can vary from state to state, you may want to consult with your legal counsel prior to discarding any potentially useful documents. We have listed...

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Patriots 28, Seahawks 24, IRS Millions

Jerica Hernandez

February 13th 2015

You probably thought the holiday season ended when the last Christmas lights finally came off the house. But then you would have forgotten the closest thing we have to a national fair. We're talking, of course, about the Super Bowl, our only nationally-televised event that makes people look forward to the commercials as much as the game! This year's contest was another nail-biter...

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Dead or alive..that is the question

Jerica Hernandez

February 4th 2015

Getting mail from the IRS is rarely something to celebrate. If it's a bill, consider yourself lucky — at least you can just pay it and be done. If it's a "CP 2000" notice proposing a change to your taxes, get ready for a ride on the paperwork tilt-a-whirl. If it's an audit notice, all bets are off. (Relax — it only feels like you're a prisoner at a CIA black-ops site.)

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Some Modest Proposals

Jerica Hernandez

January 29th 2015

Here in America, most of our tax debates center on "income." How do we define it? How do we count it? What do we get to exclude from it, deduct from it, or credit towards it. And finally, how much of it do we take, to make sure everyone pays their "fair" share. The end result is our tax code, a many-headed hydra that several wags have noted contains twice as many words as the Bible, but with...

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Our New Website

Shelley Johnson

January 8th 2015

Allman Johnson & Company is excited to announce the recent launch of our firm’s new website. We’ve been working very hard to enhance our website and give our firm a fresh look. We’ve also continued to research and identify the latest and greatest technologies to improve the services we provide and ensure we continue to meet your needs. Take a moment to look...

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A Royal Mess

Shelley Johnson

January 6th 2015

Most of us don’t get to choose our parents. And while we’re usually grateful for the ones we have, we’ve also dreamed of lives that might have been. What little girl hasn’t dreamed of growing up a princess, living in a palace, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a tiara? And don’t forget marrying a handsome prince! Infanta Cristina de Borbon,...

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Decoding the Code

Shelley Johnson

December 30th 2014

The Imitation Game is the critically acclaimed story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician who is widely credited as being the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Turing, whose work in cracking Nazi Germany’s “ENIGMA” code helped lift the Allies to victory in...

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#1 On the Naughty List?

Shelley Johnson

December 17th 2014

“Christmas comes this time each year,” as the Beach Boys astutely observed in “Little Saint Nick.” That means Santa Claus will be making his annual “list,” checking it twice, and letting us know who’s naughty or nice. (That’s right, Santa “audits” himself by...

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Battery-Powered Tax Savings

Shelley Johnson

December 11th 2014

We know something that’s on your holiday shopping list. And we don’t even have to read your mind to know it. You’re buying batteries — and you’re buying lots of ‘em. If you have kids, you’re buying batteries for their electronic games and toys. If you have grandchildren, you’re buying batteries for their stuff. (You may not have a clue what...

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Born Before 7/1/44?

Shelley Johnson

December 10th 2014

Required Minimum Distribution Reminder: Taxpayers born before 7/1/1944 generally must receive the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) payments from their Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) and workplace retirement plans [including Section 401(k) , 403(b) , and 457(b) plans] by 12/31/14. A special rule allows those who reached age 70 1/2 during 2014 to wait until as late as...

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Taxation for the Other Guys Representation

Shelley Johnson

December 2nd 2014

Our United States of America was forged in the flame of tax protest. As early as 1750, our Founding Fathers objected that taxation without representation is tyranny. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence condemned King George III for assenting to Parliament’s laws that “impose Taxes on us without our Consent.” So is it any surprise the anti-tax movement that gained steam...

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Tips from IRS for Year-End Gifts to Charity

Shelley Johnson

November 25th 2014

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded individuals and businesses making year-end gifts to charity that several important tax law provisions have taken effect in recent years. Some of the changes taxpayers should keep in mind include: Rules for Charitable Contributions of Clothing and Household Items Household items include furniture, furnishings,...

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Limited Interest Deduction for Mortgage Interest Rolled into New

Shelley Johnson

November 13th 2014

A husband and wife arranged with their bank to have their mortgage modified. Under the terms of the new loan, all the past-due interest that had accrued on the old loan was rolled into the new loan. The bank issued Form 1098 to the couple, reporting the amount of interest it had received from them during that year. On their tax return, the couple deducted the amount of interest they paid plus...

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Social Security Wage Base for 2015

Shelley Johnson

October 24th 2014

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that the maximum earnings subject to the Social Security component of the FICA tax will increase to $118,500 in 2015 from $117,000 in 2014. This means, that for 2015, the maximum Social Security tax that employers and employees will each pay is $7,347 ($118,500 x 6.2%), and a self-employed person with at least $118,500 in net self-employment...

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2015 Retirement Contribution Limits

Shelley Johnson

October 23rd 2014

IRS Announces 2015 Pension Plan Limitations; Taxpayers May Contribute up to $18,000 to their 401(k) plans in 2015 WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. Many of the pension plan limitations will change for 2015...

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No Charitable Deduction for Scholarship Payments

Shelley Johnson

October 8th 2014

After their son’s death, a husband and wife created an irrevocable trust to establish a memorial scholarship fund in his honor. The trust made payments directly to high school students, which the couple deducted as charitable contributions on their tax return. The Tax Court disallowed the deduction for several reasons: it was the trust,...

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It's Not Too Late for a Tax Break - for 2013

Shelley Johnson

October 2nd 2014

If you own a business, you still have time to set up a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan for 2013. If you set up and fund your SEP by the due date of your 2013 business return (including extensions), you can still take a deduction for 2013. If your business uses...

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Quick and Easy Payment Options for IRS

Shelley Johnson

September 30th 2014

The new IRS Direct Pay system now offers taxpayers the fastest and easiest way to pay what they owe. Available through the

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Business Travel Per Diem Rates

Shelley Johnson

September 24th 2014

The IRS released the 2014-2015 per diem rates for substantiating employees’ business expenses under IRC Sec. 274(d) for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses incurred while traveling away from home. The Meal and Incidental Expense (M&IE) rates for the transportation industry remain unchanged at $59 for travel in the continental U.S. and $65 outside the continental U.S. The...

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IRS Phone Scam Continues

Shelley Johnson

September 16th 2014

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and demanding immediate payment, hang up immediately. It is most likely a scam. More than 200 Indiana residents have reported these fraudulent calls to the attorney general’s office this year, with many occurring in recent days. Here’s a common scenario to watch out for: You receive a call from someone claiming...

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IRS Repeats Warning About Phone Scams

Shelley Johnson

August 13th 2014

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration continue to hear from taxpayers who have received unsolicited calls from individuals demanding payment while fraudulently claiming to be from the IRS. Based on the 90,000 complaints that TIGTA has received through its telephone hotline, to date, TIGTA has identified approximately 1,100...

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Figuring Taxes is Like a Dog Chasing Its Tail

Shelley Johnson

July 30th 2014

Computation of self-employed’s deduction for health insurance costs & premium tax credit. In a Revenue Procedure, IRS has provided two optional computation methods that a taxpayer can use to compute the deduction under Code Sec. 162 for health insurance costs for self-employed individuals and the premium tax credit allowed under Code Sec. 36B, effective for...

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50% Tax Penalty - Yikes!

Shelley Johnson

July 25th 2014

August 4, yet another tax deadline! Before you stop reading – the penalty for disregarding this one could be 50% of your bank account balance. Want to know more? If you have asset holdings in a foreign based account, these need to be disclosed. For example, maybe you have a joint account with a relative who lives abroad. Perhaps you have a life insurance policy from your...

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IRS Refunds Direct Deposit Limits

Shelley Johnson

July 3rd 2014

In an effort to combat fraud and identity theft, new IRS procedures effective January 2015 will limit the number of refunds electronically deposited into a single financial account or pre-paid debit card to three. The fourth and subsequent refunds automatically will convert to a paper refund check and be mailed to the taxpayer. Taxpayers also will receive a notice informing...

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Supreme Court Ruling on Contraceptive Coverage

Shelley Johnson

July 2nd 2014

Supreme Court Rules Closely Held Companies Exempt from Contraceptive Mandate: Regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act require specified employers’ group health plans to make certain types of contraception, including four types that some employers objected to for religious reasons, available to their female employees at...

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Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status Easier

Shelley Johnson

July 1st 2014

New 1023-EZ Form Makes Applying for 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Status Easier; Most Charities Qualify WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today introduced a new, shorter application form to help small charities apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status more easily. “This is a common-sense approach that will help reduce lengthy processing delays for...

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