This is Admit You’re Happy Month. So I challenge you to take a really honest look at your life and your day. Let’s face it, you’re in pretty good shape. You’re healthier than the next zshlob. You’ve got a roof over your head, and you’ve got enough food to keep you alive. If you look around, you can always find someone worse off than you are. People smile at you. Some even like you! Hey, what more can you want?
Seriously, being happy is an art. For some people, it’s just part of their nature. That’s why they call us names like ‘Sunshine’. For others, it takes a bit more effort. One of the things I learned very early in life, is this. When you’re down, or angry or stressed, and your job requires you to constantly smile and be pleasant, pretty soon the pretense becomes the real thing. Your body secretes endorphins that make you feel as happy as you are pretending to be. (OK, I didn’t know about the endorphins when I was 17 – just the results.) So try it. Try being happy even when you’re not – and just see how differently people and the world react to you.
This is a pretty historic time. IRS has opened the banking vaults of the Swiss gnomes. Never before has the Swiss government permitted anyone to take deep looks at the assets and accounts of their banking customers. They welcomed money from all sources, and all criminals and all terrorists, without any regard for morality, justice, human rights, brutal murders, genocides or anything else. In fact, this behavior was so repulsive to scientist and science fiction author David Brin that he made the Swiss one of the principal villians in his 1991 book Earth.
Most people think of the Swiss in terms of Johanna Spyri’s Heidi.
, or the colorful Swiss Guards who protect the Pope, or happy people yodeling along the Alps. And really, overall, the Swiss have great PR.
It’s really hard to imagine them as the folks who hid the money and treasures (including irreplacable art treasures) that the Nazis looted from their victims – and refused to help Holocaust survivors re-claim or relocate their assets. (I think the Swiss finally started helping out in this area a few years ago – 50 years after the Holocaust, after most survivors had died and could not make their claims.) Or as a clearinghouse for the funds of international terrorists, or as the repository for the funds that third-world dictators raped from their starving or brutalized people.
Naturally, there are some really nice people who have money in Swiss banks, too. Like the Swiss, themselves. But it’s not clear to me why Americans, especially those living full-time in the US and not doing business in Europe, need to open Swiss accounts. The problem isn’t that Americans have Swiss accounts. The problem is that the majority of the money Americans have placed into those accounts has never been taxed. For some, it’s like a fun game of keep-away. Telling IRS, nyah,nyah nyah, nyah nyah – you can’t find my money! All that’s about to change.
And the worst news is, if you want to come forward and clean up your act before you get caught, it’s almost too late. Once IRS has your records from the Swiss, you won’t be eligible for the benefits of voluntary disclosure. So, if you know you’re about to be caught, or know someone who is – have them step forward to report their untaxed income immediately. Before it’s too late. You probably only have days.
In this week’s AccountingWeb.com blog, I wonder just how effective those special tax-free days really are. Do you know?
TaxMama’s AccountingWeb.com Blog
In IRS News this week you can read the details about IRS’s arrangements with the Swiss government to release information about the accounts of Americans. Speaking of disasters, we also learn about how to report casualty and disaster losses.
In today’s Money Funny – we learn why golf is the best sport.
TaxQuips this week we learn about a landlord who demanded a W-9 from a tenant; a new systemic problem generated by the banking failures – folks are getting notices from IRS about unreported income because both the new bank and the old bank filed 1099s; TaxMama® explains how to use up a Home Office Deduction carryover after you no longer use the home office; and we give Barb some tips on how to use up passive activity loss carryovers.
As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!
Please use the Comments link online.
Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,
Eva Rosenberg, EA
Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.
TAX CALENDAR 2009
09.15.2009 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit
09.15.2009 Corporate & Partnership Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
09.15.2009 3rd 2009 Estimated Payment – all entities Due
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