Dear Family, This week is full of birthdays – birth anniversaries, like that of my friends Lulu and Barbara…and an actual birth. Yesterday morning, just before my visit with Brent Clanton on CNN in Houston, my neice sent us an announcement about the birth of her new baby girl. Lisa’s daughter is thin and long […]
Dear Family, A wonderful, charming, delightful and otherwise irresistible gentleman just called to pay for his tax return via credit card. Which reminded me about something funny that happened. Lulu and I were all excited about getting a new student from Micronesia. Talk about way out there! We wanted to call here, but at 7:00 […]
If you own a foreign bank account, brokerage account, mutual fund, unit trust, or other financial account, then you may be required to report the account yearly to the Internal Revenue Service. Under the Bank Secrecy Act, each United States person must file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), if The person […]
24 days and 17 hours and 2 minutes to go until April 15th.
(Did you see the countdown widget at www.taxmama.com ?)
Happy Purim and Easter. (sorry, I don’t have any graphics
for Easter as a stand-alone holiday. Until now, it was usually
at the same time as Passover. )
The Stock Market is doing really scary things this week,
and this month. Just how much has your portfolio gone
down this month? And is this going to be another slide,
like on March 2000?
Are people going to make a run on their banks and brokers,
to protect their assets from irresponsible behavior of
management, like a Bear Stearns. Please, don’t tell me
they didn’t understand just how risky those loans are
they invested in. If some poor fool like me, without an
entire staff of highly paid analysts, could predict this
collapse 3 years ago – couldn’t they?
That doesn’t answer the question. What should you do
with your money? I don’t know. But it’s time to start
thinking about moving it, or pulling it out of the
Market, where you have no control.
Is real estate the answer? Well, in the long run, yes.
There are a lot of properties on the market, where
people who are upside-down on their loans (higher mortgage
than the market price) have just walked away. Or where
their mortgage payment suddenly jumped to interest only
instead of negative amortization amounts – and they
couldn’t cover the costs.
There are really low rates out there again. I just heard
a commercial for 4.75 fixed – no prepayment penalties,
as a result of the Fed’s infusion of funds.
a) If you’ve got a variable rate loan right now, with
your payments scheduled to increase – this is a good time
b) If you’ve got some money and can afford to buy property – prices are low AND interest is low. It IS a gamble, though.
Expect to see ghost towns in areas where 1,000s of jobs will
be lost as companies continue to go under. And expect to
see neighborhood quality decline, due to the price drop.
Note, presently, there are vagrants breaking into vacant,
abandonded homes and squatting. After all, it’s warmer inside. In fact, it would be a decent idea to make formal arrangements to provide temporary housing for the homeless, so they can live in these vacant homes openly – and be encouraged to take care of the places, rather than mess them up, scornfully. That way, lenders would have nominal caretakers for the homes, they’d be lived in and would not attract vandals – and when they sell the home, they could move the temporary occupant to another.
But, we’re not going to solve the world’s problems here.
And some people think I am about to cause a bigger one.
How, I touched on a simple, innocent and reasonable
suggestion in yesterday’s TaxWatch article at MarketWatch.com.
“Sinking home values call for property tax reassessments”
Within minutes of airing, I got vehement notes about
undermining the financial structure and economy of towns
and communities. Some folks included their comments below
the article; others wrote to me privately.
Frankly, I never thought about that aspect. After all,
here in Los Angeles, and in California, I see millions and
millions of dollars wasted and spent inefficiently and it
pisses me off. I don’t want my politicians to have my money
to use to enrich their friends. Do you?
Unfortunately, when they cut budgets in the City and State,
the money is cut from essential services, like libraries,
teachers (20,000 layoffs), school programs, pothole fixing
and so forth. The funds aren’t cut from the overpriced
contract school bus services (when the school district already
has drivers and busses to use, in house), they are not cut
from the overpriced and inefficient road services – that lay
down temporary fixes, month after month, instead of more
heavy-duty, long-term fixes that only need to augmented every
few years. They don’t eliminate highly paid executives and
managers who are useless and inefficient, whose jobs are
really being done by their much lower paid staff. (You could
save several million dollars right there.)
Sorry, I started up again, didn’t I. Oh well. Let’s move on
to this week’s line-up.
This week’s Money Funnies is designed to generate a bit of
a groan, as you learn about Heavenly Marketing Strategies
IRS News is full of good stuff – an exhortation to file
your unfiled 2004 tax return, so you don’t lose any potential
refund; tips about reporting the sale of your home; how to
report and value your charitable contributions – and the
information everyone’s been waiting for – when will you get
your stimulus rebate?
TaxQuips this week covers the penalty for not filing,
an interesting way for friends to keep their season ticket
priority position, even if when they’re facing hard times,
the Ameriquest Multistate Settlement, and income averaging.
This week’s Job Advice is about treating your job search
like any executive project.
Please use the Comments link online.
Have some hamentashen and Easter eggs with friends
Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,
Eva Rosenberg, EA
Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.
TAX CALENDAR 2008
03.17.2008 S-Corp Election Decision Due (if Applicable)
03.17.2008 Corporate Returns or Extensions Due / Calendar Year Corps
03.15.2008 Get Personal Data to me if you want to file by April 15th
03.17.2008 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit
03.17.2008 Electing Large Partnerships – Issue K-1s to partners – even if you’re on extension
04.15.2008 Personal, Partnership Returns or Extensions are due
04.15.2008 1st 2008 Estimated Payment Due
04.15.2008 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit
SPECIAL GIFTS FROM TAXMAMA – FREE – REALLY!
Keep your Resolutions:
Here’s a well-thought-out e-book to help you start the
year off properly. It contains a place for you to
list your promises to yourself – and lots of tools to
help you achieve your goals.
Download the book here (just use your e-mail address in this e-mail, so you can avoid subscribing to
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Feel free to share this link with your friends, your clients and your mailing list.
Explore Simpleology 101 - It includes set of step-by-step daily missions for you to follow to get more focused and become more successful this year.
You can check them off as you go.
Audio and Video Training
Is 2008 the year you learn to put use audio and video
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Join SuccessNet.org for free and you’ll be able to give Michael Angier’s ‘101 Best Year-End and New Year Questions’ to everyone you know. It’s an excellent way to open a dialog with those close to you – and to ensure that 2008 will be a great year.
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Open your own Zazzle account and create personalized
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Summer Family Identity – 3 Choices:
Zazzle – Cafe Press – Queensboro
Since it’s summer, and you’re probably going to be traveling with your family, consider getting matching T-shirts and/or hats.
(DO NOT PUT ANYONE’S NAME ON THEM – you’re just asking strangers to kidnap your children!)
But do put everyone’s picture – so even if you don’t know the local language, you can point to a family member and ask if anyone has seen him or her. Or use a graphic or piece of art you all like. You’ll find three options right here in our SPECIAL DEALS section.
Use your art or others – and customize it
Zazzle your Imagination. Are you a TaxNerd?
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Get volume discounts on orders of 2 or more.
Get extra discounts for yourself and friends after you order.
Stuff for Back to School and Back to Work
Cafe Press is the home of TaxMama’s shops
But you can upload your own art and graphics and unify your family – even your pets.
Get extra discounts for yourself and friends after you order.
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Wouldn’t you love to get your logo or family crest, or picture or whatever, EMBROIDERED on hats and T-Shirts?
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Phone Customers Can Still Request Excise Tax Refund, IRS Says Courtesy of IRS IR-2007-144 WASHINGTON — Telephone customers can still request this year’s one-time excise tax refund, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Most phone customers, including most cell-phone users, qualify for the refund. The refund covers the three-percent tax paid on long-distance and bundled […]
Ask TaxMama Merrily We Tax Along… Welcome to the first edition of Ask TaxMama. AskTaxMama will be published every two weeks. You will find the complete text of this issue on the site at http://taxmama.wpengine.com/AskTaxMama/asktm_1.htm Lower Standards For the first time in anyone’s memory, the IRS arrived at a standard mileage rate that was lower than […]