Ask TaxMama Issue 496 – Liver Spots

Happy National Womens History Month

Dear Family,

Writing the brief summary about today’s Money Funny reminded me of some the best times I had a child. They were with old people. I adored my grandfather. My favorite pastime was sitting in his lap and listening to him tell me stories about Hungary and places and family. Naturally, over time, as with fairy tales, I learned every story by heart. I can’t remember a single one now. One day, I plan to undergo hypnosis to recall those tales and record them.

Then, there were the people I would meet walking around the block, after we moved to California. One old man used to sit with me on the front stoop of his fourplex, and just chat with me. He also had stories about his life and home, before Hitler. I used to listen to him and admire the liver spots on his hands. Somehow, there was something comforting, familiar and safe about him, like my grandfather. Now, I can gaze upon the one or two livers spots on my own hand. Oh joy.

I must tell you, though, they’re not building seniors the way they used to. Just this week I was looking at a 61-year-old woman. Gorgeous, great figure, glowing with health, she still turns heads. I want to look like Sharon when I grow up. (Though, there may be a long wait for the growing up part…)

Speaking of amazing women. If you were following TaxMama on Twitter this week, you’d have met Dr. Joyce Starr, who defends the rights of condo owners, pet owners and others. Or teaches you how to do it yourself.
You read about people with big, flashy careers, who spend their time in the news, creating flash about bizarre twists to the law that they call civil rights violations, just to get attention. Dr. Starr has a quiet career. Too few people know about her and what she does.

Yet, what she does is help people with the fundamental rights of day-to-day living, especially when you live under the thumb of a homeowners assocation. Dr. Starr can also teach you how to do a better job caring for your pets, and how fight for your pet’s rights when living under association rule. And lots more. You’ll be meeting her again in the future. Meanwhile, you can listen to yesterday’s broadcast where we talk about the mortgage interest deduction and the first-time homebuyers credit. (Look for the BlogTalkRadio feed in the right-hand column.)

Incidentally, if you don’t know how brutal, political, and invasive some associations can be, you can laugh your way through three Frasier episodes as he battles his condo board.

  • Three Days of the Condo
  • Proxy Prexy
  • Mother Lode

    Another of the fun things I get to do is to join Brent Clanton on CNN650. He’s always tuned into the heart of the the news. Yesterday, we spent some time talking about the proposal to tax the AIG bonuses. If you’re following the news (or alive and breathing), you could help but notice the House of Representives passed a bill to charge 90% tax on the AIG bonuses. (You can find the text of the House bill linked with the WSJ article

    As angry and upset as we may be, we all know this bill is ridiculous and pure posturing. It’s a grandstand play to make it appear the House is actually doing something. The fact is, the tax rate is unreasonable, especially when you take state taxes into effect. The tax can’t be imposed on employees who are not U.S. citizens or residents – many of the bonuses are going to exuctives in AIG’s foreign offices. The Senate will never pass it and it will all fade into oblivion as tempers die down. Wouldn’t it have been smarter and more effective if the Senator Christopher Dodd had not succumbed to pressure, and had NOT grandfathered the bonuses in the Recovery Package? (That means, permitted old bonus contracts to remain in effect.) article

    Speaking of sad things, we just got the news yesterday that IRS has pulled the funding for the live Tax Talk Today broadcasts. The last one will be in May Specialty Taxes: Estate and Gift, and Employment Taxes

    I spoke to Phil Lamonia at Tax Talk Today about finding a way to continue the program, even if it’s simply via audio. So stay tuned, there may be a way to continue. In the meantime, if you really find the courses useful, let your IRS Stakeholder relationsperson know.

    Looking for other good courses after Tax Talk Today ends? Join us – sign up for these courses TaxMama is teaching for CSEA:

    May 13, 09 – 11:00 am – CSEA – Audio Tax – EA Exam

    Aug 5, 09 – 11:00 am – CSEA – Audio Tax – Hobby Loss

    TaxMama®’s article this week follows up our conversation about mortgage interest deductions. There was a surprising reaction to last week’s column. We got lots of thank you letters from people who had never been aware that the mortgage interest deduction was limited. And some folks sent in some good ideas and good points. The other thing covered this week is the new, more liberal net operating loss carryback. New forms, new rules.

    Today’s IRS News gives you all the ways you can use the first time homebuyers credit – and tells you how IRS is looking at your business, when it comes to tax avoidance schemes. It’s important. Read this.

    Today’s Money Funny is about being kind to the lonely seniors near you.

    In TaxQuips this week, we learn how to depreciate a condo, write off leasehold improvements, make use of the first time homebuyers credit by using a technicality in the law, and how to write off expenses for education that helps you return to the workforce.

    As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
    You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

    Please use the Comments link online.

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