Ask TaxMama Issue 469 – Beijing Olympics and TSA Device

Happy Olympics

Dear Family,

The Beijing Olympics starts today!

08-08-08 – if you turn it sideways, did you notice that you have three infinity symbols?
To infinity and beyond!

Generally Olympic frenzy is high right before each set of Olympic Games. Are you seeing that same kind of passion among the fans? For some reason, I am not. There’s even a UHF channel locally (LA area) that seems to be devoted to information about China and the Olympics. But I don’t think many people even know about it. We stumbled across it by accident.

What I don’t understand is how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could have agreed to have the games in Beijing if the athletes and horses are physically unable to breathe the air? Were they bullied into giving China the games? Or what?

It’s pathetic watching athletes try to bike the hills, come off airplanes with masks, gasping for breath. (Have you ever tried to wear masks like that? I tried a disposable mask my husband uses when he’s using his table saw. It’s downright suffocating!) Oh well, the IOC just ensured that this year, all the gold medalists will be Chinese – who’ve been training in that air. Heaven help the rest of the athletes. We hope there are a lot of doctors and medical facilities in that Olympic Village.

And hat’s off to all the magnificent athletes who’ve trained for years, even decades, to make the Olympic Teams – US and others. We wish them all success – and a wonderful time.

Incidentally, there was a brief piece on the news about new watch-shaped device travelers could wear on their wrists to get through airport security and TSA (Transporation Security Administration) checkpoints faster. It will also become your boarding pass. Sounds like a great idea, right?
Oops, did they forget to tell you – airline and TSA personnel can use that very same device to send you an electric shock if they feel you are unruly.

A total carrot and stick situation.

Please, please, please, don’t accept this device for convenience’s sake. If you have any vision, you will see that insinuating something like this, that voluntarily subjects you to punishment is the beginning of the end of your freedoms. As more people accept this when it comes to TSA, it will become such an accepted part of the landscape that, pretty soon, this will be used in the schools to control unruly children…and then at the job to discipline people chatting too often, then everywhere. You won’t be able to walk into store or theater or sports arena without one. Please don’t let this get a foothold – even for travelers!

Speaking of frustrating and incomprehensible, let’s get back to that Housing Bill for a minute, shall we? Last week, I was flooded with questions about how the Housing Bill will affect the personal residence exclusion you were planning to use on vacation homes, or homes you’ve been renting out for a while. So I took your questions to a few tax experts. You’ll find their advice on either this week or next, depending on my editor’s schedule. Incidentally, did you know that you can subscribe to various columns or features – or even key words at MarketWatch? Just set up an alert and you never have to search or leave home – the articles will come to you.

For those who’ve must work from home, today’s Job Advice of the Week tells you how to address that during a job interview.

In a recent TheLadders article (for those who subscribe to their fr—service), there were tips on how to negotiate for a Golden Parachute…or exit package. Speaking to a friend this week, I learned that he turned down a fairly promising job because he was concerned that the company would ultimately shut down the office in his city. Then, he’d either have to uproot his family, or lose his job. And he didn’t want to quit a secure position for that kind of uncertainty. It never occurred to him to negotiate a good exit package in case the company shut that office down.

Don’t give up good jobs due to hesitation about the future. Read Jack Chapman’s article, Severance: Start with the End in Mind – at

There are great jobs, and then there are miserable, but lucrative jobs. Ever get a call from a telemarketer? Today’s Money Funnies is about just such a call.

With the whole Housing Bill affecting the reporting of merchant credit card revenues, IRS feels it’s time to look back at auction sellers. You’re going to find a wealth of information if you operate on eBay or sites like that.

TaxQuips this week was very lively. Just read the comments this week, they’re totally fun – and informative. Topics we covered include active and material participation in real estate activities, a generous family who keeps deeding over the family home to the next generation, the guy who expects to win millions of dollars in the lottery – and how to give away many million-dollar gifts, a couple who each have their own business and want to know how to report them both on their tax return.

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

Please use the Comments link online.

And remember, when you buy any TaxNerd item, TaxMama will donate all the profits to the Central Asia Institute, where they are building schools for girls in Asia. The best way to achieve peace to earn the love and trust of people around the world by helping them improve their own lives.

Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.


08.15.2008 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2008 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

09.15.2008 Corporate Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE

09.15.2008 3rd 2008 Estimated Payment – all entities Due

09.30.2008 Last day to establish SIMPLE plans


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