I don’t think I have seen any emails like the ones described in a recent IRS news release, but they all follow the same formula: we’re from the IRS, we need information from you, comply or you’ll lose out on this benefit, or, if you don’t comply we’re coming to get you. This particular variation indicates that they want your personal information to issue you a refund.
The IRS response should be familiar to my loyal readers: the IRS does not send emails about refunds, nor does the IRS initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text or social media channels to request personal or financial information.
Constitution Day is September 17. That’s the day in 1787 that the United States Constitution was signed by delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
Here’s a question to ponder for Constitution Day: would a federal wealth tax, suggested by some politicians, be constitutional? There are credible opinions on both sides of the question.
And while I’m on the subject of politicians’ tax proposals, it’s still crickets from that senator who said he wants a tax on unrealized capital gains. Remember I predicted that he would probably never provide the details of how his proposal would work? That’s because it won’t work.
Actually, the general subject of my August Estate Planning Law Report is something you should deal with, so that your loved ones don’t have to: instructions on funeral and burial. The situation that I hope you don’t have to confront is what happens if there is a disagreement about this often sensitive subject. If you deal with it, then there shouldn’t be any disagreement. Does that make sense?
In the Report I also provide information that I hope will be useful to you on the always timely topic of telephone scams. Regular readers know that’s a topic that I keep up with, because the scammers aren’t going to go away.
Read all about it in my Estate Planning Law Report for August, now posted in the publications section at deconcinimcdonald.com.
It’s no surprise that the idea of calling income tax exclusions and deductions “tax expenditures” came from a federal bureaucrat, is it? The idea is based on the notion, as explained in an article linked at the TaxProf Blog, that all income, with only certain theoretically defined exceptions, is the tax base.
THERE’S A GUY RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT WHO IS SERIOUSLY ADVOCATING FOR A UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME; IT’S STILL A REALLY BAD IDEA
I’m not going to link to any news items about him, because I don’t want to do anything that will promote him or his ideas. I’m mentioning it because I want to do what I can to spread the word that universal basic income is a bad idea whose time has not come and never will. Just because a guy running for president is promoting it doesn’t mean it has any merit.
What’s worse, the guy wants to pay for the universal basic income by imposing a value added tax in the United States. That’s an idea that has its own major problems, as I have pointed out before.
I am often critical of law review articles. Usually it’s because I think the writers have an insufficient grasp of the potential real-world effects of their ideas.
A law review article linked at TaxProf Blog (which is where I usually read about them) last week seems different. It sounds like a straightforward analysis and proposed fix of the federal tax code treatment of sales of interests in partnerships.
Yeah, partnership tax. For me, the final frontier.
I was interested to see that Los Angeles County is still doing “cash for grass,” a program to encourage removal of lawns as a water-saving measure. I wrote about that a long time ago because I was interested in the tax and land use law implications of it.
The author of the blog post linked above thinks there is irony in the fact that L.A. is paying people to remove grass while the smog there worsens. I’m no expert, but I thought the main things that make smog harmful are ozone and particulates, and I don’t think that having more green plants does anything to reduce those.
You would think that a group of billionaires would know that their request for a wealth tax should be addressed to Congress, not to candidates for president, since Congress, not the president, has to make it happen. That is, however, unless their request is really just to show everyone how virtuous they are. If that is really their goal, then why don’t they just make voluntary contributions to the U. S. Treasury?
It’s not new, but it’s getting attention again: a proposed federal tax on every securities (stock and bond) transaction is being pushed by prominent members of Congress.
The proponents of this tax say it is intended to discourage high-frequency trading and won’t hurt the middle class. Since many, many middle class families have retirement accounts that are invested in stocks and bonds, either directly or through mutual funds, I have some questions:
Is the reinvestment of dividends inside retirement accounts going to be subject to the tax? If so, then middle class people are going to pay the tax.
Are transactions in U.S. Treasury securities going to be subject to the tax? If so, retirees who invest in those bonds will pay the tax. If not, that will skew the markets because Treasury securities will have a cost advantage.
I could think of more questions, but you get the idea. The simplistic notion that a tax on securities transactions will only hit fat cats and day traders is a lie, designed to gin up support for the tax among those who won’t think about how it will actually affect lots of people.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.