I use TurboTax, but I had not heard about this until today. There’s apparently an upgrade to the program for individual federal income tax returns, costing an extra $30-40, that’s now required in situations where no upgrade was required in previous years.
It must be a big deal. It has already drawn 16 comments on the TaxProf blog. That’s a lot.
MORE PROOF THAT THE IRS IS APPARENTLY INCAPABLE OF STOPPING PEOPLE WHO FRAUDULENTLY USE SOMEONE ELSE’S IDENTITY TO GET GOVERNMENT CASH
This AP news item tells about a group of college football players who, with some friends, stole personal identifying information (names and social security numbers), used that information to file fake tax returns claiming refundable tax credits, and got the refunds directed to themselves. The article describes it as a “complicated scheme,” but it’s actually pretty simple, and has been a big problem for a long time.
The IRS is apparently unable to put in place a system that will prevent thieves from directing payments for tax credits to themselves by filing fraudulent income tax returns. How did they catch these thieves, you ask?
It wasn’t anything the IRS did. According to the news item, one of the thieves went to the ATM too many times wearing a hoodie on a warm day, which attracted the attention of the local police, who determined from surveillance video that he was using a debit card that wasn’t his.
TODAY IS ELVIS’ BIRTHDAY
At the CES 2015 consumer electronics show, Mercedes is displaying a concept car, dubbed “Luxury in Motion,” that is less of a car and more of a mobile transportation pod. By that I mean that the interior is designed with more focus on the comfort of the occupants, like a room on wheels, rather than being designed around the function of driving the car. Check it out in this article from the L.A. Times.
A Mercedes executive is quoted in the article as saying: “The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport, and will ultimately become a mobile living space.” That’s a reason to like the idea of self-driving cars, if you ask me.
I have to point out, however, that at least two things about this concept car just prove that everything old is new again. One of the features of the car is that the seats pivot toward the doors when the doors are opened. That feature, which I have always thought was a great idea, was pioneered (as far as I know, anyway) by Chrysler in the 1960 Chrysler 300F. I have never understood why that idea didn’t catch on.
The other old/new feature on the Luxury in Motion is that it has suicide doors, like another great ‘60s luxury car, the ‘fourth generation” Lincoln Continental. I think the one my grandparents had was a ’66.
The Antiplanner reports on a new tree ordinance in Portland, Oregon, that regulates the growing, pruning, and removal of trees in that reputedly lovely, densely forested city. Bottom line: doing anything with your trees will likely require a permit, a fee, and an opportunity for the neighbors to object.
Of course, my loyal readers know that I covered this subject long ago, more than once. As I said way back then, what we have here is another great example of how, in striving for a perfect world, we are choking ourselves with rules.
But I didn’t think it was misunderstood to the point that an elected official would threaten to sue a reporter for using the elected official’s name in a newspaper article without permission.
Professor Volokh is suitably dismissive.
UPDATE: Power Line Blog has piled on.
WANT TO COLLECT DARRYL STRAWBERRY’S DEFERRED COMPENSATION FROM THE NEW YORK METS? YOU CAN BUY IT FROM THE IRS!
According to this item at the Forbes web site, the IRS is selling Strawberry’s right to collect the remainder of an annuity that was part of his 1990 salary. “Straw” owes over $600,000 in back federal taxes, stretching back to 1987.
What’s going on here is that the IRS is liquidating Strawberry’s assets to satisfy his tax debt. That’s one of the tools the IRS has at its disposal if you owe them enough, for long enough.
Also according to the Forbes item, Strawberry’ compensation for a 16-year major league career exceeded $30 million.
Actually, if you look at Strawberry’s numbers, they really weren’t all that great. He only had three seasons in the majors in which he exceeded thirty homers and 100 RBI, and his highest full-season batting average was .284.
Yes, he obviously still has it. Don’t miss “Dave Barry’s Year In Review.”
Of course, my favorite parts are his lines about the IRS.
Via TaxProf Blog.
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