YES, THERE IS A legit REASON WHY THE NCAA HAS A RULE AGAINST COLLEGE ATHLETES RECEIVING OUTSIDE INCOME
I have been seeing some stuff about how the rule against NCAA athletes having outside income is stupid and unfair and should be done away with. Here’s my response, written in reaction to a post by Coyote pointing out that there’s no rule against student artists receiving income for their work:
The reason why no one cares if music students make money from outside sources is pretty obvious to me as a former music student: no one (outside of the music school) cares if your university has great student musicians, but lots of people care if your university has great student athletes. Why is that? Because music schools don’t participate in interscholastic competitions that produce enormous prestige, publicity, and wealth for the university, while athletic departments do. And why does that matter? Because the prestige, publicity and wealth produced by those interscholastic athletic competitions give the university and people associated with it big incentives to try to recruit the best athletes, incentives that don’t exist with musicians (again, outside of the music school, anyway). That’s why there are rules against people associated with the university offering no-show jobs and other even more blatant payola (see, e.g., Sean Miller) to recruit great athletes to their school. That’s the type of “outside income” that the rule was created to prohibit.
NEWS ITEM DOESN’T DO A VERY GOOD JOB OF EXPLAINING THE LATEST TAX REFUND THEFT SCHEME
Here’s how the latest tax refund theft scheme works, as described by an IRS agent I heard on a talk show:
Thieves steal your identity and file a fraudulent tax return claiming a refund, but instead of telling the IRS to direct deposit the refund to the thieves’ bank account, they tell the IRS to direct deposit the refund to your bank account. The thieves then call you pretending to be the IRS and tell you you’re in trouble for getting a fraudulent refund and you better send it to them right away. Of course, the place where the thieves tell you to send the refund give it to them, not back to the U. S. Treasury.
It sounds like it would be a lot easier for the thieves if they just directed the fraudulent refund to an account they set up instead of to your account, but I suppose that having the refund sent to your account (and then stealing it from you) puts them one step further away from the IRS.
Anyway, the news item about this scheme that appeared the same day I heard about it on the radio doesn’t explain the scheme as well as the IRS agent did on the radio, so I thought I’d help out. The news item does at least emphasize what I have said numerous times before: if the IRS thinks you have a problem with them, the first contact you receive from them will not be a telephone call.
REVISED UNIFORM FIDUCIARY ACCESS TO DIGITAL ASSETS ACT IS A GOOD IDEA, BUT ITS REACH MAY BE LIMITED
When I last wrote about it nearly a year and a half ago, 19 states, including Arizona, had enacted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA for you acronym mavens). I pointed out at the time that California had not adopted the RUFADAA, and that unless California adopts the RUFADAA or something like it, its adoption in other states may not do much good. That’s because California is where many of the companies holding your digital assets (e.g. Google and Facebook) are located.
Another whole aspect of handling digital assets involves platforms like Github, that are designed for individuals and companies to develop and store code. Those are digital assets that have real value.
As of this writing, 37 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have adopted the RUFADAA, but California still hasn’t adopted it. Perhaps California has similar legislation, but if not, I don’t know how Google and Facebook, not to mention Github, are going to react to fiduciaries’ attempts to retrieve digital assets in their control.
The fact that the RUFADAA has been adopted in Arizona but not in California is another reason to use (Arizona based) GoDaddy for email, domain registration, and web hosting.
I had never thought about it, but the idea of putting driverless cars in their own lane, separated from the rest of the traffic, seems to superficially make some sense, at least until most cars are driverless. The Antiplanner, however, is skeptical of this idea. His post on it is at Cato@Liberty.
UBI IS A DANGEROUS CONCEPT
I have written in the past about the dangerous and hopelessly idealistic suggestion that governments provide a universal basic income (“UBI”) to all their citizens.
When I have written about UBI before I have talked mostly about the fact that it is hopelessly idealistic. I don’t want that to obscure my much more fundamental objection that the concept of UBI is profoundly dangerous. If you think that’s a way to improve societal well being, I suggest that you think again.
PRIVATE LAW FIRM INSTALLED AS MUNICIPAL PROSECUTORS, BILLS VIOLATORS FOR COSTS OF THEIR PROSECUTIONS
It’s in California, of course. Nice work if you can get it, until you get sued by the Institute for Justice.
Note that the law firm couldn’t have set this up without action by the legislative bodies of the cities to install the law firm as the city prosecutors.
IJ says that the setup violates a rule against prosecutors having a personal financial stake in the matters they prosecute. I guess that’s different from government agencies engaging private counsel on contingent fees to pursue lawsuits against private businesses, because that reprehensible practice has been going on for some time.
The concept of cancellation of debt (sometimes referred to as discharge of indebtedness) as income that must be reported on your tax return is, to me, not at all intuitive. A TaxProf Blog post that discusses reported cases on the subject illustrates some of the ins and outs of the concept, and when cancellation of debt is, or is not, reportable as income on your federal income tax return.
THIS MONTH'S REAL ESTATE LAW UPDATE IS ABOUT THE RULES OF THE ROAD FOR YOUR HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION'S DESIGN REVIEW COMMITTEE
A faithful reader, appraiser Steve Cole, suggested that in my next Update on the subject of homeowners' associations, I should discuss the ins and outs of architectural review, also known as design review. If you have ever lived in a neighborhood governed by, or otherwise had to deal with, a homeowners' association, you have probably heard about the architectural review committee. The architectural review committee is the arm of the homeowners' association that is charged with making decisions implementing the association's aesthetic guidelines. In other words, they get to decide whether or not your house addition, patio wall, or new landscaping will be approved under the association's rules.
Read all about it in my latest Real Estate Law Update, posted in the publications section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
WHY IS THE SECTION OF THE IRS WEBSITE ABOUT ESTATE AND GIFT TAXES UNDER THE HEADING “SMALL BUSINESS AND SELF-EMPLOYED?”
Businesses don’t pay estate and gift taxes, nor do they file estate tax or gift tax returns. Individuals pay estate and gift taxes and file estate tax returns (Form 706) and gift tax returns (Form 709). So why is the section of the IRS website about estate and gift taxes under the heading “Small Business and Self-Employed,” where no one who knows those basic facts is going to think to look? Is it because the IRS thinks that most taxpayers have the (mistaken) impression that only business owners need to be concerned about estate and gift taxes?
Most government agency web sites are poorly designed, but this is a particularly egregious example.
YES, THE GOVERNMENT CAN DENY YOUR PASSPORT APPLICATION IF YOU OWE MORE THAN $51,000 BACK TAXES
I guess there has been some criticism of the law that allows the State Department to deny your passport application if you have an unpaid federal tax liability of more than $51,000. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s a violation of anyone’s constitutional rights. I don’t think you have a constitutional right to a passport. It seems to me that Congress can put limitations on who gets a passport, and that’s what happened here. IF you think it’s objectionable, persuade Congress to change the law.
Via TaxProf Blog.
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.