This month I give some practical information on a subject that’s not popular, but is important: burial instructions. You can read about it in the publications section at deconcinimcdonald.com.
Your comments are welcome, as always.
ONLY IN AMERICA…
Will you find an extended legal analysis of whether altering prairie dog habitat (the Utah prairie dog, to be exact) affects interstate commerce. It’s the subject of a case that is pending in a federal appeals court.
Don’t at least a few lawyers recognize the absurdity of this stuff?
WHAT HAVE I BEEN SAYING ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO TRUST THE IRS WITH YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Whether it’s attributable to incompetence, or to dishonesty, the IRS simply can’t keep your personal information from being misused. The latest example is a big one: an IRS program that I mentioned some time ago, in which you can set up an online account to look at your tax information, has been compromised, allowing unauthorized access to taxpayers' personal data.
When I wrote about it before, I said I wasn't sure that the program (called "Get Transcript") was such a good idea.
The IRS has just posted a statement about the data breach and says the program has been "temporarily" shut down.
Yeah, I'll sure be ready to go and use it the moment they start it up again. Right.
My recent Estate Planning Law Report, my latest on trusts, is posted at deconcinimcdonald.com. In it I explain what “funding” a trust means.
When you establish a trust, the purpose is usually to facilitate the management, and eventual distribution, of assets. To make that work, there must be assets that are owned by the trust. Transferring assets to a newly established trust is, in estate planning lingo, “funding” the trust.
Read the Report to find out more. In future newsletters, I’ll provide more explanation about how trusts work and why you might need one.
If you want more information right now, you can check my newsletter archive.
Lawmakers in Oregon are testing the idea of tracking drivers’ mileage and taxing them based on miles driven, rather than taxing fuel purchases at the pump. It’s a pilot program in which drivers can volunteer to participate.
In the I don’t think that word means what you think it means department, a driver of an electric car calls the idea “discriminatory,” because it “targets hybrid and electric vehicles.”
In another aspect to the story, the devices that will be used to track participants’ mileage will not necessarily have the ability to track the vehicles’ location.
Hat tip: TaxProf Blog.
“Legal blogging offers a respite from the formalities of traditional legal writing.”
Only a federal government agency would try to recover, apparently with interest, benefits it paid to the children of a man who was declared dead but later turned out to be alive. We’re talking about benefits that were applied for by the mother of the children and paid when the children were under 18 (they’re adults now).
The government agency did eventually give up on trying to collect from the un-dead man’s children, and decided to try to collect from him instead.
I got this information from a news item on the web site of The Courier of northwestern Ohio. Hat tip to Lowering the Bar (yes, I’m back to trawling Lowering the Bar for blog post material).
I was unaware that Canada and Britain have implemented tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs). In Britain they call them Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), a much less descriptive name. The concept is like the Roth IRA, in that the contributions to the account are not deductible for income tax purposes, but once in the account, the earnings on those funds are never taxed. Unlike the Roth IRA, funds can be withdrawn for any purpose.
Is this a good idea? I don’t have a definite opinion yet. After thinking about it for maybe thirty seconds, I doubt that it would have much of an impact on income taxes if the accounts were limited to bank deposits, because they pay so little interest nowadays anyway.
A recent post on the Cato Institute’s blog has a good discussion of the basic concept.
WHAT DID I TELL YOU ABOUT MAKING FILING A FEDERAL INCOME TAX RETURN A MONEY-MAKING PROPOSITION?
I told you that it was a bad idea. It created an incentive for fraud. The IRS is still plainly incapable of shutting down the fraud. The result is billions of stolen tax dollars, and harm to innocent taxpayers.
As if we needed more proof of what I’m talking about, here’s some more.
Form 990 is due for filing with the IRS on May 15 for most organizations that are tax-exempt under federal law.
There’s information in a press release issued today by the IRS.
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.