Posts on Tax Planning, Tax Preparation and Accounting.

August 30, 2018

The Infinite Monkey Theorem

The Infinite Monkey Theorem The Infinite Monkey Theorem holds that if you sit an infinite number of monkeys down at an infinite number of typewriters, eventually one of them will bang out the complete works of William Shakespeare — or, at the very least, Hamlet. But do you know what those monkeys are banging out when they’re not banging out Shakespeare? The Internal Revenue Code, of course! (Sadly, the Infinite Monkey Theorem will probably never be more than just a theorem. For starters, can you imagine the smell in that room?) The tax code may look like 70,000-odd pages of
August 22, 2018
Arithmetic

The “New” Math

The “New” Math Parenting is full of all sorts of milestones. Some of them are precious, like your child’s first steps, their first words, and their first day of school. Some of them are less welcome, like a first broken bone, or a visit from the law. But there’s one milestone that takes some parents by surprise, and that’s the day they realize they can’t help their kid with math homework anymore. This is especially jarring when the kids come home insisting their teacher taught them 2+2=5. The “new” math can’t be that different from the “old” math? It’s still
August 16, 2018
Lady Justice

All Is Fair in Love and War

All Is Fair in Love and War The best marriages, so they say, age like fine wine. They gain richness, and color, and depth. They ripen and mellow as experience piles upon experience, bonding the couple and deepening the intimacy as husband and wife stroll hand-in-hand through the majestic tapestry of life. (Cue the rainbows, and unicorns, and George Harrison lyrics.) Remy and Lara Trafelet didn’t have that kind of marriage. Their union aged more like milk. No, scratch that. Imagine strapping a toddler into his car seat to go see Grandma on a hot summer day. You hand him
August 13, 2018
Facebook logo

Zuckerberg and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Zuckerberg and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day When Mark Zuckerberg was 19 years old, he launched Facebook from his Harvard University dorm room. (Some cynics might say “stole” is a better word than “launched,” but who wants to start that debate?) Since then, he’s made Facebook one of the internet’s most valuable brands. And as he’s done it, his net worth has climbed as high as $81.6 billion, making him the world’s third-wealthiest man behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. At least, that was the case until July 25. That day, just after
August 6, 2018
The Rolling Stones

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter Classic rock fans celebrated a milestone birthday on July 26: Rolling Stones front man and rock legend Mick Jagger turned 75! If that doesn’t make you feel old, try these on for size: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is old enough to collect maximum Social Security benefits. Cyndi Lauper still just wants to have fun, but now she’s on Medicare. And 80s icon Madonna can finally take money from her IRA without paying a 10% penalty on early withdrawals. In 1969, Jagger and the Stones scored one of their biggest hits with “Gimme Shelter,” a bleak, brooding meditation on the
July 26, 2018
Mount Rushmore

Tax Postcards

Tax Postcards Earlier this month, archaeologists digging in Egypt unearthed a 2,000-year-old black granite sarcophagus 16 feet below the surface. Pretty cool, right? But then they announced they were going to open it. What a terrible idea! Have they never seen The Mummy? When the lid came off, they found three skeletons rotting in some dirty water that had probably leaked in from a nearby sewage trench. But that doesn’t necessarily mean an ancient undead presence didn’t manage to escape, too. It’s not like they could actually see it! Egyptologists aren’t the only ones facing an ancient spirit that refuses
July 23, 2018
Weightlifting

Here’s to Health!

Here’s to Health! When Congress raises the hood on the tax code, they’re usually working to raise money to pay for government. But sometimes they’re more interested in nudging us to behave in ways they can’t legislate directly. Take the mortgage interest deduction, for example, which “cost” the Treasury $69.7 billion in 2013. That deduction encourages millions of Americans to spend billions of dollars buying homes, building homes, renovating money pits, and keeping their homes looking spiffy — all of which returns billions more through our overall economy. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed another one of
July 13, 2018
Soccer stadium

Prosecutors Score GOOOAAALLLL Against Corruption

Prosecutors Score GOOOAAALLLL Against Corruption Americans love a champion, and every year, sports fans get to see new champions crowned. We’ve got a World Series, a Super Bowl, and NBA finals that drag on for months. We’ve got the Kentucky Derby, the Indianapolis 500, and the Nathan’s Famous National Hot Dog Eating Contest. And every even-numbered year, the Olympics bring us more exotic champions in curling, synchronized swimming, and dancing horses. But there’s one event that mobilizes the rest of the world in a frenzy of competition: soccer’s World Cup. A billion people watched France defeat Argentina, 4-3, in a perfectly
July 5, 2018
TV remote

Tax Collectors Target Streaming Services

Tax Collectors Target Streaming Services A generation ago, “serious” filmmakers flocking to Hollywood set their sights on movies, not television. Visionary directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola redefined their craft with a new generation of challenging, personal films. By contrast, television was a vast wasteland dominated by lightweight comedies like Happy Days and sappy, feel-good dramas like The Waltons. In 1999, HBO’s The Sopranos started luring wannabe auteurs to TV. Today, movie theaters are dominated by CGI-generated superheroes and endless sequels, while cable networks and streaming video services churn out too many quality programs for anyone but a
June 26, 2018
Crypto Religion?

Crypto Religion?

Crypto Religion? Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Bitcash, and Ethereum rest on a foundation of “blockchain”: a continuously growing public transaction ledger consisting of records called “blocks” that are linked together and secured using cryptography. Blockchain bulls see the new technology revolutionizing all sorts of transactions, like real estate sales and medical records. Skeptics dismiss the whole effort as fool’s gold, suitable for speculation but nothing more. (Hedge fund tycoon T. Boone Pickens recently tweeted that, “at [age] 89, anything with the word ‘crypt’ in it is a real turnoff for me.”) Now, former tech CEO Matt Liston has formed a blockchain-based