Keeping Tabs on Uncle Sam

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Economics

uncle_samIf you are interested in money – as in your own money – and you believe in the power of the ballot box, now more than ever  you need to keep up with what the government is doing and saying. It used to be that we would get our information on government activity from print media. That won’t work anymore. It’s too slow and the lights are slowly being turned off in the newspaper business anyway. Read more

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Stimulus Plan Saves the States – from What?

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Taxes

The citizens of New York and California – at least those who know how to earn a living – must be thrilled with the money their states are receiving from the federal spendulus plan.  This plan was designed to help those states with the most Democrat votes, was it not? Read more

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Is a Middle Class Tax Increase on the Way?

March 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Taxes

tax_increasePresident Obama lost control over the spendulus bill, letting both the House and Senate tack on some of their favorite new social programs.

More recently, the President stood by meekly as Congress stuffed the omnibus spending bill with raw pork.  His only defense was that it was “last year’s business.”  That’s a funny one, considering that Obama was part of  “last year’s business”  himself.

Now it appears that Congress may have its own ideas about how to fund the President’s new health care initiatives.  The White House wanted to fund it by scaling back itemized deductions for taxpayers making over $250,000 per year.  Congress may very well reject that idea and substitute a middle class tax increase. Read more

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My Life as a Volunteer Tax Preparer – Week 4

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Taxes

I am back with another installment in the education of Mr. ToughMoneyLove in the world of people and their money.  Yesterday was my fourth session as a volunteer at the AARP Tax-Aide office, preparing income tax returns for mostly older, lower income adults.

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My Life as a Volunteer Tax Preparer – Week 2

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Taxes, Tough Love Stories

Yesterday was my second weekly visit to the AARP Tax-Aide office where I am volunteering as a tax preparer for elderly and low-income taxpayers.  I had not originally planned on writing a lot about these experiences but it turns out I am learning so much – about people, not taxes – that I have decided to continue to share with readers.

I had five appointments yesterday and was able to complete five returns.  All of the taxpayers that came in were retired (collecting pension income and/or Social Security).  Here are my week two observations:

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First Lessons Learned as a Volunteer Tax Preparer

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Money and Behavior, Taxes

A few weeks ago I wrote about my decision to obtain IRS certification as a volunteer tax preparer for the VITA and TCE/AARP Tax-Aide programs.  Last week was my first opportunity to meet with four people who had made appointments to receive help with their returns.  

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Your Money and Attention to Detail

February 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Money and Behavior, Taxes

At last count, two Obama appointees have withdrawn because of tax problems, the latest being Tom “I need a limo and driver” Daschle.  A third tax miscreant is now Secretary of the Treasury.

How does it feel to know more about our tax laws than the Secretary of the Treasury – you know, the guy who is in charge of the Internal Revenue Service?

It does not give me a good feeling at all, but not for the reasons that you might think.

Let’s assume that these appointees are not tax cheats and that, according to their defenders, are persons of the “highest integrity.”  I’m still not satisfied. Read more

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