FBI: Why Do You Rob Banks?

A: Because That Is Where the Money Is.

The above exchange is attributed to Willie Sutton a nationally (in)famous serial bank robber during the 1930s.

The same applies to income tax.  The 2020 political cycle (aka “silly season”) started earlier than usual. On que, all sorts of calumny are attributed to the IRS.  In response, it may be of some inconvenient interest to look at the facts.

The IRS recently released its summary of the 2016 individual (Form 1040) tax year returns. The following table summarizes the key data points:

Row A shows the number of cumulative tax returns filed by each group of individuals.  There...

July 2, 2019

The IRS is seeing signs of two new variations of tax-related scams. One involves Social Security numbers related to tax issues and another threatens people with a tax bill from a fictional government agency.

The current uncertainties contributing to the market's ups and downs have probably been there in one form or another as people have been living in groups.  As many people have long noted, social media and the Internet brings us everything, and social media and the Internet brings everything with an unprecedented immediacy.  This contributes to the general feeling that the world is falling apart.

The world has been falling apart for many millennia. All the world’s religions seek to bring order and reason to a chaotic world.  And all the world’s religions date back millennia.

Several years ago, a financial planning speaker brought this hom...

The December 2017 tax cut law was the longtime work of former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and his pursuit of supply side economics - making the tax code simpler as well as lowering rates. As with most supply side economics in a world awash with Keynesian economic theory, the changes are not always obvious or immediately visible.

April 10, 2018

By having efficient strategies in place you can minimize your tax burden and keep more of your hard-earned income. No matter your circumstance, you should be able to employ one or more of the strategies.

December 21, 2015


Even though April 15 now seems a distant deadline for filing your 2015 tax returns, in order to take advantage of some of the biggest tax reduction strategies, you have to act before the end of this year. Without further ado, here are three "go-to" maneuvers that you may want to execute by December 31.


1. Maximize Contributions to Tax-Advantaged Accounts

Contributing to your employer's retirement plan is one of the smartest tax moves you can make. For 2015 (and 2016) you can save up to $18,000, or $24,000 if you are age 50 or older. Because contributions are typically made on a pretax basis, qualified plans such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s help to...

April 8, 2015

The “dirty dozen” that criminals & cheats try to get away with year-round.


Year after year, criminals try to scam certain taxpayers. Year after year, certain taxpayers resort to schemes in an effort to put one over on the IRS. These cons occur year-round, not just during tax season. In response to their frequency, the IRS has listed the 12 biggest offenses – scams that you should recognize, schemes that warrant penalties and/or punishment.


Identity theft. Theft of federal tax refunds climbed 400% from 2011 to 2013. Cyberspace isn’t always the scene of the crime: thieves can steal your mail or rifle through your trash. If you are a...

April 1, 2015

It isn’t always top of mind, but it should be.


How many of us save and invest with an eye on tax implications? Not that many of us, according to a recent survey from Russell Investments (the global asset manager overseeing the Russell 2000). In the opening quarter of 2014, Russell polled financial services professionals and asked them how many of their clients had inquired about tax-sensitive investment strategies. Just 35% of the polled financial professionals reported clients wanting information about them, and just 18% said their clients proactively wanted to discuss the matter.1


Good financial professionals aren’t shy about br...

March 25, 2015

What should you bring to your preparer?


You can file your federal tax return starting January 20. IRS filing season will start right on time in 2015, and there is wisdom in filing your 1040 well before April 15. You can get it out of the way earlier, and if you e-file, you can put yourself in position for an earlier refund.1


What should you gather up for your tax professional? If you want to save time and possibly money along with it, come to your preparer’s office ready with the appropriate paperwork. If you own a business, that list includes all W-2s and 1099-MISC forms you get from clients, any 1099-INT and K-1 forms disp...

March 3, 2015


What you need to know.


When you reach age 70½, the IRS instructs you to start making withdrawals from your Traditional IRA(s). These IRA withdrawals are also called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). You will make them annually from now on.1


If you fail to take your annual RMD or take out less than what is required, the IRS will notice. You will not only owe income taxes on the amount not withdrawn, you will owe 50% more. (The 50% penalty can be waived if you can show the IRS that the shortfall resulted from a “reasonable error” instead of negligence.)1


Many IRA owners have questions about the options and rules...

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