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Tax Carnival #6: Decision 1040

E Day is almost here. E for election and E for electronic voting.

I know I've been focusing on Nov. 7 recently (here and here, just in case you missed them), but voting is more than a right or a privilege. It's a duty.

It's your country, your state, your county, your city. Make sure at least a few people and policies reflect what you want for your home.

Plus, I'm a firm believer in the concept that if you don't at least try to make a difference in the system, then you shouldn't complain about it. As you have guessed, I vote every chance I can and exercise my right to criticize even more.

To get you ready to march into the polling place, vote and then grumble, we present today Tax Carnival #6: Decision 1040.

Rather than political parties, our ballot is divided into tax-related categories. All you electioneerers clear the polling area. We're about to vote!

Checkbox_red2_50State of state taxes
Seems the Golden State race for Controller is pulling in
big money from the tax preparation market. Taxalicious tells us why, but here's a hint. The makers of computer tax programs apparently don't like California's "Ready Return" program, where the state actually files some taxpayer returns for them, at their request, of course. 

Prof. Jim Maule at MauledAgain offers his own take on the California campaign, along with a link to an earlier post expressing misgivings about the option.

Thanksgiving is just weeks away, so Kelly at Talking Taxes says it's no surprise that state lawmakers are in the holiday spirit. But Wyoming policymakers have taken the holiday mood one step too far with a property tax holiday proposal.

Checkbox_blackjpg_50Tax planning and filing
All you extremely organized folks will want to check out the words of wisdom from William Perez at About Taxes. He's got some
tax planning tips for the fast-approaching 2007 filing season.

Jonathan has posted a
Paycheck Tax Withholding Calculator at My Money Blog.

Finnegan Lane offers us tax tips for the working stiff at The Digerati Life.

Checkbox_red2_50_1 Tax troubles
Nobody wants to think about tax complications (or worse), but they do occasionally arise.

Eva, aka the Tax Mama, tells us there's no such thing as a tax bankruptcy. But if your tax debt fits a certain profile, she says you are allowed to discharge it.

Tracy presents the story of a jeweler charged with money laundering, and of significantly underreporting his income to the IRS, posted at FRAUDfiles.

Dan at Tick Marks points our attention to a government study that asks does the IRS really knows if private tax-debt collection is working?

Another IRS program involving outside contractors, the annual Free File option, also is catching some flack. TaxProf reports on Congressional questions about last year's filing participation limits.

Checkbox_brown_50_2Tax breaks
College savings are good. Tax-advantaged savings are better. But makingourway's item on setting up a new 529 plan also tells the frustrating tale of the
stupidity of Illinois' 529 plan. The main concerns: the programs fees and restrictions.

Over at My Wealth Builder, Super Saver tells of an often overlooked way to increase your tax savings when making a charitable contribution.

Allison at Queercents has info on the tax break we’ve all been waiting for, the federal telephone tax refund.

Checkbox_red2_50_2Business and investment issues
On the corporate tax side, Praveen tells us
how Siebel avoided taxes when selling to Oracle, posted at My Simple Trading System.

Looking for lower taxes on your investments? Then thank Dasha for sharing this insight over at PrivetColorado.

If you own your own business, many of the routine business trip expenses are deductible, as long as you keep track of them. Paula at Queercents reminds us not to forget the small stuff since business expenses add up.

Checkbox_blackjpg_50_1Real estate roundup
Gina of Gina's Tax Blog gives us the scoop on family reverse mortgages.

For elaboration on taxes and the sale of your personal residence, Robert Flach, aka The Wandering Tax Pro, directs us to his October 28 posting on that topic.

Along those same lines, find out how to get $250,000 in tax money every two years over at EconEdge.

Checkbox_brown_50_2_1Retirement realities
The end of 2006 is fast approaching, so Scott at Scott on Money reminds us that earlier is better when
contributing to a 401(k), and gives us the 2006 limits.

If you agree with FDBryant3's Newsvine, you'll want to look into stashing away as much golden year money as possible. F.D. says Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

Paula at Queercents makes a second appearance on our tax ballot. She says what Uncle Sam does usually doesn't grab her attention, since legislation lately has been directed more toward the wealthy or married couples who can tap into tax-related benefits. But that changed when she noticed a Pension and Protection Act provision that benefits gays and lesbians.

And Lazy Man says he's far from a tax expert, but that just might make him the perfect one to ask, is a 401(k) plan really a great deal? Find out his concerns about this savings option over at Lazy Man and Money.

Checkbox_red2_50_3Tax and government policy considerations
As in any election year, various tax policy matters get lots of attention. It's no different with our bloggers.

Bill at LWilliamLosapio.com offers Watering the Milk: A Discussion of Income Taxes.

Wenchypoo says his thoughts at Wisdom From Wenchypoo's Mental Wastebasket are not about taxes per se, but do touch on how our tax dollars may be wasted on government project overruns.

Election analysts say tomorrow's results will hinge in large part on how voters think the Iraq war is going. At Rebuilding Eden, John considers the financing of war.

And we close our out tax election special with Matt at MattHutter.com, who has identified what he sees as the worst, most unfair tax ever created by politicians. He promises that the answer will surprise you.

I hope you also encountered some pleasant and informative surprises, or at least some welcome elaboration on tax topics, in this election edition Tax Carnival. We'll be back in a month with a year-end tax roundup. If you have something to submit, please send it along via our Blog Carnival page.

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