Business Feed

The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers should use any legitimate tax break to which they're entitled to help reduce their tax bills. Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., however, seems to be pushing that recommendation. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fighting Juan Manuel Márquez on Sept. 19, 2009, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas. (Photo by Ian McWilliams via Flickr CC) Mayweather, who counts Money among his nicknames (and shows why in his Instagram account), reportedly sent a Las Vegas strip club a 1099 tax form in an apparent attempt to write off a visit... Read more →


"Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!" Everyone connected to "Hamilton" will be raising a glass and singing that Schuyler Sisters lyric later tonight after Broadway's annual awards ceremony is complete. The ground- and record-breaking musical is nominated for 16 Tony awards (yes, that's a new record, too). The show about the $10 Founding Father likely won't set a new record for wins, in part because many of its actors are competing against each other. But it should take home the statuette for top musical. And beyond the creative realm, Hamilton is already... Read more →


Tax scams that invoke the Internal Revenue Service get a lot of attention. That's understandable. The tax code is complicated and the IRS is a source of fear for most Americans. That combination makes it easy for crooks pretending to be with the federal tax agency to scare us into paying them to resolve a purported tax bill. But there are 43 other official government tax collectors out there, and crooks know that they also can use state taxes to scare us into sending them our money. Multitasking small business owners make good targets for state tax focused con artists.... Read more →


It's Derby Day. No, not the hat, although fancy chapeaux are a big part of the big race in the Bluegrass State. Well-dressed racing fans at the 2008 Kentucky Derby. Photo by Lee Burchfield via Flickr. It's the running of the Kentucky Derby, the first leg of horse racing's Triple Crown. Thanks to American Pharoah's wins last year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky; Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland; and Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, we're starting a new quest for the world's best thoroughbred. Winning race bets are taxable: The tax focus on this and other big... Read more →


When most folks think holiday office party, they think Christmas. Here in Texas, though, Cinco de Mayo is a great day for an office party. Today is the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. On that day 154 years ago, the Mexican military defeated the numerically superior French forces that, the year before, had invaded Mexico. Such an unlikely victory reminds all us Texans of how we did the same thing to Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, securing the independence of the Republic of Texas. Plus, Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, the man who led the... Read more →


Given all we see on social media, it seems that many people nowadays have no shame. Some government officials, however, think that this pervasive "so what, no big deal, look at me anyway" attitude doesn't extend to unpaid taxes. They are publishing the names of delinquent taxpayers in the belief hope that it will humiliate the public tax debtors to pay up. It's not a new tactic. Almost as soon as tax departments created a website, these lists started showing up online. But now more places are making sure that folks don't just stumble across the tax delinquents. In addition... Read more →


Brothels are legal in New South Wales, Australia, so officials there had no problem when Jamelie Lahood ran the Stiletto brothel for more than a decade until 2014. A room at Stiletto, a high-end brothel in Sydney, Australia. Photo from the bordello's Instagram account. However, Australian tax officials do take issue with the nearly $2 million ($1.5 million in U.S. currency) they say Lahood owes from her earnings as boss of the self-described "world's finest short stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel." The money Lahood made operating Stiletto between 2008 and 2014 placed her among the top 0.1 percent of... Read more →


Happy Earth Day 2016. April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth in 1970 of the modern environmental movement. For farmers, however, every day is earth day, says Naomi Starkman, founder and editor in chief of Civil Eats, a news outlet that focuses on sustainable agriculture. "Farmers work every day to care for the Earth and steward the land that sustains us," writes Starkman in an opinion piece for MSNBC. Farmers like Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump's goat farm helps him get tax breaks on two New Jersey golf properties. Photo courtesy Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Columbia County, New... Read more →


Diane L. Kroupa was appointed as judge to the U.S. Tax Court in June 2013. Her term was supposed to have run for 15 years, but in June 2014 she retired early. This week Kroupa, 60, was indicted on two counts each of tax evasion, filing false returns and obstruction of an IRS audit. Her husband, Robert E. Fackler, 62, also was indicted on the same six tax-related charges. The couple is accused of understating their income by approximately $1 million on tax filings for the 2004 through 2010 tax years. Much of that too-low amount was arrived at by... Read more →


Obamacare, the popular name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was supposed to be a key factor in the 2016 presidential election. It still might be one in the general election once Democrats and Republicans have settled on their respective candidates. So far, though, health care has received only cursory mention and, surprisingly, that's been on the Democratic side. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent challenging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, wants to replace Obamacare with a more expansive universal health care system. Among the reasons that Obamacare so far hasn't been a hot button campaign issue is that... Read more →


"Millions flee Georgia for the safety of North Carolina's bathrooms," quipped New Yorker columnist Andy Borowitz after the Tar Heel State's governor signed into a law a measure that, among other things, revokes local protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The part of the bill that's gotten most attention is, as Borowitz notes, the one that requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender they were born with rather than the one they identify with. North Carolina is the first state to require this. Last year, Houston, Texas, passed a similar law for facilities... Read more →


The animal heralding March's arrival this tax-filing season is not a lion or a lamb, but a fish, or rather a phish. Yep, a new phishing scam has emerged, with tax crooks trying out a new scheme that targets payroll and human resources professionals. The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to the folks who handle employee data to be wary of a phishing email purporting to be from company executives seeking personal information on employees. I know it's thrilling -- or terrifying if your big boss is anything like The Donald (and I've also worked for a few... Read more →


One of my favorite faux inspirational sayings suggests a way to deal with stress, which is a major issue for many folks at tax time. "When life is stressful, do something to lift your spirits. Go for a drive. Go two or three thousand miles away. Maybe change your name." It actually works, the taking a short drive, I mean. Thankfully, neither my taxes nor the rest of my life has gotten so overwhelming (yet!) that I've been tempted to follow the rest of the tongue-in-cheek advice. And in addition to the mental and emotional relief, some of the driving... Read more →


If you work in the world's oldest profession, finances can be problematic. First, your job is illegal, so you don't want to do anything to draw unwanted attention to your line of work. Neither do your clients. So escorts, prostitutes and other types of sex workers tend to operate on a cash basis. That, however, raises the question of what to do with all those loose dollars. Even with today's minuscule interest rates, you don't want to keep cash under a mattress. Tracing cash transactions: Banks, despite all their problems, are generally safer than having a lot of dollars stashed... Read more →


Go big or go home. That's not just a catchy tune. It's President Barack Obama's philosophy regarding his eighth and final fiscal year budget blueprint. Click image to watch American Authors' hit "Go Big or Go Home" via YouTube. Even when Congress and Commander in Chief get along, getting everything in an administration's annual budget is tough. When things are outright hostile like now -- in an unprecedented move, both the House and Senate budget committees, headed by Republicans, announced they won't hold hearings on Obama's proposal -- the chances of a lame-duck president getting what he wants fiscally is... Read more →


Uber pitches itself to potential drivers as a way to make cash on your own terms. But one of the popular ride-sharing company's contractors this week found the driving effort was not so personal after all. This Uber driver's 1099-K earnings statement, issued to contractors so they can file their annual tax returns, was made available to other drivers in the ride-sharing company's system. 1099-K forms are the cousins to 1099-MISC statements that independent contractors receive. A Form 1099-K is used mainly to report credit and debit card payments and online transactions, rather than old-fashioned check payments. 1099-Ks also are... Read more →


I hope you enjoyed your online holiday shopping spree last month, South Carolinians. Amazon is now collecting sales tax on products you order. Palmetto State shoppers have been buying from the online retail giant tax free since 2011. That year, South Carolina lawmakers agreed to the tax collection waiver as part of a deal that encouraged the Seattle-based company to build a distribution center in Lexington County. The e-tailer now has a second South Carolina facility in Spartanburg. Both operations employ more than 1,500 workers. S.C. sales tax time: But effective Jan. 1, South Carolina shoppers have had to include... Read more →


It's going to be a special New Year's celebration for hard cider aficionados. They will be raising a glass of their favorite bubbly fruit beverages not only to celebrate the arrival of 2016, but also to cheer tax law changes that should help their industry. Hard cider, like its cousin wine, is made from fermented juice. In cider's case, that's apples or pears instead of grapes. But hard cider's main competitor really is the craft beer sector. And cider makers have long argued that the tax law imposed an excise tax that put their specialty beverage at a disadvantage to... Read more →


Today is the first day of winter and it's supposed to hit 76 it hit 79 degrees here in Austin. Similar temperatures are forecast for the rest of this Christmas week. I thought we left such winter warmth behind us 10 years ago when we moved from South Florida back home to Texas. And for most winters over the last decade, we've had our share of the cold, like in 2011 and 2013 when we had snow and temperatures low enough to freeze our backyard fountain. Some winters in Austin, Texas, like this one in 2011 have been cold. But... Read more →


Yes, I know we're in the midst of college football's bowl season. And many NFL teams are still in the hunt for a spot in professional football's playoffs. But baseball recently got my attention. Part of my sporting focus shift is that the two NFL teams I cheer for, the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens, are incredibly sucky this year and out of the playoff picture. The main reason, though, that I'm looking at Major League Baseball in late December is because 2015 is a record-setting year for the league's luxury tax. Multiple luxury tax records: The Los Angeles Dodgers... Read more →