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It's official. Or as official as anything ever is with Donald J. Trump's run for the White House. The Republicans' 2016 presidential nominee will not be releasing his personal income tax returns. Click image to view the full interview. Tax question/response at 1 minute, 27 seconds. Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, appeared today on CBS This Morning and, in response to a query by Norah O'Donnell, reiterated his candidate's position on keeping the returns private. "Mr. Trump has said that his taxes are under audit and he will not be releasing them," said Manafort said. Trump originally indicated he would... Read more →


Fact checkers got a head start last night when Donald J. Trump's speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination was leaked to the media. Click image to see NBC News' fact check highlights of Donald J. Trump's Republican presidential nominee acceptance speech. Of course, folks still had to watch the full 76 minutes that Trump talked in case he decided to deviate from the teleprompter. So few tax remarks: As a tax geek, I was disappointed that Trump had so few words about taxes. The word "tax" or "taxes" only showed up eight times, and not until well into (about the... Read more →


Dog lovers in Greece beware. That pooch you're petting could be working for the tax collector. Greece, which by some estimates is losing up to 16 billion euros ($17.62 billion U.S.) each year to tax evasion, is now looking for four-legged help. Dogs are assigned many tasks, like the ones the canines in this U.S. Army video are being trained to complete. Click image to watch what these Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois going through their military paces. Greek tax officials are recruiting dogs to sniff out potential tax dodgers who are hiding untaxed money, reports Reuters. Intertwined... Read more →


Sports fans tend to be, well, fanatic. To many, it's what a player does during the game, not his or her off-field antics that matter. Moment of the Champions League final with FC Barcelona's Leo Messi, left, going against Patrice Evra of Juventus at Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6, 2015. (Photo by Biser Todorov via Wikimedia Commons) That kind of no-questions-asked support was what the Barcelona football -- or soccer, as most Americans call the sport -- team was counting on in the wake of its star player's tax evasion conviction. Public outreach, tax backlash: Last week after Lionel... Read more →


Boris Johnson, one of loudest voices calling for Britain's exit from the European Union, or Brexit, is in the spotlight again. The tumult continues across the pond, as Boris Johnson, described by many as the United Kingdom's version of Donald Trump, has now ended, at least temporarily, his political career. Johnson today announced he would not seek the post of Great Britain's Prime Minister. Current PM David Cameron announced his plans to resign that position just hours after the United Kingdom's June 23 vote to leave the European economic confederation was confirmed, essentially telling the pro-Brexit faction, "you broke it,... Read more →


It's been a crazy weekend, with much of Sunday spent with my mom, who's a major golf fan, and not a bad player herself when she was younger. She still has her hole-in-one trophy. Since I spent most of the day at my mother's, I didn't get around to blogging today. But because part of our conversation between lunch and pedicures and shopping (both for clothes and food) was about Brexit and the U.S. presidential election and, of course, how they converged at Donald Trump's renovated Turnberry, Scotland, golf course and resort, the following tax-related golf quip seemed an appropriate... Read more →


If you have substantial funds in foreign bank accounts or investments, you may need to file a Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. And you need to do so by next Wednesday, June 30. That's a firm deadline. No filing extension is allowed. Because of the no-give for this filing, the due date earns this week's By the Numbers honor. FBAR triggers: The filing is known as the FBAR, which is a sort-of scrambled acronym for the form's name. Although the Internal Revenue Service is intensely interested in tracking potentially taxable money wherever in the world it's... Read more →


June is jam-packed with special days. It kicks off with the official start of the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, which seems a bit late since we've already seen two storms form this year. Then there's Flag Day, Father's Day and the arrival, here in the Northern Hemisphere, of summer. And I'm not even counting things like today's National Doughnut Day and all the June weddings that will be special calendar dates for those happy couples. And yes, there are some tax connections to all those days. They are duly noted over in the ol' blog's right column, just under... Read more →


Sure, King George III's pesky tea tax served as a catalyst for the United States' rebellion against Great Britain. King George III in 1755, courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London. Click image to hear G3's first song, which mentions the tea to-do, in the Broadway musical "Hamilton." But once we worked through that independence thing, we Americans discovered that we still have a lot in common with the United Kingdom. And that includes, unfortunately, tax scams. U.K. HMRC tax phishing: Taxpayers across the pond have been getting phishing emails from tax crooks encouraging them to download an attached document in order... Read more →


A little more than a month ago, inquiring tax eyes were focused on Panama. Specifically, folks were curious about a law firm in that Central American nation that allegedly helps the wealthy stash cash in global accounts that are out of reach of their nations' tax collectors. ICIJ has produced a video, The Panama Papers: Victims of Offshore, that shows what the organization says are the unseen victims behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers and the shadowy offshore industry. A couple of U.S. states, Nevada and Wyoming, were named as international tax haven... 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 →


Nearly 10 million households didn't have bank accounts in 2013, according to the latest survey of individuals' banking habits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That's a lot of folks for whom cash is king. That's also a lot of people for whom paying a federal tax bill is not that easy … until now. Taxpayers who want to pay their Internal Revenue Service bills in cash now can do so at some 7-Eleven stores. Tax cash: As I noted last week at my other tax blog, the 7-Eleven cash tax payment option is available thanks to an arrangement... Read more →


Here in the United States, the income gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us is getting a lot of attention, thanks in large part to the Democratic presidential nominee race. Sen. Bernie Sanders has made the wealth gap a key part of his effort to dislodge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the front-runner spot. Image source: ZMEScience But the battle is waging far beyond the U.S. borders and the 2016 presidential campaign. Global inequity off the charts: There's also a global inequality crisis, says Oxfam in a new report, and it is reaching new extremes.... Read more →


When you say "mascot" to an American, we immediately think of the characters and creatures associated with sports teams. In Japan, however, mascots have more expansive, and official, roles. The Japanese are obsessed with mascots that range from happy animals to mutated foodstuffs to saucer-eyed humanoids that promote, according to a recent New York Times article, seemingly every town, business and arm of government in the island nation. And yes, that includes Japanese tax offices. Osaka Prefecture, says the newspaper story, has two different dog mascots for separate tax departments. Taxhound talks taxes: An Internet search turned up a 2011... Read more →


In the largest ever gathering of world leaders, the global representatives of 196 nations on Dec. 12 signed a historic climate change pact. The consensus of great global powers and some of the planet's poorest nations alike was that the landmark agreement is necessary to make changes in human behavior that will slow and limit the earth's increasing temperature. A new study, however, suggests that people worldwide need to make a change in their eating habits. And one way to accomplish such a dietary change might be a meat tax. Would a tax on your steak and other meat cause... Read more →


No business sector is off limits when it comes to taxes. That's the message from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which last week announced formation of an adult entertainment task force. The special investigative unit of Great Britain's version of the Internal Revenue Service will target strip clubs and online escort agencies that it suspects are covering up thousands of pounds a day in profits, thereby evading value added tax (VAT), income tax and national insurance payments. Billions in unreported earnings: HMRC says the adult entertainment industry, including but not limited to strippers, escort agencies and lap dancing clubs,... Read more →


Millions of Americans are thinking about travel this holiday week. So is Congress, but on a larger scale. As the House and Senate work out details of a long-term transportation bill, one funding road sign is clear. International travelers will help pay for domestic road and transit projects. Photo courtesy Mike via Flickr CC Lawmakers in both chambers have agreed on a provision that would direct the State Department to deny passports to taxpayers who are "seriously delinquent" in their tax payments. State also could rescind existing passports of affected taxpayers. The highway bill funding measure is projected to bring... Read more →


Tax evasion is a global problem. Around the world, countries are struggling to make sure that their citizens are paying the taxes they owe. Here in the United States, we try both the stick (audits and even criminal prosecution in some cases) and the carrot (tax breaks) to encourage compliance. The Internal Revenue Service has sweetened the tax reporting pot, especially for those who are hiding their funds in out-of-country accounts. While many tax havens are in tropical locales, you can find places to hide money from the tax man all over the world. For some, the United States is... Read more →


When Donald Trump finally released his tax plan on Sept. 28, he included a provision he says would encourage U.S. based-companies to companies to bring their overseas earnings -- and jobs and tax payments -- home. Companies nowadays operate, and pay taxes, well beyond the boundaries of the county in which they are headquartered. Image by Effervescent Me via Flickr. Trump's proposal for a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held abroad at a discounted 10 percent tax rate is nothing new. One of his GOP presidential nominee competitors, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, previously released his tax plan that calls... Read more →


Greece, despite another bailout from Eurozone lenders, is still struggling to get its economy together. Now it faces another internal threat: bartering. The New York Times reports that as the Mediterranean country "grapples with a continued downturn, bartering is gaining traction at the margins of the economy" because money is just not readily available. Liz Alderman writes: "Graphic artists are exchanging designs for olive oil. Accountants swap advice for office supplies. In the agricultural heartland and on the Greek islands, informal bartering, which has historically helped communities survive, has intensified as more people exchange fruits, vegetables, other crops, equipment, clothing... Read more →