Humor Feed

Tax season isn't official until David Letterman welcomes New York City area accountants to his late-night show to read a tax-related Top 10 list. This year's topic, presented Tuesday, April 9, was the Top 10 things you don't want to hear from your accountant. Click image to view the Late Night Top 10 presentation on YouTube. The clip is only 3½ minutes, but if you're a swamped tax preparer and just don't have even that much time to spare right now, here's the list: 10. Take off your clothes and sit on the examining table. (Harvey Tanton) 9. Good news... Read more →

We're less than a week away from April 15, Tax Day. You know what that means. Families of tax accountants will not see their loved ones for the next six days. Funny Pictures If you do see your tax accountant, or other tax professional, during this filing season home stretch, be nice. Yes, you and your taxes are important, but you probably aren't your tax pro's only client. If you run across someone who seems to be a little flustered, consider that he or she might be a tax accountant and give those folks a break. Just in case you're... Read more →

I've been a big fan of Mario Batali for ages. His cooking advice regarding classic Italian eats is magnifico. And today I learned that Molto Mario also offers tax advice. OK, he actually provides a tip on what to drink at tax time. Batali told the New York Times Sunday Magazine: "I never feel that good about paying the triple hit of New York City, state and federal taxes. My accountant says these are great problems to have, but that is probably because he is going on vacation next week. My answer is tequila. Put a bottle of your favorite... Read more →

The hubby's favorite tax season chant -- and, yes, he does just that each year as I work on our return -- is "Deduct! Deduct!" He even makes a few suggestions now and then. But as creative as the hubby is, he's never come close to some taxpayers' really wild and wacky tax deduction attempts. There's the nose job a wine connoisseur wanted to write off as a job expense. And then there's the profuse perspirer who was insistent that his air conditioning qualified as a medical deduction. But my favorite is the pie shop owner who wanted to claim... Read more →

Everybody's a critic, even James Tiberius Kirk. That's right, William Shatner has weighed in on the Internal Revenue Service video parody of the original Star Trek. Shatner, whose distinctive staccato line delivery is forever connected to the Starfleet captain he brought to life on television and movie screens, is not amused or impressed. The actor delivered his criticism via Twitter: The sci-fi mini remake, which was shown at a 2010 IRS conference, and a Gilligan's Island training video were made at the tax agency's studio in New Carrollton, Md., and cost a combined $60,000. The Star Trek production accounted for... Read more →

The other shoe has dropped on the Internal Revenue Service videos under fire by a House Ways and Means Committee member. Or rather the beach flip-flop has dropped, since the second video in question is a training tape based on Gilligan's Island. Click image to go to YouTube video. In "FA Quality Island," the tax castaways discuss field assistance, or FA, the IRS term for face-to-face help provided taxpayers. You can read the IRS manual on FA if the 16-minute training skit is not enough for you. The set for FA Island isn't elaborate, but in the spririt of the... Read more →

IRS boldly went too far with 'Star Trek' parody video

Lucky for the Internal Revenue Service that the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee only set its phasers to stun. But it was a stinging hit nonetheless. On Wednesday, March 20, the subcommittee's chairman, Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-La), wrote to the IRS seeking release of video parodies produced in the agency's television studio in New Carrollton, Md. In addition to a take-off on the popular science fiction franchise Star Trek, the IRS also made a video based on the 1960's television sitcom Gilligan's Island. Boustany had asked in February about the productions and the IRS replied by letter, acknowledging the... Read more →

The more tax things change ...

Just ran across this tax tidbit as part of research I'm doing for a larger tax project and just had to share it on this first day of the 2013 tax filing season. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, collecting income taxes has always been a struggle: "Taxing income (as opposed to real estate, personal property or other tangible assets) was begun by the Puritans in Massachusetts in 1643. It didn't work. In fact, all 16 states that tried to tax incomes from 1643 to 1911 failed to raise significant amounts of revenue. The principal reasons that income taxes didn't... Read more →

President Obama is working on his annual budget, but we know one thing that he won't be asking Congress to approve: construction of a Death Star. Death Star by Krischan at Blitz Research Planet Creator forum The main reason is because building a "Star Wars" style space station/super weapon would cost an estimated $850,000,000,000,000,000. The Lehigh University students who arrived at that spectacular amount say it is roughly 13,000 times the world's gross domestic product and is for just the steel needed to complete the project. $850 quadrillion (yes, I looked up the name for 15 zeros) also is this... Read more →

Jacob Joseph "Jack" Lew, the current White House Chief of Staff, is getting as much attention for his signature as he is for President Obama's decision to name Lew as successor to Timothy Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury. By now, you've seen Lew's John Hancock, which is no John Hancock at all, but rather a string of circles that has become known as the Loopy Lew. The idea of that scrawl appearing on U.S. currency immediately captured the fancy of America. OK, maybe it just caught the attention of bored journalists. But you've got to admit that Lew's signature... Read more →

Merry Christmas! I hope you got everything you wanted this year. For most of us of a certain age, the items under our trees are not the most important gifts of the holiday season. But it's still fun to have a package or two to open. And it's also fun, and financially interesting, to look at what it would cost for a true love to give all the gifts enumerated in the traditional "Twelve Days of Christmas" song. Christmas' increasing costs: This is the 29th year that PNC Wealth Management analysts have crunched numbers to find out how much all... Read more →

Delegates to the Republican National Convention who are duffers will want to check out the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Golf Resort. The Tampa-area vacation haven has temporarily renamed that course's holes after the past 18 Republican presidents, reports's Golf Buzz blogger John Holmes. Golfing convention goers from South Carolina and Florida who are staying at Innisbrook later this month will start at the Abraham Lincoln tee box and wrap up their rounds by holing out on the George W. Bush. The Tampa Bay Business Journal had some fun in describing the presidential attributes of the renamed holes, notes... Read more →

The current Summer Olympics also are known as the London games or London 2012. But you're not likely to hear the international sporting event called by its formal name, at least not here across the pond. That's because officially it is the Games of the And in the United States that triple X means a totally different type of physical activity. Maybe Rep. U.S. Dave Camp, the Michigan Republican who chairs the Ways and Means Committee and who referenced a California business that carries XXX items during the recent House floor debate on the Bush tax cuts (which has its... Read more →

Despite the often childish acts of its members, Congress apparently is for adults only. A House leader used a purveyor of adult DVDs, literature, novelties and viewing booths as an example during debate on the House floor over continuation of the Bush tax cuts beyond Dec. 31. Representatives were using real-life small business situations to make their case that the current tax rates should stay in place permanently. The business anecdotes, however, took a potentially X-rated turn when the chairman of the House's tax-writing committee decided to get in on the act. The National Journal's Influence Alley blog reports that... Read more →

Oh my God! Did you hear about Mitt Romney's tax returns? Those exchanges were flying furiously across the Internet this afternoon, sharing the scoop that the infamous computer hacker Anonymous has broken into the Internal Revenue Service's database and obtained more of the Republican presidential candidate's 1040s. Oh my God is right. What did we laugh at before the world went online? Pay attention people: This is so obviously false for so many reasons. First, there's no official Washington response to the supposed online break-in. If such a thing had indeed happened, you can bet the IRS would be in... Read more →

Sure, life sometimes imitates art or vice versa. But in seeing political connections in the much-anticipated new Batman movie, Rush Limbaugh has gone a bit batty, even for him. The conservative talk radio host is convinced that a liberal Hollywood/Obama conspiracy is behind the name of the latest Batman supervillian. In what Comedy Central's Jon Stewart characterized as "a bit of divine intervention" for political comedians, The Dark Knight Rises pits Batman against the evil Bane. Limbaugh, however, doesn't see it as coincidence. It is, he told his listeners, a concerted attack against presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who... Read more →

Bain, the big bad villain for both Batman and Mitt Romney

OK, after this I promise to give comic book topics a rest. But I couldn't resist Jon Stewart's observation that Bain is not only the name of Mitt Romney's old venture capital firm, but also the most frightening and current Batman villain. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook I suspect the Caped Crusader will take down his Bane (yep, it's a homophone of the corporate entity's moniker) nemesis when The Dark Knight Rises hits movie theaters on Friday. As for Bain Capital, we'll probably have to... Read more →

Ka-pow! Bam! Amend! Taxes pretty much pummeled H&R Block's superhero economics infographic last week. I noticed that the Dark Knight's alter ego Bruce Wayne improperly deducted all his charitable contributions. Janet Novack, Forbes' Washington, D.C., bureau chief, picked up on the error, as did TaxProf Paul Caron. The ensuing attention finally prompted a change to the comparison of Batman's and Spider-Man's (aka Peter Parker's) money. On Monday, H&R Block amended the infographic: [UPDATE 7/16/12] We got swept away in the fun & fantasy and initially miscalculated Bruce Wayne’s estimated tax bill — we’ve adjusted it accordingly on the graphic below.... Read more →

In addition to being a tax geek, I'm also a partial superhero geek. I say partial because I'm partial to only one comic book superstar: Batman. So I was thrilled to see the infographic below that looked at the finances of Batman's alter ego Bruce Wayne as well as that of Spider-Man's Peter Parker. Superhero Economics: Bruce Wayne vs. Peter Parker via H&R Block Click image or "Superhero" link above for larger view. And I was doubly thrilled to see that taxes were part of the visual comparison of the two men's money. I was, that is, until I saw... Read more →

Nah, the Supreme Court's tax-based decision that the health care law is constitutional is not a new NBC sitcom, although the way the network has struggled recently, maybe I should pitch it. The decision and the law are very serious topics. But that didn't stop some on the Internet from having a little fun with the ruling and reactions. The always insightful Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cuts to the chase in her texts: Check out the rest of Hill's smartphone comments on the surprise ruling at UpWorthy. Then there are the thoughts of film heartthrob Ryan Gosling: The actor's... Read more →