Muzzling the gas guzzling
Whew whoops

Taking it (off) personally

Chill! It's not what you think.

Long-time readers of this blog have probably noticed the title change. (Can I can truly count as long-time those folks who've been reading the blog since its inception earlier this week? But I digress. Back to the title.) The blog now is simply "Don't Mess With Taxes." In its original incarnation, the name was longer and, how do I say this, a bit more egotistical. Yep, my name was up there in big, bold letters along with the blog's name.

I swear I wasn't just being self-absorbed. I've been a writer for a long time and writing primarily about taxes for the last six years. There are actually people unrelated to me out there who know what I do and know that I've got a pretty good handle on tax issues. If those folks went searching the Internet for tax info and stumbled into Don't Mess With Taxes, I wanted them to know their old reliable tax-fixated buddy Kay was behind the blog, somebody with actual credentials in the tax-writing world and not just some tax-mad amateur. I wasn't sure if they (or anyone) would click the page's about link to see it was me, so I put my name up there, right on top.

But I was never that comfortable calling attention to myself, at least not so brazenly. I want the tax issues to be the star here, so after due consideration (and repeatedly nagging my husband for his opinion on the matter) the title change was made. FYI, my husband agreed with me about the change, although he sweetly said, "I miss Kay Bell up there."

So how does this relate to taxes, you ask. Tax considerations were a part of our marriage from the get-go. Our joke back then was that we chose our wedding date in order to take advantage of a coming deduction that married couples could claim if both spouses earned salaries. By waiting until January instead of having a year-end wedding, we moved our first joint return into the first tax year that the dual-earner break was offered. The deduction was only around a few years and nope, I'm not telling you when it was because then you could figure out how long I've been married and  possibly extrapolate my age! However, if anyone knows the time frame of the break I'm talking about, drop me a note and I'll mention you in a subsequent entry. Sorry, just starting out here and can't afford cash prizes, so a mention in print is as good as you'll get.

I will tell you that the tax deduction was an attempt to ease the marriage tax penalty, which has been alleviated a bit thanks to some more-recent tax-law changes. The penalty, however, could come back when those changes expire at the end of 2010. Congress, at the urging of the president, has been debating whether to make the marriage tax relief and other tax breaks permanent. In light of the country's ever-growing budget deficit and need for additional federal money to help rebuild hurricane-ravaged areas, not to mention some worthwhile social services facing fiscal shortfalls, that debate is only going to heat up, and that's not even taking into account how the 2006 election outlook might affect it. But that's a topic for a future discussion.

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