Television Feed

This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →


A field of tulips in Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands. (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Zdeněk Macháček) Tax season, at least the filing part for most of us, ended this week with the arrival on Oct. 16 of the extension deadline. That means that many of us in the tax world are thinking of taking a bit of a break. One place to consider is Amsterdam. The Netherlands capital has always been a popular tourist destination. Yes, I'm starting with the city's more-lax laws in connection with mood altering substances and, shall we say, personal interactions. For the less daring tourist, the... Read more →


Actor Bob Odenkirk in the season 4 finale of "Better Call Saul," where his titular character, after getting his law license reinstated, legally becomes Saul Goodman. (Screen shot from that episode's final scene) It's all good, man, for AMC Networks and Sony Pictures in their legal fight with Liberty Tax In August 2022, Liberty Tax Service sued Sony Pictures, the producer of "Better Call Saul," and AMC Networks, which broadcast the "Breaking Bad" prequel, for trade dress and trademark infringement. But apparently, attorneys for Sony and AMC were up to (OK, probably better than) Saul Goodman standards. They persuaded the... Read more →


Margot Robbie as the title character in the Barbie movie based on the iconic doll. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment) I haven't seen the Barbie movie yet, but as fan of filmmaking and owner as a child of a couple of Barbie dolls, I have been following the stories about the script, production, costumes, sets, and stars. But what really caught my attention were the tax remarks by the character portraying Barbie's creator. Barbie arrived in American stores in 1959 thanks to Ruth Handler, who along with her husband had founded the doll's corporate manufacturer Mattel a decade earlier. Many... Read more →


Artificial intelligence has long been a part of our lives, although most of that has been in popular culture depictions. The recalcitrant Hal who wouldn't open the pod bay doors in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner's deadly replicants evolved into Star Trek's more loveable Commander Data and all his TV and movie cousins, like I, Robot's Sonny, Voice-only Samantha in Her, and very human Dorian in Almost Human and Mia and pals in Humans. And bad bots are still out there, at least for entertainment purposes. This month, a warrior nun takes on an all-powerful, and evil, artificial... Read more →


Photo by Emanuel-Kluge via Flickr When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country that goes with them. They remain U.S. taxpayers, filing federal tax returns on the on their overseas earnings. Uncle Sam, however, does provide some tax breaks to his citizens living and working abroad. Their filing deadline is June 15. Thanks to tax treaties, globally peripatetic taxpayers also get certain foreign earned income exclusions and/or foreign income tax credits. These exclusion amounts also are affected by the cost of living, as noted in Part 8 of the ol' blog's 2023 annual inflation... Read more →


UPDATE, May 3, 2024: Yes, this item originally was published on a prior Margarita Day. But since that adult beverage also is big part of celebrating, at least here in Texas, Cinco de Mayo — which, by the way, has its own tax connections — it's definitely worth a repost and a toast today. So jot down the recipe offered by the always animated (in every sense of the word) Sterling Archer. It will help the associated federal and state alcohol tax info go down a bit easier. ¡Salud! FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. If,... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions Welcome to the continuation of the ol' blog's Tax Crime Weekend! Yesterday's post featured efforts to end abusive tax schemes and bring their promoters to justice. Today's post expands on the legal reckoning theme. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, known as IRS-CI, recently revealed its top 10 cases of 2022. Wide variety of schemes, one outcome: The tax evasion attempts included Ponzi pyramid schemes, fake businesses, COVID-19 fraud, bogus tax credit, and even a reality TV couple. And more. Despite the diversity of their criminal tax acts, they shared one thing. They got caught.... Read more →


Among the things Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed with late-night television host Stephen Colbert during her Nov. 30 appearance on his "Late Night" show was her signature that will be on currency starting next year. (Screenshot from Late Night YouTube video) I tend to go cashless as much as possible, but I'm also a currency collector. Yeah, one of my many dichotomies. I have a 1976 version of the $2 bill, Yes, the greenback with Thomas Jefferson's mug is real and still in circulation. I also stashed a crisp new $10 bill a few years ago when it looked like... Read more →


A scene from AMC's Dark Winds, starring Zahn McClarnon (standing) as Lt. Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police, and Kiowa Gordon as his deputy Jim Chee. The series, which has been renewed for a second season, is shot in New Mexico. (Photo by Michael Moriatis/Stalwart Productions/AMC) Later today, the hubby and I will watch the season finale of Dark Winds. Tomorrow night, we'll be planted in front of our TV for the next episode of Better Call Saul. Not only are both shows on AMC, they are great television. They also are filmed in New Mexico, primarily because the... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The iconic Hollywood sign is still there, but films no longer are limited to Los Angeles backlots. They're made across the United States (and world), with film makers choosing locations based in many instances on available tax breaks. (Photo by Dmitry Rogozhin via Wikimedia Commons) You haven't been to a movie theater in years. You don't pay for streaming services. But chances are you have been covering the production costs for recent movies and television shows. That's because 33 states and the District of Columbia offer tax breaks to movie makers and more. The only states that currently don't offer... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) unit is my favorite section of the tax agency. Part of it is because I've always been fascinated by law enforcement. Add tax geek to the mix, and it's a natural fit. My investigative bent was bolstered when my first full-time job as a young newspaper reporter on the cop beat. Those West Texas police officers tried their best to intimidate and gross out this young woman. They failed. Many times, solving a crime also is like unravelling a mystery, especially when the crooks are inventive. As a life-long mystery fan, that component... Read more →


Thirsty New Yorkers celebrate Prohibition Repeal Day at a local, again legal, bar. Image from Las Vegas' National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, more popularly known as The Mob Museum, blog post on how Prohibition changed beer. Today's a big day for tax geeks and craft beer aficionados, as well as for lovers of fine (or cheaper; no judging here) wines and liquors. On Dec. 5, 1933, Prohibition ended with the passage of the 23rd amendment to the U.S. constitution. Whenever last century's 13-year booze ban is discussed, the focus naturally tends to be on the alcohol component.... Read more →


A scene from "Judas and the Black Messiah," which today received six Oscar nominations. The filmmakers also took advantage of state tax breaks to make the movie. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures) The 2021 Oscar nominees were announced today. Let the arguing begin. I'm generally happy with the nominations, especially since two of my favorite and (I believe) overlooked performers were nominated in the Best Actor in a Leading Role. Oh, you want names? Sure: Riz Ahmed for "Sound of Metal" and Steven Yeun for "Minari." However, disagreements about the nominees and the ultimate winners in all Academy of Motion... Read more →


A panoramic view of Positano, Italy, the famously vertical town where actor and food/travel show host Stanley Tucci found the highly-desired Amalfi Coast lemons. (Image courtesy Italia Agenzia Nazionale Turismo) Tonight, the hubby and I will watch our latest favorite television series, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. The CNN show is part travelogue, but with routes determined by Tucci's tastes, which are so far spectacular. The award-winning actor, director, screenwriter, Instagram bartender and cookbook author (you're not surprised, are you?) essentially is eating his way through Italy, the county from which both sides of his family hail. He started in... Read more →


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers literally will be the home team in Jan. 7's Super Bowl LV. The NFL championship game is being played at their stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs, however, are still favored by bettors to win the title. We're not back to normal, but the National Football League is doing all it can to keep its traditions, and team bank accounts, on track. Despite some issues in 2020, the NFL played out the season last year. On Sunday, Feb. 7, it will crown its champion in the annual Super Bowl. This 55th big game has a lot, in... Read more →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C., in 1963 where he delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. (Photo via Wikimedia) It's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021. If there's one tiny, thin silver lining to the terrible times we are enduring due to COVID-19 and political unrest, it's that these awful realities should help us focus on Dr. King's efforts. Equal justice: It is the first MLK Day following the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and too many others that sparked this 21st century drive for... Read more →


No, there isn't an electric version of Chevrolet's iconic Corvette (because who would want that!), but you have lots of other electric vehicle options that could get you not only a new car, but a nice federal tax credit. There are a couple of television commercials I look forward to every holiday season. There's the Corona Extra "Oh Tannenpalm" spot that's been airing for 30 years. And, of course, there's Hershey's Kisses handbell choir, which has been running even longer. Not as welcome, but as inescapable this time of year are the automaker ads with cars bearing giant bows. I've... Read more →


We don't have an image of D.B. Cooper parachuting from a hijacked jetliner Thanksgiving week 1971, but he did jump out over some dense Oregon woods that likely looked a lot like these. (Photo by ankiyay via Pexels) Last week was the weirdest Thanksgiving holiday ever for many of us. In addition to dealing with possible family confrontations in the wake of the most contentious post-election period in modern memory, we had to adjust to pandemic complicated get-togethers. That's why an anniversary probably slipped by you. During Thanksgiving week 49 years ago, a tall thin man, dressed in a business... Read more →