Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

Celebrities face tax liens, foreclosure or more for failing to pay federal and state levies.

By Jeff Schnepper Mar 15, 2010 10:25AM

I’d think that someone making millions of dollars would have the smarts to hire a professional to make sure their taxes were appropriately filed and paid.

 

It constantly amazes and astounds me how many of the rich and famous get in trouble because they’re either financially dumb or incredibly greedy.

Rapper Snoop Dogg was bitten hard by the IRS in February when the IRS filed a tax lien of nearly $600,000 against him. That’s twice as much as the state of California liened against him in 2009, putting the total at nearly $1 million owed in taxes. It’s a rap sheet to be proud of.

 

Birth control, Viagra, counseling and other items are all deductible.

By Jeff Schnepper Mar 12, 2010 12:07PM

You can use the Tax Code to improve your sex life.

 

No, it’s not going to get you a date, although the IRS rep at my latest audit was kind of cute. But it will get you going and improve your performance.

Let’s start with the easy stuff.  As a child of the ‘60s, I saw my sex life greatly improved by the discovery and dissemination of birth-control pills. Such prescription pills are legitimate, allowable medical deductions.

 

Home values have declined, but tax bills keep rising, spurring appeals and protests.

By Teresa Mears Mar 11, 2010 3:55PM

This news article is by M.P. McQueen of partner site The Wall Street Journal:

 

Dan Scagliozzi has paid higher property taxes each year since he purchased his home in West Orange, N.J., more than a decade ago. Last year, with the value of his house sliding, he decided to do something about it.

 

Using a new online property-tax service, he appealed his tax assessment -- for $49.99. Mr. Scagliozzi, 52 years old, says he reduced his assessment about 10%, knocking his tax bill to $13,049 from $14,680.

 

"Overall, a very nice return on our $49.99 investment," he says.

 

Property owners are taking action across the country as tax bills continue rising, even as home values have tumbled.

 

Think the U.S. has it bad? These 10 countries tax their residents far more heavily.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 10, 2010 5:05PM

MainStreetBy David Seaman, MainStreet

 

The United States doesn’t have it so bad tax-wise compared to other nations, despite what Glenn Beck would have you believe.

Here‘s a rundown of average income tax rates for 10 high-tax countries, based on information from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. The data are for 2008, the most recent numbers available.

 

10. Australia

 

Threats up against employees of agency, which merely enforces the laws that Congress makes.

By Jeff Schnepper Mar 10, 2010 1:19PM

IRS employees certainly have been in the crosshairs of crazies recently.

 

In 2009 there were more than 1,000 threats made against IRS workers. That’s up more than 10% over the roughly 900 threats received over the previous few years.

 

IRS offices in states including Nevada, Colorado and California have been targeted with arson and mortar attacks, shotgun blasts and a fertilizer bomb.

 

Several members of Congress -- not to mention a presidential candidate -- have had property tax issues.

By Kay Bell Mar 9, 2010 3:59PM

When it comes to property taxes, it's not just you, me and a certain Motown star that have  issues. 

 

Politicians do, too.

 

The new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Michigan Democrat Sandy Levin, last week repaid a Maryland property tax credit that he had erroneously received from Montgomery County.

 

For tax savings, you have to itemize, give to qualified charities and save receipts.

By Jeff Schnepper Mar 8, 2010 4:19PM

Here’s something I’ll bet you don’t know -- all your charitable contributions are not deductible.

 

Unless you itemize your deductions, you get no tax benefit from charitable contributions. You did “good,” and you feel better. But, your taxes are unchanged.

 

Even if you do itemize, you get no tax benefit unless the contribution is made to an IRS- recognized charity. See Publication 78 for a cumulative list of qualified organizations.

 

Private mortgage insurance protects lender, but at least it's deductible.

By Jeff Schnepper Mar 5, 2010 12:01PM

Only our mendicant mandarins of madness in Congress could use the Tax Code to define insurance premiums as interest. But, I’m not one to challenge any construction that reduces my taxes.

 

I’m talking about mortgage insurance premiums (MIP). When you borrow money to buy a house, your lender is going to want you to have significant skin in the game. If you’re borrowing more than 80% of the value of the property, the mortgage company has an increased risk. To cover that increased risk, the lender will normally require you to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI).

 

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.