Tax Rascal

Did New Jersey Tax Verizon Into Becoming a Monopolist?

Categories: Uncategorized

Via MauledAgain, I found a fascinating story about New Jersey’s tax on telephone poles owned by the ‘dominant provider’ in the state. As Maule points out, it’s a hard law to understand: it’s not just about revenue or beautification, because this would apply to taxing any phone company, not just the largest. He adds:

One wonders why a tax would be imposed only on the dominant provider. Was it an attempt to disadvantage the market leader in order to boost the competition and level the playing field? It is a rather interesting way to spread the wealth. Imagine an income tax imposed only on the largest software company, the biggest bank, the top-paid baseball player, and so on.


Five Simple Ways Not to Spend Too Much on Taxes

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We hate losing money about twice as much as we like making it. Seriously. Several studies show that if you unexpectedly lose $1, you won’t be happy making just $1 back — you need $2 to reach an even keel. That’s one reason market volatility makes folks so nervous; when losses hurt more than gains help, a market that bounces around a particular level still makes people unhappy.

Here are a few ways you can ease the pain:

  1. If you’re going to own stocks, own them forever. It’s not hard. Think about a company’s product. Ask yourself if people will still use it in fifty years. If yes, and the stock is fairly cheap, buy. If no, don’t. Sure, you

Sales Tax / Consumption Tax / FairTax — A Good Idea?

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A New York Times editorial by Robert Frank suggests a higher future tax on consumption in order to pay for higher government spending now. He makes a few good points, but seems to miss the larger picture.

  • It is better to tax consumption than savings, because this encourages responsible behavior. As far as the US tax system is concerned, investing in a startup is as economically useful an activity as buying a huge amount of Fritos (the difference being that if your Fritos turn out to be more delicious than you expected, you aren’t hit with a capital gains tax).
  • It’s not a good idea to raise taxes during a recession, even if you plan for the tax increases to

More Bailout Blues: NOL

Categories: Uncategorized

The latest bailout update is that the investment banking industry may net billions of dollars thanks to an obscure tax law the treasury department is flagrantly violating. Two quick summaries:

  • TaxProf, if you’d like to know why to blame the Democrats, and
  • A Taxing matter in case you’d prefer to blame the Republicans.

Essentially, the function of this new rule is that banks that acquire other banks can shelter their own profits by applying the past losses of their acquisition target to their own profits. So if Citigroup buys out a company that just lost $1 billion, Citi can avoid paying taxes on another $1 billion in profits (assuming Citi ever makes a profit again).

There are basically two …

Does the Movie Business Deserve California’s Tax Money?

Categories: Uncategorized

California’s unusually high sales tax may get even higher thanks to a new tax plan. The weird part isn’t that California will be raising sales taxes from 7.25% to 8.75% — it’s what the planned tax increase will pay for.

The core of Arnold Schwarzenneger’s new budget plan is an increase in taxes to pay for the state’s current budget shortfall: in addition to raising the sales tax, he wants it to apply to some services. He’s also raising taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and energy.

But one industry gets a tax break: TV and movie companies could get millions from other initiatives.

It’s not surprising that the state would want to tax some industries and subsidize others, but it’s disturbing … Read more...

A Shearer in Sheep’s Clothing?

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Today’s taxosphere focused on some pretty surprising political developments. After a landslide Presidential victory and a strong showing in Congressional elections, Democrats are considering — cuts on income taxes and corporate taxes. Or are they?


The Other Big Election 2008 News

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Although most people were paying closer attention to the Presidential election, some local votes might have a bigger impact in the long run:


Sarah Palin’s Wasilla job opportunities and openings on Craigslist

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Here are some of the jobs that are featured on Craigslist as of today for Wasilla. I want to make her return to Wasilla as easy as possible, so I have gone ahead and taken a look at what jobs she could apply to and given her sample responses to each post.


1.) Wanted – Customer Service Specialist (see original)

Looking for a highly motivated (YES!) Customer Care Specialist for an established Modeling Agency. This position will be responsible for all Customer Service needs that are required from all of our clients. This job is also the main connection between the client and the customer. We need someone who can work diligently under little supervision Read more...

Should There be a Tax Credit for Voting?

Categories: Featured

Many people (the Tax Rascal included) have gotten up painfully early today to cast votes in this historic election. It’s a common argument that the voting process is flawed because voting happens on a day when most people would be working — so Democrats argue that it punishes students and blue-collar workers, while Republicans claim that it helps out welfare recipients. Both sides also argue that civic participation has value, regardless of who wins. So should we have a tax credit for voting?

The opposite idea has already been tried, and thoroughly discredited. One popular technique in the segregated South was to require a poll tax. This flat fee charged to every voter discouraged the poor — and was designed … Read more...


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