Tax Rascal

Is a Post-Madoff Stimulus Really More Madoff?

Categories: Uncategorized

When Bernie Madoff made every scammer in history look like an amateur with his $50 billion haul, I’m not sure how many people wondered what positive effects he might have had.

But think about the argument for a stimulus program: let’s say we give Taxpayer A $1,000 right now, and saddle him with another $1,500 in higher taxes down the road. The $1,000 makes him feel richer, so he spends it — the $1,500 is a problem, but not just yet (and it’s a problem for a more robust, post-stimulus economy). The stimulus even works if it’s a different taxpayer: if taxpayer A gets the check and taxpayer B pays the consequences, B doesn’t spend less until the bill … Read more...

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

Debates, Bailouts, Tax Evasion, and Other Taxosphere Tidbits

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The taxosphere is abuzz with news as the bailout continues to be debated and revised. Meanwhile, day-to-day tax issues still dominate the discussion.


The Swiss Banker, the Real Estate Billionaire, and the Smuggled Diamonds

Categories: Featured

Tax evasion is usually less exciting than it might sound. Often, it just amounts to shuffling some papers to create fake losses or shift profits — or, more often, ‘forgetting’ to do the paperwork that might cause a taxable gain.

Not so with the case of Igor Olenicoff and Brad Birkenfeld. Everyone in this deal tells a different story (one thing every version has in common is that the narrator is innocent), but it looks like it went something like this:

Birkenfeld was a middling banker at a very well-reputed bank, with exactly one great client. Igor Olenicoff was a billionaire with office space and apartments in Vegas, Arizona and Florida — he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the performance … Read more...


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