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Jemel Smith

Where Angels Fear to Tread

Summary: Law professor Daniel Hemel writes that “if the facts alleged in yesterday’s indictment are true, the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, have engaged in blatant tax evasion for more than a decade.” Trump says there was no intent to break the law. This is actually his more promising argument.   …

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Pure Imagination

Summary: Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory features Gene Wilder as the genius confectioner. Sadly, Wonka’s genius doesn’t translate to tax planning. If Wonka gives the factory to Charlie, there’s gift tax due now — but he avoids transfer tax on future appreciation. If he bequeaths it, there’s an estate tax payable. At this point, you may be wondering …

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Liquid Assets

Summary: The U.S. Superyacht Association says that a 180-foot yacht costs about $4.75 million/year to operate, including $1.4 million for crew salaries, $1 million for maintenance and repairs, $400,000 for fuel, $350,000 for dockage, and $240,000 for insurance. But yacht owners have always enjoyed a few tax breaks to help subsidize their expensive hobby.   …

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And Baby Makes Five

Summary: The USDA estimates that the average “affluent” family spends $372,210 to raise a child from birth to age 17. That’s before college, grad school, and maybe a wedding. While our tax code offers up a few specific goodies for parents, they don’t add up to $372,210. But let’s take a look at how our tax code does …

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Free Advice

Summary: What happens when co-conspirators get greedy for their share of a score? It doesn’t end well. There’s gotta be a moral here. Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas? Keep your friends close and enemies closer? We do have one bit of advice. If your current accountant assists you in defrauding the government by …

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Something to Celebrate?

Summary: Today’s move towards taxing recreational marijuana represents a profound cultural shift. Forty years ago, former First Lady Nancy Reagan told schoolchildren to “just say no” to drugs. But drugs refused to take “no” for an answer, so here we are. Thirty-six states have authorized medical marijuana, and one out of three Americans can legally …

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Penny for your thought

Summary: We don’t care how you pay your taxes; we just want to help you pay less! Whether it’s pocket-change or Bitcoin, there are many ways to settle the score with the IRS. Just don’t do it with a wheelbarrow full of pennies covered in motor oil. In 2017, country singer Luke Bryan scored a …

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Laboratories of Democracy

Summary: Administering a wealth tax would be easier said than done. How do you value assets like cryptocurrency that fluctuate like a fat man’s EKG? What about illiquid assets like real estate, closely-held businesses, and art? How do you value your yacht, your wine cellar, and your Swiss watches? A wealth tax poses fairness problems, too.   …

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