Our Twelve Days of Christmas

Every year, PNC Bank publishes their “Christmas Wealth Index” to track the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas. For 2015, it’s a hefty $155,407.18. (And you thought your holiday spending was out of control!)

The index may not be completely accurate — for example, the ten lords-a-leaping are valued using the cost of male ballet dancers, rather than actual lords, and the eight maids-a-milking don’t come with eight actual cows. But still, it got us to thinking… what sort of taxes are we looking at on the whole affair? Read more…

This Letter Sold a $3,800 Tax Plan

A couple of weeks ago, a longtime TaxCoach member and friend came to me with a challenge. He’s a financial advisor in northern New Jersey who realizes that tax planning is the fastest way to a new client’s heart, so he opened up a tax practice and became an enrolled agent. Could I help him with a new prospective client?

The prospects are a married couple with a portfolio of rental properties throwing off significant passive losses. But his W2 income was too high to take advantage of the rental real estate loss allowance. Did I have any ideas to help them save taxes? Could I help sell a plan? Read more…

Here’s How to “Do It”

December 15, 2015 is a big day. Yes, at that point there are just 9 more shopping days until Christmas. And yes, more important, there are just 16 more tax-planning days until December 31. But December 15 also marks the hundredth birthday of a skinny kid from Hoboken who grew up to became the greatest pop singer the world has ever known. I’m talking, of course, about Frank Sinatra. (Fellow Jersey native Bruce Springsteen may be “the Boss” – but Sinatra is the “Chairman of the Board!”)

I had the good fortune to see Ol’ Blue Eyes perform live in 1990, just as I was starting my third year of law school. He was slowing down by then. He ran through a short set of 15 of his greatest hits: You Make Me Feel So Young, Luck Be A Lady, Mack the Knife, and finishing with New York, New York. He seemed to have trouble with some of the lyrics. But it was still a very special event, and I knew that someday I would be fortunate to say I had seen him live. (Looks like today is my day!) Read more…