Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Tax Benefits: Where's Mine and Got Away With It

The title intro, tax benefits, is a classic example of an oxymoron. I guess it is because down deep, I'm a mournful optimist. Now that you know, let us look at the first part.
Where's Mine?
This refers to the new tax overhaul act, passed and signed by the president. When the bill was still an idea, corporations urged the president and Congress to pass it. They mentioned that it would allow them to both hire new help and pay their current workers a higher wage. Now that they have their wishes fulfilled, will they follow through on their promise?
On the first day, AT&T declared that it will give all its employees a $1,000 bonus. This only caused everyone else to ask, "Where's mine?"
Before we get into the litany of gratified corporations, let us look deeper into Ma Bell's generosity. The company has been trying to acquire Time Warner, however the government does not like the merger. It gives too much media control to one entity, the loss of jobs after the merger and rising prices for consumers. Ma Bell is doing PR-work while making positive headlines. They have a history of lying and cutting jobs.
On the same day a bank, Fifth Third Bank said it will raise wages for its employees. Now, everyone gets at least $15 dollars per hour. Wells Fargo followed suit. Of course, the tax cut will give them millions for their vaults. Banking lobbyists push for higher interest rates which also helps their bottom line.
Boeing said it is working on a plan as well as many other corporations. Sinclair Broadcast Group said a bonus is coming. NBC Universal and Comcast stated that they are reviewing a bonus for their employees. I'm glad for all those workers, but the meme of where's mine will rise with envy across the nation. It will be opposed by investors and shareholders who want higher dividends and share buybacks as they say, "Where's ours?"
The second half of the title is one that is both amazing in individual examples and it is mostly opposed by the IRS due to the unusual deductions.
Barking Dog: A condo owner sued his HOA due to a barking dog in the next unit. The suing owner declared it cost her money in her business. She got away with it because she used her condo for 50% of her business.
Free Beer: A gasoline station owner offered free beer will fill-ups. Got away with it as he said it was a business expense.
Baby Sitter: This deduction was allowed because the person was doing volunteer work and needed the sitter. The IRS said, no, but the Tax Court said, yes.
Landscaping Costs: A homeowner deducted landscaping fees due to he used his home to entertain clients. The Tax Court said it was allowable for the front door and walkway. A partial victory.
Pool Time: With a doctor's note, a homeowner stalled a new pool with all the costs as a medical expense. He won. He uses the pool to get healthy with all costs tax deductible.
Passing the Buck: A father in real estate sponsored his son's motocross racing. Tax Court said it promoted the father's business and it allowed the $160,000 deduction for his son's sport.
Flight Time: A couple received the O.K. from the Tax Court with a new plane. Couple needed it to get to their remote condo to check on tenants and condition. They were allowed to deduct fuel costs and depreciation for a portion of the plane's costs when it related to this business activity.
Cats: A junkyard owner was allowed to deduct cat food and related expenses for having cats patrol his property to eliminate rats and snakes.
Wrong Use: A small house burnt down. The owner declared a casualty loss, The Tax Court allowed the deduction even though the reason for the fire was the owner ran an illegal meth lab that caught fire. This is so wrong!
Concert Tickets: A musician deducted trips and concert tickets because he said it helped make him a better musician. He said he learned from it. Tax Court agreed.
Body Oil: Arnold are you reading this? A body builder claimed that body oil was a business expense. IRS said, no. Tax Court allowed a portion to be deducted.
Who says you can't beat the IRS?