Tag Archives: Income Tax

‘Tis the Season for…Taxes? 7 Tips to Prepare for the Inevitable

It’s that time of year once again, fellow taxpayers. Time to listen to the endless drone of Christmas music, time to fret over what to give whom, time to blow fuse or two on your home’s electrical grid trying to outdo the neighbor’s light show, time to see if you will trigger the AMT this year.

Yes, the Holiday Season is upon us once again, and, as if we didn’t have enough on our plates (both literally and figuratively), the remaining 20 days of December represent the final countdown to a manmade deadline for making and executing any personal and corporate decisions which may have a direct impact upon how much tribute one wishes to voluntarily report and render to their local and federal tax farm.

What might those decisions entail? Or, more precisely, what can I do (within the confines of the income tax code, of course) to lower my 2014 income tax burden?

2014 IRS Estimated Payment form
Is the IRS on your Christmas list?

The answers to the above questions are truly personal, as tax advice, like medical advice, depends entirely upon the individual’s history, present circumstances, and future plans. Here at The Mint, we highly recommend consulting with a qualified income tax professional that can sit down and give one a proper assessment of their situation and help them plan now in order to take the proper steps to help minimize their current and future tax burden.

Here are 7 tips to help you and your tax professional prepare your 2014 income tax return and, more importantly, estimate your tax liability while you are still in 2014 and can theoretically do something about it:

  1. Gather state and federal returns from the prior two years: This will give your tax professional a baseline, if you will, of your income tax situation and let them know, often at a glance, what steps can be taken to help minimize your liability.
  2. Think about any life changes you have had in 2014: Did you get married? Have a baby? Send a child off to college? Sell or refinance a home? Relocate for work? All of these actions, and many more, may have an impact on your tax bill.
  3. Gather documentation to support income and deductions: This may seem basic, but why not prepare for a potential IRS audit before it happens? Maintain any W-2s, 1099s, Investment account statements, and documentation related to deductions such as charitable donations, mortgage interest statements, and child care expenses and keep them in a file along with the corresponding tax returns. Viola! Should the IRS call you, you at least have something to back up your numbers.
  4. Know the basis of your stocks: If you own corporate or mutual fund shares, a very important data point in terms of tax preparation is how much was paid for it. As many people hold shares for relatively long time horizons, it is best to keep a running file that is updated with each purchase. Your broker should be able to get this information for you if you have not kept track of this to date.
  5. Measure your home office: The home office deduction is taboo in some circles as it is seen as a red flag for audits. However, if you legitimately have a home office, you could be leaving a decent amount of money on the table if you do not take it.
  6. Contribute to qualified retirement accounts: If you have extra money and sense that you may be staring a tax liability in the face, consider funding an IRA or contributing more to a 401(k) plan before year-end.
  7. Consult a trusted tax professional: As we stated before, everybody’s situation is unique when it comes to income taxes. While everyone has to file income taxes, we each have our own, unique financial fingerprint. A trusted tax professional can help you not only catch missed deductions now, they can help you to plan for future events that, if not properly planned for, could trigger large income tax liabilities.

In the midst of overeating, overspending, and generating outrageous electric bills in the name of the Holidays be sure to take a moment to consult a trusted tax professional. Who knows? Making a few of the right moves now may just pay for some of those Holiday bills come April.

The FED draws on its RRP Revolvers; Inflation solves the National Budget crisis and crushes the poor

11/8/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than output” – Milton Friedman

Today we came across evidence that the massive amounts of money created out of thin air may no longer be benignly parked at the Federal Reserve.  From Lee Adler at the wallstreetexaminer.com:

“The Fed was hit with withdrawals of $83.3 billion last Wednesday, the largest withdrawals from its deposit accounts that were not associated with quarterly tax payments since February of 2009…The Fed was apparently forced to take extraordinary measures to fund these withdrawals. These included the outright sale of nearly $24 billion in its Treasury note and bond holdings from the System Open Market Account. As a result, the Fed’s System Open Market Account (SOMA) fell to $2.611 trillion, some $43 billion below the Fed’s stated target of $2.654 trillion.”

Mr. Adler goes on to state that in order to meet these withdrawls, the FED had to borrow $43 billion from foreign central banks through “Reverse Repurchase Agreements (RRPs)”.  In a sense, the FED had to make the equivalent of a good old fashioned margin call that foreign central banks had to scramble to make good on.

Could this be the reason that Italian Bonds yields are surging and the ECB cut rates unexpectedly last week?

Could this be the reason that the BoJ had to expand its Yen debasement program to the tune of 5 trillion yen?

Ever since the FED opened swap lines with foreign central banks, it has generally been the FED lending money to the foreign banks to assure liquidity.  In this unexpected turn, the FED had to call in some of those loans to meet its own liquidity needs.

The FED is forced to draw on its RRP Revolvers

Could this be the first of what history will call a “Central Bank Run”?  Only time will tell, but we would expect the FED to announce another, large scale dose of QE (Quantitative Easing) of its own in the next few weeks in an attempt to meet a similar event with fresh cash instead of a disruptive firing of its RRP revolvers.

In a way, this is the moment that the FED and all of the taxing authorities on the planet have been waiting for.  Inflation is a government’s best friend.  It allows the wealth destruction that these defense and welfare agencies engage in to continue while socializing the costs in a manner that is imperceptible to the untrained eye.

Even the Deficit Super Committee is onto this fact.  They are now discussing the use of the “Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI)” in place of the current CPI calculation for everything from Social Security COLAs to tax brackets to welfare qualification thresholds.  From AP:

“Just as 55 million Social Security recipients are about to get their first benefit increase in three years, Congress is looking at reducing future raises by adopting a new measure of inflation that also would increase taxes for most families –(with) the biggest impact falling on those with low incomes.

If adopted across the government, the inflation measure would have widespread ramifications. Future increases in veterans’ benefits and pensions for federal workers and military personnel would be smaller. And over time, fewer people would qualify for Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunch programs and home heating assistance than under the current measure.

Taxes would go up by $60 billion over the next decade because annual adjustments to the tax brackets would be smaller, resulting in more people jumping into higher tax brackets because their wages rose faster than the new inflation measure. Annual increases in the standard deduction and personal exemptions would become smaller.”

Do you see how it works, fellow taxpayer?  Inflation, combined with statistical shenanigans intended to mask it, is the magic pill for broken government finances.  It is no secret that the Government’s finances are a disaster, which is why we expect to inflation in generous doses.

How exactly does “Chained CPI” differ from the current CPI calculation?  The article goes on to explain:

“Many economists argue that the chained CPI is more accurate because it assumes that as prices increase, consumers switch to lower cost alternatives, reducing the amount of inflation they experience.

For example, if the price of beef increases while the price of pork does not, people will buy more pork. Or, as opponents mockingly argue, if the price of home heating oil goes up, people will turn down their heat and wear more sweaters.”

Are you laughing yet?  Perhaps crying?  Now listen to how the Government justifies it:

“A report by the Moment of Truth Project, a group formed to promote the deficit reduction package produced by President Barack Obama’s deficit commission late last year, supports a new inflation measure. “Rather than serving to raise taxes and cut benefits, switching to the chained CPI would simply be fulfilling the mission of properly adjusting for cost of living,” it argues.”

If you are not yet laughing, crying, or laughing to avoid crying, allow us to assist you.  What they are trying to say is that in the parallel universe in which the Government operates, the need to substitute more expensive goods for cheaper ones does not constitute a real loss of the purchasing power of the currency with which those goods are purchased.

After all, you can always put on a sweater, right?

Where the Government’s logic, and ultimately society, begins to break down is at the point when all prices, beef, pork, heating oil, and sweaters begin to rise astronomically in tandem with each other.  At that point, it becomes painfully obvious that the problem lies in the currency, not with the producers. 

Unfortunately, at that point, the Government will have long since vilified and persecuted speculators and producers for alleged price gouging to the point that the productive part of society, those who grow food and produce raw materials, will have completely ceased to produce and/or fled the country.  The subsequent lack of production will result in an increasingly scarce stock of real goods being quickly priced and re-priced in a currency which is produced at an incredible surplus.

In layman’s terms, these events will be summed up in the phrase “hyperinflation.”

If the FED has to draw once again on its RRP revolvers, it will be clear that the benign growth in the M2 money supply will have become malignant, and that hyperinflation will soon be in full bloom.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for November 8, 2011

Copper Price per Lb: $3.54
Oil Price per Barrel:  $96.44

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.63  
10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  2.01%


Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,737 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  2.00%
Unemployment Rate:  9.0%
Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%
Dow Jones Industrial Average:  12,040  

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,122,700,000,000 RED ALERT!!!  THE ANIMALS ARE LEAVING THE ZOO!!!

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,507,600,000,000 YIKES UP $1 Trillion in one year!!!!!!!