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Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Tuesday, September 25, 2001
Clinton Crony Still Running IRS

It's been well documented and widely discussed as to the extent that the Clinton gang used the IRS to attack anyone who was critical of them. This was a very real abuse of power, with which I have had very personal experience.

While many of us were able to breathe a sigh of relief on January 20 that things would be changing for the better, that isn't the case. For various reasons, Bush 43 allowed many of the Clinton appointed agency heads to remain in place. One of these is IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti. He allowed his agency to be used as a political weapon and has shown other lapses of ethical standards that, while very mild in comparison to the multitude of crimes committed by the Clintons, are not up to the standards we expect of the Bush family.

There is a good recap of this situation in this article from Insight Magazine.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Sunday, September 16, 2001
IRS Allowing More Time

Some tax returns and estimated tax payments are due on Monday, September 17 because the 15th was a Saturday. Because of the disruption caused by the terrorist attacks, IRS has graciously extended that deadline to Monday, September 24. You can read the full text of the IRS announcement here.

Sunday, September 09, 2001
Is Bush Serious About Reducing Capital Gains Taxes?

While he claims to want to reduce the tax on capital gains, how he approaches this will show whether he is serious or not. If he asks Congress to cut the rate, he is no more sincere on this issue than his father was. We have a case of deja vu here. Bush-43 has the exact same opportunity that his father refused to accept; to cut capital gains taxes all by himself by just redefining the term "cost basis" to allow the cost of assets to be adjusted for inflation when reporting their sale. I have a much more detailed discussion on my website.

Sunday, September 02, 2001
Debit Cards Are Dangerous

Several years ago, when banks started pushing debit cards as more convenient alternatives to credit cards, I wrote about how uncomfortable the idea of having money taken directly out of my bank account made me feel. It seemed like a recipe for disaster. Even now, I cringe when I see or hear another of the endless commercials where some poor schmuck, such as Viagra pitchman Bob Dole, is forced to prove his identity in order to use a credit card, yet no identification is required to use a debit card. How this sounds appealing to anyone is beyond my capability to comprehend. I like the fact that someone using my credit card has to prove his/her identity. How convenient is it knowing that anyone who happens to get my debit card or its numbers can clean out my bank account without anyone challenging him/her?

I have also always appreciated the buffer zone credit cards provide against bogus charges. If I find an erroneous charge on my monthly credit card statement (which I do often find), I have plenty of time to contact the credit card company to dispute it and have it removed before it actually costs us any real money. We have had very good service from the credit card companies with this kind of thing.

On the other hand, if a crook uses my debit card, there will be very real money taken out of my account immediately and the chances of ever getting reimbursed for it are slim to none. Just as with dealing with IRS, one is in a much more powerful bargaining position before paying a bill. Once the money has been received, IRS and the banks become much less willing to negotiate. This story from FoxNews today proves that my fears about debit cards were valid and are causing great expense to those people who fell for the banks' sales pitch.


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