Some bits and pieces from here and there:

  • In , you can attend an on-line “google hangout” on the subject of “War Resistance: Beyond the Rally,” sponsored by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, the Center on Conscience and War, and the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.
  • Boris Yakubchik, an activist in the “effective altruism” movement has published some of his recommendations on frugal living — things he puts into practice so that he’ll have more money to be able to give away to good causes.
  • In the U.S., a person who pays alimony can take it as a tax deduction; a person who receives alimony must declare it as income; and to take the deduction, the payer must include the taxpayer identification number of the recipient on their tax return. You’d think this would make it easy for the IRS to make sure that the numbers match up, and that people aren’t taking phony deductions for fictitious alimony, or failing to report alimony received as income. But according to a new TIGTA report, fully 47% of the alimony deductions do not have corresponding alimony income shown on the recipients return — amounting to “more than $2.3 billion in deductions claimed without corresponding income reported” Peter J. Reilly dug a little deeper and found that the IRS only bothered to audit 4% of the pairs of returns showing discrepancies — that is to say, “you and your ex collectively have a 96% chance of getting away with something that is in your face blatantly wrong even though you are, in effect, ratting yourselves out.” He calls this “a scandal of epic proportions” and suggests that it’s going to encourage divorcing couples and tax advisors to game the system.
  • How can the current U.S. tax system cope with bitcoins and other aspects of the emerging virtual economy? That’s the subject of a new paper: A Whole New World: Income Tax Considerations of the Bitcoin Economy. Excerpt:

    Because these bitcoins can, in some circumstances, be used to purchase goods or services with a monetary value or where they can be converted to legal tender, the proper income tax treatment of bitcoin transactions presents both compliance and substantive questions for the IRS. …This article explores the current state of the law as it relates to bitcoins as well as proposed methods for applying existing federal income tax laws to the virtual economy.

  • Hey, look: another IRS building temporarily evacuated when a worker opens a package containing a suspicious substance.
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