Battle brewing between Horton and Lowe

After Rob Lowe's win last week in his tax appeal before the Board of Equalization, he and his wife are considering a suit against Board member Horton for alleged anti-Semitic comments.1

See last week's Tribune for a discussion of the Lowes' win in their tax appeal, and Horton's opinion of the win in a press release following the decision.

The Sacramento Bee reports that in response to Lowe's allegation, Horton sent an e-mail stating, "Theirs is a misrepresentation of the facts, I am a lifetime supporter of Israel and related issues, this is only about my vote against them."2

We have not seen reports of any denials or apologies from Horton, and it doesn't look like this is just going to go away. In addition to the possible lawsuit, it has been reported that Lowe is going to inform the Anti-Defamation League of Horton's alleged comments while "weighing other options to combat this virulent and unapologetic anti-Semitism in the people of California's Board of Equalization."

We will continue to follow the story and update you when developments occur. It seems like the perfect tax season soap opera.


Secretary pays price for boss's "clever idea"

While prepping for our Social Security Planning webinar, we came across the following story on the Social Security Administration website.1

The most misused Social Security number of all time was 078-05-1120. It belonged to Mrs. Hilda Schrader Whitcher, a secretary in a wallet manufacturing company. Back in 1938, the company decided to promote its product by showing how a Social Security card would fit into its wallets. Hilda's boss thought it would be a "clever idea" to use Hilda's actual Social Security number.

The wallet was sold by Woolworth stores and other department stores all over the country. Even though the card was only half the size of a real card, was printed all in red, and had the word "specimen" written across the face, over 40,000 wallet purchasers used Hilda's Social Security number as their own. (Hilda was later given a new number.) Due to her infamy from this, her co-workers even started singing, "Here comes the million-dollar baby from the five-and-ten-cent store," when she walked into the room.

As late as 1977, almost 40 years after the wallet was first sold, 12 people were still using the Social Security number "issued by Woolworth."

There was no mention as to whether Woolworth or the wallet manufacturing company filled Hilda's wallet to compensate her for the aggravation she underwent when the FBI came knocking on her door to find out why thousands of people were using her Social Security number.

Woolworth's SS card


Let's get quizziCAL

Here's a stumper for you … click below to reveal the answer.

You're thrilled because your daughter is getting married. She has chosen April 16, 2016, as her wedding date and has a list of 350 guests. You're good at multitasking, but as a tax professional, this is more than even you can handle. You're going to need a wedding coordinator. Fortunately, as well as winning Iron Chef, you won last year's Governor's Award for "Most Knowledgeable Tax Professional," so you know which wedding charges are subject to sales tax and which aren't. Only one of the following events is nontaxable. Which one is it?

  1. Cutting the wedding cake
  2. Labor charges for food servers
  3. Setup and teardown of canopy over the eating area
  4. Setup and teardown of canopy over the wedding area


When a wedding coordinator makes all the arrangements for a wedding, the charges are partly subject to sales tax and partly not. Setup and teardown of a canopy over the wedding area is a nontaxable service. (See Spidell's Analysis and Explanation of California Taxes® ¶42-510)

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Renée Rodda, J.D.Renée Rodda, J.D., when not writing, researching, and helping Spidell customers, enjoys riding her horses, Eli and Ava.

Sandy Weiner, J.D.Sandy Weiner, J.D., lives in sunny San Diego and takes full advantage of the perfect weather by pedalling on her bike and paddling on her kayak. Stay out of this iron woman's way!

Diane FullerDiane Fuller is a gourmet cook with a refined taste in all things sweet. From traditional Japanese desserts to the best bacon donut that's ever appeared in our break room, Diane knows how to satisfy her sweet tooth. She also writes children's poetry!

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