Spidell's Tax Season Tribune: Farewell until 2018!

Well, this is it: the final issue of Spidell's 2017 Tax Season Tribune. Hopefully, we have provided you with some levity over the last few months. As one subscriber put it during the Tribune's first year: "I love Tax Season Tribune. It's up with TMZ as my favorite tax season diversions."

As a special thank you to loyal readers of the Tribune, we would like to offer you a coupon for $10 off your next Spidell purchase! Choose from a seminar, self-study, publication, or research tool ... it can be yours at a $10 savings! Visit www.caltax.com and use coupon code TRIBUNE17.

You're in the home stretch. We'll see you on the other side with more analysis, seminars, and breaking tax news.

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Book review: Berkeley police detective solves murder of nasty IRS agent

Now that tax season is over, have some giggles and read Death and Taxes by Susan Dunlap. I listened to the book on my iPhone while driving around the Bay Area teaching seminars last fall.

A detective investigates the murder of an IRS agent who was killed by sitting on a hypodermic needle filled with a lethal ingredient, which had been placed into the seat of his bike.

Along with interviewing taxpayers who had been terrorized by the IRS worker, the detective must deal with a boyfriend who had his own ingenious way of deducting almost 100% of the cost of his charity dinners.

According to the boyfriend, "If the IRS believed in blessings, they'd tax them, too."

Great literature: No. Fun: Absolutely!


All we are saying is give Peeps a chance

In keeping with the Tax Season Tribune's rich history of reporting on Peep culture, we would be remiss if we didn't share the latest Peep development: Peepza.1 Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. Just when you thought pineapple was the most controversial pizza topping, Peeps are showing up on pizzas and further dividing our nation.

So next time you're grabbing some pizzas to revive staff toiling into the night, go for a Peepza!

In the meantime, here are some fun Peep facts:2

  1. Until some very recent technological advances, Peeps were hatched onto the assembly line by a top-secret machine known as The Depositor.
  2. The eyes are made out of carnauba, which is a nontoxic edible wax. (I always thought they were chocolate ...)
  3. There is a website dedicated to serious Peep research conducted by two scientists at Emory University, who are interested in this new species: "There's no evidence of Peeps in the fossil records; you never see, like, cave drawings of Peeps."3
  4. A contest going on now in Maryland features as one of its entries a life-sized version of Beauty and the Beast's Belle made out of Peeps.4

1 www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/im-enraged-by-peeps-on-pizza-and-you-should-be-too_us_58e3b45ee4b0d0b7e164da23
2 http://mentalfloss.com/article/56283/20-delicious-facts-about-peeps
3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_George
4 www.gogophotocontest.com/peepshow2017

What's left in a Lyft: Ridesharing treasure?

In the gig economy's ongoing saga of employee versus independent contractor, ride-sharing company Lyft recently reached a settlement to pay $27 million to around 95,000 California drivers.1 Settlements like this aren't doing anything to resolve the worker classification issue, though, and people are starting to talk about the need for a third category of worker that would more adequately reflect what it means to be a gig worker in today's economy.2

And while Uber and Lyft drivers are trying to figure out their employment classification, they're also apparently saddled with the task of dealing with the random items that people leave behind in their vehicles. Here are some of the weirdest things Uber drivers reported finding in the backseat:3

  • Cape
  • Engagement ring
  • Harry Potter glasses
  • Paintings
  • Violin
  • Wedding outfit
  • Smoke machine
  • Dog sweater
  • Bulletproof vest
  • Kite
  • Taser

Does this fall under the definition of treasure trove?4

1 www.fisherphillips.com/gig-employer/misclassification-settlement-fails-to-lyft-sharing
2 www.fisherphillips.com/gig-employer/the-future-rise-of-the-contributor
3 www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/weird-things-left-in-uber_us_58de0c19e4b08194e3b8e46a
4 Treas. Regs. §1.61-14(a)

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Lynn Freer, EALynn Freer, EA, is a French literature major, so of course her favorite vacation destination is France. Here she is dining on mussels and fish stew near Nice.

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, is not only director of the editorial department, she also "rocks the house" as a regular in curling bonspiels around the country. She also enjoys foreign and avant-garde film, baking, and the Investigation Discovery channel.

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