Toilet paper is the new math

Sheet dimension. Ply. Softness. Buying toilet paper is already laden with decisions, and now math has been thrown into the mix. The multipacks available at warehouse clubs boast equivalents like "4 Mega Plus rolls = 18 regular rolls." But how does that reconcile with "16 Double Plus rolls = 36 regular rolls"? This is beginning to sound like Winston Smith trying to buy toilet paper at Costco. Doubleplusungood.

Next time you're buying multipacks of larger-than-normal rolls, here is a conversion list to assist you:

  • 1 Double Plus roll = 2.27 regular rolls
  • 1 Mega roll = 4 regular rolls
  • 1 Mega Plus roll = 4.50 regular rolls
  • 1 Ultra roll = 4.56 regular rolls (what's the point, since we already have Mega and Mega Plus?)
  • 1 Super Mega roll = 6.00 regular rolls (does this even fit on the dispenser??)

Here are some of the choices you have:

How (not?) to avoid capital gains tax on collectible coins

A Florida man has confessed to stealing rare coins worth thousands of dollars, which he then redeemed at Coin Star machines at local grocery stores for just their face value.1

Michael Johnson inherited more than 100,000 coins from his father, and most of that collection was stolen last fall by Shane Mele, a man Johnson let stay at his office while helping him with a work project. Mele ransacked Johnson's office and broke a lock on the cabinet where the coins were stored. He then sold some coins to a jeweler (no paperwork, or paper trail, required) for $2,330 and then went off to the Coin Star machines.

Mele, who still had some of the stolen coins in his possession when he was arrested, was charged with grand theft of more than $100,000.

Among the rare coins Johnson said are missing are 33 presidential coins with a value of $1,000 each. But Coin Star's processing fees can be as high as 11.9%, making the face-value redemption worth less than $30.

"Florida Man"

I didn't set out to do this, but all of the Tribune articles I've written so far this year are on crimes in Florida. As it turns out, crazy crime stories are increasingly common in the Sunshine State — in fact, there's now a website detailing them.

An Analysis of the Florida Man is complete with a top-10 list, graphs, charts, and more. If there's a better source of comic relief to get you through the end of tax season, we haven't found it.


How do you lessen the pain?

Last week, Lynn wrote about plying clients with candy and beer to lessen the pain of their tax interview. Tribune reader Paula G. responded, saying:

We do three things around here to lessen the pain:

  1. We have a big bowl of chocolate on the reception stations.
  2. Freddy, my five year old Rottweiler service dog, is available for petting and tail wagging.
  3. Barney, my three year old Rottweiler goofball, still an oversized puppy, is available for face licks and butt wiggling because he doesn't have a tail.

Our clients love them all!

Tax Tip: IRC §199A and trust returns

We continue to have questions pop up on our Message Board about trust returns, IRC §199A, and the safe harbor. Trusts and estates are eligible for the IRC §199A deduction. They must apply the same taxable income phaseout threshold as unmarried individuals ($157,500 in 2018).

To the extent an estate or trust distributes income to beneficiaries, QBI, W-2 wages, and UBIA are reported to each beneficiary based on each beneficiary's proportionate share of DNI.

When dealing with rental properties, the 250-hour safe harbor applies to estates and trusts in the same manner as partnerships and S corporations. The executor/trustee determines whether an activity is a trade or business at the trust level and must report the relevant information on each beneficiary's K-1.

Don't miss Spidell's 2019 Post-Tax Season Update and Review this May — available in live seminar or webinar.

A few fun facts about this week's writers:

Kathryn Zdan, EAKathryn Zdan, EA, is living in the past, still using an old film camera and writing real letters to friends. She loves classic, foreign, and horror films, and has watched Frasier in its entirety at least five times. Sherry, Niles?

Austin LewisAustin Lewis does more editing than writing for Spidell, so it's not often that you see his name in print. But he traveled to Texas last year and found his name all over town.

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.

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