Tax Season Tribune

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Did I just find the ultimate loophole?

By Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Federal Tax Editor

I keep a four-panel cartoon pinned in my office with Snoopy sitting atop his doghouse at his typewriter telling the IRS that he’d like to cancel his subscription and to please remove his name from their mailing list.

While funny, merely asking to be removed from the IRS’s mailing list won’t work to get the IRS off your back. But, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration,1 77,868 living taxpayers found the ultimate loophole: They found their way onto the IRS’s list of dead people. Well, that’s one way to get the IRS off your back.

This year, I’m celebrating the 25th anniversary of my first tax season in this industry. After 25 years, if I manage to find my way onto the IRS’s dead people list, I might just quietly retire to a log cabin on a trout stream as far away from a cell tower as I can get. If that proves too cold for this Southern California native, then a deserted tropical island is my fallback plan.

I wonder if helping clients “accidentally” get on the IRS’s dead list could be a new revenue stream for my practice. It can’t be too much different than advising clients on how to become California nonresidents, right?

crypto coin

Follow-up on cannabis auction: If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try again

Diane Fuller

Contributing Editor

In case you couldn’t make it to the CDTFA’s first public auction featuring property seized during cannabis enforcement actions  (see “Make sure to set a repeated reminder about this upcoming event” in the February 11, 2024, issue of Tribune), here’s an update.

The good news for the CDTFA is that everything was sold – success! This included items like televisions, money-counting machines, paper shredders, and a snow cone machine.  All proceeds will be applied to the $14.4+ million in unpaid taxes from 10 Los Angeles-based cannabis operations.

The bad news is that the auction yielded a stupefying $2,075 (there are no missing digits between the dollar sign and the 2). What?! That means each of the cannabis operations gets a credit of only about $200.

Overall result: $14.4+ million in unpaid taxes.


Guinness World Records waffles on Eiffel Tower model

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Editorial Director

In a dramatic reversal, Guinness World Records has updated its policy regarding matchsticks, which resulted in a new record-holder in the category “tallest matchstick sculpture.”1

The policy change came after Richard Plaud unveiled his 23.5-foot tall 1:45 scale model of the Eiffel Tower, which was built using over 700,000 matchsticks and validated by a surveying firm. Unfortunately, Guinness rejected the model when it discovered that Plaud had not used standard matchsticks like the ones purchased in a store. Instead, Plaud had contracted directly with a matchstick company to purchase matchsticks in bulk … without the flammable tip. Because his matchsticks didn’t contain the usual sulfur blob, they were ruled to be too different, and the model was disqualified.

However, days later, Guinness announced that it had “corrected some inconsistencies within our rules which now allow the matchsticks to be snipped and shaped as the modeller sees fit.”

Plaud’s Eiffel Tower was awarded the new record, ousting Toufic Daher of Lebanon, whose 6-million-match scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in Beirut stands around 21.4 feet.

Bad tax joke of the week

Do you know why Sherlock Holmes never had to pay income taxes? Brilliant deductions!

Your tax jokes are better than ours, so please keep them coming! Reply to this e-mail to send us your favorites and we’ll include them in a future Tribune issue.

A few fun facts about this week’s writers:

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M.

Mike Giangrande, J.D., LL.M., is an Orange County native, and you can find him around his backyard smoker, working in his garage, or sipping lemonade at either a baseball or soccer game for this three children.

Diane Fuller

Diane Fuller loves to read, cook, and go to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho, as many times as possible during the year with her family including grandkids and dogs.

Kathryn Zdan, EA

Kathryn Zdan, EA, spends her non-Spidell hours on photography and watching horror films (and then sleeping with the light on). She also enjoys hiking, biking, and watching foreign films.

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