“Step Away From That Soda, Sir…”

Last year, the Philadelphia City Council slapped a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on soda and artificially-sweetened drinks. The new tax, which became effective on January 1, sounds like something intended to fight obesity, diabetes, and other public health threats. Council actually designed it to finance universal pre-kindergarten for Philadelphia schoolchildren and pay for local development projects. […]

Tax Apprentice

Back in 2004, Donald Trump was just another overextended real-estate developer with two divorces and four bankruptcies under his belt. That all changed with the debut of The Apprentice, the show that made “you’re fired!” a national catchphrase. It’s safe to say that without the popularity of The Apprentice, Trump wouldn’t have just taken the […]

Politicians Behaving Badly

Politicians Behaving Badly (Hard to believe, right?) Last week, we presented three stories from the IRS Criminal Investigation unit’s most recent annual report outlining their work to protect the Treasury’s revenue from grifters, cheats, and cons. It’s a “true crime” fan’s favorite IRS report that puts TV cop dramas to shame. Most public servants are […]


The IRS publishes hundreds of reports every year, covering all sorts of topics. You’ll find routine statistical summaries, like the always-popular “Number of Individual Income Tax Returns, Income, Exemptions and Deductions, Tax, and Average Tax.” You’ll find page-turners worthy of a Tom Clancy thriller, like last summer’s “Actions Can Be Taken to Better Address Potential […]

Tax Thoughts for the New Year

2017 is likely to be a big year for taxes. House Speaker Paul Ryan and President-elect Donald Trump haven’t been shy about their New Year’s resolutions to rewrite the tax code, and we could be in for quite a ride. So here are some thoughts to start exercising your 2017 tax-planning muscles: “If you get […]

Creepy Little Elf Has Nothing on the IRS

If you have kids and you celebrate Christmas, you’re probably familiar with the Elf on the Shelf — a storybook and accompanying doll that help encourage your little darlings to behave themselves before the holidays. The book tells wide-eyed children how Santa marshals an army of scout elves to sneak into their houses before Christmas, […]

Christmas Tax Breaks for Christmas Trees

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and how jolly could we be without Christmas trees on display? For some of us it’s the classic Pinus Sylvestris, or scotch pine. For others it’s the soft-needled Abies fraserie, or Fraser fir. Still more make do with the store-bought plasticus annualensis, or “Target special.” (Artificial trees can be […]


December is a busy month for holidays, what with Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all crowding calendars. But there’s a lesser-known holiday that falls on December 16th that we don’t want you to miss. It’s not Ugly Christmas Sweater Day or Free Shipping Day (although those are both fun, too). We’re talking, of course, about the obvious […]

400 Cigar-Chomping Fat Cats Aren’t Enough Anymore

Author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who brought us the Great Gatsby among other well-heeled characters, once said the rich are very different from you and me. To which Fitzgerald’s jazz age compatriot Ernest Hemingway sarcastically retorted, “Yes, they have more money.” But how much more money do they really have? Nosey parkers want to know! Every […]

Over the River and Through the Woods

Thanksgiving is a time for homecoming, and some of us are fortunate to return to a place where we’ve spent decades of holidays. Who wouldn’t relish celebrating in a cozy farmhouse out of a Norman Rockwell print, with an overstuffed chair in front of a crackling fire and a warm kitchen smelling of pumpkin pie? […]