Action Tax Service

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

August 2, 2012 // 0 Comments

What is ‘Obamacare’? Last Saturday, I saw a clear example of what causes road rage. I’m not condoning it, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an accident occur because of it. After having played two slow-pitch ball games Saturday morning in Kentwood, I was limping my way home on the expressway. Mentally, I was limping because we lost both ends of the double-header, and physically limping because of a slightly damaged Achilles tendon injury that I have been nursing for a while. When I hit 44th St., the traffic started backing up because of construction between Hall and Wealthy streets. There were visible signs that the left two lanes were closed, so most drivers were using the common courtesy approach and began pulling over into the right hand lane. Some drivers, however, ignored the lane closing signs to the bitter end. Displaying a complete lack of common courtesy, they went speeding by the multitude of cars in the right hand lane. There is no excuse for that action and I believe it may even be illegal. Believe me, it didn’t go unnoticed by those sitting. Once in a while, one of the larger vehicles did pull out into the left lane to slow the passing traffic down. I thought about that, but I was in a Sebring Convertible. Since the Sebring doesn’t have much of a profile and I might have ended up getting squashed, I just sat in the right lane and waited my honest turn. I did have the top down so, in addition to seeing the hand signals, I also heard some expletives hurled at the passing cars. In all honesty, from time to time in the past, I have been caught out in that left lane with construction coming up and did pass some sitting cars. However, as soon as I figure out what is going on, I make my way into the proper lane. Many of those people on Saturday were not making any type of effort to move over. They were making an honest effort, executed at high speed, to pass as many cars as they could before the lanes got cut off. That’s wrong. Perhaps the Secretary of State could put that ethical question on the […]

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

A nonpartisan solution I recently attended a conference for Money Concepts, the broker dealer firm that I am associated with for the financial planning portion of my business. One of the speakers was Dan Greenwell, a very successful and longtime associate in the Money Concepts system from Money Concept’s Kentucky Bluegrass Region. Dan titled his talk “What’s Next?” It centered on what we need to do to succeed in the future not only in the financial planning business but also in life in general. The first portion of the speech involved Dan’s advice that we must be prepared to embrace change. He also gave his recommendations on the actions to take to benefit from those changes. The second portion of the speech was a little more emotional. Dan gave us the four life principles that he learned from his father. His father was a successful businessman who died of a heart attack at age 63. He ran his business, the largest tire dealership in the five-state Kentucky area, and also his life, using the following four principles as his guide. These four were the principal reasons for his success. First, always do what is best for the client. Ultimately, what is best for the client will be best for you. Second, always tell the truth. It’s the only way you won’t forget what you told to someone in the first place. Truer words were never spoken. Third, if you borrow money, pay it back. Dave Ramsey would have loved Dan’s dad. Fourth, integrity is the only thing you take with you to the grave. Your money stays here. Your cars, your business, your house, your boat, your motorcycle, your friends, and your relatives all stay. Your reputation and your integrity, however, do live on in the sense of how people remember your life and time spent here. Those won’t help you either as you approach the pearly gates for that day of reckoning. However, on this earth, I believe one of the finest tributes that can be given to someone is to say he or she is and was a person of integrity. I didn’t know Dan’s dad, but I do know Dan, and he has the type of reputation that we all hope to […]

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

July 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

Affordable Care Act, Social Security In a 5-4 split decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was constitutional. The Court ruled that Congress has the power and authority to create and pass a law that taxes people for not complying with the law. In this case, if a person doesn’t sign up for health insurance, there will be a penalty in the form of a tax to be paid as part of the person’s tax return for failing to comply. Interesting concept: tax for noncompliance. That concept all by itself might keep Action Tax Service going well into the foreseeable future. Now that even the Supreme Court agrees that Congress can use the tax return to get us to do something, the possibilities are absolutely endless. Of course, if Congress gets too carried away with this tax for noncompliance, they will still have to answer to us, their ultimate bosses. For example, it might be hard to vote for an incumbent who votes to pass a law that would tax anyone who doesn’t take their one-a-day vitamin or who doesn’t walk 500 steps per day or who drives a car more than 100 miles a day unless 80 of those miles are driven in a hybrid. Like I said, the possibilities are endless. I was hoping to retire sometime in the next 20 or 30 years, but now, with this development, I’m not sure I will make it. Just think of all of those people who will need help on their tax returns to calculate those noncompliance taxes. Americans are an independent lot and a certain number of people will go right just because most everyone else is going left and especially so if someone at the head of the line is demanding that everyone go left. The defenders of the law, the administration, had hoped that the law would be upheld as a manner of regulating commerce under the Commerce Clause. The tax argument was more or less an add-on argument. I believe the theory is to throw as many things at the wall as possible and perhaps one of them will stick. It worked. The Supreme Court ruled against the Commerce Clause argument and said that Congress […]

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Myths involving Social Security Last week, two significant developments occurred that affect Rockford residents. First, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Preliminary Assessment Recommendation for the Wolverine Worldwide former tannery site downtown. The report concluded that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and Wolverine Worldwide (WWW) can work together on “further site investigation and remediation activities.” The EPA will receive a report at least twice a year detailing the MDEQ and WWW activities. While the site does not warrant being named a Super Fund site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act at this time, it does warrant further investigation and testing and will be designated as an “Other Cleanup Activity” site. The EPA found that WWW has shown good faith during this entire process and will develop plans in the future with the input and approval of the MDEQ. This is great news for WWW, the City of Rockford, and the residents of the surrounding areas who visit downtown Rockford and enjoy the Rogue River. Stand by for what happens next. That has not been defined as yet, but it has to be better than the site being named a Super Fund site. “Other Cleanup Activity” has a more settling sound to it than Super Fund. The second development occurred last week when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or as it is more commonly known as “Obamacare.” I will discuss the significance of the landmark decision next week. There are a number of myths or misconceptions associated with the Social Security system as it stands right now. We are a society of wanting to get things done right now. “Instant gratification” I believe is the term used to describe our impatience with taking a long-term approach to many things. Unfortunately, instant gratification and Social Security do not work together. Accruing benefits is a long-term proposition. A few weeks ago I went over the formula used to calculate a monthly benefit. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses 35 years of work history in that calculation. In light of the SSA using 35 years, I think one of the biggest myths or misconceptions is that a monthly SSA benefit can be significantly increased […]

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

July 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

History of Social Security Three weeks ago, my youngest daughter, Kimberly, received her master’s degree from the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse from Chicago’s DePaul University. At the department’s awards banquet, Dr. Deborah Brandt, professor emerita of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, gave the keynote speech, titled “Taking Writing Seriously.” DePaul couldn’t have picked a more appropriate speaker or topic for a group of writing, rhetoric and discourse journalism students who take writing very seriously. The gist of her speech was that writing has traditionally taken a back seat to reading in the public’s battle to obtain literacy. Dr. Brandt espoused the theory that while teaching students to read can open the student’s world to reading other people’s written words, teaching students to write can tap into the student’s inner world. I’m paraphrasing here since I was sitting in an auditorium without the ability to take notes, but she basically asked a question in the terms of “Is it more valuable to be able to read what others think or is it more valuable to be able to write what others may read?” That’s a darned good question. Are we putting too much emphasis on reading and not enough emphasis on writing? I have read that some schools with the advent of computers are no longer teaching penmanship. Will this then de-emphasize writing even more? I believe that literacy is important and my definition of literacy is being able to read and to write. Throughout history, being able to wield the influence of the written word has proven to be almost as valuable as wielding a sword. Of course, it’s only valuable if the people you are trying to influence can read and understand what you are writing. Perhaps this is one of those chicken and egg things. Neither is less or more valuable than the other; a literate person can do both. Dr. Brandt would agree with that, I am quite sure. This is third article on the Social Security Administration (SSA). Let’s talk about some SSA history this week. Prior to the implementation of the Social Security Act on January 1, 1937, there were no federal programs to help the elderly. The nation was still in the throes of the Great […]

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