Moonbeam Onomics

The more time that passes, the more it makes one wonder why ANYBODY is left in California – still living there!

Now cometh the latest Democrat governor, the one and only Jerry Brown, who not only recently proposed yet more tax increases (no surprise), but actually thinks the voters will go for this – he proposes a ballot initiative which would clip folks making more than $250,000 per year for an additional percentage point of taxation, and a two percent rate increase for those making more than $500,000!  And if that’s not enough (we guess it isn’t), he also wants another half cent increase in the sales tax, which would obviously hit everybody – not just “rich” folk.

The Christian Science Monitor notes that altogether, at least ten initiatives which propose tax increases are seeking qualification for inclusion on the 2012 ballot in California.

But not to worry – Jerry’s measures would only be “temporary,” ceasing annual $7 billion or so tax increases in 2016.  You do believe that, right?

“I am going directly to the voters because I don’t want to get bogged down in partisan gridlock as happened this year,” quoth Moonbeam in a recent statement.  “The stakes are too high.”

At least he’s got the “too high” part right.

And if you’re thinking about ratting on someone or other regarding your perception of their tax “cheating,” take solace in a recent decision of the Tax Court:  your identity can be kept secret.

In the case of Whistleblower 14106-10W, the Court held that a whistleblower was entitled to remain anonymous, noting that professional harm and retaliation could ensue if her identity were revealed.  And this risk would outweigh the public interest in knowing her identity.

Makes sense.

And as New Year’s Eve draws near, and you begin thinking about your taxes and planning for the best result, don’t lose sight of the potential impact of the dreaded “alternative minimum tax (AMT),” which seems to be clipping more and more folks every year.

If you’re one of them, think twice before you run out and take one of the traditional steps, to include paying your property taxes, state income taxes, and certain other forms of deductible expenses before year end.  State taxes and most “miscellaneous itemized deductions,” you see, are not deductible in measuring the AMT – so paying them early gets you nowhere.

And here’s another planning tip – if you think a penalty for underpayment of your estimated taxes is looming on your horizon, consider telling your employer to simply withhold more tax from your last couple of pay checks.  Since withholding is deemed to be paid “evenly” over the course of the year (even though a large chunk actually doesn’t come along until late in the year), some or maybe all of your eventual penalty problem just might get solved.

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at

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