Obama Wishes A Merry Christmas To All

From our “what will they think of next” department came word, last week, that the government had found yet another thing to tax.  And you thought you had heard it all!

Actually, the ridiculousness of the situation prompted so much howling from we and thee, that Obama actually backed off on the latest and greatest idea:  taxing Christmas trees!

We hear that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) actually put forth a plan to require Christmas tree growers to pay 15 cents per fresh-cut tree to fund an advertising campaign intended to “enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States.”

And of course Acting USDA Administrator of Agricultural Marketing David R. Shipman had the guts to say that the proposed fee “is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal Government,” but would instead simply cover the cost of a newly appointed Christmas Tree Promotion Board, whose job it would be to operate a “program of promotion, research, evaluation, and information designed to strengthen the Christmas tree industry’s position in the marketplace, maintain and expand existing markets for Christmas trees, and to carry out programs, plans, and projects designed to provide maximum benefits to the Christmas tree industry.”

Just what this broke country needs – a Christmas Tree Promotion Board.

Who knows – maybe the ongoing negotiations of the “Super Committee” will come up with even more novel ideas regarding things to tax.  We can hardly wait for the final word from the Committee – due next week, but we hear there has actually been some discussion of having the Committee just figure out the amount of “new revenue” needed to set us on the road to fiscal responsibility, and leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to figure out the details next year!

What a bunch of bafflegab.

But when it comes to revenue enhancement, you’ve got to hand it to California, which always seems to come up with something creative.  Like the bill recently signed by Jerry Brown which would require the DMV to suspend the driver’s licenses of the state’s biggest tax scofflaws.

“If you don’t pay your California taxes, you can’t drive – we mean it,” quoth Assembly Member Henry Perea (sponsor of the measure) in the Wall Street Journal recently.

The California driver’s license suspensions would impact the state’s top 1,000 tax debtors.  And to add insult to injury, those folks can expect to have their names publicized on line.

Actually, we hear there are something like 19 states which already do this.

So unless you’re inclined to walk, you had better pay up – and right now!

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 jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes.

Leave comment