I’ve Moved!

Well, I haven’t exactly moved, but my blog has.

If you’ve been logging in here to see what I’ve been up to, then click here and head on over to my newly relocated blog at www.ptoddkelly.com

Let me know what you think- over there, not over here. I won’t be checking back in here too often, and will only be posting on the new address.

If you’re interested in having your own blog with your own personalized domain name, feel free to contact me at todd@taxtraxx.com and I’ll help you out with that.

You can also find me at:
http://taxtraxx.com – Providing tax related consulting across the USA.
http://bigrockpubs.com – A publisher of books. A home for writers.
http://ptoddkelly.com – My blog – talking about taxes, politics, government waste and abuse, Christianity, parenting, sports, and entertainment
http://danielcarterbeard.net A blog about old time scouting for old time scouters.(coming soon)
http://scouterblog.com – where scouts and scouters can get their own FREE scout themed blogspace
http://truckloadresources.com – A fantastic new portal for the trucking industry, featuring a massive directory, blog center, news, tax assistance, travel assistance, and points of interest nationwide.

Leave a comment

Filed under Tax Issues

The ObamaPad

Saw this online and wanted to share with you. The Obamapad. If only people could see .  .  .

What a great analogy for the health care debate / Health Care reform / socialized medicine mess – or government waste. Feel free to pass along the link to your friends.

Leave a comment

Filed under Government Waste, Tax Issues

Tamara Lowe at Christ Fellowship

February 23, 2010 —  Tamara Lowe performs her motivational rap at Christ Fellowship Church in S. Florida. This has been all over YouTube, but I find it intriguing and wanted to share it with you. http://gochristfellowship.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Entertainment

Herzog Reads Curious George

In 1986, I took my first film class at the University of Georgia (more on that later).

If you know much about me, you know that I have very diverse tastes in film and television. You may know, that my favorite television program of all time is “Gunsmoke” (to my wife’s utter dismay), with quite a few of them close second (Aha! A future blog entry!) Officially, my favorite movie is and has long been “Sergeant York”, starring Gary Cooper. (Another future bog entry may be how I have based my career as an entrepreneur on “Sgt York”) After all these years, I suppose it is safe to confess that “Sergeant York” is really only my favorite AMERICAN film. My favorite film of all time may be the weird and creepy “Aguirre, Wrath of God” starring Klaus Kinski as a 16th century Spanish Conquistador, who goes completely mad, while searching the Amazon for the fountain of youth. I won’t give away the ending, but the final scene, which I think I recall Professor Eidsvick telling us was a completely ad lib single shot, is worth more than a month’s Netflix fee in and of itself.

Now, about that film class. In that class, Film 101, each student was required to go to the student center theater every Sunday afternoon to watch whatever foreign film was being shown that week. One of those Sundays, the film was “Aguirre”. “Aguirre” was directed by the German filmmaker Werner Herzog, who on that particular day became my favorite movie maker. Herzog is an ego-maniacal, tyrannical genius, whose rants and tirades are only overshadowed by those of his most prolific star, Klaus Kinski. Kinski also starred in a number of other Herzog films, like “Fitzcarraldo”, the story of a European gentleman bringing the Opera (and an enormous Riverboat) over the river and through the woods to the native Amazonians. The making of “Fitzcarraldo”, a partly true story, was documented in the compelling “Burden of Dreams” in which Herzog tells of the tribal wars that occurred during filming, the fights among the actors and crew, about how Mick Jagger was originally cast in the Kinski role, about pulling the actual river boat over a mountain, and how after filming was halfway complete, they scrapped the entire project and started over from scratch.

I’ve haven’t seen “Burden of Dreams” in probably 15 years, since my buddy Darryl @dellrott http://dellrott.wordpress.com, bought it on VHS, but it remains the best documentary not produced by Ken Burns that I have ever seen.

So, comes the 21st Century, and Kinski is no longer with us, but Herzog is still viable filmmaker. He has recently narrated a film that explores 30,000 year old French cave art – I’ll have to see that one – anyone want to join me?

The reason for all the setup above is that last week I ran across this hilarious video on another blog, and wanted to share it with my friends. It’s a parody of Herzog’s narrative style. An impressionist reads the Children’s Classic “Curious George” as the Maniacal Genius himself MIGHT have done it. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have:

Leave a comment

Filed under Tax Issues

Are You Done Yet? (with your taxes, that is)

As I write this, the calendar has flipped to April 15th – Tax Day, our national celebration day where we pay homage to Big Government programs, politics, government waste, cumbersome bureaucracy, and coffers bloated by the special interest  groups.

As a tax professional, I try to avoid preparing Personal or Individual Income Tax returns. My business, Tax Traxx, specializes in business taxes, specifically Sales Tax matters in 45 states. Every year about his time, as other accountant-types work double or triple shifts busily preparing their clients’ Tax Returns, people say things to me like, “I know you’re really busy this time of year,” or “I know you’ll be glad when April 16th gets here.”  Even though Personal Income Tax returns are not my specialty, I suffer along with the ever dwindling number of Americans who actually pay taxes.

I prepare an occasional 1040 or 1040EZ form for a client here or there. In fact, I did one today. Let me tell you a little story. Today’s example is a single 21-year-old, recently moved from home and working her first “real” job. Today’s subject had a little over $6,000 in earned income, and paid a little less than $200 in withholding throughout the year. In preparing her return, I realized that she was entitled to claim the full “Making Work Pay” credit, which is a $400 (max.) refundable credit. This whole thing about refundable credits is pure and simple Marxist wealth redistribution. Taxpayers can claim refundable credits that exceed the amount that they paid in withholding during the year, so that they possible receive a refund greater than the amount they paid in. In today’s example, the subject paid a little less than $100 in Withholding, but received a refund of nearly $500. If only she had been 25, she could have also claimed the “Earned Income credit” as well.

Where did that money come from? You and me, brethren.

That’s why every year about this time, I’m shocked when I hear someone say that they didn’t have to pay any taxes – they got ’em back! They say this, not realizing that each of their paychecks throughout the year was chock full of withheld taxes – money that would have been theirs, had our elected representatives not seen fit to confiscate said money and use it for whichever of their own self-serving political purposes they deem to be more worthwhile than allowing “working Americans” to manage their own money.

This is not meant to be a diatribe against taxation, or against the necessity to fund core government services (the basic functions required by the Constitution, not the fabricated social welfare programs that began to choke us after World War I and have never loosened their grip). There’s plenty of blogosphere out there to host the arguments of the proponents of all the different alternative solutions like the Fair Tax, flat tax options, value-added tax options, etc.

The simple fact remains that the current system is bad. Some would call it “fatally flawed” but I don’t think that is a strong enough description.

So, what will you do to “celebrate” the day today?

Leave a comment

Filed under Tax Issues

If You STILL Can’t Get a Live Person at the GA Dept of Revenue

If you read my previous post on this subject “How To Get A Live Person at the GA Dept of Revenue”, you know that it is difficult, but it CAN be done. Also, in that article, I recommend the following initial steps:

  1. File Electronically
  2. Check for your refund on the website
  3. Check the Refund Inquiry Hotline (877) 423-6711 (both the online system and the phone system update their data once every day. It is unnecessary to continue to call these throughout the day, as the information will be the same.)

So, what do you do if you have exhausted all these resources? Don’t panic.

In my previous article, I gave instruction on what to say to the agents who answer the phones on the Hotline after you press “0”.

If these methods still do not get you the information you require, you do have some options.

  • You may call (404) 417-4480 – that’s a “backdoor” number that also rings into the main menu. You will undoubtedly have a long hold time, but you may be able to get an actual person to answer this phone. Be sure to get their name, direct number, and email address, if possible.
  • You can also call (404) 417-4490 – this is a real backdoor that gets you to the Registration and Licensing Call Center. From here, you can tell the agent you accidentally dialed the number wrong and ask them to transfer you to an EXAMINER in Income Tax (not in Refund Inquiry).
  • As a GA Taxpayer, you are entitled to speak to a live person. The Taxpayer Bill of Rights as revised in Dec 2009, ensures that you have the right to assistance from the Georgia Department of Revenue in complying with Georgia Tax Laws.
  • One of the offices you have access to is the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.  The phone number for this office is (404) 417-2100. This number also reaches the office of the State Revenue Commissioner, Bart Graham. You will be unlikely to get him on the phone, but the staff in this office is very good at directing your calls to the correct resource to resolve your problem.
  • The email address for the Taxpayer Advocate is taxadv@dor.ga.gov

If you exhaust these methods and still have no answers, please contact us at Tax Traxx and ask for our assistance. We have assisted many taxpayers get a resolution from the GA Dept of Revenue.

Next: What If They Deny My Refund Claim?

Leave a comment

Filed under Georgia Government, Government Waste, Tax Issues

R.E.M. Celebrates 30 Years – And I Feel . . . Old

On April 5th, that little old rock band from Athens, GA, R.E.M. celebrates the 30th Anniversary of their first performance together. Much has been made over the years about that night. I won’t be so bold as to say I was there (I wasn’t). I was 14 at the time, and we lived in a small town about 20 miles north of Athens. However, the B-52’s had just appeared on Saturday Night Live and Athens was becoming a mecca of alternative music (college radio as it was called then). We went to Athens for everything, so we knew all about this little band and the growing music scene.

R.E.M. made their national television debut on Letterman in 83. I love how Dave introduces himself to the guys, and how Mike Mills tells him that Hershel Walker is also from Athens. Mike is a huge Braves and Dawgs fan and has on occasion been seen wearing team gear on the road. I also love how Michael sits down on the stage while Dave talks to Mike and Peter (he’s hiding behind Peter).

By the time I got to the University of Georgia in the fall of 1984, R.E.M. has just released their second album, Reckoning, and had either just come off of, or were just going on what I think was their first world tour. I had the great fortune to have a job in downtown Athens at Rosenthal’s Shoe Store, which was three or four doors down from the legendary Wuxtry Records, where Peter Buck worked – and where he hung out when the guys were in town.

(Side note: if you lived in Athens then, you probably pronounce “Wuxtry” like the guy in the local cable TV Commercials – “Wu-u-hu-hu-hu-hu-hu-hu-xtr-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee”)

Downtown Athens in the mid-80’s was much different than it is today. There were just a very few clubs and bars and there was a definite hierarchy in who played where, who went to what kind of clubs, etc. John Berry was always at the Yacht Club (where The Globe is now) and Strawberry Flats almost always played weekends at either TK Harty’s, the Mad Hatter, or O’Malley’s. The drinking age in Georgia at that time was 19, so things were much more wide open. There was an uncanny form of communication among the students, such that if one of the bigger bands was going to play an unannounced set at one of the clubs (the 40-Watt, the Uptown Lounge, etc.), then everyone just KNEW.

To me, the guys from the band, especially Mike Mills and Bill Berry, always seemed like regular guys. I would see them walking around on Clayton Street and they would say hello or stop and chat. Peter Buck was always around somewhere, too. His ex-wife, owned the 40-Watt at one time (I think in one of its previous locations). Bill was such a “normal” guy, that after he left the band in 1998, he took up farming in Oglelthorpe County. I bumped into him one time not long after that at Kroger, and recall him buying a six-pack of PBR and some cheese and bologna.

Michael Stipe, I always thought, was very shy, but a very nice guy – and always very humble. My favorite encounter with him was in the 90’s, not long after Monster was released. We both were attending a charity event in Athens and I told him that I had just bought the new CD and had listened to it once and was looking forward to really digging in to it. He looked at me and said, in his very quiet voice, “What the hell are you waiting for?” and then smiled and thanked me for buying it. I think even then, he was flattered that people would buy their stuff.

Even though they became wildly famous, incredibly wealthy, and international superstars, the guys from R.E.M. never moved their home base from Athens. Their offices are still there. I’m glad to have been on their periphery for a little while (I had the exquisite pleasure of living in Athens from 84-98) and congratulate them on reaching this milestone. Rock on, guys.

1 Comment

Filed under Athens, GA