Monthly Archives: January 2018

IRS Comments on Buzz About Trump’s 2016 Tax Return

The public is roaring about President Donald Trump’s 2016 tax return. The Washington Post reports on the issue, telling us that Trump’s tax return for 2016 was just filed in October. All of the fuss is coming from the Republican Tax overhaul passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate in mid-December. The New York Times says, “The $1.5 trillion tax bill will have broad effects on the economy, making deep and lasting cuts to corporate taxes as well as temporarily lowering individual taxes.”

The White House reported that the new tax plan could cost Trump a lot of money, and skeptics are looking for proof. Hence the demand for an audit of the President’s 2016 tax return. There are three potential types of audits that the IRS could carry out. A correspondence audit, office audit, or field audit are all options for the IRS if they decide to look into Donald Trump’s return for 2016.

A former IRS official reports to the Washington Post that two months after the return is filed is essentially immediately after, in tax time. The former official tells the Washington Post that “It takes about that long (two months) for the return to work its way through the service center and actually be available for a revenue agent.”

It is awfully soon to be completing an audit just two months after a return is submitted, but not impossible. This former official suggests a couple of reasons why President Donald Trump is being considered for an audit of his 2016 tax return.

The first is that the Trump enterprises are constantly under the surveillance of the IRs, like any other major corporation. He does say, however, that this possibility is the least likely.

The former IRS official also suggests that “maybe IRS flagged something while auditing one of Trump’s previous filings and decided in advance of his 2016 filing that it would review the new document as soon as it arrived, to determine whether Trump continues to employ whatever tax strategy the IRS might be scrutinizing.”

It has not yet been released whether or not the President’s tax return is under audit by the IRS. The President seems to remain to stay private about his tax information, so the knowledge may or may not ever be released.

Buying a New Home? Be Careful Of ‘Greenwashing’

Family moving homeYou’re searching for a new home and you think you’ve come upon your ideal place. It’s the perfect size, has plenty of natural light, and you can picture all of your furniture perfectly adorning each room. Better yet, it is completely environmentally friendly.

But is it actually?

In today’s eco-focused housing market, professionals are warning buyers to be careful of “greenwashing,” which is defined by Investopedia as “when a company, government or other group promotes green-based environmental initiatives or images but actually operates in a way that is damaging to the environment or in an opposite manner to the goal of the announced initiatives.” You might see this trick more than you realize — especially in the housing market.

Kenneth R. Harney writes in Miami Herald that greenwashing in real estate often causes consumers to pay more for very little benefit.

“Just about everybody likes the concept of green, and builders and real estate agents increasingly use the term as a sales come-on,” he writes. “But experts say that too often, what’s marketed as green isn’t what it purports to be when you take a close look.”

Home windows, for example, are a common example of an opportunity for efficiency. Drafty windows can increase energy bills by 10 to 25%, and new windows in general may remedy this. But are they enough to warrant a green rating?

While there are plenty of examples of greenwashing, it’s important to work with your realtor to really ensure that you are getting the best value. According to Harney, elements like non-toxic building materials, top-of-the-line HVAC systems, water conservation, and environmentally conscious site planning are all examples of actual green elements. By prioritizing these and educating yourself, you can learn what to look for in a green home.

EU Plans to Take Steps Toward Combating the Plastics Problem

Plastic waste is a huge issue all around the world, and the EU is stepping up to take charge.

According to The Guardian, Brussels has launched a strategy to change the minds of Europeans regarding recycling. It’s also being done to cut back on tax damaging behavior and to modernize plastics production. Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the commission, said that the country wants to give understanding to their citizens about non-degradable products. These would be products that take five seconds to produce, five minutes to use, and 500 years to break down.

If you’re curious about what these products actually are, Timmmermans says that they include coffee cups, lids, coffee and tea stirrers, take-out packaging, and disposable cutlery. The former Dutch diplomat spoke with The Guardian regarding the plastics problem.

“If we don’t do anything about this, 50 years down the road we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans … we have all the seen the images, whether you watch [the BBC’s] Blue Planet, whether you watch the beaches in Asian countries after storms. If children knew what the effects are of using single-use plastic straws for drinking sodas, or whatever, they might reconsider and use paper straws or no straws at all.”

Fortune says the EU plans to make all of the plastic packaging on the market bio-degradable by the year 2030. The plastics industry is the third-largest manufacturing industry in the United States, so that’s just a small portion of how much plastic is out there in the world.

Along with the goal of bio-degradable plastics, the commission is also taking steps to provide access to tap water. Millions of people constantly buy plastic water bottles and throw them out after use. If there was a tap water distribution center on the streets, it could encourage people to reuse their bottles instead of discarding them. There are also plans in the works to ban microplastics in personal care products and cosmetics. This is something that has already been done by the United Kingdom.

Each year, Europeans create 25 million tons of plastic waste. Making all of those plastics bio-degradable is one huge step toward helping the environment and protecting our earth.

Oklahoma Drunk Driving Law Declared Unconstitutional

The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a new drunk driving law based on the fact that the law didn’t stick to one thing.

The 41-page law was ruled unconstitutional because it violated the single-subject rule. A majority of justices agreed.

Additionally, those justices specifically found the section of the law that allowed the seizure and destruction of a driver’s license without an administrative hearing unconstitutional. According to justices, that section violated a driver’s due process rights.

The 2017 Impaired Driving Elimination Act 2 aimed to chance how drunk driving suspects are handled.

Suggested changes included no longer allowing a DUI suspect to fight the loss of their license at an administrative hearing at the Department of Public Safety as well as making it illegal for a DUI suspect to refuse a breath test after being arrested.

Due to the estimated six million car accidents occurring on U.S. roads each year, the new law was supported, especially by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

On the other hand, four DUI attorneys challenged the law in June on behalf of their clients.

During the ruling, five out of the nine justices agreed that the law repeatedly violated the Oklahoma Constitution when it states that “every act of the Legislature… shall embrace but one subject.”

It was explained that the rule exists in order to prevent legislators from being forced to make decisions on bills having unrelated content.

The majority noted, “The public is entitled to a clear picture of how their elected officials have voted on a particular issue, the public is entitled to be adequately notified of the potential effect of legislation, and these constitutionally protected public policies have been recognized since statehood.”

While the new DUI driving law was scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1, Justices halted enforcement of its provisions on Oct. 30 due to the legal challenge.

With a dissenting opinion, one justice was extremely critical of the decision. Justice Patrick Wyrick claimed that the Legislator no longer can tell from “amorphous” Supreme Court Ruling what the single subject rule entails.

Brian K. Morton, one of the challenging attorneys, claimed that the current system in place is working.

Based on the decision to rule this law unconstitutional, the administrative hearing process will continue.

Potential Alzheimer’s Miracle Treatment Derived From Diabetes Medicine

Syringe Being Inserted into a VialA type 2 diabetes drug has shown significant effective memory loss reversal in mice, leading researchers toward a desire for human testing in the future.

The drug, having already been approved for use in humans with type 2 diabetes, might be on a fast track for treating Alzheimer’s patients. This new treatment could make a real difference, scientists believe, because it protects against Alzheimer’s on three separate fronts.

Despite only having data from mice thus far, the treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease,” Christian Holscher, senior author of the study said.

Though Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder, accounting for up to 80% of dementia diagnoses, there are others that can do just as much damage.

The efficacy of this new drug will largely hinge on its successful implementation as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Once that is determined, researchers will be better able to understand what other applications it might have.

One of the observed results included a significant reversal of memory deficit in mice, according to Science Alert. This breaks down into four responsible factors: slower rate of nerve cell loss, higher brain growth factor levels, lower toxic amyloid plaque levels, and a reduction in oxidative stress.

The multifaceted approach to Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment could be a winner, but utilizing type 2 diabetes medication in this way is not new. In fact the connection between these diseases is well established.

Still, cautious optimism carries the day. “These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro- protective effects in several studies,” Holscher said about this specific potential breakthrough.

The future is showing glimpses of light for families affected by Alzheimer’s, but much testing yet needs to be done for the sun to shine brightly through the clouds.