Scholl & Company, LLP
Certified Public Accountant

Salinas Area Office
18275 Meadow Song Way
Corral de Tierra, CA 93908
(831) 758-5966

Monterey Peninsula Office
2100 Garden Road
Building B, Suite C315
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 649-5643

Toll-Free All Offices
(888) 758-5966



It's Freezing Where?

Taxpayers across much of the Midwest and east coast have enjoyed a relatively light winter this year, with mild temperatures and little snow. But Old Man Winter made up for it last week. Temperatures dropped well below zero and wind chills broke records across the country. Friday morning saw thermometers dip below freezing in the Florida Everglades, and parts of North Carolina were colder than in Barrow, Alaska!

Care to guess where else temperatures have been falling? If you said "in Hell," you're right. That's because the House of Representatives, where gridlock appears to have found a permanent home, actually passed a bipartisan tax bill last week. The America Gives More Act would take three of those maddeningly "temporary" tax breaks that Congress barely manages to extend every year, and make them permanent. As the name implies, all three are intended to reward charitable giving:

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State of the Union 2015

Hopefully you were not waiting until President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 20 to hear about his plans to shake up the tax laws. After all, the details of his tax plan had been leaked days earlier and the entire text of his speech was posted online before the event.

Apparently we have a new State of the Union address tradition. In each of his six previous State of the Union addresses he also proposed tax hikes.

Here are the more significant tax provisions that were proposed.

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Toby Keith's "I Love This Tax Problem" 

In 2003, country music superstar Toby Keith released "I Love This Bar," the first single from his Shock'n Y'All album. (For those of you under age 25 or so, an "album" is . . . oh, never mind.) Billboard predicted the song would become "a beer-joint staple for years to come," and it promptly shot to #1 on the charts, selling over a million copies.

"I Love This Bar" is just one of Keith's odes to drinking — he's also scored hits with "Whiskey Girl," "Get Drunk and Be Somebody," and "Get My Drink On." "Red Solo Cup," his 2011 smash, made the red plastic cups the symbol of "party time" for the under-30 set. Naturally, with that sort of appeal, Keith had to open a bar of his own. Singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffet pioneered the concept, opening dozens of Margaritavilles anywhere middle-aged men of a certain disposition gather to recall their youth. If Jimmy can do it, why can't Toby?

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The New Known Unknown

Donald Rumsfeld may be one of the most controversial figures of our time, but you have to respect his resume. He won a seat in Congress at an age (30) when some of today's college graduates are still living in their parents' basements. He served as the youngest Secretary of Defense in American history (under President Ford) and the oldest Secretary of Defense in American history (under Bush #43). Between those positions, he headed G.D. Searle, General Instrument Corporation, and Gilead Sciences, Inc. Those corporate posts helped make Rumsfeld the second-richest member of Bush's cabinet, with a net worth north of $62 million.

Rumsfeld is also known for his unique, sometimes blunt and sometimes slippery, speaking style. Who can forget this response he gave a reporter who asked him about the lack of evidence tying Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government to weapons of mass destruction?

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Master This Green!

The calendar may say that spring officially begins on March 21. But for millions of golfers across the country, the season didn't really start until this weekend — specifically, when Bubba Watson outplayed 20-year-old phenom Jordan Spieth to claim his second green jacket at the 2014 Masters.

Augusta National Country Club, home of the Masters, is America's temple of golf. Augusta's "perennial ryegrass" fairways are manicured to a smoother finish than your living room carpet, and its greens are so hard and fast you could play billiards on them. So, with all that lush green stretching as far as the eye can see, would it surprise you to learn that the residents of Augusta have "mastered" a lucrative tax break? It's become so identified with the legendary golf tournament that it's known as "the Augusta rule." But if you own your own business, you may be able to take advantage of it yourself.

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