Thursday, June 7, 2007



The IRS has issued an Information Release (IR-2007-110) with some good advice.

To quote Acting Commissioner Kevin Brown, “With forecasts calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season, the IRS encourages taxpayers to protect tax and financial documents that can be hard to replace. A little planning can help safeguard valuable information in case a hurricane or other disaster strikes.”

The Release goes on to suggest – “Another way a taxpayer can prepare for disaster is to photograph or videotape the contents of his or her home, especially items of greater value. The IRS has a disaster loss workbook, Publication 584, which can help taxpayers compile a room-by-room list of belongings. This can help an individual prove the market value of items for insurance and casualty loss claims. Photos should be stored with a friend or family member who lives outside the area.”

Good advice indeed!


My April 30th posting celebrated Tax Freedom Day in the US. According to the Adam Smith Institute Tax Freedom Day in the United Kingdom was June 1st.

Tax Freedom Day marks the point in the tax year when the average taxpayer should have earned enough to pay for his taxes. Tax Freedom Day in the UK is calculated by taking the net national income and calculating how much of that is taken away in taxes. Not just income taxes, but also the VAT (Value Added Tax), inheritance tax, stamp duty, car and fuel taxes, excise taxes, alcohol and cigarette taxes, company and employment taxes, etc.

So American taxpayers – it could be worse!


Bills have been introduced in the Senate (S. 1416) and the House (H.R. 1813) to make the deduction for Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), currently available for 2007 only, permanent.

The Mortgage Insurance Companies of America reports that the cost of PMI for a typical 30-year loan on a mid-priced home of about $224,500 ranges from $50 to $100 per month. The group estimates the tax savings for homeowners who claim the deduction in 2007 will be between $300 and $350.

Currently the deduction is available only for PMI paid on insurance contracts purchased in 2007. The deduction is phased out as your AGI goes from $100,000 to $110,000 ($50,000 to $55,000 for Married Filing Separate).

This is an odd deduction. PMI is basically life insurance, which has never before been deductible in any form on the 1040 (other than as an employee benefit on Schedule C). The industry must have a very good lobby.


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