Yup, got the Guzzi Quota stuck… Forgot how deep the ditch was there! Couple minutes work with the shovel and a bit of rocking and the Quota was freed. Gotta ride while you can, three inches more forecast for tomorrow!
Yup, it’s that time of year again, when blood pressures rise, sleep is futile, and creative accounting is refined to an art form. Yup, it be the ides of income tax day.
Used to be I’d have read through the Form 1040 instructions and plotted my strategies before tax year’s end, but now that I’m retired and owing I don’t get serious ’til the last week or so. And yes, pick up and peruse 1040 and it’s instructions, never know when you’ll find a deduction or credit you never heard of. I generally speed read through the “additional taxes” and “additions to income” sections though…
So proceeding through good ol’ 1040, we first have to deal with the issue of marriage, and keep in mind here that even if your spouse has already fled the coup, complaining of the dozen or so “parts cars” in the yard, motorcycles in the living room, smelly metal things put in the oven, and your adaptation of the dishwasher as a “parts washer”… Until the divorce decree is decreed you still have the option of filing jointly or separately. Unless your spouse is of the same gender, in which case the feds still won’t honor your marriage even if you share an immaculate thousand plus square foot air conditioned garage with matching Snap On tool boxes and lifts.
Next up we’re asked for dependents; And are not our assemblages of motorcycles. classic cars and trucks, even tractors, very expensive dependents. But Noooo… And the IRS won’t even accept VIN numbers in place of Social Security numbers on the form. Worse yet, unlike the human dependents that become there own or somebody else’s expense (hopefully) at age 18, our wheeled mechanical dependents cost even more as they age… ‘Tain’t fair!
The next dozen odd lines regarding income are pretty self explanatory, we obviously don’t have enough, and don’t go looking too hard for any more to report! Now the fun part begins- Adjustments! Did you buy another couple thou in tools last year and once in awhile use one at work… Sorry, you’ll have to itemize that on Schedule A! However, if you managed to find a welding course or similar training in such “obsolete” and useful arts, you might be able to deduct that on line 34. And if you’ve got any money left, put it in an IRA… Unfortunately they’ll only let you “invest” it in boring stuff like stocks, bonds, CDs, etc.. Aah, if only we could invest our IRAs in old cars and motorcycles… Probably get a lot better rate of return too!
Time to flip the form over. Be careful with Line 39- Even though taxes are driving to drinkin’ worse than a hot rod Lincoln and you’re going blind from said drinkin’, you can’t actually claim blindness until you’ve gone blind. Read carefully all the other “credits”- for example, a moderate income retiree like me can put $2000 that I could have better spent on tools into an IRA and get a $200 tax credit to spend on less tools. I know, it don’t make sense, but do it. And no, I don’t make these crazy tax laws that give a retiree money for investing in a retirement savings account… And yes, ya gotta work all the angles- I have a UPS 401K even though I’ve never been a full time permanent member of the “brown army”.
On to “Other Taxes”, as if we need any more. Finally time to add it all up, you’re sitting down, I hope? Hopefully you’ll be getting a nice big check to “waste” on more toys and tools. If not, time to get really creative- Heck, the neighbors say your place looks like a pigsty and your garage a barn in bad repair… Maybe it’s time to retroactively become a “farmer” and deduct your old pickup, the garden tractor, and all that grass you tore up when you took that corner to fast?
Still can’t afford your taxes? Well, it’s time to plot long term strategy… Does the IRS really want a bunch of old clunkers and busted bikes with misplaced motors? Time to grunge up those old coveralls in anticipation of your eventual appearance in tax court!
(The disclaimer: This ain’t legal advice, even though you don’t have to be a lawyer to practice before the IRS. If you follow my advice and get invited to the local IRS office, I’ll come with… Not as a legal representative, but to laugh my ass off! And if all else fails, I hear that Federal Prison Industries will teach you to weld and you might even get to wrench on exciting government vehicles!)
Remember Ford’s http://www.focus24/7.com attempt to sell the new Focus to young “trendy” buyers? Unless you’re a geek of such things, you probably don’t. Over a decade ago, when the internet was young and Facebook wasn’t born yet, Ford built that website to try to make the Focus the “in” car for young buyers. The Focus became one of Ford’s best sellers… And the median buyer was a 62 year old woman.
Undaunted, for the (re)intro of the Fiesta a couple years back, Ford outdid themselves with a hundred young and of course trendy “Fiesta Agents” on trendy missions to all the trendy places, splattered over every social media yet invented. Heck, the agents even had to submit u-tube videos with their applications. Haven’t seen the stats yet, but behind the wheel of just about every Fiesta I’ve seen was a “woman of a certain age”.
So here we are, on the threshold of the restyled 2014 update of the 6th generation Fiesta, and Ford is giving “social media” another try. Heck, their copy of a ’69 Mustang still sells well, so why not? And predictably, with similar results, ‘cept the median buyer will now probably be aged 65…. Maybe Ford should co-market with Medicare Supplement plans?
Ford isn’t alone in this stupidity- GM paid a blogger to drive a new GM car every month and brag it up while she toured around the country, her fake admiration of the suburban was hilarious. Over at Fiat’s Mopar division they’ve got the “Jeep Girls”, whose response to a blizzard is to take in a symphony performance… Any self respecting CJ driver knows “blizzard” is an excuse to “break trails” for the less fortunate 2WD owners and drag a few out of the snowbanks!
I’m beginning to suspect that Detroit faces the same demographic disaster as the republican party- aging buyers headed for the great highways in the sky while turning off younger buyers with $20,000+ subcompacts that will be liabilities in a decade. And why even make a major effort to sell new cars to young folks, given that today’s average college graduate makes but $32k a year and already carries $30k in college debt. Yea, there sure gonna be buying lots of $20+k new cars with all that debt load and low income… Not! No wonder only 1% of new car sales are to buyers under 25, and only 10% to buyers under 35!
Given those demographics, Ford might want to loan those Fiestas to retirees with an unlimited expense tab for coffee and a stack of Fiesta brochures instead of a bunch of twenty-somethings with a smartphone in every pocket. And if they want to motivate those young folks that are suffering with decade old Focuses, a “campaign” to debug those lemons, free online access to manuals, and parts and labor discount cards good at the friendly local Ford dealership would be more effective…
“In a surprise move, BMW has sold their motorcycle operations to Harley-Davison, effective April 1st. As a BMW exec explained “Pardon please, my english not the best. We and HOG’s board were coincidentally having strategic planning retreats at adjoining mountain chalets in the Alps over New Years. Snowed in for several days by this year’s brutal winter, we spent considerable time comparing our motorcycle marketing. After a while we realized that we were selling different motorcycles to similar aged poseurs with different fantasies. Like the Harley buyers that bought a lifestyle but rarely rode, we have a well off demographic that buys a Dakar replica bike then cruises the Interstates and road racer wannabes that buy an SS1000 then park it in front of trendy cafes. We should have seen the trend years ago, when we saw that we could put the BMW name on mediocre automobiles and Americans would suck them up as status symbols. Looking at HOG’s success in meeting the low expectations of the poseur markets, we thought it best to sell our motorcycle operations to HOG and concentrate our efforts on better marketing our SUVs and activewear collection.” In a related move, the obsolete BMW “airhead” parts inventory and tooling will be donated to the Airheads motorcycle club and a tax writeoff taken.”
Embargoed until April 1st, 2013
Goatburg, Sweden: Today Mack Family Investment Trust, LLC announces the repurchase for the sum of one Swedish Kroner of Mack Trucks from Volvo Trucks AB. Effective immediately, the Mack family will retake control of all Mack plants and assets and production of Mack components and trucks will continue apace. All Volvo signage, etc. is to be disposed of at the earliest opportunity.
We will share more details of this exciting historic development at an April 1st celebration at the Mack museum tomorrow.
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After being the bum’s rush by corporate ad and PR shops, I’m suddenly been invited to press events by BMW, Harley, Mack Family Investment Trust, LLC, Ford, and a couple others I haven’t opened up yet. Nice digs, too- The Henry Ford Museum, the Mack Museum in Allentown, and strangely, the Harley and BMW events are at the same swank Milwaukee hotel.
Unfortunately, I got called to run a battery powered skid steer tonight at a prohibition era historic home in Minneapolis, and they asked me to bring PPE for underground work…