Letter from the Editor (Post-Mayan Apocalypse Fizzle): A New Life for the Newsletter, Life, Law & Taxes

(From the vault: A slightly different version of this post was published in the paper newsletter, sent to subscribers through the regular U.S. mail, in January 2013, on the occasion of the paper newsletter being revived to monthly publication, after a hiatus.)

It has been a while since the last edition of the through-the-regular-snail-mail Life, Law and Taxes, was completed and mailed out to you.

Ceasing publication was not exactly planned. Instead, regular, monthly publication fell victim to what’s sometimes known as “death by 1,000 cuts” (and even a few clients – Thank You!). Even a four-page newsletter requires time, effort, and attention to “git ‘er done” and into the mail, so that you (“Dear Reader”) can get updated on the foibles and frailties of taxpayers tangling with the government agency people love to hate, or fear, or both,  the IRS.

Even though publication of Life, Law and Taxes took a hiatus, there were good reasons to publish it then, good reasons to continue publishing it, and especially good reasons to revive it now while next year’s tax rules are anyone’s guess or cliff-leap of faith.

First thing, people liked it. Though only a four-page monthly newsletter mostly featuring cautionary tales about what can go wrong when taxpayers stray from the straight and narrow path, intentionally so or by circumstance, somehow responses from readers show that, simply, people liked it.

So, why shouldn’t there be another thing in the world that people find interesting, informative, enjoyable? Something like Life, Law and Taxes? Why not?

Second, not only did readers like it, but for some it also had a salutary influence: it actually got some people with unresolved tax issues to take a step toward dealing with and resolving them sooner rather than later.

Third, it prompted readers who did not have tax issues of their own to remind friends, family or colleagues who may not have been so fortunate that this is the sort of problem needing professional help and representation promptly. The phrase “Lawyer up” applies here. So does “Don’t go it alone.”

When the IRS comes knocking, who are you going to call? Ghostbusters? Those guys moved on long ago. Or, those charlatans who advertise on TV promising beleaguered taxpayers the sun, the moon, and the stars? (Bad idea: those television snake oil salesmen have been getting investigated and run out of business for deceptive practices.) Here on earth, when the IRS calls you, you want an attorney who deals with facts and rules, a/k/a “reality.”

Fourth, with the much-discussed Mayan Calendar Apocalypse a total bust, the world has not ended. So, carry on we must. This includes preparing and filing tax returns, paying taxes, and dealing with an ever-changing landscape of new rules and policies. (As a bonus, if we make it to next summer, we get to see the next installment of the television series “Breaking Bad,” where even some meth dealers pay their taxes.)

Whether the current wrangling over federal budget policy will result in our “going over the fiscal cliff” come January 1st or not, the tax rules they are a-changin’. My newsletter, Life, Law and Taxes may offer unique angles on tax rules and policy.

The plan is to publish monthly, though we may occasionally double up. Issue by issue, the further plan is to bring interesting and useful tax, legal, and other items of curiosity and more to you, Dear Reader.

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