Not Paying Dues at the IRS, Wrinkle Free Buyout? and No Home Run This Month

Taxing behavior…

Image courtesy of sdmania/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sdmania/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you don’t feel like complying with Federal tax policies then be prepared to face the penalties. Except if you work for the IRS, in which case, expect a bonus and some time off. A just released report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is going to shatter all those boring, monotonous ideas you had about the IRS nor give you any comfort as you just sent in your tax forms. From Oct. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2012 IRS employees – about 2,800 of them –  were getting big bonuses and other nifty perks even though they were written up for tax and misconduct issues. Apparently their bad behavior was no impediment to $2.8m in cash compensation and 27,000 hours in extra time off. I guess the tax code isn’t the only thing in need of a major overhaul at the IRS.

Botox this!

Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of patpitchaya/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Activist investor Bill Ackman, CEO of Pershing Square Capital,  just teamed up with J. Michael Pearson, CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals and what went down is the stuff that HBO original movies are made of. Sort of. Following his partnership with Pearson, Ackman goes and buys a 9.7 % stake in another pharmaceutical company. But not just any pharmaceutical company. Why buy into just any pharmaceutical company when you can buy into Allergan, the pharmaceutical company that makes everybody’s favorite wrinkle remedy, Botox! That’s what I’m talking about. Then Mr. Ackman and Mr. Pearson decided they wanted to purchase Allergan for  $46 billion. Of course, not everybody on Wall Street agrees that this does not violate securities law. But what’re you going to do? Anyways, Allergan doesn’t necessarily want a new boss, even if it is for $46 billion. So they adopted a “poison pill” aka a shareholder rights plan because they don’t want Ackman buying any more Allergan stock and with this “poison pill” they can buy themselves some time to decide how they’d like to proceed  A little convoluted, but that’s what makes a Wall Street drama so riveting.

Home not so sweet home…

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of cooldesign/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What do high mortgage rates, home shortages and bad weather have in common? If you guessed a 14.5% sales plunge (which, no offense, but I’m guessing you didn’t) then you are 100% correct. New single family home sales haven’t been this low in eight months. Experts originally predicted (and hoped) for an estimate of 440,000 home sales. But alas, that number only reached 384,000. Spring was supposed to bring with it tulips, daffodils and higher sales, but so far, just the flowers are the only things that have given us growth. The notable exception was in the Northeast where sales were up by 12.6%. Go figure. With that, median home prices rose to $290,000 from March of last year. Good news for the seller, I suspect.

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