Bramwell's Lunch Beat: Apps Bonanza!

Trebling tobacco tax ‘could prevent 200 million early deaths’
Reuters reported on January 1 that according to a new study by scientists from the charity Cancer Research UK (CRUK), tripling the tobacco tax globally would cut smoking by a third and prevent 200 million premature deaths this century from lung cancer and other diseases.

The study, Global Effects of Smoking, of Quitting, and of Taxing Tobacco, featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, said hiking taxes by a large amount per cigarette would encourage people to quit smoking altogether rather than switch to cheaper brands, and it would help prevent young people from taking up the habit.

The CRUK analysis found that doubling the price of cigarettes in the next ten years through increased taxes would decrease worldwide consumption by about a third and, at the same time, increase annual government revenues from tobacco by a third from around $300 billion to $400 billion.

Five great Android accounting apps for small businesses
Brett Nuckles of Business News Daily wrote: “Accounting apps for Android can’t do it all; for serious number crunching, you’ll need the benefits of a larger monitor, a full keyboard, and deeper features found in desktop software. But for basic accounting tasks, mobile apps have distinct advantages. Because they run on your Android smartphone or tablet, you can log in and access your account from virtually anywhere. And because your account information is stored in the Cloud, your information will be up-to-date on all your devices.”

Nuckles provided five finance and accounting apps to help small business owners manage their businesses on the go.

(What about iOS accounting apps? Brett recently featured six for small business owners here.)

SEC’s Mary Jo White wants companies to fess up
Here are excerpts from a Q&A the Los Angeles Times recently conducted with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairwoman Mary Jo White.

Five tax trends to watch in 2014
Forbes contributor Howard Gleckman wrote: “With congressional elections coming in November, ongoing controversy over the Affordable Care Act, and policy exhaustion on the part of both Congress and the White House, don’t expect dramatic changes in tax policy in 2014. But there will still be some important issues on the table – not all of them in Washington.”

Instead of flying solo in confronting the IRS, make it a family affair
Another article in Forbes, this one from contributor Robert Wood, touches upon why taxpayers shouldn’t confront the IRS on their own in a tax case. While taxpayers who hire a tax lawyer or accountant to represent them could increase their odds of winning, having a family member step in may be better than trying to do it themselves.

“Can someone appear on your behalf, say your father, mother, spouse, son, or daughter?” Wood wrote. “It still may be a mistake, though it’s likely a closer call.”

Automatic tipping may be gone in 2014
In a January 2 article for the Christian Science Monitor, Marcy Bonebright wrote: “A new IRS ruling has resulted in some frustrated restaurant owners and disappointed servers, and could possibly end a practice that’s bugged many restaurant patrons for years. At the center of this controversy is the automatic gratuity, that compulsory charge many eateries tack on to your bill when you dine with a large group of people. As of January 1, 2014, the IRS started treating automatic gratuities as a service charge, a change that’s got the food service industry up in arms.”

So-called “NASCAR loophole” tax break set to expire
Any other NASCAR fans out there? While counting down the days until the Daytona 500, I saw this article on NBCSports.com.

Apparently, one of the fifty-five tax breaks that expired on January 1 was a so-called “NASCAR loophole” that accelerated the depreciation of racetracks and, thus, provided a small tax break for builders. The tax break allowed NASCAR tracks to, in theory, compete on a level playing field with other theme parks.

(More information on this tax break and nine others that expired on Wednesday can be found in this Washington Post article.)

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