Personal Finance, Taxes 

Severance Is Optional, U-Haul Reservations Aren’t

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This week’s hodgepodge of links range from a primer on how to read financial statements to discussion of severance and overtime to U-Haul getting the smackdown in California. Should make for some entertaining weekend reading!

Looking for a good primer on how to read financial statements? Why not check out the folks who analyze the stuff everyday, the SEC? The Security and Exchange Committee has a really easy to read beginners guide to financial statements that will more than adequately acclimate you to how to analyze a financial statement of a company. (Courtesy of Jeremy!)

All this talk of recession has probably gotten a lot of people spooked and I was doubly surprised to discover that there is no federal law requiring severance pay! It is more a custom than it is a requirement, which makes sense if your company has let you go because it’s facing a tight financial situation. I suppose I always assumed a severance package was standard. (Oh, and it’s legal for your company to require overtime from you, but they have to pay)

One of the most commented posts I have is my horror story about U-Haul and how I hate U-Haul; so, I was delightfully surprised to hear that U-Haul has settled a class action lawsuit in California that would result in them paying $50 every time they didn’t honor a reservation. Despite this new agreement, I still wouldn’t rent from U-Haul since that $50 doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be driving a death trap capable of breaking down going 60 mph on the highway.

An issue that has come up a bunch of times, especially now with tax season looming, is whether or not credit card rebates are taxable. I’ve always thought that they aren’t so this is good confirmation from a third party.

I just got this great email from a publicist that sent me a copy of J.K.Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2008 and it involves what casinos report to the IRS (I’m a fan of the casino, in moderation, so this was entertaining to read):

  • Slot machines and bingo: Payouts of $1,200 or more are reported to the IRS, but there is no withholding taken out.
  • Keno: Similar to slot machines, but the amount won must be at least $1,500.
  • State lotteries and sweepstakes: Withholding is taken out of all winnings of more than $5,000.
  • Parimutuel pools, including horse and dog races: Subject to withholding, but only if the winnings are both more than $5,000 and at least 300 times as large as the amount bet.
  • Big winners are reported to the IRS on a special Form W-2G.
  • If winnings are to be split, as with a lottery pool, winners are reported on a Form 5754.

Finally, I leave you with this great little exchange between Mrs. Raising4Boys and their three year old tyke. (I don’t want to ruin it, so click through and read it; I guarantee at least half of you won’t be disappointed)

{ 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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4 Responses to “Severance Is Optional, U-Haul Reservations Aren’t”

  1. kitty says:

    “Oh, and it’s legal for your company to require overtime from you, but they have to pay”
    Only if you are non-exempt. If you are “exempt”, you don’t get overtime pay. I am surprised that the lawyer who wrote the referenced post hasn’t ever heard about “exempt” professionals:

  2. RacerX says:

    My wife won $2000 last year at a Quarter slot and we got our W2G!

  3. Patrick says:

    Hmmm… my current company isn’t doing very well on the financial side of things. It’s good to know there is no law requiring severance pay. That just means I might need to start looking in advance. 😉

  4. U Haul Sucks-Renter Beware!!! says:

    U-Hal Sucks- Renter Beware!!! Says:

    April 15th, 2008 at 3:23 am
    Renter beware of u-haul fuel charge, Make sure you take picture of fuel gauge before and after renting the truck. Uhaul manager checked and registered the fuel gauge at pick up time with me but did not perform the same when I returned the truck. I have learned my lesson that never returned the truck after hour or before office closing. Make sure when returning, there is someone from the truck/car company registered and agreed the fuel level. I was 100% certian that I had returned the truck with same fuel gauge level. When I picked up the truck, the manager mentioned that I can returned it after hour too, just drop off the key in door slot and pick up receipt next day. I did as suggested, next day when I picked up the receipt and to my surprise, they charged $39 for fuel. I disagreed and talked to the manager who registered the fuel gauge when i picked up the truck. He claimed that it was 1 line lower than the original guage. I argued for a while and he asked me to check the gauge while I was there. Now, this is not fair that they did not registered fuel gauge right the way at the time of returning. I had a feeling that they tried to make extra income by just let the truck run in the parking lot to burn down the fuel level so that they can charge extra for fuel. If they are so honest, why they do not make it a company’s policy to register the fuel gauge at time of picking up and returning the truck.

    Now, let’s suppose that I did not return the fuel at the same level as he claimed, how much gas could be burned for total of 5 mile round trip. Do you think I could have burned 11 gallons for 5 miles round trip. ($39 devided by $3.50/gallon) The 5 miles distance was shown on their receipt. Don’t you think this is a ripe off and unethical to consumer?

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