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Severance Is Optional, U-Haul Reservations Aren’t

Posted By Jim On 02/01/2008 @ 2:12 pm In Personal Finance,Taxes | 4 Comments

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 [3] that will more than adequately acclimate you to how to analyze a financial statement of a company. (Courtesy of Jeremy [4]!)

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 [5]! 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 [6] 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 [7]; so, I was delightfully surprised to hear that U-Haul has settled a class action lawsuit [8] 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 [9]. 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 [10] 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 [11]. (I don’t want to ruin it, so click through and read it; I guarantee at least half of you won’t be disappointed)


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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/severance-is-optional-u-haul-reservations-arent.html

[3] beginners guide to financial statements: http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/begfinstmtguide.htm

[4] Jeremy: http://genxfinance.com/

[5] no federal law requiring severance pay: http://everydaylawjournal.com/severance-pay.htm

[6] legal for your company to require overtime: http://everydaylawjournal.com/do-i-have-to-work-overtime.htm

[7] I hate U-Haul: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/i-hate-u-haul-truck-rental.html

[8] U-Haul has settled a class action lawsuit: http://consumerist.com/346986/u+haul-to-pay-california-customers-50-for-failing-to-honor-a-guaranteed-reservation

[9] credit card rebates are taxable: http://www.creditaddict.com/archives/are-credit-card-rewards-taxable/

[10] J.K.Lasser’s Your Income Tax 2008: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/amazon.php?asin=0470137541

[11] little exchange between Mrs. Raising4Boys and their three year old tyke: http://www.raising4boys.com/2008/01/21/ammonia-sexism-and-three-year-olds/

Thank you for reading!