Identical Triplets

REM Cycle Review: Unexpected DNA kits and spousal support

At last, the moment you’ve been waiting for all week—the latest installment of the REM Cycle Review, the only weekly tax roundup compiled by a penguin who consumes nothing but Red Bull and burritos. (You’ve got to lay off the Red Bull, Crystal. It’s starting to get weird.) We’ve got lots of tax tidbits to get you through these cold winter nights, plus this week’s staff video picks. Join us, won’t you?

Spousal support after a divorce? There’s a new tax rule for that. A more in-depth, less pun-laden look at the new divorce rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) than last week’s article on the Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos split. [Business Insider]

Withholding and estimated tax payments fall short? The IRS may waive your penalty. In a move sure to relieve many, the IRS announce this week that it will waive the estimated tax penalty for many taxpayers whose withholding and estimated tax payments fell short of their total tax liability for the year. [IRS.gov]

Surprising absolutely no one, student loan debt keeps young people from buying homes. The Federal Reserve commissioned a long-term study to figure out why millennials weren’t buying houses. As it turns out, $1.5 trillion ($1,500,000,000,000—that’s eleven zeroes, for those playing along at home) in education-related loans is an “important factor.” [CNBC]

Unexpected DNA test kits + hackers + $10 Amazon gift cards = FRAUD. It’s weird enough to receive a DNA test kit in the mail you didn’t order. Weirder still if you discover the kit was ordered by someone you don’t know, who used a stolen credit card number in order to do it. The weirdness reaches M.C. Escher levels when it’s revealed all this nefarious naughtiness was committed in the name of… getting a ten-dollar gift card for Amazon? Uhhh… seriously? [USA Today]

Today, January 18, is National Thesaurus Day. National Thesaurus Day is observed annually on January 18 in honor of Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), creator of Roget’s Thesaurus. Today, the thesaurus is also celebrated, appreciated, valued, treasured, esteemed, and held in high regard. [National Day Calendar]

This week we’re watching…

The REM Cycle editorial staff recommends one professional development video and one funny or thought-provoking video each week.

Former FBI hostage negotiator Christopher Voss created his company Black Swan based on the skills learned as a negotiator in hostage situations.

DNA tests you can take with do-it-yourself kits sent right to your home are more popular than ever, but how well do they really work?

Thanks to astute reader Greg Lavin for pointing out the correct number of zeroes in a trillion. We send him a trillion thanks and good wishes.

The REM Cycle Review is a weekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general.

Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.