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Unemployment and Taxes: Talent Depletion Allowance

That 2009 income – a little on the low side?

Not too surprising.  The unemployment check tends to under-perform compared with the former paycheck.  And, here’s the kicker – you could still owe taxes on it.  But, not to worry, there’s a new angle this year: the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the right to Free Speech equal to that of a living individual.  So, if this very High Court says Corporations have the individual’s right to Free Speech, then individuals should have the right to Corporate tax breaks? Right?

We are a country of pioneers, here’s your chance to blaze a new trail at the IRS.: the Talent Depletion Allowance for the unemployed individual.

An allowance based on what, you might ask?  Well, our nation’s most profitable industry – oil and gas – has the “oil and gas depletion allowance”.  This means that after they deduct the cost of finding, drilling, marketing, lobbyist fees, and executive bonuses for oil and gas, the petroleum companies then deduct even more money from their net profits.  How? They use the “Oil depletion allowance”.  Obvi, dummo: they now have less oil in the ground to sell, because they pumped a bunch out and sold it.  Their oil has been depleted. Makes sense right?  Exxon-Mobile made $45 billion in profits in 2009.  They’re depleted.  They need love.

How does the Talent Depletion Allowance work?  In my case, a year has gone by, and I spent way too much of 2009 unable to sell my talent for money. I have therefore LOST a sizeable chunk of a year’s worth of talent that was available for me to sell.  My talent has been, so to speak, depleted.

To determine the Talent Depreciation Allowance, I simply take my highest year of income, and subtract my current lower year, which yields my Talent Depletion Allowance.  Enter on Line 39, or whatever, and, voila!, a lower tax bill.  If the guys in Houston Hummers have a Congressional mandate to make money twice on the same oil by using the Oil Depletion Allowance, then I get the Talent Depletion Allowance. Fair is fair, right?

(Todd Darling lives in Los Angeles, and doesn’t expect you to take his advice about how to pay your taxes.)

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