Corporate Casualties in 2010

With thanks to Yahoo Finance and our friends at http://www.urbandaddy,wordpress.com, for the inspiration, here are the biggest corporate casualties of 2010.

When you look at the list, some will come as no surprise to you and the rest may be interesting. Odds are those you have not heard of, are bankrupt for a reason. However, a bunch of them are automobile lines as a result of this thing called a recession:

Here is the list that meant something to me. If I missed some, please let me know.

A&P. This grocery chain declared bankruptcy in December.

American Media. The publisher of such gossip rags as the Star and National Enquirer, saw a huge hit resulting from the prevelance and quickeness of information in the Internet (Hello, TMZ.com). By November 2010, American Media had a debt load seven times the value of the company, which drove it into bankruptcy.

Blockbuster. This movie-rental chain failed to notice the future happening all around it. While Blockbuster was doubling down on retail stores and dunning its customers with loathsome late fees, Netflix wooed millions of movie fans by mailing them DVDs and offering streaming video over the Web, and Redbox set up convenient kiosks offering overnight movies for a buck. No wonder Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in September.

Hummer. Cool in the early 2000s, 2008 saw the beggining of the end for this brand when oil-prices began to spike. Hummers were looked upon as evil, and the end came after parent firm General Motors declared bankruptcy in 2009.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). This studio’s archives include classics like The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Zhivago, and Rocky, but a dearth of recent hits–plus debt piled on when a group of private investors bought the studio in 2005–led to a much-anticipated bankruptcy filing in November. MGM should be back on its feet by early 2011.

Mercury. Parent company Ford Motor has turned itself around and become nicely profitable, but it’s not bringing the middling Mercury brand along with it. The aging Mercury got sandwiched between the mainstream Ford lineup and the Lincoln luxury division, with Ford deciding two nameplates was enough. Since most Mercury models were glorified Fords anyway, few car buffs will miss it, but my wife misses her Cougar.

Movie Gallery, which ran Hollywood Video and was once the 2nd largest video-rental chain in the US, first filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2008, then filed again in February 2010 when its restructuring plan failed to gain traction, resulting in all 2400 US outlets being closed and 19,000 workers being laid off.

Newsweek. The Washington Post, which had long owned Newsweek–and lost millions on it in recent years–sold the title to 91-year-old billionaire Sidney Harman. for $1.00 in August.

Oriental Trading Company, declared bankruptcy in August, after writing off more than $400 million in debt.

Pontiac. It was once one of GM’s marquis divisions, with must-have muscle cars like the GTO and the Trans Am. But GM could never revive Pontiac’s faded glory, and when the automaker was forced to shrink following its 2009 bankruptcy, Pontiac got the boot.

Saturn, a newer GM division, and my first car, closed as well.

Yellow Pages. Is anyone surprised by this? I have 2 of them holding up my monitor, and I use http://www.Canada411.ca to look up phone numbers.

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Is Stephen Harper the Best Option for Canada? I think so!

Here is yet another reason why I am completely satisfied that Stephen Harper is the right choice for Prime Minister of Canada.

Remember, we are in the midst of a global recession where companies are shutting down, people being laid off and losing their homes…

… Except in Canada.

Statistics Canada reported today that 672,200 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits in July 2010, down 31,400 from June 2010.

That means people in Canada are finding work.

Awesome.

NetFlix Takes Out Blockbuster

On the same day that NetFlix launched its product into Canada, Blockbuster announced it is filing for Chapter 11 (bankruptcy) in the United States. Can that filing be coming up in Canada too?

Is this not a case of out with the old and in with the new?

Blockbuster became obsolete years ago, around the same time record stores like Sam the Record Man, HMV and Sunrise began to realize they were no longer a viable option.

What is better than You Tube and the IRS…

Well, pretty much everything, I think.  Unless you are a die-hard tax person like us folks here at In-tax-icating, then you are going to click this link and run (don’t walk) over to You Tube to watch IRS videos…

You know you want to!

http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos

June 15 filing deadline for the self-employed

Reminder: there is less than one week until the June 15, 2010 deadline for self-employed individuals and their spouses or common-law partners to file their 2009 individual income tax returns. Returns that are postmarked or received by the CRA after June 15 will incur a late-filing penalty as well as interest on amounts owing. Read the CRA’s news release for more information. Similar rules apply to self-employed Quebec residents who must submit their personal income tax returns to Revenue Quebec.

Welcome to 2010, Finance Canada

The Department of Finance will begin tweeting when the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, rises in the House of Commons to deliver Budget 2010 on March 4th.

Links to relevant portions of the budget will be tweeted in real time.

“Our Government wants to reach out to inform Canadians of actions we are taking to support the economy,” said Minister Flaherty. “Using social media will bring our message to Canadians in a new, cost-effective and convenient way.”

Links to Finance news releases, advisories, major speeches, publications and reports will be posted for users who follow the Department.

Follow us today at http://www.twitter.com/financecanada.

I thought their website was an effective use of social media.  Oh well.  Yay. Finance.

IRS – 7 Facts about Social Security Benefits

If you received Social Security benefits in 2009, you need to know whether or not these benefits are taxable.  Here are seven facts the IRS wants you to know about Social Security benefits so you can determine whether or not they are taxable to you.

1.  How much – if any – of your Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your total income and marital status.

2. Generally, if Social Security benefits were your only income for 2009, your benefits are not taxable and you probably do not need to file a federal income tax return.

3. If you received income from other sources, your benefits will not be taxed unless your modified adjusted gross income is more than the base amount for your filing status.

4. Your taxable benefits and modified adjusted gross income are figured on a worksheet in the Form 1040A or Form 1040 Instruction booklet.

5. You can do the following quick computation to determine whether some of your benefits may be taxable:

  • First, add one-half of the total Social Security benefits you received to all your other income, including any tax exempt interest and other exclusions from income.
  • Then, compare this total to the base amount for your filing status. If the total is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable.

6. The 2009 base amounts are:

  • $32,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  • $25,000 for single, head of household, qualifying widow/widower with a dependent child, or married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouses at any time during the year.
  • $0 for married persons filing separately who lived together during the year.

7. For additional information on the taxability of Social Security benefits, see IRS Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.   I have included the link;  (994.0KB).