The IRS pictures the happy family fun of paying taxes

Quick: What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about paying taxes?

If you're like me, you probably don't envision a smiling group of multicultural friends clustered around a picnic table. But if you're the IRS, that's the best image to illustrate the topic of tax information for individuals. Move on to the page for businesses, and you get a nice stock photo of two businessmen shaking hands -- presumably celebrating the bonuses they just received courtesy of the taxes you paid.

It's hard to blame the IRS for the use of such insipid photographs. In a world where herpes medication is sold with a picture of a hunky guy snuggling his girlfriend, it seems clear that the federal government web design hacks were operating on autopilot, unaware of the irony of showing people pictures of smiling families while they try to figure out just how much of their cash they're supposed to send in to help build a Lawrence Welk museum in North Dakota.

But still I wonder: How much money did the IRS spend for the rights to those photos? Even if it was only a couple dollars, it seems like a pretty good place to cut wasteful spending.

Why not sell advertising on the IRS site to General Motors?

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Taxes for Grads: Do Scholarships Count as Taxable Income?

Heading off to college to broaden your horizons is exciting, but funding your education via scholarships? That's even better. Scholarships often provide a path to education that might not be feasible otherwise, which is why the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be generous in minimizing students' tax obligations. But sometimes scholarship money does count as income, and it’s better to find out now if your scholarship adds to your tax liability than to have a surprise later. Here’s how to decode your scholarship taxation.

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