December 10th, 2006

Monkey Post

Do sizable monetary gifts count as income for tax purposes?

I'm looking for guidance on modern-day US tax law.

Trying to google various permutations of "income", "tax", "anonymous", and "gift" gets me a lot of information on the taxes a gift giver needs to pay on a gift, or how to anonymously donate to a charitable organization for an income tax deduction.

What I really need to know is whether or not an individual who receives a very substantial financial gift must report it as income or otherwise pay taxes on it. My story has an anonymous benefactor paying off the outstanding balance on my main character's mortgage, a sum well over $100,000. I'd like to set it up where the benefactor overpays by an amount sufficient to also cover any taxes the main character would incur as a result of the gift.

I'm assuming that if the benefactor found some way to pay the gift tax, the IRS wouldn't also pursue the recipient for additional taxes, since Uncle Sam has already taken his cut on the transaction. However, if the benefactor wishes to remain anonymous, does the IRS then pursue the recipient to make sure they get their cut?

Picky details about the coastline of the Venetian lagoon

You'd be amazed, but I've found it very difficult to find useful information about Venice. I've turned up plenty of books about the history of Venice, and travel guides about things to see in Venice, and more websites with hotel prices for Venice than anyone would ever need.

But what I want to know is how far out one has to go on the Veneto Plain before it stops being marshy and starts being the pretty farmland that the travel guides show me pictures of when I try to find out more about the geographical region. Even the maps I've found that indicate that the region around the edges of the lagoon is marsh are cute illustrated maps and don't give me much by way of scale.

So. How far out onto the plain does the marshy bit around the lagoon go?

Also, is there any particular reason that I couldn't move the whole idea of the city built on islands in a shallow lagoon to a colder climate (like, one where they typically start to get hard freezes and an inch or two of snow in early winter, which all the sources I've found so far say Venice doesn't) and still have it work pretty much the same way that the Venice in our world does? I don't think so from what I've read so far, but I always like to be sure of these things before I get too far in.
Red Sag
  • arabwel

Stores in US, specifically Tennessee

So, I have this story set in a smallf ictional town in modern day Tennessee, and my FMC is currently being amazed that instead of going for pet stupplies & groceries int he local Wal-mart, the herot hakes her to... where? What chain store would a well-to-do expart Brit in his early forties shop at? I know of several by name But I canöt "rank" them to find out where he would most likely be going to... also, where would he go for pet supplies - is there a chain i could use or should I gofor a small privately-owned store?

thanks in advance.
Meowclops Music Box

usages of "Master"

I've run into an unexpected snag in one of my stories. I have a university astronomy lecturer who ends up becoming a navigator on a small ship. The setting is a fanciful parody of western Europe during the Age of Exploration. My problem has to do with honorifics.

I had initially planned to have the lecturer address each of his young pupils as "Master [family name]" (that being the--now archaic according to Merriam-Webster--title given to boys too young to be called Mister).

However, I quickly learned that "Master" is also the title given to male teachers and navigators on sailing vessels (the academic usage dates back to the 1380s according to Now I'm not sure how my lecturer should be expected to address his pupils. I'll bet this has an easy answer, but I'm just not finding it. During what era was "Master" [originally] used as an honorific for young, unwed males? Did it overlap with the teacher usage and, if so, how was that not confusing?

[slightly edited entry for clarity, but did not remove any text]
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zen cat
  • samtyr

London Real Estate Values

I've tried looking this up online (it's pretty London-specific) and I'm just not able to find the info needed. Or maybe I'm looking right at it and it's just not registering. Anyway...

I need to know the amount of property tax -- and cost of buying/selling -- on a building located on Cheney Street near its junction with Battle Bridge Road, immediately to the west of Kings Cross station; also a building located in Argyle Street, about 3/4 mile south of the above location. I also need to know if it is zoned residential, commercial or both.

Thanks in advance.

EDIT: So far (in the fic), the property is an older residence which is inherited by a distant cousin, who isn't expecting to inherit anything more than a few family mementoes.