Taxes? I’m in Key West!

Originally published in the Cedar Street Times

April 19, 2013

When this paper hits the newsstands, I will hopefully be far from thinking about itemized deductions, dependent exemptions, and the IRS!  This tax season tended to be compressed for many tax professionals due to the last minute changes by Congress which delayed the IRS releasing many common forms until early March of this year.  Of course we tried to get the information from clients and prepare the returns except for the remaining forms, but it still had an effect of creating additional late night hours!  That is now over, however, and it is time to take a breather!  My wife and I and one-year-old son are headed for the southern-most point in the United States – Key West, Florida.

When I was 16 my family took a trip to Key West, Florida.  My father enjoyed taking us around to go Key lime pie tasting and to show us the sites he was familiar with from his younger days.  My grandfather was an architect in Key West for a number of years and both my uncle and my father were “Conchs.”  This term, derived from the shell of the large sea snail, is affectionately given to anyone born in Key West.

My dad’s aunt, Peggy Mills, also lived on the island.  She was a collector of orchids from all over the world and received special permission to import unusual orchid varieties into her growing gardens.  Over the years she tore down over a dozen buildings in the heart of Key West to make room for her gardens and then made them open to the public.  She also imported special bricks and four “tinajones” from Cuba.  The tinajones are basically large clay pots weighing about 2,000 pounds each and were used for rainwater collection by Spanish settlers   They are the only ones in the United States.  She was friends with President Batista of Cuba at the time, which was her connection to obtain these artifacts.  When she passed away in 1979, my grandfather sold the property with the pledge from the new owners that the gardens would remain.  Although the property has changed hands several times, you can now stay at The Gardens Hotel, arguably the nicest spot in Key West!

Perhaps we can get a tour when we go as The Gardens Hotel only accepts guests 16 and over, and I don’t think we can fudge that with our one-year old, even though he is “very advanced” (as all parents like to say)!  I remember we went into the reception area during our trip when I was 16.  My dad was telling funny stories about how the room used to be his aunt’s dining room and the chandelier had an active bee hive that dripped honey onto the table!  She was eccentric, but I think the concierge thought we were nuts!

Prior articles are republished on my website at

IRS Circular 230 Notice: To the extent this article concerns tax matters, it is not intended to be used and cannot be used by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law.

Travis H. Long, CPA is located at 706-B Forest Avenue, PG, 93950 and focuses on trust, estate, individual, and business taxation. He can be reached at 831-333-1041.

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