- Days left

Weird Financial News: A Papal Typo, Money-Eating Dogs, and More

×
Golden retriever (Canis lupus familiaris) dog lying on lawn in garden
Alamy
Lest you think too hard about how much you should contribute to your 401(k) or on how well Janet Yellen will serve our economy as the new chief of the Federal Reserve, here's a brief recap of some of the more unusual financial news out there:
  • Folks at the Vatican stumbled onto a way to make their commemorative medals more valuable. After more than 6,000 gold, silver, and bronze commemorative papal medals were produced, a typo was discovered -- and not a minor one. The name of Jesus was misspelled, ending up as "Lesus." They were recalled after only a few had been sold. You can bet those will now fetch prices above their initial one.
  • Coca-Cola (KO) might want to start marketing its Sprite drink to a new segment of consumers -- those with hangovers. According to recent research from China, it may be one of the best drinks for relieving hangover symptoms, speeding up the process of breaking down the alcohol in your system. Interestingly, an herbal tea made from hemp seeds is believed to slow down the process, thus prolonging a hangover.
  • For an example of how even seemingly bad PR can be a good thing, consider the big "Breaking Bad" finale of a few weeks ago, in which stevia-based sweetener played a surprising part. Companies in the sweetener business took to Twitter to promote their offerings, and awareness of stevia grew as fans discussed its role in the episode.
  • Facebook (FB) founder Mark Zuckerberg has been troubled by real estate operators planning to sell properties near his home to admirers who just want to be close to him. His simple solution: He's spending about $30 million buying up several homes around him, which he will lease back to their residents. See? Simple.
  • Dogs eat more than just homework. In Montana, a golden retriever chewed through five $100 bills, alarming his owner, Wayne Klinkel. The good news is that Klinkel was able to get a $500 check from the Department of the Treasury to replace his loss. The bad news is that in order to get the check, he had to collect and sift through the dog's bodily refuse, then piece together enough fragments to reconstitute much of the bills.
  • What do dead horses and the Civil War have to do with your tax return? Well, the IRS is angling to regulate tax preparers, and it's meeting with objections. It's not going after CPAs, Enrolled Agents, and attorneys, as they already have professional standards to meet. It's instead suggesting that independent tax preparers register with the IRS, pass a competency exam, pay a licensing fee, and earn continuing education credits over time. Opponents are taking issue with the IRS' citing of the "Enabling Act of 1884," which aimed to address people overvaluing dead horses and lost property following the Civil War. The Act authorized the IRS to regulate claims agents.
  • What's for dinner? You might be surprised. Those in the food service industry in Montana, Idaho, and beyond should be aware of new competition: roadkill. Montana has a new law in the works to permit the salvaging of roadkill for meat. Such a law debuted in Idaho last year, and also allows the selling of certain roadkill, with a valid permit. Similar laws are in effect in other states, too, with new ones in the works.
It's easy to laugh at silly stories in the news, but there can be value in some of them. Remember that companies that think outside the box can create new products and industries, however silly they might initially seem.

Longtime Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Coca-Cola. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Economics 101

Intro to economics. But fun.

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber?s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Tax Tips for Handymen and Odd Jobs

If you work as a handyman or do odd jobs around town for money, you are operating a business in the eyes of the IRS. Since you own your own business, you're likely a self-employed sole proprietor. This means you'll have lots of potential tax deductions to investigate.

Identity Theft: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Identity and Keeping it Safe

As more personal information continues to be stored online, the risk of identity theft also increases. In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Justice reported that 17.6 million U.S. residents experienced identity theft. If someone uses your personal data pretending to be you, it's a serious crime. With quick, decisive action, you can help discover the fraud, stop further damage and reclaim your identity. Here are six steps to get you on your way.

Need More Tax Time? File a Tax Extension

If you need more time to complete your taxes, file a tax extension, but don't miss out on your chance for a tax refund by not filing at all. Learn more about tax extensions from this 2012 infographic!