Originally created 06/03/01

Pocket change



TAX TIPS: Having problems with the Internal Revenue Service? The IRS will hold a national problem-solving day on Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 56 offices nationwide.

The IRS wants to give you a chance to solve long-standing tax problems by meeting with IRS officials. To make an appointment or find out which office near you will take part, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040.

BUSINESS AS UNUSUAL: A survey of the reading, viewing and listening habits of 628 Fortune 1000 and Internet CEOs, investment bankers and stay-at-home moms found that 33 percent of the top executives could name more members of TV's Survivor cast than they could President Bush's Cabinet.

Only 6 percent of the CEOs said they watched all three presidential debates, and 21 percent said they regularly watch The Simpsons. The survey by Jericho Communications of New York also found that they were five times as likely to listen to a talk show as Bloomberg radio.

And perhaps a sign of the times: Stay-at-home moms were four times more likely to read the business section of the newspaper than the food section.

NO FREE LUNCH: Money would motivate most people to help in their company's employee- referral program, a new study shows.

In a survey of 2,300 workers in industries ranging from retail to health care and education, 85 percent said $1,000 was the appropriate bounty for bringing new hires aboard.

But two-thirds said they would consider other rewards, such as airline tickets and extra vacation days.

The survey, conducted by Referral Networks of New York, also said that many companies in technology (56 percent), financial services (54 percent) and communications (41 percent) offer the programs.

TIPS AHOY: The Insurance Information Institute says that alcohol, bad weather and carelessness were among the major contributing factors to the nearly 8,000 boating accidents in the United States in 1999, the most recent date for which figures are available.

The New York-based trade group recommends reading a weather forecast, letting someone on shore know your destination and time of return, and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

Also, check the engine, fuel and electrical/steering systems before setting out. Take a fire extinguisher, oars, fresh water, a first-aid kit, flares and a tool kit.

ENERGY FACT: A recent study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that office computers and Internet equipment use a lot less energy than the previously thought 8 percent.

The lab's study found that about 2 percent of all the electricity used in the country goes for office computers and the Internet. That doesn't mean that you can buy energy-guzzling computer equipment. Rather, other energy-users in your office may need more attention.

CHECK'S IN THE MAIL: The chilling number of the week: U.S. citizens are now carrying about $6 trillion in mortgage debt, according to Fannie Mae.