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Q&A: Car recalls, obesity, estate tax

Recalled used cars

Surely many of the recalled cars are sitting on used car lots. Is there a requirement for used car dealers to have the cars repaired prior to their sale? If not, is there a legal requirement for car dealers to inform buyers prior to the sale that a recall is in effect for this vehicle?

New car dealerships may not sell cars that are the subject of recalls, but that requirement does not extend to used car dealers, according to Carfax, a company that provides vehicle history reports for a fee.

There are about 3.5 million cars for sale that have a safety recall that's never been fixed, Carfax estimates. The company urges people to check for recalls of a car before buying. The government keeps a database of recalls:

Americans are fattest

Is the United States still the country with the most "obese" people?

Yes, it is. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is one of many organizations that track such statistics around the world. It defines an adult as "obese" if his or her BMI is 30 or higher. BMI is body mass index, which can be figured by dividing your weight (in pounds) by your height squared (in inches) and multiplying by 703.

For, for instance, a person 6 feet tall who weighs 200 pounds would have a BMI of 27.1 (200 divided by 5,184, with that answer multiplied by 703) and be considered overweight, but not obese. There is a calculator at

The OECD calculates that about 34 percent of American adults have a BMI of 30 or more and thus fall into the obese category. Second is Mexico at 30 percent, and New Zealand follows at about 26 percent. The lowest rates in selected countries can be found in India, China, Japan and South Korea, all under 5 percent.

Obesity is important because it's often a critical component in the development of diabetes. According to the World Health Organization, more than 30 million Americans are projected to have diabetes by 2030 — almost double the number from 2000.

A new surtax

I just heard about new tax law 1411 that imposes a 3.8 percent surtax on the net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts. Can you tell me more?

The Net Investment Income Tax, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, generally will affect taxpayers, estates and trusts that have a net investment income or an excess of the modified adjusted gross income of more than $200,000 a year. That includes income from "interest, dividends, capital gains, rental and royalty income, and non-qualified annuities," according to The filing thresholds are: Married filing jointly, $250,000; single or head of household, $200,000; and married filing separately, $125,000.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email

Q&A: Car recalls, obesity, estate tax 04/03/14 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2014 5:01pm]
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