Sure, you're happy to tell your friends about the online bargains you get, but not so much your state's tax officials. That essentially will happen in Colorado this summer. But it won't be shoppers revealing their internet purchases. It will be the companies that sold them the stuff. Colorado online shoppers oppose the state's new sales tax reporting law because it violates their privacy. And oh yeah, now they'll have to pay more tax. The online purchase info is part of a creative way Colorado lawmakers devised to try to collect the almost $173 million in tax revenue they say... Read more →


When the Academy Awards are handed out Sunday, Feb. 26, it's a good bet that most of the films already were tax winners. They used special tax breaks to help offset their sometimes enormous production costs. As of Jan. 1, all those credits will come from states. End of the federal film tax break: The only federal tax incentive designed specifically to keep film and television production in the United States ended when 2017 arrived. It was part of a group of extenders — temporary tax breaks that must be periodically renewed by Congress — that lawmakers last year decided... Read more →


Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that America's voters didn't care about his taxes. He wishes. After hearing from angry constituents during a town hall meeting on Feb. 23, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) now says the president should release his tax returns. A GOP Senator says Russian hacking investigations could lead to just that. (Image from CNN Twitter post) Although the 45th president is the first presidential politician in almost 40 years to keep his Internal Revenue Service filings secret, folks remain curious as to what's on Trump's 1040s. 'We the People' and real people: The first petition filed... Read more →


Although separation of church and state is a key constitutional tenet in the operation of the United States government, God regularly plays an unofficial role at tax filing time. There are those folks who take his name in vain as they struggle with a particularly complex part of the tax code. Guilty! Then there are those folks who seek his divine guidance in figuring out their annual tax liability. Or, once they've done that, pray for a miracle to pay what they owe. Guilty again! But religion shouldn't have any part in defending criminal tax evasion. That's not just my... Read more →


It's National Margarita Day! Each Feb. 22, the focus is on appreciating this popular tequila-based cocktail. I'm in Texas, specifically Austin, which is the drinking-est town I've ever lived in -- not judging, just observing! -- so truth be told today is no different from the other 364 here. FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. But if you're in less alcoholically inclined location and need a special reason to enjoy a margarita, then Feb. 22 is your day. If you're looking for a drink that's a bit more elaborate that the basic one preferred by cable... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service would really, really like if all of us would use tax software to prepare and e-file our taxes. It even gives around 70 percent of filers the chance to do so for free at the aptly named Free File section of the IRS website. But a lot of taxpayers who qualify for Free File decide instead to pay a tax pro to file their returns, according to a new survey by NerdWallet. Tax pros preferred: More than 1 in 3 taxpayers, or 38 percent, who make less than $50,000 annually hired a tax professional, according to... Read more →


Working on your taxes this Presidents Day? You are most definitely not alone. The day following what officially is still just a celebration of Washington's Birthday is typically the busiest day of the year for Internal Revenue Service phone reps. They usually field thousands of calls per hour on the third Tuesday of every February. You can find lots of tax help and filing options on your computer and smartphone. To help ease some of tomorrow's expected call crunch, the IRS phone help line is open today, Monday, Feb. 20, even though it's a federal holiday. IRS representatives will be... Read more →


Phishing. Phone scams. Identity theft. Unscrupulous tax preparers. Sound familiar? It should. Those illegal actions once again top the Internal Revenue Service's annual Dirty Dozen list of tax scams. Today's tax con artists are the modern day equivalent of yesteryear's snake oil salesmen, hustlers who convinced folks to buy products that could not possibly work as advertised. In all cases, past and present, the victims end up losing their money. ("The Snake Oil Salesman" by Morgan Weistling is available for purchase at Artifacts Gallery. The link to the artwork is not a paid endorsement.) As I noted back on Groundhog's... Read more →


Mother Nature has had it in for California this year. On Valentine's Day, the Trump Administration approved federal assistance for deadly storms that in early January buried the Sierra Nevada in snow and inundated low-lying towns along the Sacramento and Russian Rivers. Photo montage posted on Twitter by Mike Myers (‏@csiprints; along with @RickSforza @crimeshutterbug @BlodgettJohnM @BeatrizVNews @ivdailybulletin) of vehicles trapped in post-flood mudslide on Lone Pine/Highway 138 in Southern California. Three days later, the Golden State was hit again, this time by a major Pacific storm described by residents and meteorologists as one of the most powerful weather systems... Read more →


Senators and Representatives are headed back to their states and Congressional districts for the long President's Day weekend. Tucked into the bags that Republicans are taking home are some talking points on how they plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. Image by Shawn Campbell via Flickr Creative Commons The Grand Old Party's policy paper says it aims to "provide relief from all the Obamacare tax increases." That's a big list. 4 targeted ACA taxes: The independent website Obamacare Facts lists 21 taxes, seven of which directly affected individuals. I've culled that individual... Read more →


Donald Trump is batting .500 for cabinet members who screwed up nanny tax reporting. This morning, the Senate narrowly confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) to head the White House Office of Management and Budget. The vote was 51-49. At least Vice President Mike Pence didn't have to up to Capitol Hill to break a tie this time. Click image to watch the C-SPAN video of Mick Mulvaney's confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. His testimony apparently convinced just enough Senators to approve him on Feb. 16 for the White House budget post. Did Mulvaney's... Read more →


Today is a big day for you if you're expecting a federal tax refund. Feb. 15 is when the Internal Revenue Service can finally start issuing refunds to folks who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Photo by eFile989 via Flickr But don't head to your bank just yet. Cleared, but not completed: The refund hold, mandated by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act as, in part, a way to help stop tax identity theft and refund fraud, does officially end today. But from the get-go of this filing... Read more →


Donald J. Trump got an early, though not unexpected, Valentine's Day gift from the head of Congress' chief tax-writing committee. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) on Feb. 13 rejected a maneuver by a Democratic member of that committee to get a look at a decade's worth of Trump's 1040s. U.S. Rep Bill Pascrell addresses constituents during a visit to his New Jersey district. Pascrell wants to use an obscure tax code provision to gain Congressional review, and possible public release, of Donald Trump's tax returns. (Photo courtesy Pascrell's Office via Flickr) The full House tax-writing... Read more →


Have you finalized your Valentine's Day plans? Good for you, you fool for love! Hey, I'm not judging. I'm just not that much of a romantic. That's why Valentine's Day is not that big of a deal in our household. Except for an exchange of cards, with the hubby and I each giving the other one humorous and one sentimental Hallmark greeting, Feb. 14 is just another day. Yes, the length of our relationship is one reason why Cupid's big day is predictably boring every year. But it works for us. Plus, our lack of more elaborate romantic gestures means... Read more →


This post updated 10 p.m. CT, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. Donald Trump has promised to deliver in a few weeks a tax plan that would "lower the overall tax burden on American businesses big league." The effusive description notwithstanding, some corporate tax reform would be welcome. It's long been accepted that the U.S. tax code needs work when it comes to business. The new Republican president and GOP-controlled House and Senate are promising business and individual tax reform. Analyses of the proposals so far, however, show that rich folks, personified in the character Jay Gatsby portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in... Read more →


Taxes are confusing anyway, but when a filing season has some special considerations, the misinformation increases. And with the availability of social media, the tax myths multiply. That's happening this year since refunds from some very specific tax returns are, by law, being held until the middle of February. Here are five tax refund myths the Internal Revenue Service says are making the rounds, along with the truth about the situation. Myth 1: All Refunds Are Delayed Yes, some refunds are delayed, but not every single one. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act has a provision that... Read more →


In addition to a calculator to do your taxes, you also need a calendar. Given the myriad types of taxpayers out there, the Internal Revenue Service has a variety of due dates for their filings, be they tax returns or documents reporting tax data to Uncle Sam. Sometimes it's simply calendar quirks that produce filing deadline issues. That's the case again this fling season, especially for individual taxpayers. New laws, new tax deadlines: Other deadlines, however, are set by law. And now, some of those deadlines, particularly for business taxpayers, have changed this year. The Surface Transportation and Veterans Health... Read more →