When Donald J. Trump assumed the U.S. presidency at noon on Friday, Jan. 20, he and his staff also took over the White House website. This is the only glimpse of Donald Trump's taxes the new president has provided, a photo via Twitter of him signing his purported 2014 federal return on Oct. 15, 2015. Although the 45th president's people made some major changes to the content Trump's predecessor had posted, they did leave one feature untouched, the We the People petition generator. This option lets people petition the White House for action on whatever is near and dear to... Read more →


Free File 2017 has been open for a week. Have you tried it out yet? The partnership between Uncle Sam and the private tax software industry has been around since 2003. This year, a dozen companies are offering their services to eligible taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance say these participating software manufactures should meet the filing needs of 70 percent of the around 153,000 million taxpayers expected to send in 2016 returns this year. Does free tax preparation and e-filing appeal to you? Check it out. But first check out these five things you should... Read more →


A Jacksonville, Florida, mother and father finally saw their daughter after being separated for 18 years. Kamiyah Mobley was known as Alexis Manigo when she took this undated Instagram selfie with Gloria Williams, the woman she grew up thinking was her birth mother. Kamiyah Mobley was a newborn when Gloria Williams, 51, allegedly posed as a nurse and took her from her birth mother in Jacksonville, Florida. Now Kamiyah, who grew up as Alexis Manigo, is getting to know her birth parents, Shanara Mobley and Craig Aiken. The young woman, however, says the woman accused of taking her when she... Read more →


Rep. Mick Mulvaney is going to have to answer some nanny tax questions if he hopes to become President-elect Donald Trump's budget director. Rep. Mick Mulvaney speaks to some of his South Carolina constituents on last September's Constitution Day. (Photo by Erik B. Corcoran via Twitter) The South Carolina Republican was elected to Congress in 2010 as part of the midterm Tea Party wave. Since then, the man whom some have called a debt warrior has been a major player in the conservative Freedom Caucus and has focused on ways to cut federal spending. He probably should have focused on... Read more →


The online sales tax list for the world's largest online retailer gets longer. Amazon will start collecting state sales taxes on shipments to South Dakota on Feb. 1 and to Wyoming on March 1. If, however, you buy from other online vendors who ship to those states, your bills might not contain a sales tax charge. The deals each state struck with Amazon and announced this week are specific to that company only. Wyoming tax law in the works: While the decision by the Seattle-based online giant to start collecting sales taxes is welcomed by officials in South Dakota and... Read more →


On this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday, the last MLK Day that Barack Obama will serve as U.S. President, the 44th commander in chief will once again spend part of his afternoon volunteering. President Obama and younger daughter Sasha helped out during an earlier MLK Day at DC Central Kitchen. (Click image to see more at Corporation for National and Community Service.) The national holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader has evolved into a day of service. The Obamas take that role seriously. In the past, the president and his family have volunteered at kitchens that feed... Read more →


It's been 10 years since the Internal Revenue Service Whistleblower Office was created to reward those who turn in tax cheats. It's been a pretty good decade. In particular, notable advances were made last year, according to the Whistleblower Office's fiscal year 2016 annual report. More rewards, less money: The Whistleblower Office awarded more than $61 million to 418 whistleblowers in the last fiscal year. That's a 322 percent increase from fiscal 2015, in which only 99 total awards were paid. The number of whistleblower claims filed last fiscal year also was up 6.4 percent from those submitted the prior... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers prepare their own returns using tax software. Even the Internal Revenue Service encourages this do-it-yourself approach with Free File. So it's no surprise that many tax professionals are looking at ways to retain and add to their client base. Unfortunately, crooks know this, too, and are taking advantage with a new phishing scam in which they target accounting and tax preparation firms and pose as potential clients. Instead of looking for help in completing their returns, the cybercrooks are trying to gather sensitive information from tax professionals that the criminals then will use to file fraudulent tax... Read more →


The early part of any new year demands we be tax multitaskers. As we're getting ready to file last year's returns, we also must start planning moves that affect this year's taxes. For the next few days, though, it's time for those of us who pay estimated taxes to focus on 2016. We have to make our final 1040-ES payment to close out that tax year. According to the usual Internal Revenue Service calendar, that final fourth quarter payment is due Jan. 15. But calendar quirks this year mean a change in that deadline. The 15th is on Sunday and... Read more →


Tax filing season 2017 really is here. Some folks have already filed their tax year 2016 federal return (soooo jealous!) even though the Internal Revenue Service won't start processing the submitted forms until Jan. 23. Others of us are still waiting for the tax documents we need to fill out our forms. If you're in the still-waiting group, now's a good time to consider just what you will need to accurately and easily complete your return. To help, here's the 2017 version of the ol' blog's tax filing checklist. It's a good idea at the start of each filing season... Read more →


President-Elect Donald Trump is feeling charitable again. This time, it's Uncle Sam who's the target of his largesse. President-Elect Donald Trump and his three older children (Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr.) get ready to meet the press this morning (Jan. 11) to discuss Trump Organization business deals after The Donald is sworn in on Jan. 20. (Photo by Evan Vicci via TPM Twitter post) During the almost hour-long press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan (Trump's first Q&A with the media since July 16, 2016, when he was on the campaign trail), a tax attorney for the incoming 45th president... Read more →


Tax filing season is about to start. Most tax returns -- almost 90 percent, according to the Internal Revenue Service -- are filled out using tax preparation software. A tax preparer helps a client file her taxes. (U.S. Army photo) But most of those electronically prepared 1040s actually were completed by tax professionals. No kidding. Of the almost 132 million e-filed returns last year, around 60 percent were filed by tax professionals. DIY vs. professionally prepared taxes: Yes, the do-it-yourself e-filing segment is growing. IRS statistics from 2016 show that the self-prepared segment of e-filers increased by more than 5... Read more →


I'm late blogging today (Monday, Jan. 9) because I spent the day with my Mom. All those errands my Mom and I run mean that I have to fill up my car before heading home. Unfortunately, pump prices are not as low as this $1.42 per gallon I paid for regular unleaded back in February 2016. It's not as Gilmore Girlish as it might sound. During my regular visits to her place, we run errands. And by run, I mean drive around her Central Texas community to buy groceries, visit doctors, get lunch, take her pup to the vet and... Read more →


The 115th Congress has been in session less than a week, but the Representatives and Senators are wasting no time in introducing legislation. The 115th Congress convened on Jan. 3. During their first short week of work, Representatives and Senators have introduced eight tax measures. (Photo by Ottojula via Wikimedia Commons) Since the Jan. 3 swearing in (and my Congess.gov search this afternoon), 490 bills have been introduced, 428 in the House and 62 in the Senate. And even though there's greater hope that we'll finally get some sort of comprehensive tax reform, that's not stopping individual lawmakers from putting... Read more →


We're in the midst of an Arctic cold spell here in Central Texas. Yes, it's nothing compared to many other parts of the country, but it's ours. Three days of sub-freezing temperatures have made it clear that the hubby and I are no longer equipped to live in colder climes! We're just glad our backyard waterfall was able to deal with a bit of frost. This cold snap got me thinking about how glad I am that we were able to make some easy energy efficiency upgrades to our home and get a federal tax credit for them. Most energy... Read more →


I got in my car for the first time in 2017 today. It also was my first use of my new mileage log. Yep, that pretty little pink spiral notebook is this year's tracking device of all my potentially tax deductible miles. And yep, those of you who know me know that I'm not really a pink kind of gal. This notebook was tucked in bag I got at a conference. Over the years, I've attended a lot of conferences and gotten a whole lot of similar notebooks, so I use a new one each tax year. What miles to... Read more →