Bankrate Tax Guide Feed

Tax identity theft and related refund fraud are major concerns of U.S. taxpayers. That was clear in the recent Bankrate Money Pulse poll that found 72 percent of taxpayers would be willing to wait longer for their refunds if the delay would help the Internal Revenue Service fight identity thieves. The acceptable refund wait times ranged from one week to more than two months. And before you jump to the conclusion that folks were just giving lip service to the question by opting for the minimum delay, hold off on that leap. A surprising 22 percent told Princeton Survey Research... Read more →


With the arrival of a new year comes a new tax season. And while the Internal Revenue Service doesn't officially kick off the 2015 filing season until Jan. 20, here at the old blog we're getting a head start with the return of our annual Daily Tax Tips feature. Whether you're working on your 2014 tax return yourself or turning your tax tasks over to a professional, you'll want to check out the Daily Tax Tip. It will be there at the top of the ol' blog's right column through the April 15 filing deadline. Kicking off the 2015 tips... Read more →


Property taxes are always among the most hated taxes. As owners over the years of five houses, the hubby and I definitely are in the hate 'em group. I understand the money is primarily for financing public schools. And I realize that two of our houses have been in Texas and Florida, states without income taxes, so that means officials there depend heavily on residential real estate's contribution to their coffers. But after you spend all that money on getting a home loan and paying it, plus the maintenance costs, that annual property tax bill is the final straw. The... Read more →


I'm old enough to remember many momentous things, including the storming of America by the British. No, even though I'm a fan of Sleepy Hollow, I'm not that old. But I am plenty old enough to remember 50 years ago when the The Beatles arrived in the United States. I was too young to attend a Fab Four concert, but my parents, younger brother and I did watch John, Paul, George and Ringo perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. And my mom bought me Meet The Beatles! OK, so she listened to it as much as I did, but officially... Read more →


It's Super Bowl Sunday, so of course I'm thinking of two things: football and taxes. Fortunately for me, those two areas intersect a lot. Take the piece I put together on what we regular folks can learn from professional athletes' tax troubles. Tax missteps by athletes and others: Like many of us much less physically talented folks, star athletes make tax errors, get bad professional tax advice, get involved with or are victims of tax fraud and have hassles not only with the Internal Revenue Service, but state tax departments, too. K. Sean Packard, a CPA who, as director of... Read more →


It's tax filing time. Be afraid. Be very afraid. OK, that's a little more melodramatic than I usually get. But I'm a big fan of the horror genre. And I'm a tax geek. A quick show of hands from those who scan tax publications during The Walking Dead commercials? You are my peeps! (Is that slang still used? Sorry, I digress.) But let's be honest. Taxes and tax season scare the crap out of many of us. That's OK. Just don't let your tax fears, both irrational or completely justified, take over this time of year. If you're in a... Read more →


The challenging thing about each new tax season is that while you have to worry about filing the prior year's return, you also need to pay attention to the current year's tax laws. Topics in those two areas were covered last week at my other tax blog. We started with this year, specifically the 2013 tax rates and income brackets as set earlier this year by the American Taxpayer Relief Act, aka the fiscal cliff tax bill. As everyone knows by now, the six Bush-era tax rates were made permanent and a new 39.6 top tax rate was added beginning... Read more →


Thank you lawmakers in Washington, D.C., for complicating our 2012 year-end tax decisions. And by thank you I mean get off your partisan duffs and decide already what to do about the fiscal cliff so we can make informed tax moves before it's too late! Because we don't know for sure what our individual income tax rates might be or what we might owe on investment income or which tax breaks will be around in the coming year, there's a temptation to do nothing. Despite the uncertainty and confusion, that's not a good idea. I recently spoke with Gregory A.... Read more →


Low taxes. No taxes. Those were the hot issues last week at my other tax blog. Politicians on both sides of the aisle agree that income taxes should be lowered. But they disagree on just who should have lower taxes. A Congressional Research Service study says it doesn't matter. "There is not conclusive evidence … to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth," according to the report. Tax rates don't matter to some Americans, 47 percent to be precise. They don't have to pay federal income taxes. Talking about nonpayers... Read more →


Tax effects on everyday life

Yes, I am a tax geek so I see taxes as part of almost everything. Just ask the poor hubby who has put up with this tendency for so many years. But it's true. Love 'em or mostly hate 'em, taxes are an integral part of everyone's life. We tend to focus on the bad tax implications because that's just how we humans roll. In some situations, however, tax laws are welcome. Find out how in my Bankrate story that I like to call your life on taxes. You also might find these items of interest: Marriage, divorce and taxes... Read more →


10 overlooked ways to cut your taxes

If you're still working on your 2011 Form 1040 or are about to dive into that task any day now, make sure you maximize your tax breaks. To help you do just that, I discuss 10 overlooked tax breaks in a story for Bankrate.com. It's also today's Daily Tax Tip. You'll have to click over there for details, but here are the highlights: Charitable donations other than cash Moving expenses Job-hunting costs Military reservists' travel expenses Child care credit Points to refinance your mortgage Medical costs Retirement tax savings credit Educational expenses Home energy efficiency upgrades Some of these tax... Read more →


12 tax tips for 2012

It's the start of a new year and you know what that means: resolutions and numbered lists. My 12 Tempting Tax Tips For 2012 story at Bankrate combines those traditions. Here are the high points: Remember Roth IRA conversion taxes Claim your American Opportunity Note health care info on W-2 Pay attention to Form 1099-K Be ready for basis reporting Accelerate income Cash in winning stocks Plan for the added Medicare tax Assess AMT danger Give gifts Evaluate estate tax implications Hire a registered tax pro Some of these are 2012 specific. Others are tax move perennials. Check out the... Read more →


The prez covers a lot of ground in Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future, his plan for creating jobs and eventually reducing the deficit. But because the 80-page document also calls for tax increase and new taxes, it doesn't have a chance of being approved as is. Still, people are curious. So I talked with some tax and financial folks and put together a look for Bankrate at individual taxpayer winners and losers in the Obama plan. At least it gives us a few more things to argue about as we await deficit reduction action (or lack... Read more →


Did you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth last year? Are you having second thoughts as you watch the markets stumble, leaving you with a big tax bill on a no longer very big retirement account balance? Then you have a chance to change your mind. You can undo your IRA conversion. It's known as a recharacterization. But you have to do so by Oct. 17. And there are some things you need to think about before you decide on an IRA do-over: Figure your recharacterization amount. Time your move. Think long term. Consider the two-year tax deal. These... Read more →


Possible taxes for the special deficit reduction committee to consider

They're baaaaaack! Representatives and Senators have returned to Capitol Hill. Washington, D.C., is all a-buzz. Lobbyists are honing their pitches. Congressional staffers are updating their briefing papers. President Obama is fine-tuning the speech he'll give before most (but not all) members in a joint session of Congress Thursday night. And, oh yeah, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will hold its first meeting a few hours before the president's speech. Because of all this frenetic activity in the nation's capital, today's Weekly Tax Tip is more of an overview/preview of possible popular tax breaks (and maybe even a few... Read more →


Everything right now is all about the deficit, including my posts last week at my other tax blog. The longer Congress and the President take to agree on where to trim the budget and who should pay more taxes, the closer some sacrosanct tax benefits get to entering the mix. Among the tax benefits generally thought to be untouchable, but which eventually might come under consideration are the many tax breaks connected to homeownership. A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts of the costs and benefits of housing tax subsidies. found that the top home-related tax breaks cost around... Read more →


10 midyear tax moves to make

Earlier today I was fretting about being slow to remind folks about the July tax moves they should make. But now it appears that my delayed focus was meant to be. Why? Because today also is the day that I suggest 10 midyear tax moves to make now over at Bankrate.com. Yeah, there's some duplication. Despite constant Congressional tinkering with the tax code, there are a lot of tax considerations that are perennials, such as adjusting withholding, fine-tuning your estimated tax payments, contributing to your favorite charity and putting away some money for retirement. But just because they're the same... Read more →


Have you missed me giving you the finger? Hey! Don't even go there. I'm talking about the friendly index finger to the right directing you to a helpful tax tip. Yes, during the recent high tax-filing season that same hand and digit pointed to the Daily Tax Tip that appeared at the top of the ol' blog's right column. That feature began Jan. 6 and wrapped up with a post-April 18 bonus tip for late filers. Now, as promised (or threatened depending your your attitude about taxes), the tip is back. This time, though, it's a Weekly Tax Tip. From... Read more →


Terrible tax surprises

There's only one good tax surprise: Getting an unforeseen, or larger than expected, tax refund. But there are plenty of bad tax surprises. Missing forms. Wrong statements. A computer crash just as you're about to hit "enter" to e-file your return (and before you backed up the data). The list could go on and on. But so you want be overwhelmed with the bad news, I culled it down to five terrible tax surprises: unemployment income, alimony received, forgiven debt, prize winnings, Social Security benefits. Details on how these seemingly positive situations can turn into tax trouble are in the... Read more →


Tax tips for 2011

Keeping with today's tax tips theme, I have a story on Bankrate.com that offers 10 tasty tax tips for 2011. They're a good side dish to the blackeyed peas and greens you're having today to ensure your financial success this year. Enjoy! And Happy and Prosperous New Year! Related posts: New 2011 payroll tax tables mean bigger paychecks Give yourself a tax-related raise 13 financial superstitions for Friday the 13th Money superstitions for Friday the 13th 08.08.08: Looking for good tax luck Want to tell your friends about this blog post? Click the Tweet This or Digg This buttons below... Read more →