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Happy Birthday, America! July 4 is special to all of us Americans, the day we declared our independence from Great Britain. Taxes, as everyone knows thanks to James Otis' famous announcement that "Taxation without representation is tyranny," were among the reasons we sought to govern ourselves. And taxes, even after we gained control, continue to play a key part in our lives, politics and popular culture. James Cagney, before he became the prototypical movie gangster, was as song-and-dance man. He showed off those talents in "Yankee Doodle Dandy," the biopic of a man who not only gave us great musicals,... Read more →


Georgians who usually delay their back-to-school shopping until the end of July when the state's annual tax-free shopping weekend rolls around can go ahead and buy on their own timetable this year. Georgia has canceled its 2017 late summer sales tax holiday. Every summer, shoppers in around a dozen states can buy sales tax free school supplies thanks to tax holidays. That's not the case this year in Georgia, which has canceled its 2017 tax-free weekend event. (Photo by Kay Bell) The event had been penciled in for the weekend of July 29-30. Get out your taxable erasers, Georgia shoppers,... Read more →


Since the iPhone debuted a decade ago, it's become an indispensable personal and business tool, with accompanying tax issues to consider. Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPhone at MacWorld in January 2007. iPhone mania was in full swing six months later when, on June 29, 2007, with crowds camping out at Apple stores to be the first to own the 1st Gen/2G telecommunications device. (Click screenshot to view full presentation on YouTube) What were you doing 10 years ago today? If you're an extreme tech geek, you were among the thousands waiting to get your hands on the first ever... Read more →


Walt Disney attorneys contend that the values of its properties are as inflated as these Disney World balloons and have gone to court to get new assessments. (Photo by Davidlohr Bueso via Flickr) Walt Disney's namesake recreational areas have built their vacation reputations on being the happiest places on Earth. But the company's tax lawyers are in decidedly bad moods after getting what they say are excessive tax year 2016 property value assessments of their Sunshine State parks. So Disney is taking the Orange Country, Florida, property appraiser to court. Dozens Disney tax suits: Disney Parks and Resorts have filed... Read more →


When Donald J. Trump gets back from his first trip abroad as president, he's going to come home to something all homeowners dread. There's a problem at the house. OK, with Trump we have to ask which house? While there's plenty going on and going wrong in Washington, D.C., right now, I'm talking about the abode 45 calls the Winter White House, otherwise known as Mar-a-Lago. One of the views of Ma-a-Lago showcased on the private club's website. A sinkhole opened up this week in the street outside his landmark Palm Beach, Florida mansion. Traffic alert first: The news of... Read more →


Remember that recent economic analysis that said Americans were more in debt than they've been in almost a decade? The bulk of that debt is housing related, but student debt also is a big contributor to the growing owing. Households today are borrowing differently than they did nine years ago, note New York Times reporters Michael Corkery and Stacy Cowley. The latest data show that student loan debt, driven by soaring tuition costs, makes up 11 percent of total household debt, up from 5 percent in the third quarter of 2008. Nice days mean students can turn their college campus... Read more →


Bees are critical for pollinating not just flowers, but food crops. That's why in some cases, states exempt them and other beneficial insects from taxes. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons) Don't squash that bug! It might be worth a tax break. "While many states offer sales and use tax exemptions for agricultural products used for farming purposes, the states differ in their tax treatment of beneficial insects," writes Emilie Burnette at BNA's SALT Talk Blog. (For non-tax types who found this post by Googling "insect," SALT is the acronym for state and local tax.) She cites California, where the Golden State's... Read more →


The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on this day 67 years ago. President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday to thank U.S. military members for their service in support of our country. On Aug. 31, 1949, Truman's Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of Armed Forces Day to replace the separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. It was a logical move given the unification under Truman's administration of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense. President John F. Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official holiday in... Read more →


In an exclusive NBC News interview with Lester Holt, the president mentioned the letter, released today, that discusses what his attorneys say show only tangential connections to Russian money. Click image to watch the full NBC news interview. Still no Donald J. Trump tax returns, but today we got another letter from his lawyers regarding his taxes, specifically whether there was any Russian-sourced income on his filings over the last 10 years. The letter, from partners Sheri Dillon and William Nelson of the Washington, D.C., branch of international law firm Morgan Lewis, was addressed to Trump and "hereby confirm[ed] the... Read more →


More Americans believe the Trump Administration will hike their taxes rather than cut them, according to a new poll. The CBS News survey found 38 percent believe the president will raise their taxes, 25 percent believe he will lower them and 33 percent think their tax bills won't change. The tax increase belief was strongest among poll participants who made less than $100,000. The telephone poll, conducted between April 21-24 by SSRS of Media, Pennsylvania, was released by CBS News on Wednesday, April 26, the same day that the White House revealed its latest tax reform plan. That tax plan,... Read more →


An autographed photo of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and the NBA team's head coach Gregg Popovich from Daniel Lewis' autograph collection. Another Coach Pop signature on a restaurant receipt with a really, really big tip is now getting attention. Gregg Popovich is in the midst of going for his sixth NBA championship as a head coach, but he's already the champ to one Memphis, Tennessee, restaurant employee. Pop, as the coach of the San Antonio Spurs is known, apparently left an almost 613 percent tip after a visit April 21 to McEwen's on Monroe. The dollar amount... Read more →


Did you hear the Amazon.com tax news? No, I'm not talking about the online retailing giant's decision to collect sales tax in all the U.S. jurisdictions that have the levies. A U.S. Tax Court ruling on Internal Revenue Service attempts to collect more tax from an Amazon U.S.-Luxembourg arrangement went the global internet giant's way, saving it billions in taxes. The Seattle-based company also was a big winner last week when it comes to paying tax. We're talking $1.5 billion big. That's how much a U.S. Tax Court ruling on March 23 apparently has saved Amazon. European location, U.S. taxes:... Read more →


When Amazon starts collecting sales tax from internet buyers in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Mexico on April 1, it will mean the online retailer will be a tax collector for all 45 states and the District of Columbia that have the levies. No, it's not a bad April Fools' joke targeting online shoppers. On this April 1, Amazon really will start collecting state sales taxes nationwide. The Seattle-based internet retailer already was adding the tax line to invoices in most of the 45 states and District of Columbia that have sales (or similar) taxes. Now, final deals have been... Read more →


Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, have increased in popularity since they were created in 2004. More than 20 million people now have these particular medical savings plans, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) survey last fall. KFF's analysis also found that the average account balance grew by more than a third last year to more than $1,800. Growth of HSAs could speed up under a Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Various GOP alternatives for Obamacare call for expansion of HSAs. High deductibles required: HSAs not only offer a way for account owners to pay medical bills, they... Read more →


On April 1, Idaho residents will join the almost nationwide list of places where Amazon collects sales tax. No kidding. That day the Gem State will become the 42nd state — and 43rd taxing jurisdiction overall thanks to Washington, D.C., being part of the group — where buyers will have to pay sales tax on purchases delivered by the world's largest online retailer. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, in a statement issued to the Boise television station KTVB, called Amazon's tax collection decision "a matter of fairness." In addition to helping the state collect more revenue, Otter said the Seattle-based... Read more →


Amazon's tax collection system expands on March 1 with Oklahoma and Wyoming joining the ever-growing list of locations where online customers will see sales tax added to their purchases. Photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr In February, five more states -- Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont, joined the Amazon sales tax list. With the addition tomorrow, March 1, of two more, that will bring the number of taxing jurisdictions where the Seattle-based online retail giant will be collecting sales levies to 41. In addition to collection sales tax on products shipped to Washington, D.C., the table below shows... Read more →


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 →


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 →


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 →