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Kilauea lava flow from U.S. Geological Survey via Giphy.com Hawaiians got some relatively good news this week in connection with the continuing lava flow from Mount Kilauea. The volcano is continuing to spew potentially deadly gases and pour flaming lava across a growing southeastern section of the 50th state's Big Island. The eruption, which started May 3, also is still producing explosions and earthquakes. Now, however, the catastrophe has been declared a major disaster by the White House. That is good tax news for affected residents, which is everyone on the state's largest island, also named Hawaii, as is the... Read more →


Fathers Day Happy Fathers Day GIF from Fathersday GIFs Happiest of days to all the dads out there. And thank you Sonora Dodd. Dodd was raised by her father after her mother's death during childbirth. While listening to a sermon at church on Mother's Day, Dodd thought about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too. Because Dodd's father was born in June, she encouraged churches in Spokane, Washington, where she was living, to honor fathers that month. The first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane in on June 19,... Read more →


It's a cliché because it's true. All politics is local. That applies to taxes, too. Whether you love or hate a tax law depends on how much it helps or hurts you personally. That's why this weekend's Saturday Shout Out goes to the Tax Foundation's interactive map that lets you see average 2018 tax cuts in your congressional district. If you want to go beyond your locality, you can check out the dollar differences on average make to taxpayers across the country. As you can see on the Washington, D.C.-based tax policy nonprofit's map reproduced below, you simply enter your... Read more →


Yes, as soon as I heard about the New York Attorney General filing a lawsuit against Donald J. Trump's charitable foundation, I checked the Internal Revenue Service exempt organization online search tool. There it, or they, were. When I entered Trump Foundation into the Tax Exempt Organization Search, or TEOS because everything in Washington, D.C. has an acronym, it turned up six results. The top two were what I was looking for: Trump Foundation EIN: 13-3054537 | New York, NY, United States Donald J Trump Foundation Inc. EIN: 13-3404773 | Woodbury, NY, United States Both organizations are listed in IRS... Read more →


The only folks cheering the Federal Reserve's expected decision to hike its benchmark federal funds rate by a quarter-percentage point — to a range between 1.75 percent and 2 percent — are those with savings that earn interest. But relatively speaking, there aren't that many of us. Plus, we all know that banks and other financial institutions are going to be slow to increase the interest they pay us for holding our money and when they do, the hikes will be small. Meanwhile, if you are trying to get a mortgage, don't panic but move that process along as quickly... Read more →


June's a busy month for me. Lots of family birthdays. Father's Day. Graduations. Taxes. Yep. Taxes. In June. Specifically, June 15. The midpoint of the first month of summer is a major tax deadline. Estimated taxes: The biggie for a lot of taxpayers (including me) is the second installment of 2018's estimated taxes that's due by June 15. You have several ways to make this payment — six, actually, according to the current Weekly Tax Tip. I'll let you check out the details in that other post at your leisure, but here are some of the more popular options: Credit... Read more →


The Republican's new tax law is expected to be the focus of the coming midterm elections. GOP candidates are telling taxpayers that they — or most of them, anyway — will owe the U.S. Treasury less in 2018 thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Democrats running for office, however, argue that any individual tax cuts under the new law are relatively small and, unless their colleagues across the aisle can change things in the next few months, are temporary. That ending date is Dec. 31, 2025. So who's telling the truth? It depends — wait for it... Read more →


Millions of folks filed for an extension last April, getting six more months to finish their 2017 Form 1040. They also paid their expected tax bill, or as much as they could, then so as to avoid late- or nonpayment penalties. Some taxpayers, however, always blow off this annual tax duty entirely. They don't finish he Internal Revenue Service forms. They don't send them and the money to Uncle Sam at all. They might have good reasons for the tax oversight. Or they might just be ignoring their civic tax duties. Regardless, the oversight is gonna hurt. But it doesn't... Read more →


Tax law changes mean that some previously deductible miles can no longer be claimed. (Traffic photo by Jo via Flickr) Back in March, the Internal Revenue Service announced revised inflation changes for many tax provisions that were affected by the recently-enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). One area that didn't change, however, was the list of 2018 standard mileage amounts used to calculate the driving-related tax breaks associated with medical, business, charity and moving costs. For the 2018 tax year, those cents-per-mile amounts are shown in the table below, along with the 2017 figures for folks who might be... Read more →


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle exit St. George's Chapel as husband and wife. (Photo: Kensington Royal Instagram) I'm not a fashionista, but I was impressed with Meghan Markle's wedding dress. The simple, elegant Givenchy gown was perfect. So what happens to the hand-stitched dress that reportedly cost around £100,000 (almost $135,000 U.S.)? Will it be sent to a museum? Sealed, boxed and stuck at the top of a closet for use by a next-generation bride? Lent to a friend for her coming wedding? There's another option, maybe not for the new Duchess of Sussex, but for us commoners. Donate your... Read more →


You're parents! Congratulations! Now that you've welcomed your new baby with a special name, be sure to get him or her a Social Security card before you leave the hospital. It will help in completing many of life's tasks, including filing taxes. Click image to watch the Social Security Administration's top baby names of 2017 video at YouTube. How did your folks come up with your name? Were you named after a relative? A place? A friend? A favorite movie star? By a random dart that landed on a sheet of potential handles? My grandmother named me. Well, she at... Read more →


Click image to watch the Mos Eisley cantina scene, in which these musicians provide the catchy background tune, from the 1977 Star Wars movie that launched the sci-fi film franchise. Merry May 4th. Yes, this is another goofy, made-up holiday, but one that's dear to sci-fi fans (and punsters), particularly those devoted to Star Wars. The film franchise's iconic "May the force be with you" greeting is celebrated each year on the similar sounding "May the Fourth be with you." As a long-time sci-fi fan and a college student who waited in a long line to see the 1977 debut... Read more →


@bublywater via Giphy.com If you missed this year's doubly extended tax filing deadline simply because you procrastinated, or actually over-procrastinated, then you're out of luck. If you owe tax for the 2017 tax year, interest and penalties already are piling up. If this is you — no judging here, just some advice — at least get a belated extension request into the Internal Revenue Service ASAP, along with the money you owe, to stop that costly process from getting worse. The first Weekly Tax Tip of 2018 offers some guidance on moves to make if your missed the Tax Day... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service had issues with some of its online systems on Tuesday, April 17, the day that was supposed to be the filing deadline for our 2017 tax returns. Those problems notwithstanding, e-fling and electronically paying any tax that's due today, Wednesday, April 18 — yes, today, the new filing deadline provided by the IRS to make up for its online inconveniences yesterday — is still the best move for many filers. The agency for years has been encouraging, and in some cases forcing, electronic filing and paying of taxes. The reasons are that it's easier (definitely for... Read more →


Take this broken computer and multiply by millions. That was what it felt like April 17 for many taxpayers who were trying to use IRS.gov online services to finish up their tax tasks on deadline day. (Photo by Brian Herzog via Flickr) Tax Day 2018 has been awful for a lot of folks, including those at the Internal Revenue Service. That's why the IRS is going to take another run at it on April 18. Late Tuesday, April 17, afternoon, the tax agency announced that it's going to give everyone an additional day to file and pay their taxes following... Read more →


April 17 is Tax Day 2018. That means, of course, that tax returns for last year are due. But other tax tasks also share the annual April deadline. A big one for millions of taxpayers is the filing of the year's first estimated tax payment. Estimated tax payments are made by folks who have income that isn't subject to withholding. This typically is money made from full-time self-employment, side hustles, investment income and/or prize or gambling winnings (which is often like investing, but I digress). An earlier post has the scoop on these four extra tax payments. For today's purposes,... Read more →


Source: CafePress tax jigsaw puzzle Still trying to put the pieces of your Form 1040 (or 1040A or even 1040EZ) together? Time's running out. Tax Day is almost here. Since the tax filing deadline is April 17 this year, here are 17 tax tips. Not only do they earn this week's By the Numbers honor, some could help you put together a return to send to Uncle Sam on time and at the least possible tax cost to you. 1. File on time. Yes, this first tip is obvious, but a lot of people let the filing date slip by... Read more →


"If anyone from the, uh, from the IRS is watching, I…forgot to file my, my, my 1040 return. Um, I meant to do it today, but…." That tax oversight admission was made on April 11, 1970, by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut and Apollo 13 command module pilot John "Jack" Swigert. Bill Paxton as Fred Haise, Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell and Kevin Lovell as Jack Swigert in a pivotal scene from the 1995 Universal Pictures film "Apollo 13." (Image courtesy IMBD.com) By now, everyone knows, either because they're fans of NASA (like me!) or the popular Ron... Read more →


Tax Day is less than a week away. But finishing up your 2017 Form 1040 is not the only tax task facing millions of Americans. Here are 10 tax matters that must be taken care of by April 17. 1. File your 2017 tax year federal tax return. Yeah, I started with the easy (so to speak), obvious one. But it is the reason for the tax season. If you don't get your return into or on the way if snail mailing by Tax Day, the late-filing penalty is 5 percent of the additional taxes owed amount for every month... Read more →


Federal, and most state, tax returns are due in less than a week. Don't panic! You still have time to finish your return (or get an extension). But don't be in such a rush that you make a costly mistake. Yes, errors on 1040s still happen, even though most of use tax preparation software that catches errors on our annual returns. Here are a dozen common tax mistakes that millions of taxpayers make every year. Some are directly from the Internal Revenue Service. Others are based on my and other filers' experiences. 1. Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers: This... Read more →