Filing Feed

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 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 →


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 →


Donald Trump doesn't move into the Oval Office for 15 more days, but the Republican-control Congress is working on legislation for him to sign into law shortly after he settles into his new digs. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was on CNBC's Squawk Box this week to discuss House efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Click image to watch the full interview. One of the president-elect's campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known (for a while longer) as Obamacare. That won't be easy, either politically and pragmatically. Delayed repeal... Read more →


It's that time of year again, tax season. Whether you're working on your Form 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) yourself or turning your annual tax-filing task 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 filing deadline. A new tip will be posted each weekday. All also will be archived on their own monthly tax tip pages -- January 2017 is posted, with February, March and April going live when those months arrive -- so you can check them out... Read more →


The first Friday the 13th of 2017 is lucky for some taxpayers. That's the day that Free File once again opens, allowing eligible folks to electronically prepare and file their 2016 tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service hasn't yet issued an official announcement about Free File 2017, but if you peruse the IRS web site (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one doing this!) you'll find the agency has updated its Free File page, a screenshot excerpt of which is shown above. UPDATE: It's official! The IRS says you can now access Free File by going to IRS.gov and... Read more →


There weren't any major tax bills in 2016. That's going to change in some form in 2017 now that the Republicans control Congress and the White House. via GIPHY But there still were plenty of tax-related matters that got attention last year. Below is my list of top 10 tax stories of 2016, starting with the one I saw as most important. And as a bonus, I also pulled out my slightly cracked crystal ball -- really, who saw the presidential election turning out like it did? -- to forecast five tax issues that we're likely to see in 2017.... Read more →


Hello, 2017. For some of us, you sure took your sweet time. Others think you arrived a tad too soon. Few of us, however, are as ready to get our taxes as done-diddly-done as is Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's annoying cheery neighbor. If you click the image, you'll see a GIF that gives you a good idea of Ned Flanders' obsessive-compulsive tendencies. While even a dedicated tax geek like myself thinks Neddie is a bit too filing gung-ho for the first day of the New Year, we all should take advantage of January's 31 days to get our 2016 taxes... Read more →


One of the big sticks that the Internal Revenue Service wields is penalties for our mistakes or willful disregard of tax laws. Some of the penalties were increased in 2016 thanks to law changes. Others are hiked each year if inflation so warrants. Here's a roundup of some major tax penalties changes ahead in 2017. Don't file, pay more: The biggie for individual taxpayers is the charge for late filing. In 2016, if you filed a return more than 60 days after the due date or any extension to file that you got, then you faced a penalty of the... Read more →


Social media sites are overrun with folks bemoaning the terrible things that happened during this year. I've even aired my grievances about 2016 before and after Festivus, so far be it from me to be pity party pooper. But here's some perspective for all of us. Military vehicles make their way down a flooded North Carolina following October's devastating Hurricane Matthew. (Photo courtesy Federal Emergency Management Agency) For millions of people worldwide, 2016 literally was a disastrous year. In the United States alone, Mother Nature pummeled the country throughout the year, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, issuing... Read more →


America's 538 electors are meeting today in their state capitals to cast votes that will make the Nov. 8 presidential election official. Although a handful of electors vowed not to vote for Donald J. Trump despite their states' election results, The Donald is expected to garner received more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to ensure he will become the 45th U.S. president next month. Click screen shot to view the ABC News/Good Morning America preview report on today's Electoral College vote. Crazy election cycle continues: The controversy surrounding the penultimate step -- the vote won't be final until... Read more →


Get out your calendars! The IRS has some tax-related dates for us. The biggie is the start of the upcoming tax-filing season. That will happen on Jan. 23, 2017. That Monday, the Internal Revenue Service says it will start processing our 2016 tax year returns. Here are some details on that day, as well as three other important tax days/deadlines in 2017. Jan. 23, 2017: In announcing the official start of the 2017 tax filing season, the IRS acknowledged that eager filers expecting refunds are likely to get their 1040s filled out well before next Jan. 23. Many software companies... Read more →


Every presidential year, some of the folks whose candidate didn't make it to the White House swear they're moving to another country. Maybe some of them got a head start this year. U.S. passports have blue covers. Thousands of Americans, however, have become expatriates this year, giving up their U.S. documents, perhaps for a United Kingdom passport like the one shown above. The Internal Revenue Service reported 1,380 expatriations in the third quarter of 2016. That just missed the record of 1,426 Americans who decided to renounce their U.S. citizenship during the same period last year. That's a huge increase... Read more →


We call it Veterans Day here in the United States. An Army veteran salutes the colors being carried in the Veterans Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 11, 2011. (Photo courtesy U.S. Army via Flickr) That Nov. 11 is such an important date is evidenced by the fact that federal holiday has escaped conversion into a Monday that wraps up a long weekend that's usually more focused on consumer spending than actual commemoration. End of the Great War: Each November we mark what originally was the official, formal end of World War I at the 11th hour of... Read more →


Welcome to Part 7 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the series' first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amounts, as well as the previously announced increase in the Social Security wage base. Note: The 2017 figures apply to 2017 returns that are due in 2018. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2016 amounts to be used in filing 2016 returns due next April. The AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax, forces some taxpayers to do extra... Read more →


It's official. We will not see Donald J. Trump's tax returns before we vote on Nov. 8. During an interview Oct. 30 on NBC's Meet the Press, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, reiterated that Trump will not release his returns until after an audit is completed. This Twitter image of Donald J. Trump signing his 2014 return on Oct. 15, 2015, is probably the closest we'll get to seeing the Republican presidential candidate's tax filings. "All right, so not before the election?" host Chuck Todd asked. "Yeah," Pence replied. Breaking election tradition, again: If the Republican presidential nominee... Read more →


Welcome to Part 2 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments, which kicked off yesterday with the tweaked income tax brackets and rates. Today we look at standard and itemized deductions, personal exemptions and limitations on these tax situations that apply to some wealthier taxpayers. Note: The 2017 figures apply to 2017 returns that are due in 2018. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2016 amounts to be used in filing 2016 returns due next April. Standard deduction amounts go up: Itemized deductions get a lot of attention. There are several of them and they require more attention... Read more →


With the Oct. 17 filing extension colliding with Hurricane Matthew's aftermath, the Internal Revenue Service today announced additional counties in which taxpayers affected by the storm will have more time to file. Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue team members rescue a dog stranded by Hurricane Matthew flooding in North Carolina. (Photo courtesy FEMA) The IRS has officially added parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina to the Hurricane Matthew areas that will get additional tax relief. It also included more counties in North Carolina counties, which it had previously announced as eligible for special storm-related tax relief.... Read more →


I spent almost two decades working in Washington, D.C. I also have covered taxes for most of my writing career. So I love acronyms. That's why I'm jazzed that the current presidential campaign has highlighted a tax-related nickname for some rich taxpayers. Here's a HINT. Got it yet? For normal folks who speak regular English, it's High Income, No Tax, aka HINT. GOP HINT: David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and current thorn in Donald J. Trump's side, notes in a recent column for The Daily Beast that the Republican nominee is an extreme example of a HINT. Before... Read more →