Payroll tax Feed

One way to survive working on your tax return with a deadline looming -- April 18 this year -- is to make sure you don't make any easily avoidable filing mistakes. Similarly, you don't want to overlook any tax breaks. I guess that technically omitting a tax claim could be considered a mistake, but for the sake of keeping things clear -- and for providing an added blog post topic! -- I've separated them. Searching for tax breaks? Below are 18. (James Corden GIF via And to save you time in your search for ways to cut your tax... Read more →

Tax deductions, whether itemized or above-the-line, and tax credits can save you money, but they do so in different ways. A deduction lowers the amount of your income on which tax is figured. Less income generally means a lower tax bill. A credit, however, is an even better tax reduction tool. Credits are claimed once you figure your tax liability and they then reduce what you owe Uncle Sam dollar for dollar. That means a $1,000 tax credit could cut your $2,000 tax bill in half. Even better, a few tax credits are refundable. As the name indicates, these credits... Read more →

Allgreens, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, has won its cash payment battle with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS demands electronic payroll tax deposits. Allgreens, however, began making its federal employee withholding tax payments in cash after its bank, leery of working with a business that Uncle Sam deems illegal, closed the dispensary's account. So although Allgreens was meeting its federal tax obligations in full and on time, it also was racking up penalty charges for not making them in the form the IRS wants. Allgreens headed to U.S. Tax Court. Now, however, the case is moot. The IRS... Read more →

It's been a busy week for folks who follow retirement-related numbers. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service's announcement of 2015 inflation adjustments for various retirement plans, the Social Security Administration released how the cost of living will affect that government benefit and workers who contribute to it. These annual cost-of-living changes have been a part of the popular government retirement program since 1975. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935. Participating in the landmark law's enactment are, standing left to right, Rep. Robert Doughton (D-N.C.); unknown person in shadow; Sen. Robert Wagner (D-N.Y.);... Read more →

Workers have been paying the full 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax for almost two years now. You remember this so-called tax holiday in place in 2011 and 2012. During those years, the deduction from your pay that goes toward the federal retirement program was reduced by 2 percentage points to 4.2 percent. The matching employers' portion stayed at 6.2 percent. The payroll tax cut for workers was made so that folks would have a few more dollars to spend, giving the sluggish economy a buying boost. But after two years, Congress decided enough was enough and let the payroll... Read more →

Happy Labor Day, my fellow workers. Labor Day's first observance is generally thought to be Sept. 5, 1882. On that day, around 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. Since everyone loves a parade, the Big Apple celebration inspired similar events across the country. By 1894, more than half the states were observing a "working men's holiday" on various days. Later that year, Congress passed legislation and President Grover Cleveland signed into law the country's official designation of Labor Day as the first Monday in September each year. So who's celebrating? American worker jobs: Every year, the... Read more →

It's tough being a small business owner. It's especially tough when no financial institution will handle your accounts or provide you with loans. That's the situation with which dealers in legal marijuana nationwide have been coping. But things may be about to change. On July 16, the U.S. House passed a bipartisan amendment by a 231-to-192 vote that prevents the Treasury Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission from spending any funds to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. Marijuana retailer courtesy Marijuana sales are legal in 33 states and... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service likes to get its money. It also really likes to receive it electronically. The IRS is so committed to electronic transactions that has mandated more and more of them, especially for business taxpayers. One reason for required e-filing and electronic tax payments, says the IRS, it that the system helps reduce taxpayers' burdens. Not so, says one small business in Colorado. Allgreens LLC of Denver says the federal tax collector's insistence on electronic transactions is costing it millions of dollars in penalties that it can't avoid. And it's asking the U.S. Tax Court to change that.... Read more →

2013 was not a good year for rich folks. That's when tax laws designed to get more money from the wealthy went into effect. And making matters even worse for those with bigger bank balances is that there's no universal tax definition of just how much money makes you rich! Today's Daily Tax Tip, courtesy my slide show at, looks at five higher taxes on wealthy taxpayers. A couple of the new, higher taxes are part of Affordable Care Act, popularly (or unpopularly, depending on your political persuasion) known as Obamacare. The others are part of the American Taxpayer... Read more →

In addition to the many dollar amounts that the Internal Revenue Service adjusts annually for inflation, a key figure that affects our taxes is the Social Security Administration's official contribution and benefit base. For us working stiffs, this is the amount of our income that is subject to Social Security taxation. This is part of the payroll tax, also known as FICA (short for Federal Insurance Contributions Act), that comes out of salaried workers' checks and goes toward the federal retirement benefits program. The tax rate is 6.2 percent for employees with employer contributions matching that rate. The Social Security... Read more →

Just like Sen. Ted Cruz, I'm on my spouse's company health care policy. That and a Texas address are the only thing the Tea Party darling and I share. Because Ted and Heidi Nelson Cruz and the hubby and I have workplace-provided medical insurance, we get a chance in the coming weeks to decide exactly what type of coverage and other related workplace benefits we want for the coming year. Yep, it's annual workplace open enrollment season. Like many employer-provided plans, our options are part of a cafeteria plan, so named because they allow employees to select benefits from a... Read more →

Remember back in the spring when the Internal Revenue Service admitted that losing operating funds because of sequestration will hamper the agency's audit efforts? It's happening again. About a month after sequestration kicked in on March 1, then Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller told a House appropriations subcommittee that budget cuts will mean, among other things, fewer audits. Last week when the IRS had to determine which jobs were essential, it decided that return examination, which is what the agency calls audits, wasn't. Tax audits, as I noted last week at my other tax blog, are among the IRS activities... Read more →

While Capitol Hill lawmakers are screwing around considering ways to deal with the country's impending financial deadlines, Congress' independent budget analysts announced some good fiscal news. The U.S. Treasury picked up $284 billion in August. That added revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), means Uncle Sam's budget deficit at the end of last month was $411 billion smaller than at the comparable period last year. That sizable reduction, making the budget deficit around $753 billion for the first 11 months of the 2013 fiscal year, is noteworthy. At this point in 2012, the budget deficit was $1.164 trillion.... Read more →

Remember the infamous 47 percent of people who didn't pay taxes? Sure you do. Those were the folks cited in a 2009 estimate by the Tax Policy Center (TPC) who inadvertently sabotaged Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's quest for the White House when he was caught on video tape characterizing them as government dependent takers instead of economic growth makers. That group is now 4 percent smaller, according to the latest analysis by TPC, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. The 43 percent of Americans whom TPC analysts project won't owe federal income taxes in 2013... Read more →

When I started working, a handful of companies still offered their workers a pension plan. I'm talking a real pension plan, one where the business alone set aside some money that you could collect each month after you retired. Back then, financial planners regularly referred to pensions as one leg of the three-legged retirement planning stool: pension payments, personal savings and Social Security benefits. Those three retirement components account for this week's By the Numbers figure. But retirement planning has gotten much more complicated in recent years. Two wobbly legs: We continue to hear about Social Security's financial troubles. Whether... Read more →

Welcome to June, the month that brings us June bugs, June brides and the official arrival of almost everyone's favorite season, summer. And while it's tempting to focus on vacations to pristine beaches and mountain cabins, lazy days with no classes and a general slower outlook on life, you still need to pay some attention to your taxes. So here are a few June Tax Moves to make in the coming days. Not to run my meteorology fixation into the ground, but we all need to be aware of the overlap of the tornado season -- what's Mother Nature's problem... Read more →

When things aren't going well, most of us have plenty of ways to explain what's going wrong. Now we can add another excuse reason for some of our problems. Taxes. A Harris Interactive poll conducted for the American Institute of CPAs found that stress, brought on by less money due to higher taxes, is taking a toll on our waistlines, friendships and sleep. "Mounting money pressures are making Americans cranky, tired and unhealthy," said Ernie Almonte, chair of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. "This can lead to a double whammy, with ensuing physical and emotional stress potentially leading... Read more →

The stock market is soaring. Unemployment is down. More houses are being built. And today Uncle Sam reported that we're spending more at stores. The economy's back, baby! Not so fast. Yes, Department of Commerce data show that retail sales in February were stronger than anticipated. Total sales last month were up 1.1 percent over the January numbers and were 4.6 percent higher than in February 2012. Those numbers were substantially better than projections of a 0.5 percent monthly increase and a 0.2 percent annual improvement. But there's a definite divide in recent spending patterns. "The things you'd expect the... Read more →

It's been almost two months since employers began withholding Social Security taxes from workers at the rate of 6.2 percent of wages. Workers in 2011 and 2012 had a little more money to spend thanks to the payroll tax holiday. But this two-percentage-point cut in the Social Security tax withheld from workers' paychecks expired on Dec. 31, 2012. That, says a recent survey, is why we're seeing less consumer spending in early 2013. Tax Policy Center analysts estimate that the full 2013 payroll tax will mean an average loss of about $740 to every worker. And a just-released poll commissioned... Read more →

The end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 all came together in a blur, thanks in large part to Congressional procrastination that led to a mad rush to pass fiscal cliff legislation. So it's no surprise that what is and isn't in the eventual fiscal cliff tax bill dominated 2013's debut discussion last week at my other tax blog. The first Bankrate Taxes Blog post of 2013 arrived with an unwanted welcome: Happy higher new year payroll tax. The 6.2 percent payroll tax amount was not part of fiscal cliff talks and quietly returned on Jan. 1. That means... Read more →