State/Local Feed

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 →


Although separation of church and state is a key constitutional tenet in the operation of the United States government, God regularly plays an unofficial role at tax filing time. There are those folks who take his name in vain as they struggle with a particularly complex part of the tax code. Guilty! Then there are those folks who seek his divine guidance in figuring out their annual tax liability. Or, once they've done that, pray for a miracle to pay what they owe. Guilty again! But religion shouldn't have any part in defending criminal tax evasion. That's not just my... Read more →


It's National Margarita Day! Each Feb. 22, the focus is on appreciating this popular tequila-based cocktail. I'm in Texas, specifically Austin, which is the drinking-est town I've ever lived in -- not judging, just observing! -- so truth be told today is no different from the other 364 here. FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. But if you're in less alcoholically inclined location and need a special reason to enjoy a margarita, then Feb. 22 is your day. If you're looking for a drink that's a bit more elaborate that the basic one preferred by cable... Read more →


Working on your taxes this Presidents Day? You are most definitely not alone. The day following what officially is still just a celebration of Washington's Birthday is typically the busiest day of the year for Internal Revenue Service phone reps. They usually field thousands of calls per hour on the third Tuesday of every February. You can find lots of tax help and filing options on your computer and smartphone. To help ease some of tomorrow's expected call crunch, the IRS phone help line is open today, Monday, Feb. 20, even though it's a federal holiday. IRS representatives will be... 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 →


Neil Gorsuch, a federal appellate judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, has been selected by President Donald Trump to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left last year by the death of Antonin Scalia. President Donald Trump explains why he chose Neil Gorsuch, at right with his wife Marie Louise, to server on the U.S. Supreme Court. Gorsuch, 49, an Ivy Leaguer from Colorado, has a conservative judicial track record. He also formerly clerked for two Supreme Court justices, Byron White and Anthony Kennedy. If Gorsuch is confirmed, which is expected given that the... Read more →


Every year, the Internal Revenue Service makes a concerted effort to hand out more Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) money. The reason, says the tax agency, is that around 20 percent of eligible filers consistently fail to file for this refundable tax credit. But what about those who do claim the EITC? The IRS says that nationwide last year, 27 million U.S. workers and their families got $67 billion thanks to this tax credit for lower- and middle-income workers. Where EITC money goes: Not surprisingly, the most populated states account for the most EITC claims and actual dollars returned to... Read more →


Most taxpayers who file federal returns also must do the same for their state taxes. And most those state filings tend to conform to federal laws. That means that, among other things, state deadlines usually are the same as the ones set by the Internal Revenue Service. This year, it also means that state tax refunds, like their federal counterparts, are likely to be later than usual. Feb. 15 delay for certain refunds: Millions of taxpayers who claim the federal Earned Income or additional child tax credits already are dealing with delayed refund checks from Uncle Sam. The IRS is... Read more →


Free File 2017 has been open for a week. Have you tried it out yet? The partnership between Uncle Sam and the private tax software industry has been around since 2003. This year, a dozen companies are offering their services to eligible taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service and the Free File Alliance say these participating software manufactures should meet the filing needs of 70 percent of the around 153,000 million taxpayers expected to send in 2016 returns this year. Does free tax preparation and e-filing appeal to you? Check it out. But first check out these five things you should... Read more →


The online sales tax list for the world's largest online retailer gets longer. Amazon will start collecting state sales taxes on shipments to South Dakota on Feb. 1 and to Wyoming on March 1. If, however, you buy from other online vendors who ship to those states, your bills might not contain a sales tax charge. The deals each state struck with Amazon and announced this week are specific to that company only. Wyoming tax law in the works: While the decision by the Seattle-based online giant to start collecting sales taxes is welcomed by officials in South Dakota and... Read more →


I'm late blogging today (Monday, Jan. 9) because I spent the day with my Mom. All those errands my Mom and I run mean that I have to fill up my car before heading home. Unfortunately, pump prices are not as low as this $1.42 per gallon I paid for regular unleaded back in February 2016. It's not as Gilmore Girlish as it might sound. During my regular visits to her place, we run errands. And by run, I mean drive around her Central Texas community to buy groceries, visit doctors, get lunch, take her pup to the vet and... 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 →


You might have seen the suggestion that you move to lower your tax bill. I love old ads like this one for Dodge commercial trucks courtesy Alden Jewell via Flickr. Folks making this vintage move look much happier than they ever do when relocating in real life. That usually tongue-in-cheek recommendation didn't make my 12 year-end tax moves list, but all y'all are welcome to join me here in no-income-tax Texas. I must warn you, however, that if you buy a home, property taxes could eat up a chunk of what you're saving by not paying state tax on your... 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 →


A couple of days ago when I blogged about Amazon's decision to start collecting sales tax amounts in 2017 on products it ships to Louisiana, I noted "…and counting" in the list of states where this already is happening. I didn't, however, expect to have to do some more sales tax math so soon. Online shoppers in Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah will see sales taxes added to their Amazon invoices beginning Jan. 1, 2017. (Photo by Keith Williamson via Flickr Creative Commons) But Jan. 1, 2017, is the day that the online retail giant also will add sales tax... Read more →


I love Christmas. I love it so much that I convinced the hubby to put our tree up the week after Halloween. . We -- OK the hubby, at my nagging request -- put our Christmas tree up the first week of November this year. The early decorating has made for a less hectic official holiday season. My main reason is, as I said, I love Christmas. And we have a big artificial tree that takes a while to decorate with all the ornaments we've collected over all our years together. Plus, we have lots of other holiday decorations spread... Read more →


Here's a special end-of-year tax move for Louisiana online shoppers. Make sure your purchase is delivered by Dec. 31. That's the last day Pelican State consumers can get anything from Amazon with no sales tax included on the invoice. On Jan. 1, 2017, the online retail giant will start adding the appropriate sales tax amounts, both state and city, to items shipped to Louisiana addresses. The new tax addition applies to all online sellers, not just Amazon. Use tax ignored: Technically, Louisiana buyers have always owed the state's sales tax, which currently is 5 percent, and any applicable local sales... Read more →


Today is officially winter. You know what that means. Taxes. For folks in Michigan, at least. Much of the United States has been in the grips of the Weather Channel named winter storm Decima this month. The Arctic air even dropped down to the Austin area earlier this week, producing a bit of a freeze in our back yard waterfall/stream. (Click image to watch my YouTube video.) OK. Tax collection in the Great Lakes State isn't limited to the coldest months, which are pretty plentiful there. And it's not even limited to one state. Property tax bills, which actually are... 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 →