Tax numbers Feed

As a wife of many years, I appreciate it when a couple likes to share big moments. But such spousal closeness backfired spectacularly when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought his wife, Louise Linton, with him when he went to check out his signature that's now appearing on U.S. currency. But before we get to the drama, let's look at the changes coming to our dollars. Handwriting gets grade A: The good news for Mnuchin is that while folks still might have trouble pronouncing his name, they can at least read his signature. That's more that can be said for his... Read more →


One of the surprise differences in the Senate tax plan as compared to the House bill is in the treatment of state and local taxes, referred to by tax geeks (guilty!) as SALT. Both the House and Senate tax bills would eliminate the deductions for state and local income and sales taxes. The Senate, however, makes no accommodation for real estate taxes. That hard tax line also was originally taken by the House. But GOP leaders there, facing backlash from their members in districts where voters pay big real estate tax bills, acquiesced. The House bill revision allows the property... Read more →


$13 billion. That's how much nonprofits say Republican-proposed changes to the tax code could cost them each year. Even though the GOP's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would keep the itemized deduction for charitable donations, it's one of just a handful that will remain on Schedule A. In exchange for the elimination of most itemized write-offs, the House tax reform proposal calls for almost doubling the standard deduction. That shift in federal tax deduction strategy could pose a major problem for the thousands of U.S. nonprofits that rely on contributions. Fewer itemizers = less donations: Now, about a third of... Read more →


Picking up some extra cash is nothing new. People have always taken on added work when they've needed or wanted a few more dollars. Now, however, side hustles have become a viable employment option. They've also become a problem for the Internal Revenue Service. Growing gigs: The head of Intuit, the maker of TurboTax tax preparation software, noted earlier this year that more than a third of the U.S. workforce participates in the gig economy and it's growing. "We think self-employed [work] has a lot of opportunity for growth as we look ahead," said Intuit CEO Brad Smith said back... Read more →


Welcome to Part 3 of the ol' blog's series on 2018 inflation adjustments. Today we look at changes next year to retirement and pension plans. You can find links to all 2018 inflation posts in the first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Note: The 2018 figures apply to 2018 returns that are due in 2019. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2017 amounts to be used in filing 2017 returns due next April. Maxing out your retirement plans, both those offered at your job and your separate IRAs, can help you build an overflowing nest egg. As Congress explores... Read more →


Aerial view on Oct. 9 of a damaged home in the mountainous area of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, many homes, businesses, roads and bridges suffered major damages due to strong winds and heavy rain. (Photo by Andrea Booher, FEMA) To borrow from James Taylor's plaintive classic, the Internal Revenue Service has seen fire and rain and is making tax accommodations for Americans having to deal with those disastrous aftermaths. Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, pummeling the U.S. territory with category 5 force. Three weeks later, many of the island's 3.4 million residents are... Read more →


A proposal to limit certain business estate valuation discounts is outta here under the Treasury's finalized list of eight tax regulations it wants to eliminate or substantially revise. Remember back in July when the U.S. Treasury announced eight tax regulations it said were burdensome and needed to be changed or axed? Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his staff have now finalized what they want to do with these eight rules. Three would be tossed out, including one that many say hurt family-owned and operated businesses. Two would be partially revoked. The final three would be substantially revised. "This is only... Read more →


Congress hopes to move beyond talk and have tax reform details in writing by mid-November. The Senate Budget Committee released its 2018 budget blueprint on Sept. 29, setting the stage for up to $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years. That's an astounding, alarming, amazing, pick-your-adjective amount. But the figure that caught my eye, and which earns this week's By the Numbers honor, is 13. As in Nov. 13. That's the date set in the Senate budget resolution by which it wants some legislative flesh attached to the framework of a tax reform that Republicans released on... Read more →


Owners of small businesses, like these along Story City, Iowa's main street, are hoping federal tax reform will provide them some financial relief. (Photo by Brood_wich via Flickr CC) It looks like the Graham-Cassidy attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare is running out of steam, thanks once again to Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain. That means Capitol Hill can shift its full attention to the tax code. Republicans say they'll release more tax reform details the week of Sept. 25. Small business owners should be happy. Tax reform tops biz concerns: The latest Paychex Small Business Survey, conducted in late... Read more →


Bitcoin continues to confound financial and tax officials worldwide. BTC China, the country's first and largest digital currency exchange, announced Thursday, Sept. 14, that would stop trading by the end of the month. One reason apparently is the Chinese government ban instituted days earlier of fund-raising for new digital currencies. Although China embraced Bitcoin trading, the virtual currency's growth has increasingly worried the nation's regulators. One of the concerns was tax evasion. "Because it is traded anonymously and peer to peer, Bitcoin makes it easy for money laundering and tax evasion," Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People's Bank of... Read more →


Identity thieves got access to personal information on 143 million Americans by hacking into credit reporting bureau Equifax's data base in late July. If you have credit, you're screwed. Thanks Equifax. Equifax is one of three major companies that tracks the credit worthiness of American consumers. The other two are Experian and TransUnion. These repositories of how we pay, or don't, our bills are where lenders, landlords and even potential employers go for information before making decisions that affect our lives. Equifax also is where criminals went for all our personal data they need to steal our financial identities and... Read more →


Houston paramedic Jesus Contreras, shown with some of his coworkers, was brought to the United States by his mother when he was just six. He is one of the almost 800,000 young people facing potential deportation if the Trump Administration revokes an Obama-instituted immigration leniency action. Click image to see the full NBC News report, via Twitter, on Contreras and the law. The White House is expected to make a decision on President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 5. UPDATE, Sept. 5: It's official. DACA is ending. In a press conference this... Read more →


People are still being rescued in flooded Houston, so very few — even those who made it through Hurricane Harvey relatively unscathed — are thinking about taxes right now. But when they do begin to face rebuilding their post-storm lives, one of the things they'll have to deal with is taxes. A Texas National Guard soldier rescues a woman from her Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston neighborhood. (Photo by 1Lt. Zachary West, 100th MPAD, via Flickr Creative Commons) The Internal Revenue Service has some good news for folks in Houston and its flooded surroundings, as well as those in other areas... Read more →


Congress is looking to revise at least part of the bloated U.S. tax code in the coming months. In addition to reducing taxes, lawmakers say they want to make things simpler for taxpayers. In support of this argument, politicians and policy groups often point to the Internal Revenue Code’s complexity and compare it unfavorably to other nations. Our closest ally, however, shares a lot of the same tax troubles, at least according to one British economics writer. Growing British tax code: "Every [English] government promises to simplify taxes. None succeeds. We need more scrutiny of schemes that are too easy... Read more →


Downtown Seattle seen from Queen Anne Hill, with the Space Needle standing out and Mount Rainier in the background. (Photo by Rattlhed via Wikimedia Commons) Washington is one of seven states that does not have a personal income tax, but it’s largest city plans to collect one from its wealthiest residents. If the courts let it. On July 14, Seattle City Council bill 119002 became ordinance 125339, which beginning in 2018 will officially impose an income tax on high-income residents. The 2.25 percent tax will apply to individuals within the city's borders with an annual income exceeding $250,000 a year,... Read more →


Look out tax criminals, there’s a new sheriff in town. OK, technically Don Fort is not a sheriff. But as the new Chief of Criminal Investigation (CI) for the Internal Revenue Service, he is the tax agency’s top law enforcement officer. Last week, he announced some of CI’s goals, which include going after bad tax guys nationwide and internationally. Fort discussed three areas in which CI will be more involved and touched on how the tax agency’s stretched resources can be supplemented by a data driven investigative strategy. Traditional tax cases remain job one: Some things, however, won’t change. “First... Read more →


Wisconsin workers soon could be working at new Foxconn plant if state lawmakers approve huge tax benefits for the Taiwanese electronics company. Are you worried that your next iPhone will cost more than you planned now that Foxconn is opening a plant in Wisconsin? The Taiwanese electronics supplier will be paying U.S. employees much more — an average of almost $54,000 a year plus benefits annually — than workers who put together Apple products in China. Don't be. Foxconn's American operation won't be making smartphone components. Instead, it will produce liquid-crystal display panels for televisions and computer screens. But Wisconsin... Read more →


On the presidential campaign trail, Donald J. Trump promised to end many federal agency regulations. It's one pledge he's delivered. The day he moved into the White House, Trump's chief of staff issued an memo to agency heads calling for a freeze on rules that Obama Administration officials finalized before leaving office, but that have not yet taken effect. The Jan. 20 document basically sets up the framework for the Administration's framework for his deregulation policy. That was followed by Executive Order (EO) #13777 on Feb. 24 to reduce federal regulation and control regulatory costs. It calls for agencies to... Read more →


Honestly, rich people. You can afford to hire good tax advisers and accountants. Why don't you?!? That's the question I ask every time another celebrity gets in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Last week it was boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. Now the latest wealthy person who just can't get a grip on taxes is hip-hop icon DMX. Although rapper DMX seemed pretty composed after his court appearance last week on tax evasion charges, I suspect at some point this was his reaction to the federal charges. The 46-year-old rapper, whose legal name is Earl Simmons, is accused of 14... Read more →


Undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. is trying to avoid a knockout from the Internal Revenue Service. Mayweather still owes the federal tax collector a reported $22.s million for his 2015 taxes. That year, Mayweather reportedly earned as much as $230 million for besting Manny Pacquiao in the heavily promoted Fight of the Century. Floyd Mayweather's official weigh-in before his 2015 fight with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. Money earned on that match is at the center of an unpaid tax bill battle Mayweather's waging with the IRS. (Photo courtesy Pixabay via Wikimedia Commons) Rich, but tax cash poor: Mayweather... Read more →