Tax numbers Feed

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 →


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 →


Yes, it's December. Only eight days until Christmas. Much of the United States is in the grip of a deadly winter storm. That's why I'm thinking about baseball and coming spring warmth and renewed hope, sports and otherwise. The other reason I'm thinking about baseball today is taxes. It costs Major League Baseball clubs lots of money to keep star players like Houston Astros Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio on their teams. But if they spend too much, they'll pay the league's luxury tax. (Photo of Biggio wall in Houston's Minute Maid Park by Kay Bell) Another MLB [tax] record falls: A... Read more →


Good news. A short-term spending bill is in place to keep Uncle Sam's agencies running. Better news. The money will be in place through midnight April 28, 2017, meaning that the upcoming main tax-filing season (set to kick off Jan. 23, 2017) won't be hampered by a government shutdown. President Harry S. Truman pledged in 1946 that the federal government would provide coal miners lifetime health and retirement benefits. Today, around 16,500 retired union coal miners depend on federal health care benefits. The continued federal funding for the miners' health care almost led last week to a government shutdown. (Photo... Read more →


Do you live in Lafayette, Tennessee? Or maybe you know someone who lives in this town of about 5,000 just 60 miles or so northeast of Nashville. Or perhaps you know someone who just happened to pass through there and purchased a Powerball lottery ticket. Don't get too excited if you had 32 and 16 on your Powerball ticket. This Giphy image is from an earlier drawing, not the almost $421 million jackpot won by a Tennessee ticket buyer this weekend. That lucky person bought THE Powerball lottery ticket, which last night (Saturday, Nov. 26) matched all six of the... 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 →


Taxpayers will be "trusted customers" when they file their tax returns next year. That's how the Internal Revenue Service and its state tax and private sector Security Summit partners are approaching the 2017 filing season. The group, which discussed upcoming security measures at a press conference Nov. 3, says the filing process next year will focus on and expanded features that will help ensure the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return. Paris officials last summer removed the love locks from Pont des Arts for safety reasons, but the IRS and its Security Summit partners are adding heavy duty... Read more →


Alec Baldwin has been having a field day portraying Donald Trump, the presidential candidate with, among other things, some tax issues. Click image to watch the Saturday Night Live skit from which this Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump GIF is taken. Now from the life imitates art files, Baldwin is facing his own allegations of tax avoidance. New York City art dealer Mary Boone filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court last week accusing the actor of "failing to pay sales tax." She alleges that in order to avoid New York taxes, Baldwin had the painting shipped to... Read more →


While the two major party presidential candidates have focused on corporations' overseas tax strategies, the Internal Revenue Service has been keeping an eye on individual taxpayers and their offshore accounts. Regardless of whether you call them tax havens, tax shelters or offshore accounts, they all mean $$$ for the IRS. And the IRS likes what it sees. Uncle Sam's tax agency announced last week that since it began its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program, or OVDP, in 2009, it has collected $10 billion in taxes and had 100,000 taxpayers return to full federal tax compliance. The latest $10 billion in formerly... 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 →


Have you filed your 2015 tax return yet? Don't feel bad. You are definitely not alone. The Internal Revenue Service on Friday, Oct. 7, noted that fewer than a third of the 13 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension earlier this year have yet to file. This is what my den floor looked like today as I finished up our 2015 tax return with a week to spare before the Oct. 17 extension deadline. Our taxes are done! I am pleased to say that I am no longer part of that group. I finished up my 2015 Form... Read more →


Gasoline prices were amazingly low this past summer. One reason that drivers nationwide paid less at the pump was that state gasoline excise taxes also were down. Incredibly cheap gas at HEB in Marble Falls, Texas, earlier this year. The average state gas tax across the United States was 20.72 for the second quarter of the year. That was 16 cents per gallon less than earlier in the year. But that's about to change in one of the low gas tax states. Big N.J. gas tax hike imminent: New Jersey is set to hike its gas tax by 23 cents.... Read more →


Computer users, which nowadays means almost everyone, used to be told to follow the X-file's advice when it came to cyber security: Trust No One. IRS is moving to two-step authentication for more of its online services beginning in late October. That's still true, but unfortunately, it's not enough. Crooks cracking everyone's computer codes: Nowadays, as First Lady Michelle Obama, Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton and millions of Yahoo email account owners know, in today's increasingly hackable electronic world, the operable phrase for online life is No One is Safe. And Uncle Sam's tax collector is not immune from... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is pushing via its Future State plan a transition to digital tax systems. That's life in the modern world to which all of us, in doing our taxes and other transactions, are adjusting. Unless paperwork suddenly becomes this magical (don't hold your breath), electronic tax transactions will continue to advance. But the down side of moving more tasks online is that current paper-intensive operations -- and the jobs for people who shuffle those actual documents -- are becoming obsolete. That's the fate awaiting around 7,200 IRS workers. E-filing advances kill paper jobs: The IRS announced last... Read more →


$10,162. That's how much of a federal tax refund that Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence and his wife Karen received on their 2015 tax return. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, GOP vice presidential candidate, campaigning among Ohio State tailgaters during a stop earlier this month in the key Nov. 8 election state. (Photo via @mikepence Twitter account) Since the Pences' refund is almost four times the amount of the average tax refund of $2,732 (per Internal Revenue Service filing data through May 13), the $10,162 that the Pences are getting back from Uncle Sam also earns this week's By the... Read more →


Remember back in July when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie indicated that he might end the Garden State's tax reciprocity agreement with neighboring Pennsylvania? The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River and connects Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey. It is used by commuters who live in one state and work in the other. He wasn't kidding. Friday, Sept. 2, was the last day for either state to stick with or pull out of the agreement for another year. And as the long Labor Day holiday began with lots of folks heading off for one last summer hurrah --... Read more →


Ezekiel Elliott's visit to a Seattle marijuana retailer was the big weed news this week, and yes, pot has received lots of headlines lately (more on this a little later). Apparently amazed visitors to the cannabis display at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, the first time pot plants have been open for public viewing at any U.S. state fair. This is just one piece of pot news so far this month. Click image to view the AP video via USA Today. I admit that as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I spent an inordinate amount of time following the first-round... Read more →


Need time to pay off a big tax bill? It could cost you a lot more next year if fee hikes proposed by the Internal Revenue Service go into effect. The IRS today announced plans to add a couple of new installment plan options and increase existing payment arrangement fees beginning Jan. 1, 2017. Some taxpayers could see an 87.5 percent price hike, which would produce a top fee of $225 instead of the current maximum fee of $120. And while the proposed $225 fee is the top dollar amount, the charge for another type of installment payment option would... Read more →


Only one thing is worse than getting a notice from the tax collector. Getting a notice that says you owe. OK, there is something that's even worse. That's the tax man telling you that you owe $18.4 trillion dollars. The United Kingdom's tax office recently sent a British taxpayer a notice saying he owed trillions. He handled the apparently erroneous tax bill notice in the right way. (Photo by Images Money via Flickr Creative Commons) Yes, trillion with a T. An amount with at least 13 digits before the decimal point. That's what happened this month to Giles Hembrough. Britsh... Read more →


A married couple who helped the federal government collect more than $74 million from a tax criminal finally got their financial reward last week. U.S. Tax Court building in downtown Washington, D.C. On Aug. 3, after fighting for the whistleblowing payment for four years, the anonymous tax tattletales, referred to as Petitioner 21276-13W and Petitioner 21277-13W in court documents, were awarded $17,791,607. The U.S. Tax Court ruled the husband and wife deserved the nearly $17.8 million whistleblower award, which is this week's By the Numbers figure, despite the federal government's argument that the claim was outside the scope of the... Read more →