Recordkeeping Feed

Feeling generous? Good. It's Giving Tuesday. This philanthropic effort, usually seen as #GivingTuesday on social media, began in 2012 as a counter to the frantic shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Giving Tuesday's goal is to fight the commercialization and consumerism of Christmas and other end-of-year holidays. Instead of buying more goods for family, friends or yourself, Giving Tuesday organizers urge gifts to nonprofits. Such donations, the Internal Revenue Service reminds us, could produce a gift for you — a tax deduction — when you file your annual tax return next year. As noted in a... Read more →


Records, tax and financial, are often among the property damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. If you're lucky, you might be able, like this woman, to salvage some of the documents. If not, you'll need to recreate them to take advantage of tax-related storm relief. (Image courtesy Louisiana Law Blog) Maybe you didn't think the hurricane's flood waters would reach your neighborhood. Or maybe you just never kept copies, either paper or digital, of your financial and tax records. Now, however, you find you're among the millions dealing with Hurricane Harvey aftermath that destroyed much of the Texas Gulf... Read more →


Before you can write off your business expenses, you must show that you were indeed trying to turn a profit. That basic business tax tenet was confirmed by a recent U.S. Tax Court decision. In a summary opinion, Special Trial Judge Daniel A. Guy, Jr., sustained the Internal Revenue Service’s accuracy-related penalty against Eric Zudak based on tax that was reduced by incorrect business expenses claims. The judge held that Zudak wasn’t entitled to a deduction for expenses he paid for his film festival activity because he didn’t conduct the activity in a businesslike manner or engage in the activity... Read more →


Since the iPhone debuted a decade ago, it's become an indispensable personal and business tool, with accompanying tax issues to consider. Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPhone at MacWorld in January 2007. iPhone mania was in full swing six months later when, on June 29, 2007, with crowds camping out at Apple stores to be the first to own the 1st Gen/2G telecommunications device. (Click screenshot to view full presentation on YouTube) What were you doing 10 years ago today? If you're an extreme tech geek, you were among the thousands waiting to get your hands on the first ever... Read more →


How do I celebrate each May 5th? With guacamole, cerveza y tax tips! That means here in our Texas casa, every day basically is Cinco de Mayo. Yes, there really is a tax component to Cinco de Mayo beyond the use of my poco Español as a framework for this list. That's why I feel justified in urging you — before you lift a glass, be it brimming with Dos XX or a margarita, to commemorate Mexico's victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla on this day in 1862 — to check out these five tax-smart tax moves.... Read more →


An autographed photo of San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and the NBA team's head coach Gregg Popovich from Daniel Lewis' autograph collection. Another Coach Pop signature on a restaurant receipt with a really, really big tip is now getting attention. Gregg Popovich is in the midst of going for his sixth NBA championship as a head coach, but he's already the champ to one Memphis, Tennessee, restaurant employee. Pop, as the coach of the San Antonio Spurs is known, apparently left an almost 613 percent tip after a visit April 21 to McEwen's on Monroe. The dollar amount... Read more →


I got in my car for the first time in 2017 today. It also was my first use of my new mileage log. Yep, that pretty little pink spiral notebook is this year's tracking device of all my potentially tax deductible miles. And yep, those of you who know me know that I'm not really a pink kind of gal. This notebook was tucked in bag I got at a conference. Over the years, I've attended a lot of conferences and gotten a whole lot of similar notebooks, so I use a new one each tax year. What miles to... Read more →


Sometimes you just have to feel sorry for the Internal Revenue Service. The federal tax agency finally brings its Get Transcript online service back fully online after more than a year and BAM! It gets smacked. Click image to go to the new, more secure Get Transcript website. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration today issued a report charging that that the IRS missed some taxpayers whose information fell into criminal hands in last year's Get Transcript hack. What the crooks were after: The online Get Transcript tool, which now requires a tougher, two-step authentication process in order to... Read more →


Hello 2016! Some of us (not me) got up early to welcome you. Others (me, as you can tell from the posting time on this item) are still easing into this brand new year. But one thing that most of us soon will be doing, regardless of our post-New Year's Eve celebration energy level, is making New Year's resolutions. Yeah, I know making resolutions is the annual, and usually temporary, victory of hope over experience. Most of our attempts to make ourselves and our lives better, at least within the strictures of quick and catchy Jan. 1 lists of goals,... Read more →


The highway funding bill that President Obama signed today may be short-term (money runs out again on Oct. 29) when it comes to providing money for roads and infrastructure, but it will have some lasting tax effects. Here are some of the tax highlights from the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. More mortgage reporting: Mortgage lenders already issue annual statements, either the official Form 1098 or an approved substitute document, to borrowers and the Internal Revenue Service. This form goes to homeowners who paid at least $600 loan interest during the tax year and... Read more →


Jeb Bush really did have 33 years of tax returns on hand and he opened them up for public inspection yesterday. When the former Florida governor announced that as part of his campaign to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee that he was going to go to the extreme on personal tax transparency, I immediately wondered why he selected that particular number of years. I also wondered how come he had that many years of tax records on hand. I was not alone. CPA and Twitter pal Deanna Richardson also was intrigued by the massive amount of tax records. Most... Read more →


Tuesday was a dark day at the Internal Revenue Service. Literally. The tax agency's downtown Washington, D.C., headquarters was among buildings in the national capital hit by a blackout. The White House also was affected, along with many of the city's popular museums and some Maryland suburbs, including the University of Maryland in College Park. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., goes dark. Generators kicked in for many offices, but not at the IRS. Unable to work, the tax HQ closed early yesterday afternoon. The good news is that the outage did not affect any tax processing or tax... Read more →


OK, I swear that I'll quit highlighting the Daily Tax Tip soon. But today's advice on 7 ways to get organized for the tax-filing season is good! It's so good, in fact, that I just talked with a writer at The Street about this important matter. Here's some of our discussion. Old 1040, new filing guide: Start with last year's tax return. It's a good guide/reminder of what's likely to be on your 2014 return if your life hasn't changed that much. There is a method to my personal tax filing madness organization system, honest! It includes rough drafts on... Read more →


I been on a tidying up kick of late. As the before and after photos below show, I finally found my office's floor. The old material at left was filed or tossed. Mostly filed. I also sorted through my grocery coupon collection. Fighting all my hoarder instincts, I threw out old ones, some I've had for decades, finally admitting I'd never use them. I know the employees at my local grocery store will be happy that I won't be tempted by these old savings slips. When I did use a "no expiration date" coupon a couple of years ago, the... Read more →


This post reviewed and some links updated March 30, 2017. Apparently the work gods think I need time off this week. Yesterday I lost a couple of hours taking care of family business. Today our house is intruding on office time. As I type, a plumber is working on my kitchen sink faucet. I'm lurking in the adjacent den, hoping that it's a minor repair. I'm also hoping that he'll be able to finish the job today. Thankfully, this isn't my faucet. But I called the plumber to keep it from getting to this point. Photo by Julie Zamostny via... Read more →


I'm on a business trip this week in Orlando, attending the Internal Revenue Service's final Nationwide Tax Forum of 2014. The hubby and I have been here many times on pleasure travel. You're right, we have no kids, but we're kids at heart. What can I say; I loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride long before Johnny Depp created Capt. Jack Sparrow. We talked about tacking on a few days to this Sunshine State visit to see how Mickey and Harry Potter have held up since we moved from the state in 2005. But after much consideration, the hubby... Read more →


This post was updated Sept. 13, 2017. My goal this summer, as it has been for the past few summers, is to get my office in order. Yeah, that's my office floor. Stacks of old publications and materials from the tax and blogger conferences I've attended. It's not by any stretch of the imagination a good system. So I swear that in the next few months I will go through these paper piles, determine what is still relevant, file it and dispose of the rest. UPDATE: I finally did it! Check out the photographic proof, along with 5 tax record... Read more →


Gambling and sports are inextricably linked. Sometimes the betting on games is legal, as with the Las Vegas casino sports books. Other times, folks make illegal bets with bookies. But it's rare that a professional athlete will admit to any type of gambling. John Daly, however, is a rare breed indeed. The professional golfer recently talked openly about his gambling addiction that led to losses of $55 million, possibly as much as $57 million. Click the image of the sartorially bold John Daly to view his full interview with Graham Bensinger for Yahoo Sports. Actually, Daly's losses were more than... Read more →


Has all the attention given Google's driverless car got you thinking about your auto? If you're a business owner, it could be the perfect vehicle. Photo courtesy Google It has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal to mess with. You use your smartphone or tablet app to summon the vehicle, set your route, get in and go. Then just sit back and enjoy as the Google machine takes you to your destination. If it's to a business meeting, you can use the time you otherwise would be driving to polish your presentation. Or you can call your spouse to... Read more →


This post was updated March 31, 2017. Original text can be found here. Claiming a home office can help reduce your sole proprietor tax bill. But do so typically entails a lot of record keeping. Some small business owners, however, might find that the simplified home office deduction works just find for them. A home office helper, courtesy lisadragon via Flicker CC. This option, which first appeared as a deduction choice for 2013 federal tax returns, is easier. But there's also a limit on how much it can help, meaning that the easier way to claim a home work space... Read more →