Recordkeeping Feed

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 →


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 Flickr. Tax saving home costs: My routine residential upkeep situation... 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 →


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. Taking tax record keeping digital: I use the word "file" broadly. I also plan to digitize as much of the material as... 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 →


Many small business owners find that one of the hardest parts of being the boss is taking care of administrative tasks. You started your business because you are good at something, like making cabinets or baking cakes or designing jewelry. All this paperwork just gets in the way! But all this paperwork is critical to your company's success. And proper recordkeeping will ensure that you don't overlook anything. Today's Daily Tax Tip looks at some business recordkeeping highlights included in IRS Publication 583, helpfully named Starting a Business and Keeping Records. Your records system choice: Generally, you can choose the... Read more →


Tax and other fun at deductible office holiday parties

'Tis the season to be jolly, but not too jolly at, as the song goes, the annual office Christmas party hop. OK, Brenda Lee doesn't specify "office" party when she sings Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, but that song is a standard at almost every holiday gathering of workers. And you want to make sure that you make the right impression on the boss who's gone to the trouble to throw the soiree. Of course, as today's second Christmas Tax Tip Tune notes, your employer also gets some help from Uncle Sam in staging the seasonal shindig. Fully deductible office... Read more →


Ella Joshua-Dixon is the latest example of the cynical adage that no good deed goes unpunished. The Detroit native just wanted to help her financially struggling hometown by letting the Motor City have her 2011 municipal tax refund of $500. And what did Detroit tax officials do? They sent her a bill for more than 10 times that. The city's income tax division contended that Joshua-Dixon owed back taxes dating to 1999 that, when interest and penalties were added, came to $5,296. Not so fast. Detroit messed with the wrong taxpayer. The 47-year-old Auburn Hills accountant had the documentation to... Read more →


Every small business owner knows that work-related miles can be a valuable tax deduction. I'm not just talking out of town trips. Every time you hit the road for a legitimate business purpose, those miles can be claimed on your Schedule C. Of course, the key to maximizing your travel deduction is good record keeping. Today's technology is here to help. Mileage tracking? There's an app for that: There are dozens of smartphone apps that can help you track your travel. AppAdvice.com has examined the electronic options and come up with its list of the best. The big winner in... Read more →


Part of your hurricane season preparation should be an accurate inventory of your property. This information is critical regardless of which destructive possibility -- hurricane, tornado, blizzard, flood, earthquake, wildfire -- might be prevalent in your area. It's also good to have even for more run-of-the-mill casualty losses. Both your insurance company and Uncle Sam will appreciate the attention to detail when you file a claim. Today's By the Numbers figure can help. It's 2194. Internal Revenue Service Publication 2194 is the agency's Disaster Resource Guide for Individuals and Businesses. The 20-page document contains information for those affected by a... Read more →


I can't watch Hoarders. First, those people are scary. And their houses are gross. But I also avoid the show because I am a bit of a pack rat and I don't want to be reminded of what could happen if I go over the "it could be useful one day" edge. That said, when it comes to taxes there are some documents you need to keep. Some only need to be stored for just a few years. A few, however, you should hang onto forever. Determining which tax material falls into what category is today's Weekly Tax Tip. Atop... Read more →


More of us are using electronic financial transactions and that includes our tax dealings. Millions of us e-file our returns, get our refunds via direct deposit and pay any outstanding tax bills electronically. A popular e-payment method is by credit card. This works for folks who have their credit card balance under control, can pay any charges in full so as to avoid interest and who earn rewards for using the card. Of course, paying your taxes by credit card also will cost you a fee. If you want to electronically pay your tax bill and avoid any extra charges,... Read more →