Taxes Feed

Most folks have their income taxes, both federal and state, withheld from their paychecks. While your employer (or, in many cases, the payroll company it hires) will take care of the amount that comes out each pay period, it's up to you to make sure it's correct. Filling out your W-4: Your withholding is based on the information you provide on Form W-4. The key factor on this document is your number of withholding allowances. The more allowances you claim, the less tax withheld. The reasoning is that you need the money in hand each payday to take care of... Read more →


Christina Knaack decided to use her federal tax refund the way many folks do. She paid for necessary living expenses. But the single mom from Gaffney, South Carolina, took her refund use to the next level. She paid for her full year's rent. Cristina Knaack's Facebook photo of her $5,400 receipt for paying all of her 2017 rent. "I'm a single mom and I do it all by myself on a minimum wage job. I know that a roof over my kids' head is what's important." Knaack wrote in a Facebook post. "My kids don't want for anything because my... Read more →


Most people get federal tax refunds. And for a lot of them, it's a substantial amount. Through February, the Internal Revenue Service says it issued more than 41 million refunds with the average check exceeding $3,000. So what are folks doing with that money? A couple of recent surveys found they are being practical. Savings and debt reduction: GoBankingRates.com found that most Americans will use their tax refund money to add to their savings and pay down debt. Individuals' personal financial situations, however, determine which of those two refund options they choose first. Folks making less than $50,000 are more... Read more →


Are you planning to catch up this weekend on some of this year's Academy Award winning movies you've yet to see? Me, too. But I'm also putting on my viewing list a newish flick, "Love & Taxes." Reel tax life: I'm not making this up. It's a real movie that, according to its website, is "a riveting comic tale of seven years of tax avoidance." OK. You probably want a less vested review. Here's what Ken Jaworowski had to say in Friday's New York Times: Likability goes a long way in "Love & Taxes," a comedy that relies on the... Read more →


Remember that assurance from the Internal Revenue Service that its agents never call you about an overdue tax bill. That's changing. A call from a bill collector can seem as terrifying as the one Drew Barrymore received in "Scream." Even worse? A collection agency call about an overdue IRS bill. The IRS is about to turn over some delinquent tax accounts to private debt collectors. Again. And those companies' employees, as subcontracting agents of the IRS, will be calling folks about the money they owe the U.S. Treasury. Bill collecting concerns, scams: If you think this opens the door --... Read more →


Could you use $763? The IRS could have that much or more just waiting for you. It's yours as long as you don't miss the 2013 tax return tax deadline. Photo by 401(k) 2012 courtesy Flickr Creative Commons Nope, that's not a typo. More than 1 million taxpayers didn't file their federal returns three years ago and that oversight has left the Internal Revenue Service holding more than $1 billion in unclaimed refunds. If some of that money is yours, the IRS wants to send it to you. But you have to ask by filing a 2013 Form 1040 (or... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (CI) division is charged with putting tax and other financial crooks behind bars. That job has gotten tougher, according the man who heads the CI, primarily because of the loss of experienced agents. "We're at the same staffing level as 1956, which is just unbelievable when you think about it," CI Chief Richard Weber said during a press this week in conjunction with the release of the division's 2016 annual report. "There's still no realistic expectation of increasing that number anytime soon. It's very difficult to be able to do everything we are mandated... Read more →


Amazon's tax collection system expands on March 1 with Oklahoma and Wyoming joining the ever-growing list of locations where online customers will see sales tax added to their purchases. Photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr In February, five more states -- Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont, joined the Amazon sales tax list. With the addition tomorrow, March 1, of two more, that will bring the number of taxing jurisdictions where the Seattle-based online retail giant will be collecting sales levies to 41. In addition to collection sales tax on products shipped to Washington, D.C., the table below shows... Read more →


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 →


Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign that America's voters didn't care about his taxes. He wishes. After hearing from angry constituents during a town hall meeting on Feb. 23, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) now says the president should release his tax returns. A GOP Senator says Russian hacking investigations could lead to just that. (Image from CNN Twitter post) Although the 45th president is the first presidential politician in almost 40 years to keep his Internal Revenue Service filings secret, folks remain curious as to what's on Trump's 1040s. 'We the People' and real people: The first petition filed... 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 →


The Internal Revenue Service would really, really like if all of us would use tax software to prepare and e-file our taxes. It even gives around 70 percent of filers the chance to do so for free at the aptly named Free File section of the IRS website. But a lot of taxpayers who qualify for Free File decide instead to pay a tax pro to file their returns, according to a new survey by NerdWallet. Tax pros preferred: More than 1 in 3 taxpayers, or 38 percent, who make less than $50,000 annually hired a tax professional, according to... 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 →


Phishing. Phone scams. Identity theft. Unscrupulous tax preparers. Sound familiar? It should. Those illegal actions once again top the Internal Revenue Service's annual Dirty Dozen list of tax scams. Today's tax con artists are the modern day equivalent of yesteryear's snake oil salesmen, hustlers who convinced folks to buy products that could not possibly work as advertised. In all cases, past and present, the victims end up losing their money. ("The Snake Oil Salesman" by Morgan Weistling is available for purchase at Artifacts Gallery. The link to the artwork is not a paid endorsement.) As I noted back on Groundhog's... Read more →


Mother Nature has had it in for California this year. On Valentine's Day, the Trump Administration approved federal assistance for deadly storms that in early January buried the Sierra Nevada in snow and inundated low-lying towns along the Sacramento and Russian Rivers. Photo montage posted on Twitter by Mike Myers (‏@csiprints; along with @RickSforza @crimeshutterbug @BlodgettJohnM @BeatrizVNews @ivdailybulletin) of vehicles trapped in post-flood mudslide on Lone Pine/Highway 138 in Southern California. Three days later, the Golden State was hit again, this time by a major Pacific storm described by residents and meteorologists as one of the most powerful weather systems... Read more →


Senators and Representatives are headed back to their states and Congressional districts for the long President's Day weekend. Tucked into the bags that Republicans are taking home are some talking points on how they plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare. Image by Shawn Campbell via Flickr Creative Commons The Grand Old Party's policy paper says it aims to "provide relief from all the Obamacare tax increases." That's a big list. 4 targeted ACA taxes: The independent website Obamacare Facts lists 21 taxes, seven of which directly affected individuals. I've culled that individual... Read more →


Donald Trump is batting .500 for cabinet members who screwed up nanny tax reporting. This morning, the Senate narrowly confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-South Carolina) to head the White House Office of Management and Budget. The vote was 51-49. At least Vice President Mike Pence didn't have to up to Capitol Hill to break a tie this time. Click image to watch the C-SPAN video of Mick Mulvaney's confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. His testimony apparently convinced just enough Senators to approve him on Feb. 16 for the White House budget post. Did Mulvaney's... Read more →


Today is a big day for you if you're expecting a federal tax refund. Feb. 15 is when the Internal Revenue Service can finally start issuing refunds to folks who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Photo by eFile989 via Flickr But don't head to your bank just yet. Cleared, but not completed: The refund hold, mandated by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act as, in part, a way to help stop tax identity theft and refund fraud, does officially end today. But from the get-go of this filing... Read more →