Withholding Feed

If you've already filed your 2013 tax return, chances are you're getting a refund. Most taxpayers do, either serendipitously as my personal finance blogging colleague J. Money recently discovered or because they view over-withholding as a handy forced savings account. Through March 21, the Internal Revenue Service had issued more than 67 million tax refunds. The average amount for all refunds that week was $2,872. That's a little less than the $2,980 average refund amount that was directly deposited to taxpayer accounts during that same time period. Refunds and filing timing: It's also notably smaller than the $3,317 average refund... Read more →


After a late start, the Internal Revenue Service has managed to process more than 26.9 million tax returns and get refunds on their way to more than 19.4 million folks. Even better news is that the average refund for the first week of tax-filing season is $3,317. That's 4.6 percent larger than the 2013 early season average refund amount. That $3,317 also is good enough to earn this week's By the Numbers honors. Beginning rush to file: There obviously was pent-up tax refund demand, as the IRS reports that tax filings for between Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 outpaced returns... Read more →


The 2014 tax season has been underway for 12 days (OK, only eight business days) and refunds are finally being processed. As happens every year, there are some problems with some returns, meaning some refunds are being delayed. That, of course, makes the owed taxpayers very unhappy. And it raises the perennial tax question as to whether refunds are good or bad. Here's a quick look at some pros and cons of having Uncle Sam hold onto your money for months and then getting it back in a lump sum when the Internal Revenue Service gets around to it. A... Read more →


Taxes are all about numbers and today the Internal Revenue Service announced that it has reached an impressive one when it comes to electronic filing. More than 122 million returns were e-filed during 2013. E-filing was one of the few areas where the IRS recorded an increase over the previous year. In 2013, more than 45.2 million returns were sent to the IRS by taxpayers who prepared and e-filed their own 1040s on home computers. That's up from 43.2 million a year earlier, a 4.6 percent increase. 2013 FEDERAL TAX FILING SEASON STATISTICS Cumulative statistics comparing 11/23/12 and 11/22/13 Individual... Read more →


It's finally here! Everyone's favorite month. The final 31 days in which you can take steps to reduce your 2013 tax bill. What? You thought I was talking about Christmas? C'mon! If you've been reading the ol' blog for the last eight years, you know I started my tax musings by referring to any consideration of taxes as the most wonderful time of the year. And while taxes must share at least 25 of December's days with the big annual gift-giving event, this final month of the year is a great time to give yourself a smaller tax bill. So... Read more →


While Capitol Hill lawmakers are screwing around considering ways to deal with the country's impending financial deadlines, Congress' independent budget analysts announced some good fiscal news. The U.S. Treasury picked up $284 billion in August. That added revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), means Uncle Sam's budget deficit at the end of last month was $411 billion smaller than at the comparable period last year. That sizable reduction, making the budget deficit around $753 billion for the first 11 months of the 2013 fiscal year, is noteworthy. At this point in 2012, the budget deficit was $1.164 trillion.... Read more →


Welcome to June, the month that brings us June bugs, June brides and the official arrival of almost everyone's favorite season, summer. And while it's tempting to focus on vacations to pristine beaches and mountain cabins, lazy days with no classes and a general slower outlook on life, you still need to pay some attention to your taxes. So here are a few June Tax Moves to make in the coming days. Not to run my meteorology fixation into the ground, but we all need to be aware of the overlap of the tornado season -- what's Mother Nature's problem... Read more →


One Powerball ticket for last night's $590.5 million lottery jackpot was sold at a grocery story in Zephyrhills, Fla. The winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22, 52 and the Powerball 11. Yes, that's a little less than earlier estimates of the ultimate payout. But the final tally is still enough to make last night's jackpot the largest in Powerball history. The game's previous largest jackpot was $587.5 million won Nov. 28, 2012. The lottery multimillionaire now must decide whether to take his or her new fortune in 30 year payouts or in one lump sum of almost $371 million.... Read more →


Many of my friends are at Kentucky Derby parties today. It's not so much that they are horse or horse racing folks. They just want to get together and have an excuse to put on a fancy hat. I'm talking about both male and female friends here. But there are those for whom betting is the best part of the Derby or any race. Horse racing folks, however, say the amount of betting has declined, in part because of the Internal Revenue Service requirements on reporting race winnings. In a letter to the IRS, the Washington, D.C., law firm Davis... Read more →


It's baaaaack and for some folks it is as scary as the ghosts in Poltergeist. It is the full 6.2 percent payroll tax once again being collected from employees. In 2011 and 2012, the amount of tax taken out of workers' paychecks to go toward Social Security was 4.2 percent. The so-called payroll tax holiday was created to give workers more spending money incrementally throughout the year in the hope that they would pump the cash back into the stumbling economy. Although we've technically been out of recession for a while, things still aren't all that rosy. So there was... Read more →


The taxes taken out -- or not -- of your pay was the topic touched on last week at my other tax blog. Let's start with Social Security and Medicare taxes, often shown as FICA on pay stubs, that usually are collected on severance pay. If you've ever received a payout package after being laid off, you know how important every penny of that final check is. A recent federal court ruling could help you get a bigger last paycheck if you're ever in that position. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a Michigan retailer and some... Read more →


Do you travel to other states to do your job? Then you probably know the hassle of figuring out the different state income tax filing requirements. It's often called a jock tax because the taxing practice got a lot of attention by collecting from high-paid athletes and entertainers who play and perform at venues nationwide. But the multiple state tax liability issue applies to all traveling workers. The Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act of 2011, H.R. 1864, seeks to make things easier for all such workers and their employers. The bill, introduced by Reps. Howard Coble (R-N.C.) and... Read more →


Last week the hubby and I took a vacation. Actually, what we did was tack some personal time onto a business trip I made to Bankrate.com. That meant a couple of things. It was time to re-read my items on tax break possibilities when combining business and personal travel. It also meant that I only posted one item last week at my other tax blog. Yes, I get the irony of doing less blogging for Bankrate while I was physically in the company's South Florida office. But I was doing other work-related stuff, like greeting old work friends and making... Read more →


Time to adjust your payroll withholding

The end of the tax year is coming up and if your withholding amount is off, you should submit a new W-4 now. Yes, as with last week's tax refund tracking Weekly Tax Tip, this week's tip is a repeat. Back in February, I suggested everyone evaluate their withholding as one of that month's daily tax tips. But there's no limit on how often you can change your withholding. Well, there's no limit by the IRS. Your payroll office might have other ideas, but that's between you and those folks. All kidding aside, if your withholding is too large or... Read more →


The ultimate deadline for filing a 2010 tax return is less than a week away. It's also the last chance to claim the Making Work Pay tax credit. You remember this tax break, right. The $400 tax credit for single filers, double that for married couples filing jointly even where only one spouse had a job. Free money! Yay! Except when it comes to taxes, there is no free money. You have to make sure you qualify and then you have to fill out more tax paperwork. Sometimes it almost doesn't seem like it's worth messing with. OK. I said... Read more →


10 midyear tax moves to make

Earlier today I was fretting about being slow to remind folks about the July tax moves they should make. But now it appears that my delayed focus was meant to be. Why? Because today also is the day that I suggest 10 midyear tax moves to make now over at Bankrate.com. Yeah, there's some duplication. Despite constant Congressional tinkering with the tax code, there are a lot of tax considerations that are perennials, such as adjusting withholding, fine-tuning your estimated tax payments, contributing to your favorite charity and putting away some money for retirement. But just because they're the same... Read more →


Most people view tax refund money as a forced savings account

Most people get tax refunds. Despite conventional wisdom and the continued advice of tax professionals, most apparently plan it that way. I look at this decade-long trend in my latest Bankrate Taxes Blog post, Reasons for a refund glut. Do you intentionally have too much in payroll taxes withheld so you'll get a big check from the IRS each year? I'd love to hear why, at both the Bankrate post and here. Related posts: Tax refund spending tips, withholding effects $3,003: By the Numbers average 2010 tax refund amount Talking Taxes: Adjusting withholding Give yourself a tax-related raise Withholding lessons... Read more →


IRS data show that most taxpayers get refunds. Yes, even some filers who procrastinate will eventually get money back from the Internal Revenue Service. As of March 18, the IRS had delivered 64.6 million refunds totalling $193 billion. That's an average refund of $2,985 per tax return. So what to do with that extra cash? The oldie-but-goodie tax refund pie chart from Punny Money (hat tip to National Association of Tax Professionals) provides a humorous look at the annual divergence of what people say they'll do with their tax refunds and how they actually spend their refund money. Controlling your... Read more →


The hubby gets a real paycheck, that is, regular money from a company as opposed to my periodic payments from various clients. The much-ballyhooed payroll tax cut showed up in the paycheck he received last week. So now we get to decide what to do with this bit of extra cash. After some discussion, we decided the easiest thing would be for the hubby to bump up his 401(k) contributions by 2 percent. His employer still matches employee money, so this will give him (and by him, I mean us) even more eventual retirement money. The decision really wasn't that... Read more →


More than three grand is a nice chunk of change. That's the average refund check -- $3,303 to be precise -- that the Internal Revenue Service issued last year. Taxpayers who opted in 2010 for direct deposit of their refund money got even more. The average refund amount electronically sent to taxpayer accounts last year was $3,191. January is prime filing month for folks expecting refunds. If this forced savings account with the U.S. Treasury as your banker is the only way you can keep from spending every last cent of your paycheck, then that's better than nothing. And with... Read more →