Withholding Feed

One of the year-end tax tips that I've been talking about in recent days is to defer income, such as a workplace bonus, into the next year. That will give you 12 months to figure out how to handle the taxes on the added income. However, I don't think the employees of Hilcorp Energy Co. will be deferring the $100,000 each received this year. Big reward for goals met: The privately held oil and gas exploration and production company gave every one of its 1,399 workers the hefty cash thank you for helping the company achieve its five-year goals earlier... Read more →

Weather claims, estimated taxes and more June tax tasks

Texas is finally drying out. For millions of Texans, the extraordinarily wet May was welcome. Rivers are running again and many Lone Star State lakes are finally full(er) after years of drought. After the Trinity River came out of its banks, the herd in the video above was safely moved to higher, drier land thanks in part to an impromptu cattle drive through the small town of Dayton, Texas. But in other cases, there was no escape from raging water. Several areas in Texas, Oklahoma and other Plains States suffered the deadly side of Mother Nature. Tax help for disaster... Read more →

Happy Labor Day, my fellow workers. Labor Day's first observance is generally thought to be Sept. 5, 1882. On that day, around 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. Since everyone loves a parade, the Big Apple celebration inspired similar events across the country. By 1894, more than half the states were observing a "working men's holiday" on various days. Later that year, Congress passed legislation and President Grover Cleveland signed into law the country's official designation of Labor Day as the first Monday in September each year. So who's celebrating? American worker jobs: Every year, the... Read more →

Did you have a great three-day Fourth of July weekend? Fantastic! Now it's time to focus on taxes. Really. Don't act so surprised. Yes, it is summer. But you did click over here to the ol' tax blog. Photo courtesy of Camp Laurel, Maine And I know you know that taxes continue well beyond the traditional filing season. So don't let more days slip by without making some midyear tax moves that could help keep you on the Internal Revenue Service's good side an help reduce your upcoming 2014 tax bill. Here are five easy tax tasks to take care... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service can take a little solace in the fact that it's not the only tax system having problems. HM Revenue and Customs, the United Kingdom's version of the IRS, implemented an expensive new system last year that was meant to improve the tax system's accuracy. It didn't work. More than five million workers paid the wrong amount of tax collected through Pay As You Earn, or PAYE, similar to the United States' payroll withholding. Around two million British taxpayers paid too much, according to The Telegraph. They'll be able to claim their overpayments from HMRC. But the... Read more →

Almost 40 million people age 65 or older currently collect Social Security benefits. Vice President Joe Biden is one of them. The 71-year-old veep also is among those who pay income tax on at least some of their federal retirement benefits. Vice President Joe Biden meets with the original six "Rosie the Riveters" who worked in a shipyard during World War II. They, like the veep, are eligible for Social Security benefits. (Office of the Vice President photo.) That revelation was one of the things we learned with the release of the president's and vice president's 2013 tax returns. Barack... Read more →

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 →