Work-job-career Feed

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 →


A couple of Republican-proposed changes to Obamacare would affect a popular individual savings option, the medical flexible spending account, or FSA. Many of the items this shopper can find on her local pharmacy's shelves are eligible for flexible spending account reimbursement. (Photo courtesy FSAStore.com) Tax-saving company benefit: An FSA is a benefit offered by many companies where workers can have a certain amount taken from their paychecks every pay period and placed into a special account. These accounts can help you cover such things as child care, commuting and medical expenses. Even better, the money is put into the FSA... Read more →


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 →


Jan. 31 is a key annual tax deadline. It’s the date employers must send W-2 and 1099-MISC forms to folks who received at least $600 in compensation the preceding tax year. Jan. 31 also now is the deadline for employers to also submit that W-2 and 1099-MISC data to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Earlier reporting to fight fraud: In past years, employers had another month to get the data to Social Security. But in an effort to help the Internal Revenue Service fight tax refund fraud, a provision in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act now... Read more →


As the Internal Revenue Service began accepting tax returns this week, the agency's commissioner noted that "the dedicated employees of the IRS look forward to serving taxpayers this filing season." IRS Commissioner John Koskinen's staff, however, apparently is not going to be as large this year as he had planned. Some federal job seekers got an icy reception after President Donald Trump instituted a federal hiring freeze this week. (Icy branch photo by J. Carmichael via Wikimedia Commons) On Jan. 23, the same day that the 2017 tax filing season officially began, President Donald Trump instituted an immediate hiring freeze... Read more →


Working overseas can be a wonderful professional and personal opportunity. It also can present some tax problems. The United States has a worldwide tax system. That means that regardless of where you earn your money, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you owe taxes to Uncle Sam. The bad news is that the Internal Revenue Service is serious about getting this money. The good news is that there are some income tax benefits for U.S. workers abroad. Excluding income abroad: The most notable one is the foreign earned income exclusion, or FEIE. This allows workers abroad who... Read more →


The enactment of the 21st Century Cares Act this week means medical researchers will get more money for their efforts to develop a variety of treatments for persistent and devastating health problems. The new law also opens up a tax-favored medical plan option for folks who work for small companies. Vice President Joe Biden (center) is recognized during the ceremony in which the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. The bill is close to Biden's heart. He lost his son Beau to brain cancer. Following that personal tragedy, President Obama tapped his veep (and friend) to lead the... Read more →


Your business-related driving probably won't save you as much on your taxes in 2017. The reason? The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the optional standard mileage rate for business use of your vehicle is a half-cent less than in 2016. A trip to the vet likely won't count as a tax deductible medical expense, but other allowable miles in 2017 can be claimed at 17 cents apiece. It drops on Jan. 1, 2017, to 53.5 cents per mile. For the final few days of 2016, the business mileage rate is 54 cents per mile. Along with a smaller per-mile... Read more →


It's National Cookie Day. Guess what I had for breakfast? And probably for lunch and supper, too. Mmmmm! Mint Milanos, biscotti and ginger snaps. If you don't have any cookies in your pantry, click the image for info from Parade magazine on where you can get free cookies today. Not as my whole meal, at least not for the day's two later repasts. Today's gustatory observance reminded me of a DailyInfographic.com item that illustrated some money-making hobbies. Baking was on that list. That's the cooking excerpt below. Click image to see the full DailyInfographic on money-making hobbies. Hobbies' fun and... Read more →


Finally the weekend! It's what, as the song says, we've been working for. Some folks, however, are spending today looking for a job. Job fairs are good places to get, if not a job, at least an idea of what's available in the marketplace. (Photo courtesy iLearn Schools Job Fair 2016/NJASCS.org) Good jobs report: On Friday, Nov. 4, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its last jobs report before the presidential election. It showed 161,000 jobs were added in October, as well as a hike of 10 cents in the hourly pay rate. The number of jobs was less that... Read more →


Welcome to Part 4 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to some popular credits and deductions. Note: The 2017 figures apply to 2017 returns that are due in 2018. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2016 amounts to be used in filing 2016 returns due next April. You can jump for joy like these youngsters if you can claim some of these popular inflation-adjusted credits and deductions. The key to paying the least tax... Read more →


On lazy Sunday afternoons, my thoughts -- after I'm through cursing the idiotic plays my Dallas Cowboys make -- often turn to retirement. Retired couple enjoying a lazy day outdoors. (Photo by Pug50 courtesy Flickr CC) The hubby and I have been saving for a long time with the goal of making all our days like Sundays, without, of course, the 'Boys' frustrations. The tax code offers many ways to help us save for what we hope will be our golden years. Sen. Ron Wyden, however, thinks Uncle Sam needs to revise some of the retirement related tax provisions. The... Read more →


This presidential election year, the candidates' tax focus is, as usual, on how to lower income tax rates for at least some Americans. But, notes the Tax Policy Center (TPC), most U.S. workers hand over more in payroll taxes than income taxes. Payroll tax parts: Payroll taxes are the amounts designated for Federal Insurance Contribution Act, or FICA, funded programs. You know them as Social Security and Medicare. The total FICA rate is 15.3 percent. Workers and their bosses each pay half. The bulk of the tax, 12.4 percent, goes toward the Social Security component. Taxes at a 6.2 percent... Read more →


Labor Day is a holiday for many workers. But come Tuesday, most employed folks will be braving traffic again to get to their offices. Traffic happens by Reinis Traldas via Flickr CC Depending on the transportation method these workers use to get to their jobs, they could be eligible for some tax benefits. On the road to work again: The peak commuting time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey in 2014 (the most recent available data), was 7 a.m. to 7:29 a.m. Of the more than 139 million total commuters two years ago, 20.56 million were on... Read more →


Remember back in July when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie indicated that he might end the Garden State's tax reciprocity agreement with neighboring Pennsylvania? The Benjamin Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River and connects Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Camden, New Jersey. It is used by commuters who live in one state and work in the other. He wasn't kidding. Friday, Sept. 2, was the last day for either state to stick with or pull out of the agreement for another year. And as the long Labor Day holiday began with lots of folks heading off for one last summer hurrah --... Read more →


Do you work in one state but live in another? Lots of folks do. In addition to some interesting commutes, they also face some special tax issues. Many states make it a bit easier for border-crossing employees. They have income tax reciprocity agreements. These arrangements allow residents of one state to request exemption from tax withholding in the other reciprocal state where they work. The practical implication is that they then don't have to go to the trouble of filing multiple state returns. What Reciprocity Means to Taxpayers Federation of Tax Administrators 2013 Report With reciprocity, the taxpayer files a... Read more →


Work-related moving expenses are tax deductible. You don't even have to itemize. The claim is made as one of the adjustments to income, generally referred to as an above-the-line deduction, right on the long Form 1040. Vintage moving van | Alden Jewell via Flickr But don't think just because this is a relative easy tax write-off that the Internal Revenue Service will just give the claim a cursory glance. IRS examiners will be looking. Just as Giliard Schwartz. A really big move: The San Antonio, Texas, woman claimed $330,000 in moving expenses on her 2012 tax return. Instead of that... Read more →


The bad tax news is that your chances of being audited just went up a bit. The good tax news is that if you're looking for a job with the Internal Revenue Service, the agency is hiring hundreds of new enforcement agents. In an email sent to tax professionals last week, the IRS announced that it is accepting applications for a number of enforcement positions, potentially as many as 700, around the country. These will be the first significant hires in the enforcement area in more than five years. Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, in a May 3 memo... Read more →


When most folks think holiday office party, they think Christmas. Here in Texas, though, Cinco de Mayo is a great day for an office party. Today is the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla in 1862. On that day 154 years ago, the Mexican military defeated the numerically superior French forces that, the year before, had invaded Mexico. Such an unlikely victory reminds all us Texans of how we did the same thing to Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, securing the independence of the Republic of Texas. Plus, Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, the man who led the... Read more →


Hey, May. You're supposed to be all about the flowers from last month's April showers. You can stop the rain and more any time now. Bluebonnets and more in a Central Texas field along the Willow City Loop. Photo by Kay Bell; art direction by the hubby. Yep, that old climatological adage is not quite accurate. May also brings plenty of showers. And hail. And tornadoes. That trend seems to be on track this year. Just two days into the month, and severe weather has moved from Central and flooded East Texas, where Houston was declared a major disaster area,... Read more →