Sometimes, you can find what you need online or by calling someone for help. Other times, especially when it comes to taxes, getting the answer in person is more reassuring. That's what IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers offer, and for the last few years, they've held special no-appointment-needed Saturday openings. The tax agency watchdog looked at how well that's worked. (Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash) A week ago, the Internal Revenue Service was holding its fourth and final walk-in Saturday at select Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States and Puerto Rico. The IRS has more than 360 TACs... Read more →


Alcatraz Island's federal penitentiary once housed the most infamous tax evader, Al Capone. This particular Big House is no longer used to house felons, but the U.S. legal system has plenty more facilities where it can send those convicted of tax crimes. (Photo by Chris6d - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0) Being a Big Law attorney has its benefits. Working for one of the most prestigious law firms in the United States, usually in one of the country’s major metropolises, means prestige and money. But one such attorney apparently didn’t properly report his income to the Internal Revenue Service. And... Read more →


The tornado that struck Afton, Iowa, in Union County on April 26, 2024. That county is one of eight that have been declared major disaster areas, meaning residents are eligible for a variety of federal assistance, including tax relief. (Photo by Dean Baron via National Weather Service) Iowans in eight Hawkeye State counties that were struck by severe storms and tornadoes last month now have until Oct. 15 to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This latest Internal Revenue Service disaster relief applies to individuals and households that live or have a business in... Read more →


Free File, the Internal Revenue Service’s partnership with the tax software industry that allows millions of taxpayers to prepare their returns and e-file them for free, is still open for this year’s procrastinating filers. Private-sector companies will help those who filed for an extension (or who are just late filing) complete and submit their 1040s through the Oct. 15 extension deadline. And that no-cost filing service also will be around at IRS.gov for the next five filing seasons, the tax agency announced today. Extended through 2029: This year’s Free File program was its 22nd season at IRS.gov. Under this public-private... Read more →


The coming Memorial Day break is seen as the unofficial start of summer in the United States. It’s also usually been the start of higher summer gasoline prices. That’s not the case this year. So far. Pump prices rose nationwide this spring, but actually have fallen a tad recently. Today’s AAA national average of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.598. That was up a smidge (0.008) from yesterday, May 20, but less than the $3.612 recorded a week ago. Record road trips: Will the lower gas prices hold? An expected record number of drivers hope so, at least until... Read more →


Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash Congratulations to this year’s high school and college graduates. Walking across that stage and getting that diploma is a ceremony they and their families have long waited to experience. So what, besides sincere well wishes, do you give the graduates in your life for reaching this milestone? There are lots of gifts that can help young adults as they head off to college or into the work world. My personal favorite when I was that age was cash. (Truth be told, it still is my preferred present!) If your favorite graduate is like me,... Read more →


Some of the March 14 tornado damage in Indian Lake, Logan County, Ohio. (Photo credit: Indian Lake Chamber via Facebook) During the evening of March 14, supercell thunderstorms dropped numerous strong tornadoes across western and central Ohio. By the time things cleared, the deadly twisters also had left trails of destruction across the Buckeye State. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed three EF1 twisters, two reaching EF2, and an EF3 across Ohio. The NWS office in Wilmington, just north of Cincinnati, reported a total of 145 miles of combined tornado tracks across the state. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) investigation... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with George Dagerotip President Joe Biden last week endorsed the Department of Justice's (DoJ) move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. Biden said in social media posts — X (aka Twitter) and YouTube — that the move would reverse “long-standing inequities” under the current criminalization of cannabis. "Look folks, no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana," the president said in his video statement. Not legalization, but lowering federal interest: The Justice Department move would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use, which currently is the... Read more →


This is the Internal Revenue Service’s fourth and final Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Saturday opening in 2024. IRS reps will be accepting walk-in help requests at 59 TACs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Photo by Tim Douglas The Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers in 32 jurisdictions one more chance this year to get help at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) without having to make an appointment. The agency’s final Saturday walk-in is tomorrow, May 18. At the select TACs — 59 total — across the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, you can... Read more →


Photo by Aidan Howe on Unsplash U.S. commercial gambling revenue hit a quarterly record of $17.67 billion in first three months of 2024. It marks the gaming industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth, according to the American Gaming Association. And Caitlin Clark hadn’t even played a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) game yet. Clark’s WNBA May 14 debut with her Indiana Fever facing the Connecticut Sun drew an average television audience of 2.13 million viewers, making it the most watched WNBA game in almost 23 years. I’m willing to bet, pun intended, that is also was the most bet on... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tornadoes storms across the United States this year are striking at a record breaking pace. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center today shows 790 preliminary tornado reports. The historical average at this point in the year is around 550. Here in Texas, more than a million acres in the Panhandle were consumed by the Smokehouse Creek Fire that erupted in February. As spring arrived, the eastern part of the Lone Star State endured devastating floods. And hurricane season doesn’t even officially start until June. All this meteorological anger means that millions of people... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is holding refunds sought by thousands of filers it suspects inflated those amounts by improperly claiming some tax credits. While the IRS sorts through these questionable claims, those taxpayers aren’t going to see any refund money. Not even that amount unconnected to the questionable credit claims. The dubious claims delaying the refunds involve the Fuel Tax Credit, Sick and Family Leave Credit, and household employment taxes. “Scam artists and social media posts have perpetuated a number of false and misleading claims that have tricked well-meaning taxpayers into believing they’re entitled to big, windfall tax refunds. These... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska The Internal Revenue Service is about to turn out the lights on the 2020 tax refund party. The chance to get your part of more than $1 billion in unclaimed tax money ends on Friday, May 17. The eligible refund recipients are an estimated 938,800 folks nationwide who didn’t, for a variety of reasons, file a 2020 tax return during the 2021 filing season. Tax law says nonfilers have three years to file and collect their refund money. So why didn’t their deadline come and go on this past April 15? You might recall that three... Read more →


Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms out there got everything they wanted today. Of course, we should be grateful for all that our parents do for us every day of the year. In additional to the emotional support, moms (and dads) literally pay for parenthood. A recent calculation of the average cost to raise a child to age 18 came to $312,202. That figure is for a middle-class family, and doesn’t include college expenses. Yikes! Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told WTOP News that the true price could be... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service, like almost every other entity in our lives, continues to expand its digital reach. Taxpayers have for decades been encouraged to electronically file and pay taxes. This year, the IRS tested Direct File that let a limited number of taxpayers prepare online and then e-file directly with the agency instead of using a commercial tax software program. We also can access our taxpayer accounts online. In certain situations, we can contact the IRS via email. And the IRS looking to expand paperless operations in the near future. Uncle Sam’s digital tax collector got another boost in... Read more →


Shortly after MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, a federal sports gambling scandal involving his now-former translator Ippei Mizuhara broke. This week, Mizuhara (below left), agreed to a plea deal. (Mizuhara photo by Moto "Club4AG" Miwa from USA - Angels vs Mariners 2019-6-8 Anaheim Stadium, CC BY 2.0. Ohtani photo by All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA - Dodgers at Nationals, CC BY-SA 2.0.) Sports and courts too often coincide outside the usual tennis venues. Leagues are sued by competitors. Broadcasting rights battles are litigated. Players’ union grievances are heard by various judges. Individual players sometimes... Read more →


A health savings account, or HSA, helps high deductible health plan, or HDHP, enrollees cover their larger out-of-pocket medical costs. The plan limits and HSA contribution amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. Here are the 2025 numbers. Photo by Kay Bell The cost of health care keeps rising. That’s why many individuals and families who are basically healthy, but want medical coverage in case of an emergencies, often turn to high deductible health plans, or HDHPs. HDHP policies’ associated health savings accounts, or HSAs, help offset the plans larger out-of-pocket costs. HSAs also offer triple tax savings. If you’re interested... Read more →


To paraphrase the oft-covered pop song, you fought the Internal Revenue Service law, and the IRS won. But that’s not necessarily the end of the process. You have the right to appeal the IRS’ decision. The agency itself says so in its Taxpayer Bill of Rights. And the IRS has a separate appeals office created to deal with these taxpayer-auditor disputes. There are around 1,500 appeals office employees, most of whom were auditors themselves, and generally have legal or accounting experience. I know. You saw that phrase “were auditors themselves,” and are having second thoughts about appealing your tax finding.... Read more →