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August 2016

Maryland hosts the penultimate summer 2016 sales tax holiday this coming week. Maryland's sales tax holiday is this week, offering some savings on clothing and shoe purchases. The event in the Old Line State actually started today, Sunday, Aug. 14, at 12:01 a.m. It runs through midnight, Saturday, Aug. 20. Back-to-school in name only: These late summer events held annually in more than a dozen states -- there are/were 16 tax-free holidays and one tax-reduced period on the 2016 calendar -- typically are promoted as back-to-school shopping periods. In Maryland, however, school supplies bought this week are still taxable. Only... Read more →


While you and I have been enjoying our summer break, tax criminals have stayed on their nefarious jobs. In some cases, they are coming up with new identity theft schemes to steal our personal information and file for fraudulent tax refunds. In others, they are ramping up criminal efforts that are oldies but, from the crooks' perspectives, goodies. Fake IRS calls still coming: In fact, noted the Internal Revenue Service earlier this month, there's been increase this summer of impersonation scams where people get automated calls purported to be from the IRS. It's the largest tax scam ever and it... Read more →


Hillary Clinton's 2015 tax bill was $3.6 million. We know this because today she released last year's tax return. Donald Trump's tax bill last year was, who knows? What, me worry about letting voters see my tax returns? Nah. Well, some folks know. The Donald and his phalanx of tax attorneys and accounts know. So does the Internal Revenue Service since, as the Republican presidential candidate tells us every time the tax return question comes up, the agency is auditing him. But we, the voters who in November will choose the next White House occupant, haven't had a chance to... Read more →


Sports and betting, much to the chagrin of athletic purists and most league officials (except NBA Commissioner Adam Silver), are inextricably linked. Billions of dollars, from ubiquitous office pools to professional gamblers, are wagered, legally and illegally, on sporting events every year. Gamblers at a Las Vegas casino's sportsbook area place their bets, keep up with the many games on which they can wager. And this summer, the 2016 Olympics officially add to the U.S. wagering tally. Betting on the world's best athletes: Nevada Gaming Control last year revised state regulations to allow Silver State sportsbooks to offer wagering on... Read more →


The next time you think that paying your U.S. taxes stinks, be thankful you're not living in a place where that is literally true. Garbage trucks at Intel Bengaluru, India, offices as dispute over property taxes escalates. (Photo via PublicTV India Twitter feed) Global computer chip maker Intel found out that owing taxes in India can really stink. When workers arrived at Intel's office in Bengaluru, India (some might recognize it as Bangalore) on Monday, Aug. 8, they found loaded garbage trucks parked on the company's campus. The annoyingly aromatic vehicles were directed to the high tech company's facilities in... Read more →


Donald Trump's revised tax plan, which many economists and tax experts have decried as the latest version of Republican supply-side economics, is still getting a lot of attention. The biggest criticism is that the tweaked tax proposal, despite Trump's populist spin, still gives ways too much to the wealthy. Just who would win and exactly how much in the Trump vs. Hillary Clinton tax battle will continue to be debated (though perhaps not formally…) until Nov. 8. Delaware, considered by many to be America's top domestic tax haven, welcomes drivers and taxpayers looking to keep money out of tax collector... Read more →


Donald J. Trump has rewritten a lot of rules so far this presidential election season. Today, however, he learned one of the old ones when it comes to taxes. Sometimes you have to compromise. Donald J. Trump, the 2016 Republican presidential nominee, presents his economic policies and revised tax plan to the Detroit Economic Club on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016. Click image to watch the C-SPAN video of the full speech. Zero tax rate zeroed out: In a speech today at a packed Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee presented a glimpse of his economic plan, including some changes... Read more →


State sales tax holidays are wrapping up in 10 states today (Sunday, Aug. 7), but some shoppers could find they owe taxes anyway. The tax-due buyers are the out-of-state folks who cross borders to pick up some ostensibly tax-free products. And while the traveling shoppers don't hand over taxes at the time of purchase in the tax holiday locale, when they take the goods back to their home states, they likely owe a use tax on the items. Ah yes, the use, or as I like to call it, useless tax. Use tax usually ignored: As its name indicates, a... Read more →


A married couple who helped the federal government collect more than $74 million from a tax criminal finally got their financial reward last week. U.S. Tax Court building in downtown Washington, D.C. On Aug. 3, after fighting for the whistleblowing payment for four years, the anonymous tax tattletales, referred to as Petitioner 21276-13W and Petitioner 21277-13W in court documents, were awarded $17,791,607. The U.S. Tax Court ruled the husband and wife deserved the nearly $17.8 million whistleblower award, which is this week's By the Numbers figure, despite the federal government's argument that the claim was outside the scope of the... Read more →


Today marks the heart of the annual back-to-school state sales tax holiday season. Texas shoppers can pick up school supplies, like these that take up a whole special row at my local H.E.B. grocery store, tax-free this weekend. (Photo by Kay Bell) Twelve of the 17 tax-free events are this weekend, or part of it. Iowa's tax-free and Louisiana's tax-reduced holidays run from Friday, Aug. 5, through Saturday, Aug. 6. Tax holidays take place starting today through Sunday, Aug 7, in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Savvy shoppers can save a few... Read more →


Today is Thursday, but it's seemed like a Monday all day. I think it's time to take a break and, fittingly on this National IPA Day, chill with a cold brew or two. Oops! Not a good way to celebrate IPA Day. It's been such a crazy IPA Day, I'm even willing to swallow the alcohol taxes that are added to adult beverages. So what is National IPA Day? More to the point, what is IPA? A brew's birth: Let's start with the second question. IPA is the acronym for India Pale Ale, a style of beer that is heavy... Read more →


If you need further evidence of how the 2016 presidential election has become a political Bizarro World, check out the list of billionaires who have disavowed one of their ostensible peers, self-proclaimed -- we're still waiting for the tax return proof -- billionaire Donald J. Trump, and opted instead to support Hillary Clinton. Bizarro World DC Comic panel courtesy DC-Wikia Meg Whitman, former Hewlett Packard executive and one-time California gubernatorial GOP candidate, says she's with her, meaning Clinton. Beaucoup billionaires: She joins fellow billionaires Michael Bloomberg (former New York City mayor and news/investment media mogul), Mark Cuban (owner of the... Read more →


Warren Buffett is the third richest man in the world. He's also like a lot of us who are a whole lot poorer. Buffett wants to know what's on Donald J. Trump's tax returns. Warren Buffett challenges Donald Trump to a tax return face-off during a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 1, Click image to watch the full CNN Money video. He's the third billionaire within a week to call on Trump to release his returns. Former New York City mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's... Read more →


Are you one of the around 10 million taxpayers who got an extension to file? I was. Are you one of this group who's yet to file a tax return? I am. What are we waiting for? We paid any tax we owed, or a close guesstimation of our tax bill, when we filed for the extra six months back in April. So we're not that worried about a big tax bill. And we fully intended to get to the tax task sooner rather than later. But we woke up today, took a look at the calendar (or our smartphone)... Read more →