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November 2016

Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approved recreational marijuana use, and taxing those personal pot amounts, on Nov. 8. The votes are in, for the most part, not only for the U.S. president, but also for myriad ballot initiatives. Only Arizona voters on Tuesday rejected personal marijuana legalization. The lone consolation for many disappointed Grand Canyon State supporters is that travel is easy to the neighboring, and pot-approving, states of Nevada, California and Colorado. While the weed votes -- medical marijuana also was on ballots, and approved, in North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida and Montana -- got most mass media... Read more →


With the 2016 election over, a lame duck Congress will return to Washington, D.C., next week to begin the job of wrapping up some pending legislation. One tax measure that passed the House earlier this year, but is still awaiting Senate action, is the RESPECT Act, which tax attorney Darrin Mish discusses in this guest post. A bank customer working with a teller to complete a transaction. If some large withdrawals seem suspicious to bank officials, a person could end up having assets seized by the Internal Revenue Service. In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act was... Read more →


With Donald J. Trump's presidential win, Republicans will be in control of the White House, House and Senate. Get ready for changes to your taxes. President-elect Donald Trump makes his victory speech early Nov. 9. He is joined on stage by, at right, his youngest son Barron, whose mom Melania is just out the frame, and at left VP-elect Mike Pence and his wife Karen. (Screenshot of Right Side Broadcasting YouTube video) Here are some highlights of how your taxes might change in the near future. Huge cost of first plan: After Trump's first tax plan was roundly criticized by... Read more →


Nov. 8. Election Day 2016. Blessed relief, at least from one of the most divisive campaigns for the White House in modern memory. N.H. earliest votes: Three small communities in rural New Hampshire, as is tradition every four years, cast the first 2016 presidential ballots of the day just after midnight Eastern Time. Under state law, towns with fewer than 100 voters can open voting locations at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots. Dixville Notch voters opted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 4-2. Libertarian Gary Johnson got one vote. Clinton also... Read more →


Americans vote tomorrow for our 45th president. Finally! Do you know where your polling place tomorrow is? If not, HeadCount can help. While that's the biggest decision, millions of folks across the country also will have a voice Nov. 8 on a variety of consequential issues via ballot initiatives. Ballotpedia reports that this Election Day, there are 162 statewide ballot measures in 35 states. Eight measures were decided in pre-November elections, leaving 154 measures to be decided tomorrow. Politicking for pot, other smoking taxes: Marijuana always gets a lot of attention at election time. (I still blame "Reefer Madness" for... Read more →


Taxpayers will be "trusted customers" when they file their tax returns next year. That's how the Internal Revenue Service and its state tax and private sector Security Summit partners are approaching the 2017 filing season. The group, which discussed upcoming security measures at a press conference Nov. 3, says the filing process next year will focus on and expanded features that will help ensure the authenticity of the taxpayer and the tax return. Paris officials last summer removed the love locks from Pont des Arts for safety reasons, but the IRS and its Security Summit partners are adding heavy duty... 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 →


They're back. OK, they never really left. They are tax scammers. And they are once again targeting tax professionals. Specifically, says the Internal Revenue Service, tax con artists have their sights on tax pros who use the agency's e-services. Phishing for tax pro data: The crooks are sending these tax pros an email asking them to update their accounts and directing them to a fake website. The subject line for the fraudulent email is "Security Awareness for Tax Professionals," purportedly coming from "Your e-Services Team." The scam email tells recipients that information was stolen from certain user accounts in 2015... Read more →


Welcome to Part 7 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the series' first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amounts, as well as the previously announced increase in the Social Security wage base. 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. The AMT, or Alternative Minimum Tax, forces some taxpayers to do extra... Read more →


Sure, the polls are tightening as election day nears. Ignore them. The sports world has spoken and word is Hillary Clinton will be the 45th U.S. president. The Chicago Cubs celebrate their third World Series victory. Click image to watch the MLB.com video. World Series and White House winners: When the Chicago Cubs won the World Series 8-7 in a 10-inning Game 7 last night, Windy City native Hillary Clinton had to be happy. Sure, she's probably thrilled that her hometown team finally took Major League Baseball's crown after what many had believed was a 108-year-old curse. But the National... Read more →


It's November. You know what that means. Yes, the presidential election will be over next week. But November also means that we have two months to make some tax moves to ensure we don't encounter any tax turkeys. Don't be gobbled up by tax concerns. Make these November tax moves. (South Park/Comedy Central turkeys via GIPHY) Health care considerations: November kicked off with open season for Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, enrollment. If you don't get medical insurance at work, you should check out the Health Care Marketplace for coverage. You'll need minimal essential coverage or you'll owe a tax... Read more →


Welcome to Part 6 of the ol' blog's series on 2017 inflation adjustments. You can find links to all 2017 inflation posts in the series' first item: Income Tax Brackets and Rates. Today we look at changes to estate and gift tax amounts, as well as limits on investment income for children, known as the kiddie tax. 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. There's a time for play and a time for generational tax planning.... Read more →


It's official. We will not see Donald J. Trump's tax returns before we vote on Nov. 8. During an interview Oct. 30 on NBC's Meet the Press, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Trump's running mate, reiterated that Trump will not release his returns until after an audit is completed. This Twitter image of Donald J. Trump signing his 2014 return on Oct. 15, 2015, is probably the closest we'll get to seeing the Republican presidential candidate's tax filings. "All right, so not before the election?" host Chuck Todd asked. "Yeah," Pence replied. Breaking election tradition, again: If the Republican presidential nominee... Read more →