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January 2017

President-Elect Donald Trump is feeling charitable again. This time, it's Uncle Sam who's the target of his largesse. President-Elect Donald Trump and his three older children (Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr.) get ready to meet the press this morning (Jan. 11) to discuss Trump Organization business deals after The Donald is sworn in on Jan. 20. (Photo by Evan Vicci via TPM Twitter post) During the almost hour-long press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan (Trump's first Q&A with the media since July 16, 2016, when he was on the campaign trail), a tax attorney for the incoming 45th president... Read more →


Tax filing season is about to start. Most tax returns -- almost 90 percent, according to the Internal Revenue Service -- are filled out using tax preparation software. A tax preparer helps a client file her taxes. (U.S. Army photo) But most of those electronically prepared 1040s actually were completed by tax professionals. No kidding. Of the almost 132 million e-filed returns last year, around 60 percent were filed by tax professionals. DIY vs. professionally prepared taxes: Yes, the do-it-yourself e-filing segment is growing. IRS statistics from 2016 show that the self-prepared segment of e-filers increased by more than 5... Read more →


I'm late blogging today (Monday, Jan. 9) because I spent the day with my Mom. All those errands my Mom and I run mean that I have to fill up my car before heading home. Unfortunately, pump prices are not as low as this $1.42 per gallon I paid for regular unleaded back in February 2016. It's not as Gilmore Girlish as it might sound. During my regular visits to her place, we run errands. And by run, I mean drive around her Central Texas community to buy groceries, visit doctors, get lunch, take her pup to the vet and... Read more →


The 115th Congress has been in session less than a week, but the Representatives and Senators are wasting no time in introducing legislation. The 115th Congress convened on Jan. 3. During their first short week of work, Representatives and Senators have introduced eight tax measures. (Photo by Ottojula via Wikimedia Commons) Since the Jan. 3 swearing in (and my Congess.gov search this afternoon), 490 bills have been introduced, 428 in the House and 62 in the Senate. And even though there's greater hope that we'll finally get some sort of comprehensive tax reform, that's not stopping individual lawmakers from putting... Read more →


We're in the midst of an Arctic cold spell here in Central Texas. Yes, it's nothing compared to many other parts of the country, but it's ours. Three days of sub-freezing temperatures have made it clear that the hubby and I are no longer equipped to live in colder climes! We're just glad our backyard waterfall was able to deal with a bit of frost. This cold snap got me thinking about how glad I am that we were able to make some easy energy efficiency upgrades to our home and get a federal tax credit for them. Most energy... Read more →


I got in my car for the first time in 2017 today. It also was my first use of my new mileage log. Yep, that pretty little pink spiral notebook is this year's tracking device of all my potentially tax deductible miles. And yep, those of you who know me know that I'm not really a pink kind of gal. This notebook was tucked in bag I got at a conference. Over the years, I've attended a lot of conferences and gotten a whole lot of similar notebooks, so I use a new one each tax year. What miles to... Read more →


Donald Trump doesn't move into the Oval Office for 15 more days, but the Republican-control Congress is working on legislation for him to sign into law shortly after he settles into his new digs. Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) was on CNBC's Squawk Box this week to discuss House efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare. Click image to watch the full interview. One of the president-elect's campaign promises was to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known (for a while longer) as Obamacare. That won't be easy, either politically and pragmatically. Delayed repeal... Read more →


Tax season is here. You know what that means. Tax scams are here in full force. Even before the official 2017 filing season started, the Internal Revenue Service warned tax professionals to be on the lookout (sorry, I know that the BOLO phrase is a touchy one when it comes to the IRS) for yet another tax scam. This one, according to the IRS and its Security Summit partners, is a new e-mail phishing scheme aimed at tax pros that has the subject line "Mails on Hold!" It comes just two months after the crooks tried to get tax preparer... Read more →


It's that time of year again, tax season. Whether you're working on your Form 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) yourself or turning your annual tax-filing task over to a professional, you'll want to check out the Daily Tax Tip. It will be there at the top of the ol' blog's right column through the April filing deadline. A new tip will be posted each weekday. All also will be archived on their own monthly tax tip pages -- January 2017 is posted, with February, March and April going live when those months arrive -- so you can check them out... Read more →


The first Friday the 13th of 2017 is lucky for some taxpayers. That's the day that Free File once again opens, allowing eligible folks to electronically prepare and file their 2016 tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service hasn't yet issued an official announcement about Free File 2017, but if you peruse the IRS web site (c'mon, I know I'm not the only one doing this!) you'll find the agency has updated its Free File page, a screenshot excerpt of which is shown above. UPDATE: It's official! The IRS says you can now access Free File by going to IRS.gov and... Read more →


There weren't any major tax bills in 2016. That's going to change in some form in 2017 now that the Republicans control Congress and the White House. via GIPHY But there still were plenty of tax-related matters that got attention last year. Below is my list of top 10 tax stories of 2016, starting with the one I saw as most important. And as a bonus, I also pulled out my slightly cracked crystal ball -- really, who saw the presidential election turning out like it did? -- to forecast five tax issues that we're likely to see in 2017.... Read more →


Hello, 2017. For some of us, you sure took your sweet time. Others think you arrived a tad too soon. Few of us, however, are as ready to get our taxes as done-diddly-done as is Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's annoying cheery neighbor. If you click the image, you'll see a GIF that gives you a good idea of Ned Flanders' obsessive-compulsive tendencies. While even a dedicated tax geek like myself thinks Neddie is a bit too filing gung-ho for the first day of the New Year, we all should take advantage of January's 31 days to get our 2016 taxes... Read more →