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June 2018

Donald J. Trump arrived in Quebec for the G-7 meeting with some controversial ideas (notably, letting Russia back in the club) and he left the international meeting the same way. Tweeting from Air Force One as he headed to Singapore to meet with North Korea's Kim Jung Un, Trump gave notice he's ready to escalate trade disagreements with Canada by imposing automobile tariffs. The initial reaction has been what such a move could actually mean to the U.S. automotive industry. Tax cut tariff costs: But auto tariffs also could undermine any gains from the TCJA, according to a Washington, D.C.-based... Read more →


The Republican's new tax law is expected to be the focus of the coming midterm elections. GOP candidates are telling taxpayers that they — or most of them, anyway — will owe the U.S. Treasury less in 2018 thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Democrats running for office, however, argue that any individual tax cuts under the new law are relatively small and, unless their colleagues across the aisle can change things in the next few months, are temporary. That ending date is Dec. 31, 2025. So who's telling the truth? It depends — wait for it... Read more →


Millions of folks filed for an extension last April, getting six more months to finish their 2017 Form 1040. They also paid their expected tax bill, or as much as they could, then so as to avoid late- or nonpayment penalties. Some taxpayers, however, always blow off this annual tax duty entirely. They don't finish he Internal Revenue Service forms. They don't send them and the money to Uncle Sam at all. They might have good reasons for the tax oversight. Or they might just be ignoring their civic tax duties. Regardless, the oversight is gonna hurt. But it doesn't... Read more →


Tired of being a wage slave? Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), some disgruntled salaried employees are looking into becoming independent contractors. But before you take the leap into a new way of working, you need to take tax and other matters into account. "Congress flipped traditional tax-planning upside down" with the new tax law, noted the Tax Policy Center's Steven M. Rosenthal in a TaxVox post soon after the new tax law took full effect earlier this year. "Many moderate-income workers may be able to exploit a tax break that higher-income workers cannot. And by shifting... Read more →


The hubby and I, like every other person, are getting older every day. That means we're getting closer to claiming Social Security and Medicare benefits. Two recent reports on the status of those federal programs make me glad to be closer to our collection dates. Both Social Security and Medicare, according to the programs' trustees, will run out of money to pay beneficiaries in 16 years and 8 years, respectively. At least the grayer-every-day hubby and I will get some of the full payouts. Sorry about all you youngsters! OK, I'm really not that selfish. But we are a bit... Read more →


Tax law changes mean that some previously deductible miles can no longer be claimed. (Traffic photo by Jo via Flickr) Back in March, the Internal Revenue Service announced revised inflation changes for many tax provisions that were affected by the recently-enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). One area that didn't change, however, was the list of 2018 standard mileage amounts used to calculate the driving-related tax breaks associated with medical, business, charity and moving costs. For the 2018 tax year, those cents-per-mile amounts are shown in the table below, along with the 2017 figures for folks who might be... Read more →


It's June! That means summer is here, both temperature-wise (more like mid-summer here in Texas!) and officially later this month. The arrival of the Summer Solstice — it's June 21 this year — is just one of the many special days in this sixth month of the year. There's Father's Day, Flag Day, D-Day, Juneteenth and, of course, the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Then we have (or had) Doughnut Day (that was last Friday, June 1), Chocolate Ice Cream Day, International Yoga Day and for pet lovers, separate cat (today, June 4, is Hug Your Cat Day) and... Read more →


In preparation for the summer cookout season, the hubby and I have been sprucing up our patio. The biggest job, aside from cleaning the thick layer of pollen off the outdoor dining table (yes, the hubby is appalled I'm showing that in the above photo), is replacing our almost 20-year-old patio furniture cushions. We tried buying replacements at local outdoor stores. Then we went to a couple of big box chains. Finally, we found what we wanted at a reasonable price in one of the many gardening/outdoor living catalogs that fill up our snail mail box. So we ordered them... Read more →


The fresh pepper section is always my first stop at my local H-E-B grocery store. Most of these delectable edibles come from Mexico. Donald J. Trump's forays last week into international issues got lots of attention. There was, of course, the on-off-on-again (and potentially taxpayer costly) Singapore Summit with North Korea. While I'm all for working to keep Kim Jong Un from reverting to his nuclear missile happy persona, my Texas neighbors and I were focused on another global matter. Yep, I'm talking about Trump's statement that he'd like to scrap the North American Free Trade Arrangement, or NAFTA, followed... Read more →


The 2018 Atlantic basin tropical storm season, which began early with Alberto's late May arrival, is now officially here. Get ready for possible storms. And note that tax law changes mean you might not get any tax help with your recovery efforts this year. Remember this? A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite caught Hurricanes Katia and Irma and Tropical Storm Jose (left to right) lining up on Sept. 8, 2017. Mother Nature has her own calendar. She ignored today's official start of the 2018 Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season by, in late May, creating Tropical Storm Alberto. That storm... Read more →