Bush tax cuts Feed

You might still be working on your 2010 tax return, but your earnings so far this year have been going to pay your 2011 tax bill. So put down your Form 1040 instruction book and take a minute to celebrate. Today is America's Tax Freedom Day. That means, according to the Tax Foundation, that U.S. taxpayers on average will have earned enough by today to pay off their 2011 federal, state and local taxes. The Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan research and policy group has been tracking Tax Freedom Day for 40 years. This year's Tax Freedom Day is three days later... Read more →


If you've been flipping through Obama's fiscal year 2012 budget -- Admit it. You're a tax geek. You've at least given it a glance. -- you've noticed that it's essentially a rehash of prior tax law proposals. Given the make-up of the 112th Congress, the prez's proposals are going to be a hard sell. We saw what happened at the end of 2010 with the Bush-era tax laws. Now Obama is facing more lawmakers, especially in the House, who are hostile to his points of view when it comes to the economy, government programs and taxes. Many of these more... Read more →


Did you claim the first-time homebuyer tax credit? What year? It could make a difference as to whether you owe the IRS more on your 2010 return or get back some money from Uncle Sam. Those are just two tax law changes that could affect your filing this tax season. So before you finish filling out your form, check them out. Related posts: The new tax bill and your 2010 taxes Important 2011 tax season filing dates and deadlines IRS launches smartphone app Taxes? There are apps for that Free File is open for 2011 tax business E-file, Free File... Read more →


10 tax forms that will delay filing
of your 2010 return

Following the passage (finally!) in December 2010 of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 that continued the current income tax rates (which just happens to be Today's Tax Tip) for the next two years and extended some popular tax breaks, the IRS announced that it would take a while for the agency to get ready for the filing season. Specifically, or actually not so specifically, the IRS said that the tax measure's late passage meant taxpayers who claim educators expenses and tuition expenses directly on their 1040 or 1040A would have to wait until... Read more →


Larry David's tax cut thank you; Most Americans also happy with new tax law

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted just after the new tax relief bill was signed into law reveals that three-quarters of Americans like the tax cuts. When the provisions of the deal were broken out, the lower tax rates for families making less than $250,000 a year were favored by 89 percent of the poll respondents. On the other end of the tax spectrum, however, only 37 percent of those surveyed liked the extended tax cuts for folks making more than a quarter million a year. The pollsters probably didn't call well-known television grouch Larry David to ask his opinion... Read more →


The new tax bill and your 2010 taxes

Tax laws are like holiday fruitcakes. They're dense and mysteriously show up in late December. Everybody picks at them, but they never seem to be totally consumed. That's how it is with the tax bill signed into law last week. The tax compromise got lots of attention for extending 2010's income tax rates for a couple more years. But it also continues several other tax breaks that could help reduce your tax bill when you file your return next year. I plan to keep blogging in more detail about the various ingredients provisions, both that apply to the 2010 tax... Read more →


Estate tax options for 2010 decedents

Given the popularity of The Walking Dead, it shouldn't be surprising that there's a lot of interest in the law dealing with the intersection of death and taxes. Statistically, very few taxpayers are affected by the federal estate tax itself. Most estates aren't large enough to warrant IRS interest. But even if an estate doesn't trigger collection (or in 2010, noncollection) of the tax, its heirs could end up owing depending on what they inherit and what they subsequently do with their bequests. I'm again talking, of course, about the basis of property distributed after a loved one dies. As... Read more →


Estate tax extension through 2012: Nudging mama off the train in two years?

Embed from Getty Images With Obama's signing of the compromise tax deal yesterday, the really wealthy were among those who got an early tax present. Some of the House Democrats railed against this latest version of the estate tax, but in the end, it passed. For 2011 and 2012, estates worth $5 million or less won't be taxed at all. For estate values greater than that, a 35 percent tax rate will apply. That's better than the 2009 law, which imposed a $3.5 million exemption and a 45 percent tax rate on the excess. And it's much better than what... Read more →


Merry Taxmas! House OKs tax bill

The House late last night finally signed off on the tax bill that will keep the tax cuts that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2010 in place for two more years. The tax cuts account for most of the bill's $858 billion (spread over 10 years) price tag. Those tax breaks amount to $700 over the next decade. Here's what we're paying for: In addition to keeping the current six tax rates that range from 10 percent to 35 percent, the bill contains a raft other tax breaks for both individuals and businesses. Many of the provisions... Read more →


Democrats hold up tax bill consideration

This is a blog, not a wire service. Still, this bit of breaking news is worth sharing: House Democratic leaders pull the tax bill from the House floor. Actually, what was taken out of consideration was the procedure to debate the actual tax bill. Basically, right now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn't have enough votes to get the bill, which was approved overwhelmingly by the Senate on Wednesday, to the House floor for final debate and vote. Pelosi knows this because Congress operates under the same rule that lawyers do. Never ask a question that you don't already know the... Read more →


Homeowner winners, losers in tax cut bill

It's no secret that homeowners get special tax treatment under the U.S. tax code. There are the biggies of being able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes. In case you missed them, those tax breaks are the latest (numbers 33 and 34) in the running Weekly Tax Tips for 2010 feature (also spotlighted at the upper right of the ol' blog page). In recent years, Congress even enhanced homeownership tax benefits a bit. And provisions in (or not in) the tax bill awaiting final Congressional action mean that one such home-related tax breaks wins, but another loses. PMI deduction... Read more →


Tax cuts bill sails through Senate;
House vote likely Thursday

Continuation of current income tax rates and other tax breaks are a third of the way done. The Senate has overwhelmingly passed the Obama/GOP tax deal. The House is expected to vote on the measure Thursday. There will be some political Kabuki, but the bill will be approved as is by the Representatives. Everyone -- taxpayers, lawmakers, tax professionals, their dogs and families -- is tired of this. That's not necessarily the best way to pass major tax legislation that affects all our lives and the country's economy, but it is what it is. Then the deal will be sealed... Read more →


Commuter tax benefit moving along as part of tax cuts extension bill

One of the provisions in the tax cuts extension deal is "parity for exclusion from income for employer-provided mass transit and parking benefits (sec. 727 of the bill and sec. 132 of the Code)." These are the transportation fringe benefits offered by many businesses. They typically include reimbursements to employees for the costs of parking, mass transit passes, van pool fees and certain bicycle commuting expenses. The great thing for workers is that these transportation perks are not counted as part of their income for tax purposes. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Obama stimulus package) nearly... Read more →


Estate tax: The House Democrats' line in the sand?

We Texans are a mouthy bunch. Many of our pronouncements have been enshrined in quotation collections. Among my favorites are Davy Crockett's "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas" and "How 'bout them Cowboys?!" from former Dallas NFL coach Jimmy Johnson. There's no exact quote, but everyone's well aware that drawing a line in the sand means you're prepared to take no more and do whatever it takes to defend your position. Although it's likely apocryphal, the definitive line in the sand demonstration is said to have come from Col. William Barrett Travis in March... Read more →


Tax cuts extension deal passes first Senate test

The Senate has achieved the necessary votes to take the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010, better known as the Obama/GOP tax cuts extension deal, to the next level. Today's vote, which actually will be going on for a few more hours to ensure that all Senators get a chance to make their positions known, was a procedural one. The upper legislative body voted not on the substance of the bill, but rather on whether they wanted to eventually vote on the tax cuts deal itself. The Senate vote on the actual legislation could come... Read more →


Senate to vote on tax cuts deal today

And so it begins. At 3 p.m. Eastern time today, Dec. 13, the Senate will vote on the Obama/GOP tax cuts deal. A key reason for existence of this legislation, officially entitled the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (but for ease of reference, let's just call it The Deal), is that it will take care of tax legislation that will expire on Dec. 31. So here we are, waiting for some modicum of tax certainty (yes, I realize that "tax certainty" is an oxymoron) with less than three weeks until the end of the... Read more →


I sit in front of a computer almost all of my waking hours, blogging, writing and surfing for tax news. So I take one morning off to do another tax project (and then go to lunch with colleagues with whom I was working) and BOOM! Congress decides to do something! OK. Congress didn't really do anything. It was the House Democratic Caucus that decided not to back Obama on the deal he (via his tax task force) reached with the GOP on expiring tax rates. About the time I was sitting down to my chile relleño at Manuel's (yes, it... Read more →


Reaction to proposed tax deal mixed

It's been an interesting day in the tax world. As soon as the president announced Monday evening that he had reached a deal on extending the expiring Bush-era tax provisions, reaction was swift and in most cases harsh. That hasn't stopped. The White House is still pushing for quick Congressional approval of the deal. But some members are pushing back. As you might expect, most of the anger is coming from the Democrats. Many feel that the prez gave up way too much to the Republicans. To that point, the White House made its economic folks available today to the... Read more →


Obama, GOP strike deal to extend tax cuts

Can it be true? Will Congress soon take care of some pressing tax legislation? The president hopes so. He announced last night a deal struck by the bipartisan tax task force he appointed earlier this month that will temporarily extend all Bush-era tax cuts in exchange for continuation of unemployment benefits. A weary-looking Obama verbally slapped both Republican and Democrat tax hardliners in announcing the the tax deal. Although the deal is step forward, it's a baby step. More on this in a minute. Tax breaks, estate tax included: The proposal would not only keep the current six income tax... Read more →


Fed Chair Bernanke talks tax policy

So what does the man who heads up the group that controls the United States' money think of our tax system? During an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes correspondent (and Texas Tech alum) Scott Pelley that aired last night, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke focused on the economy and unemployment. But he did offer a few thoughts on other fiscal and policy issues now being debated on Capitol Hill. Bernanke said (around 8:50 of the 15 minute video segment) that the budget deficit must be cut, but not right now. The Fed head offered some additional advice (10 minute... Read more →