Charity Feed

This has been a wonderful weather week here in the Austin area. Nights have been cool. Days have topped out in the seasonal upper 70s. But today is a tad warmer, a trend expected to continue through October. So it's goodbye to our brief autumn in Central Texas, and back to closing windows and cranking up the air conditioner. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. Although it was hot this summer, it wasn't the hottest since we moved here 16 years ago. And after February's devastating ice storm, I'm never complaining about warm or warmer than normal or hot... Read more →


If you have it in your heart, and bank account, consider donating to your favorite charity. It could help many through a difficult year, and also might provide you an enhanced tax deduction. 2021 has been, to put it as nicely as I can, one heck of a year. We commemorated the 20th year since the Sept. 11 foreign terrorists' attacks. We've had major and deadly natural disasters. We're still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. And we've got 3½ months to go. All these events, and the possibility of more (hurricane season, for example, lasts until the end of November),... Read more →


An overhead view of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the former World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers that were destroyed by the al-Qaeda attacks 20 years ago today. (Photo courtesy 9/11 Memorial and Museum via Facebook) Today is the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and central Pennsylvania. The annual commemoration ceremony at the New York memorial will be much the same as in prior years. Family members of 9/11 victims will gather on the Memorial Plaza this morning to read aloud the... Read more →


The devastating Haitian earthquake. Deadly flooding in Tennessee and North Carolina. Tropical Storm Henri damage in the Northeast. Drought-fueled destructive wildfires in California. Add the global Delta surge that's exacerbating the COVID-19 pandemic and it does seem, as my grandmother would say, that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. If you've managed to avoid any or all of these disasters and want to help those who are less fortunate, thanks. Here are some ways to do so. Myriad mechanisms to give: The standard big dog nonprofits, American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, remain the go-to donation... Read more →


Knowing whether a group is a tax-exempt organization is important, not just from Uncle Sam's revenue collection (or not) perspective, but also from a public standpoint. Donors who want to deduct charitable gifts need to know that the group to which they're giving is legit in the Internal Revenue Service's eyes. These public charities are referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations, getting their name from the section of the tax code that created them. However, there are several other tax-exempt classifications under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c). They are granted, for example, to groups that have charitable, educational, religious, or similar... Read more →


What's the result when the worst things happen? Too often, it's terrible people taking advantage of good people. This occurs with alarming regularity in the tax world following tragedies and disasters. Con artists use horrible events to convince compassionate individuals to donate to groups that will help out the victims. What really happens all too often is the caring donors become victims, too. Fake charities are just one type of scam in today's third installment of the IRS' Dirty Dozen for 2021. This category of tax ruses in which dishonest people trick others into doing something illegal often includes fraudulent... Read more →


June's arrival, especially now that many coronavirus limits are being lifted, means the start of summertime fun. But it's also a good month to make some key tax moves before heading off to your favorite recreational pursuits. We did it! Survived Tax Day 2021 … unless you're among the millions who got an extension to file or live in a state where the deadline to submit 2020 tax returns was even further delayed. In that case, one of the things you need to take care of this month is filing your taxes. Here more on that and four other tax... Read more →


President Joe Biden this week reinstated a long-standing White House tax tradition. Biden and the First Lady, as well as the Vice Presidential couple, made public their annual tax return filings on Tax Day, May 17 this year. (White House Facebook image) Monday was Tax Day 2021. Yes, it was just more than a month later than usual. But one tax thing did return to normal this year. The President and Vice President of the United States released their tax returns to the public. Tax sharing by Biden: The 2020 tax year joint filing by President Joe and First Lady... Read more →


The 2020 tax return filing deadline for most U.S. taxpayers literally is just days away. If you're scrambling to meet the May 17 due date, don't be in such a hurry that you cheat yourself out of some tax savings. You can claim deductions, either by itemizing if that gives you more than your standard deduction amount or by claiming some income adjustments, most of which are still referred to (by me, at least!) as above-the-line deductions, that reduce the amount of income that's taxed. There also are tax credits, which are even better because they directly reduce what you... Read more →


It's April. You know what that means. Major League Baseball is back! Yep, the return of The Boys of Summer takes top billing this month since the Internal Revenue Service pushed the usual April 15 Tax Day to May 17. I'll be spending this Opening Day doing what I do every year when the professional baseball season starts: watching games. All 30 MLB teams are in action today, so that's a lot of innings to occupy my time. Update: Today's meeting of my East Coast team, the Baltimore Orioles, at the Red Sox's Fenway Park is postponed until Friday due... Read more →


Image by Maxime Duprez via Twitter Happy National Pi Day 2021. Or as usurping marketers in the United States also call it Pie Day, even though there is a day designated for the food. Go ahead, get your bargain-priced sweet or savory pies today. But March 14 actually celebrates the mathematical constant pi, or π in the Greek alphabet. In case it's been a long time since math class, that's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The trillion-digit ratio is rounded to 3.14. You can find more about pi in one of my earlier March 14 blog... Read more →


Yes, I know very few filers use paper tax forms now. But even if you rely on tax software or a tax preparer, it's still worth a look at what's on Form 1040. There are some changes to the form and its three schedules for 2020 filings. (Photo by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr CC) The 2020 Form 1040 makes it official. The never-really-a-postcard individual tax return is dead. This filing season, set to officially begin on Feb. 12, taxpayers and preparers will see a Form 1040 that looks very much like the two-page version that we tax veterans used to call... Read more →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C., in 1963 where he delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. (Photo via Wikimedia) It's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021. If there's one tiny, thin silver lining to the terrible times we are enduring due to COVID-19 and political unrest, it's that these awful realities should help us focus on Dr. King's efforts. Equal justice: It is the first MLK Day following the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and too many others that sparked this 21st century drive for... Read more →


UPDATE, Jan. 21, 2021: Congratulations to the owner of the $730.1 million winning Powerball ticket purchased in Western, Maryland. But there's still a chance for all us dreamers. The next Mega Millions jackpot on Friday, Jan. 22, will be at least $970 million — which would be the United States' third-largest lottery jackpot ever. Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. More than $1 billion is up for grabs in the two nationwide lotteries. The Powerball jackpot is at $550 million. A solo Mega Millions winner will walk away with $600 million. Since I know you've got your lotteries... Read more →


Even though we definitely are more than ready for 2020 to end, the celebration of its official departure in a few hours — that's for us here in the United States; Happy New 2021 to all y'all on the other side of the International Date Line — likely will be subdued. Thanks, no thanks, COVID-19. May you, too, be gone soon in the coming 12 months. But even if the ringing in the New Year will be in smaller, pandemic-precautioned pods, some adult beverages will be raised as the clock strikes midnight. And among those celebrating the most will be... Read more →


Most of us are cheering the rapidly approaching end of tumultuous 2020. I definitely am right there with you with some pre-New Year's Eve joyfulness. But take a little time off from your anticipatory year-end celebrations to check out these tax moves. These final three tax tasks for the final three days of the year could pay off at filing time in 2021. 1. Know the value of donating items instead of cash. You have until Dec. 31 to donate to an IRS-qualified charity so you can claim the gift as a deduction on your 2020 tax return. If you... Read more →


Happy Day After Christmas, or as it's known in many parts of the world, Boxing Day. As a lover of cats, be they large (like these in an earlier Tumbling Taxes item), small or domesticated (as much as cats can be), I certainly understand the feline interpretation of Boxing Day. But I also appreciate the other ways, taxes included, to celebrate Boxing Day. Boxing Day's evolution: Boxing Day got its name in the 1800s when Queen Victoria was on the throne. Since then, it's been celebrated in Great Britain and many of its former colonies, notably Canada, Australia and New... Read more →


Welcome to Part 10 of the ol' blog's series on 2021 tax inflation adjustments. We started with a look at next year's income tax brackets and rates. That first item also has a directory, at the end of the post, of all of next year's tax-related inflation updates. Today we wrap up the series (finally!) with standard optional mileage rate changes. Note: The 2021 figures in this post apply to that tax year's returns to be filed in 2022. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2020 amounts that apply to this year's taxes, due April 15, 2021. via GIPHY As... Read more →


Congress plans to pass this evening its second round of COVID-19 help for millions of Americans. It's a huge bill. Granted, much of its 5,593 pages of dense legislative language cover the funding bills required to keep the federal government open through fiscal year 2021. Lawmakers decided to incorporate some pandemic relief measures into this must-pass bill. Obviously, there are associated tax implications. I'll be writing about some of those coronavirus-related tax matters in the coming days once they are officially enacted and I've had a change to read and decipher them. Some checks, but not as big as the... Read more →


Congressional leaders are continuing to discuss at least some form of coronavirus relief package. Right now, the idea is to include any pandemic help as part of a spending bill that will keep the federal government open past Dec. 11. Things are still fluid. Right now, it looks like there won't be a second stimulus check, at least in the waning days of the current Congress and White House Administration. But there is a tax proposal that might encourage more of us to give to charities that are trying to pick up the slack — and pieces of people's lives... Read more →