Charity Feed

Note on Sept. 11, 2022: This post is from a couple of years ago (you also can read my Sept. 11, 2021, 20th anniversary post), but the charitable donations are still a good idea. Nearly 3,000 people in three states died on Sept. 11, 2001, in a coordinated foreign terrorist attack. On this 19th anniversary (or any day), you can honor their memories by helping those in need today. (Photo courtesy Corporation for National and Community Service) Today, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day. It's not a federal holiday. Federal and state offices are open. So are businesses and schools, where... Read more →


You can quit double checking your calendar. It is indeed fall, even if the cooler temperatures haven't gotten the message across much of the United States. If you have children, autumn is noted by the kiddos returning to classrooms. That's happening in more places, as we seem to be shifting from pandemic COVID-19 to the coronavirus' endemic phase. Many parents also discover at this time of year that their youngsters have grown. A lot. That means new outfits. In big families, nuclear and extended, outgrown outfits turn into hand-me-downs. But if you have no one who'll take your still good,... Read more →


One of these things is different from the rest: IRS Warns Donors about Charity Scams Following Recent Tragedies in Boston and Texas (2013) Fake charities make 2018 'Dirty Dozen list (2018) IRS cautions taxpayers about fake charities and scammers targeting immigrants (2021) IRS "Dirty Dozen" list warns people to watch out for tax-related scams involving fake charities, ghost preparers and other schemes (2021) Be aware of scammers who use fake charities to get sensitive information (2021) Bogus charities are always a problem. (2022) 76 Fake Charities Shared a Mailbox. The I.R.S. Approved Them All. (2022) The first six items above... Read more →


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay The 2022 calendar aligned this year so that July 4th provided many of us with an extra-long holiday weekend. But the fireworks are over and, sadly, we'll never be independent of taxes. So it's back to work this first week of July, and back to making tax moves that can at least keep a few more dollars out of Uncle Sam's clutches. Here are five to consider this July. 1. Note the taxable driving change. If you use your vehicle for business or medical travel, that tax benefit got a bit better on July 1.... Read more →


Evening traffic on Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Manuel Garza via Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service today delivered a bit of good news to taxpayers who use their vehicles for medical and business purposes. The standard optional mileage rates used to calculate tax deductible amounts are going up on July 1. The increase of the rates, which last were adjusted in December as part of the IRS' annual review of transportation costs, comes as the nation's national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline nears $5. "The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect... Read more →


Photo courtesy National Park Service Memorial Day commemorations of the service members who made the ultimate sacrifice tend to be outdoors. That's because they usually involve military participation and flourishes. People also head this long federal holiday weekend to national parks, many of which honor military service members today and year-round. Events will be held today at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. There are more than a dozen units of the National Park system and more than 100 unique monuments and memorials in the national capital. National parks honoring national sacrifices: The tributes in America's Front... Read more →


The annual Memorial Day weekend is almost here. The three-day holiday, officially celebrated the last Monday in May, unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Millions of Americans, restive after years of COVID-19 precautions limited their travel and festivities, are heading out today. But the name of the holiday underscores what it's really about. Memorial Day is to honor military service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. The United States total military war deaths are nearly 1.4 million. The National Moment of Remembrance Act was enacted in December 2000, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of... Read more →


This coming Memorial Day long weekend is the first in more than two years that millions of Americans are treating as more-or-less normal. (Remember that?) And people's pent-up travel wishes are pushing aside COVID-19 pandemic worries in a big way. AAA Memorial Day 2022 forecast AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day three-day holiday. This is an increase of 8.3 percent over 2021, and brings travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. But another year also comes to mind. Back in 2012, gasoline was $3.64 per gallon. When adjusted... Read more →


Vice President Kamala Harris looks on as President Joe Biden makes remarks on the White House lawn. (White House photo) Tax tradition return redux: Biden and Harris again release their tax returns The United States' top two elected officials were among the millions who filed 2021 tax returns this year. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden reported on their joint Form 1040 adjusted gross income of $610,702. After the figuring was done, they paid $150,439 in federal income tax, which was a 24.6 percent effective tax rate. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff reported more... Read more →


The biggest nutritional problem the hubby and I have is deciding what to cook for dinner, and then who's going to cook it. Sometime we just opt for what we call foraging, with each of us finding something to eat that night on our own. We are lucky. Our meal hunts are easy, confined to our well-stocked kitchen. However, an estimated 800 million worldwide face food insecurity. That includes an estimated 38 million people, 12 million of whom are children, in the United States, according to 2019 data from the Department of Agriculture. As we celebrate today's 52nd Earth Day,... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


Imgur-Finextra Organized crowdfunding has been around for 25 years. It's helped people make ends meet, cover emergency expenses, make movies, support others in need. It's taken on a new life due to recent catastrophic events. During the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than 175,000 GoFundMe campaigns were established in the United States for coronavirus-related needs. Now, as Ukrainians fight off Russian invaders, direct online contributions are flooding into efforts to aid the country's resistance and humanitarian efforts. Such expansion of financial transactions means, of course, that here in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →


Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction amounts, even more people have chosen to use that filing method. IRS data indicate that close to 90 percent of us have opted not to mess with itemizing. But dumping the Schedule A doesn't mean you give up all deductions. On tax year 2021 returns, you can claim some of your cash charitable deductions directly on Form 1040. And if you take a look at Schedule 1, one of the documents that the Internal Revenue Service created to accompany Form 1040 when the TCJA took... Read more →


Scenic overlooks, like this view of the Austin skyline from my suburban neighborhood, can be lovely. But when it comes to taxes, you don't want to overlook tax breaks. (Photo by Kay Bell) If you're like most taxpayers, when you finally decide to do your taxes, you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But don't pay a price for you haste. If you rush through filling out your Form 1040, you could cheat yourself out of some tax savings. It happens every year. Folks overlook deductions, whether they itemize on Schedule A or claim above-the-line breaks... Read more →


Fotolia As you finish up your 2021 tax year Form 1040, make sure you don't miss your charitable deductions. No, this is not just for itemizers. This filing season, single taxpayers can claim up to $300 in cash donations made to Internal Revenue Service-authorized nonprofits. Married couples filing a joint return get a maximum $600 deduction. And you claim it directly on your Form 1040. New, but temporary, deduction for nonitemizers: Most taxpayers choose to take the standard deduction. Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction amounts, IRS data indicate that close to... Read more →


Photo by olia danilevich via Pexels For the past two years, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on tax deadlines. In 2021, Mother Nature joined in the chaos, with major disasters changing due dates in several states. But there's still a calendar tax constant. Dec. 31. That last day of the year remains the deadline to take care of some tasks that could affect your full year's taxes. Here are some common end-of-year tax timing situations. Getting married: If you say "I do" on 12/31, then the Internal Revenue Service considers you married for the whole year. That means when you file... Read more →


You made it through the hectic December holidays. Congratulations. But don't slow down now. You still have to accomplish a few final year-end tax tasks. I know, not how you want to spend the last few days of the year. But these 6 year-end tax moves could save you some money, either when you file your 2021 return next year or down the tax road. 1. Don't miss the RMD deadline. You're enjoying your well-deserved retirement thanks to all those years of savings. Don't mess things up now by missing your required minimum distribution (RMD). This withdrawal from tax-deferred retirement... Read more →


Yes, I know I've used this cats and Boxing Day meme before, most recently last Dec. 26. But c'mon. It's a great image that every cat lover immediately recognizes. Happy Boxing Day! While this holiday is not formally celebrated in the United States, many places across the rest of world embrace the day after Christmas as a way to keep the giving going. The great image of felines' fixations on boxes notwithstanding, just how did Dec. 26 come to be known as Boxing Day? One widely circulated accepted origin story is that when it began back in the United Kingdom's... Read more →


Photo by Dima D from Pexels It's Christmas week and you still have some shopping to do. Don't worry. Here are some financial gift ideas for those of all ages on your personal Santa list. A few even offer tax advantages. Christmas is the season that brings out the kid in everyone, but let's start with some gifts that would be great for hard-to-shop-for youths. Open a Roth IRA for a young worker. If you have a young friend or family member who worked this year, help him or her get started on those way down the road retirement. Open... Read more →


via GIPHY Did you do more driving to conduct business in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to abate a bit? Are you planning, Delta and Omicron variants notwithstanding, to hit the road for more business travel in 2022? If so, the Internal Revenue Service has some good tax deduction news for you. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (or van, pickup or panel truck) will be a bit more. Next year, according to the notice the IRS issued today (Friday, Dec. 17), you can write off business travel at 58.5... Read more →