Charity Feed

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 →


If you use the standard deduction, this tax break can help cut your tax bill, but only if you make your donations by Dec. 31. And if charitable organizations get their wish, the tax break will be extended past 2021, and worth as much as $4,000 ($8,000 for couples). During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans needed help than ever before to pay bills, feed their families, and generally just try to retain their pre-pandemic lives. To do that, many turned to nonprofits for help. Unfortunately, charitable organizations found themselves in similar straits. "2020 should have been... Read more →


Some of the damage from tornadoes that hit Western Kentucky the night of Dec. 10-11, right after it happened. (Photo: Kentucky Emergency Management) There never is a good time for a disaster to strike, but deadly tornadoes during the December holiday season is especially difficult. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and property when a supercell system moved through six southeastern states and into the Midwest late Friday, Dec. 10, and early Saturday, Dec. 11. Western Kentucky was hit the hardest, with at least 70 people believed killed in the storms. Kentucky Division of Emergency... Read more →


To keep yourself and Uncle Sam happy, don't ignore the annual required minimum distribution from your tax-deferred retirement accounts. Retirement accounts, such as traditional IRAs and workplace 401(k) plans, are great ways for many to save for their post-work years. These tax-deferred plans offer a variety of benefits, ranging from reduced taxes on work earnings to a potential tax deduction for some IRA owners to the added Saver's Tax credit for eligible filers. But these tax-deferred retirement accounts also come with a big drawback. At some point the Internal Revenue Service demands you take out at least some of the... Read more →


A close-up of some of our Christmas tree ornaments, including the newest one showcasing Austin icon El Arroyo's sign wisdom. (Photo by Kay Bell) Ho, Ho, Ho! The jolly month of December is here, bringing the official start of winter, Christmas and other holidays, and taxes. Yeah, that last December item might harsh your holidays. But the tax moves you make over the next 31 days could make your 2021 and 2022 tax situations happy and bright. Here's a look at 6 December tax moves you at least want to consider. 1. Keep an eye on Congress. Yeah, too often... Read more →


Click image to see loop from KLIX of Hurricane Ida's landfall. Today is not only the last day of November, it is the official end of this year's Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. Although I no longer live very near a coastline, tropical systems do a whole lot of damage beyond their landfalls. We've endured the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine in 2010 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (what is it with H storms and Austin?) that hit the Texas coast. This year the Lone Star state escaped Hurricane Ida. She stayed east of us and definitely did a lot... Read more →


Photo: Satya Murthy Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday obviously is about acknowledging all we have to be thankful for in the past year and beyond. It's best when spent with family and friends. And, of course, it's about eating! Turkey and dressing. Green bean casserole. Double-stuffed baked potatoes. Celery stalks overflowing with pimento cheese. Fruit salad. Pies. Lots of pies. That was what I grew up eating. We lived in the same West Texas town as grandparents, so the fourth Thursday of November definitely was a beloved routine. My Mom always helped out my Mam-ma, her mom, and on most occasions... Read more →


Democrats still are looking to ease the limit on the federal tax deduction on state and local taxes, or SALT as the tax world, and now every affected state and local taxpayer, refers to it. The latest proposal is to raise the $10,000 cap imposed by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to $80,000 through 2020, then revert to $10,000 in 2031. Yeah, budget machinations at work. Surpassing standard amounts: That's got some folks looking at whether it would be worth itemizing again. To opt for detailing deductions on Schedule A, you'll need to come up with enough... Read more →