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 →


We're just a couple of weeks into this new year, and I've received three 1099s and a donation thank-you letter. I am not alone. Official tax forms and statements are filtering into mail boxes, both curbside and electronic, across the country. The exact tax-related documents differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but we all share one thing. We need them in order to accurately fill out annual tax returns. They include W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, 1099-NECs for freelancers, and 1099-MISC and DIV documents for those who have investment earnings. It is, after all, called an income tax. But... Read more →


The tax code is like a car. A big, old, clunky car that just keeps chugging along. But every now and then you need to tune it up and change the tires. Here are some tweaks to the 2023 filing season model. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) Tax filing rolls around every year. But every year, there also are a few changes that make the process slightly different from prior filings. We didn't have any major tax law changes in 2022. But some old rules come into play, as does the expiration of some tax breaks that many folks had enjoyed... Read more →


Drivers faced plenty of challenges in 2022, notably the dramatic jump this year in fuel prices. That prompted the Internal Revenue Service in June to hike 2022's optional standard mileage rates for the last six months of the year. Now the IRS has bumped up the business rate again as part of its annual adjustments to a variety of tax laws. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, the standard optional mileage rate for a car (or van, pickup or panel truck) used for business purposes will be 65.5 cents per mile. That's up 3 cents from the midyear increase that applies... Read more →


There's still time to give for 2022 tax purposes, especially if you make an electronic donation. If you're among the minority of taxpayers who still itemize, year-end philanthropy is one of the easiest ways to boost your Schedule A deductions. And much of that giving his happening right now. Nonprofits Source, a digital marketing consultant for nonprofit groups, says an estimated 30 percent of annual giving occurs in December. Ten percent of those gifts are made in the last three days of the year. If you're part of this last-minute giving group, here are some tips on getting your potentially... Read more →


Merry Monday Holiday After Christmas on Sunday. Happy Boxing Day. Joyous End-of-Year Tax Tasks to Complete Week. Yep, the start of the last week of 2022 has a lot of identities. But it's that last designation that you need to pay close attention to, since the end of the tax year is critical when it comes to many tax moves. Here are eight you need to consider and, if they apply to you, complete by Dec. 31 — or actually by Friday, Dec. 30, in some cases since it's the last business day of 2022. 1. Take your required minimum... Read more →


When are tax-deductible expenses like bananas? When you bunch them. (Photo by Couleur) I just got an email from my dentist, who's suddenly turned into an ad hoc tax adviser. He wanted me to know that he's got a few appointments open through the end of the year in case I need to spend my medical flexible spending account money. His alert also got me thinking about another tax tactic, bunching. Types and timing of deductible expenses: Since enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 2017, year-end bunching has taken on increased importance. This potential tax saving technique means you... Read more →


Photo by Guneet Jassal on Unsplash It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Yep, tax actions need to be added to your already very long holiday to-do list. You only have 31 days to take advantage of some Internal Revenue Code provisions that could save you money. That's always a welcome gift from Uncle Sam, but especially at this time of year. Plus, if you take relevant tax steps sooner in the month, you'll also free up time for more traditional festivities. So let's get to it.... Read more →


The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become a popular donation day. The charitable boosting effort, dubbed Giving Tuesday when it was initiated in 2012, is now the unofficial kick-off of the annual end-of-year charitable season. Most people don't give to good causes because they get tax breaks. Thank goodness for that, since the 2017 tax reform bill made it more difficult to claim a charitable deduction for donations. And that brings us to the first of this post's six charitable donation tax tips. 1. Itemizing required: The only way to get a tax deduction for your donations is to claim them... Read more →


These senior citizens celebrate their shared birthday month, if not the required traditional IRA withdrawals the big days may trigger. A QCD can help avoid tax on the mandated distributions. (Photo by Kay Bell) Most of us still have a real life, old-school, snail mail box. Every November, it is the target for the most mail of the year. Yep, the holidays are here. My curbside box is jammed with two types of correspondence, catalogs and charity solicitations. I get a kick out of thumbing through the catalogs. And yes, I even order a few (too many) things. The donation... Read more →


Korean War Memorial on National Mall, Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash) 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918. That moment marked the armistice between World War I's Allied forces and Germany, ending the fighting on the Western Front. The commemoration to honor the 4.7 million Americans who served — and the 116,500 who died — in what then was called the Great War originally was celebrated as Armistice Day. In 1954, the annual Nov. 11 commemorations were rebranded Veterans Day, and the day's focus expanded to honor veterans from all eras. But the momentousness of the event 104... Read more →


A single winning ticket for the record $2.04 billion Powerball lottery jackpot was sold in Altadena, California. The good news for the buyer, or buyers if it's a shared ticket, is that California is one of two states that don't tax lottery winnings. The other is Delaware. The bad news is that the U.S. Treasury still gets a big chuck of the huge payout when the winner(s) finally collect. Winnings are ordinary taxable income: Since lottery winnings are considered under the Internal Revenue Code as gambling proceeds, the Internal Revenue Service will get a cut. When winnings are more than... Read more →


Following these youngsters' example could pay off in more money from Uncle Sam. The IRS is notifying individuals and families who didn't have to file a 2021 tax return to take another look and consider submitting one by Nov. 17 to claim valuable tax breaks, like the enhanced Child Tax Credit, that they missed. The Internal Revenue Service is still trying to distribute tax benefits to 9 million families that have yet to claim them. The yet-to-be-collected tax breaks are COVID-19 economic impact payments available as the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and the Earned Income... 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 →