Charity Feed

Source: AmeriCorps Tomorrow, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day. It's not an official, formal federal holiday. But it was declared, by a joint resolution of Congress in 2009, as the day each year for remembering those who died or were injured during the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. On the annual National Day of Service and Remembrance on Monday, Americans across the country will follow the urging of President Joe Biden's in his proclamation to participate in community service in honor of those our nation lost. You can find opportunities to volunteer... Read more →


County of Maui photo via Facebook Late summer is wildfire season across much of the United States, and this particularly hot 2023 season has helped feed ferocious fires. Our 50th state has been hit the hardest. A series of wildfires erupted on several of the Aloha State's islands in early August, fed by strong winds from Hurricane Dora as it passed south of Hawai'i. The worst fires were on Maui, where starting Aug. 8 they burned out of control. By the time the flames were out, they left tragic evidence. The Maui fire is the deadliest in the United States... Read more →


U.S. Senators today grilled professional golf representatives in connection with the planned merger of the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, the upstart league backed by Saudi Arabia. Critics, including many in the sports world as well as Congress, of the deal say it's a thinly disguised effort by the Mideastern country to sportswash its stained human rights reputation. Others add that it's an attempt to bolster its economic influence in the United States. The Senate Homeland Security Committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing ran around three hours, but apparently didn't resolve much. (Insert your own Capitol Hill dog and pony... Read more →


Reviewed and updated Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 The New Year's Day 2024 Powerball drawing was life-changing for the yet-to-be identified person who bought the lone winning ticket in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Congrats to the winner of the $842.4 million jackpot, which has a one-time cash payment value of $425.2 million. And better luck next time for the rest of us! Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. Benjamin Franklin wasn't wrong, but he did live in pre-national lottery times. Today, joining death and taxes as life's constants is Americans' love of gambling. One of the most popular betting options... Read more →


Washington, D.C, fireworks illuminate the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol dome. Happy Independence Day! My neighborhood kicked off today with our annual Fourth of July gathering. It included a parade around the flatter (our community is in a hilly area) of our two parks. Cars and golf carts and bicycles and baby strollers and individual walkers all decker out in red, white, and blue regalia made the nearly one-mile trek. There was a good turnout since my neighbors and I, like a lot of Americans, usually spend this holiday close to home. That's especially true in years when July 4... Read more →


Welcome to the first full week of June. Have you finished making your vacation plans? I hope you left some time to also deal with summer tax tasks. That's right, taxes don't go on holiday. And while they aren't fun, there are some tax moves you need to make, or at least consider, this June. Since we're already on fifth day of the month, let's get right to them, focusing on some other relevant numbers. Don't miss Tax Day take two. June 15 is Tax Day for U.S. taxpayers who live and work outside the United States and Puerto Rico.... Read more →


Spring is the traditional time to clean out all the junk you've accumulated. Our neighborhood has a community yard sale the first weekend in May. Some of what doesn't get sold ends up going to local charities. That's a good way to dispose of clothing and household goods that are in good condition and, if you itemize, claim a tax deduction. Follow donation rules: The state of the donated goods is just one of the conditions you must take into consideration, especially if you're planning to deduct their value as an itemized charitable gift. The other key donation deduction factor... Read more →


Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden share a lighter moment. Last week, they also shared their 2022 federal and state tax returns with the American public. (Photo courtesy K. Harris/White House) The U.S. president's and vice president's tax returns were among the more than 117 million filings that the Internal Revenue Service has received through mid-April. We know this because, as is once again tradition, President Joe Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, made their 2022 tax return public. So did Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. The Bidens' filing showed they paid... Read more →


Scammers tend to use tried and true techniques to con people out of their identities and money. One of the most popular schemes involves crooks pretending to be real-life officials. And the Internal Revenue Service is near the top of government agencies that con artists impersonate. CloudFlare, a company which provides security for many companies' online operations, says that the IRS ranks sixth in the 50 top brands when it comes to phishing attempts that use fake sites. The example given by CloudFlare included "IRS" along with the words "contact" and "payment." A big tip-off that the URL is fake... Read more →


The IRS' tax relief for tornado-stricken Mississippians is welcome. But devastated residents could use more help. If you want to provide some support, read on for groups that are conducting a variety of recovery efforts in the storm-stricken areas and could use donations to continue their work. The devastation from the March 24-25 tornadoes that plowed through the lower Mississippi River Valley is horrific. A massive EF4 twister that cut a 59-mile path of destruction left 26 people dead. Hundreds of residents and businesses were displaced by the severe storms. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the White House... Read more →


Blinders may work for horses, but they're terrible for taxpayers who might miss out on some tax savings. (Photo by Graham Ruttan on Unsplash) The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's expansion of the standard deduction amounts means even more taxpayers are using that filing method. Most think that since they don't itemize, they don't need to worry about tax breaks. They're wrong. There are the above-the-line deductions, officially known as adjustments to income, that anyone can take (if they qualify), regardless of whether they take the standard deduction or use Schedule A. Then there are some tax credits, again available... Read more →


If you're in your seventies, it's time to start preparing for nest egg withdrawals, some of which are required by federal tax law. A couple of new retirement laws over the last few years, collectively known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Acts, have made a lot of changes to retirement plans and the collection of associated taxes. One revision was the bumping up the date when most older owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts must start taking some money from these savings. Starting in 2023, required minimum distributions, known by the acronym RMDs, don't kick in... Read more →


Photo by Liza Summer The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's substantial increase in standard deduction amounts accomplished one of its supporters' major goals. More taxpayers have an easier time filing now because they claim the standard deduction. But the 2017 tax reform law had a less-welcome side effect. Charitable giving, which must be claimed as an itemized deduction, has dropped. Even for wealthier taxpayers, who are the most likely to still itemize and who under the law change can claim an even larger percentage of their charitable gifts, deductible donations have plummeted. Some federal lawmakers, however, are hoping to change... Read more →


… and yes, there is a tax connection beyond winning wagers being taxable income. Photo by Scott Webb As is usual each Super Bowl Sunday, bets are getting a lot of attention. There are the big-dollar wagers on the game. Two seven-figure bets were placed last week on the Philadelphia Eagles to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs in today's Super Bowl LVII championship game. Then there are the prop bets, many of which have nothing to do with National Football League plays on the field. For any of those bets that pay off, the winners will owe taxes to the... 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 →


Reviewed and updated Friday, Dec. 8, 2023 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.... Read more →