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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash Throughout life, we all encounter momentous firsts. First day of school. First time at a paying job. First time holding your child. First time you file a tax return. OK, that last one is probably not an event you celebrate, even if it produced a tax refund. In fact, if you remember filing your first Form 1040 it at all, it's probably because it was not a good experience. There's no way to replace that bad tax memory. But there are steps that first-time tax filers can take to make sure their initiation into the... Read more →


Tax season 2024 is off to a slow start compared to filings at this time last year. At this early point in the tax season last year, the Internal Revenue Service had received nearly 19 million returns. But by the end of the first week of the 2024 filing season, just around 15.3 million returns had arrived at the IRS. That's a substantial 19.1 percent decrease from 2023's early filings. Still, some 2024 taxpayers are happy. They're recipients of the more than 2.6 million refunds that the IRS issued by Feb. 2. The dollar total of those early refunds was... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Ave Calvar You checked out my post on who has to file a tax return (thank you!) and confirmed that you're one of the lucky few who doesn't have to file a Form 1040 this year. But maybe you should. Even if you aren't legally required there are some good reasons to send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return anyway. Here are eight such should-file situations. 1. You are due a refund. Most U.S. workers have income tax amounts taken from their paychecks. Other sources of income also sometimes take some tax amounts off the... Read more →


Hello, February. Even though it's the second month of the year, it's the first full month of the annual tax-filing season. So if you're just now starting to focus on filing your return, don't feel bad or alone. A lot of us are right there with you. Since February is the shortest month, even with this year's extra Leap Year day, I'll keep the monthly tax moves list brief, too. Here are four tax moves to consider in the next 29 days. 1. Keep an eye out for tax statements. Yesterday, Jan. 31, was the day that employers were supposed... Read more →


Most taxpayers will never be as chill as this tabby, especially now that the annual tax filing season is here. But these tips could make the tax task a little easier. (Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash) If you've already got your 2023 tax return ready to send to the Internal Revenue Service tomorrow, Jan. 29, when the agency starts processing filings, you can peruse other items on the ol' blog. (Thank you!) If, however, you're not quite ready yet to tackle Form 1040, I got you. Even when your taxes aren't complicated, many of us dread filling out tax... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tax season 2024 officially starts Monday, Jan. 29. Lots of taxpayers have already filled out their 1040 forms and are just waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to start processing them next week. Most of these early filers are expecting tax refunds. They also likely have relatively simple tax lives. Lucky them. Others, however, have more complicated tax and financial circumstances. These folks have more tax documents with details that must be transferred to their return forms and schedules. They also need to consider how their situations might affect their tax returns. Below is... Read more →


IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel speaking at an EITC Awareness Day event in Baltimore sponsored by the CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign of Maryland. (Photo courtesy CASH/IRS via X/Twitter) It's the Friday before the annual tax season kick off on Monday, Jan. 29. That means today is Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. For the past 18 years, the Internal Revenue Service and community organizations, state and local government officials, schools, employers, and other groups have spent EITC Day getting the word out on this valuable, but too often overlooked, tax credit. Today, IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel headed... Read more →


More than 21 million people selected a medical insurance policy using the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace during the 2024 open enrollment period that ended in mid-January. The numbers should increase, as open enrollment continues in California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., through Jan. 31. So far, this year's medical coverage enrollees include more than five million people, about a fourth of the 21.3 million total, who are new to ACA. Another 16 million people renewed their coverage to the plans, also still referred to by many as Obamacare. While the sheer numbers indicate a diverse... Read more →


Members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees who approved bipartisan legislation last week hope the eventual outcome of their effort will be as sunny as this view of the U.S. Capitol during warmer times. (Photo: Wikipedia) Congress actually accomplished something last week. Representatives and Senators kicked the can down the legislative road agreed to measures that eliminated the immediate threat of a government shutdown. Even more surprising was another bipartisan deal. While the stop-gap government deal was being brokered, the Democratic Senate Finance Committee chair and his Republican counterpart leading the House Ways and Means Committee signed off on... Read more →


The majority of taxpayers get refunds. They also file early each tax season so they can get their money as soon as possible. But some are always disappointed. While the Internal Revenue Service aims for a 21-day turnaround, from the time it gets your return and processes it until the day you have your refund in hand, that's not a rule. To borrow from Capt. Barbossa in the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, it's more of a guideline. The IRS used to issue a chart showing expected refund dates based on when taxpayers filed. Now that document, IRS Publication... Read more →


Photo by olia danilevich Millions will celebrate the end of 2023 on Sunday, Dec. 31. But the last day of the year isn't just for partying. Dec. 31 also is an important tax day. It's the deadline to take care of some tasks that could affect your 2023 tax bill. Other things that happen on the year's final day also have tax implications. Here are five common end-of-year situations that have Dec. 31 tax timing implications. 1. Getting married: If you say "I do" on 12/31, then the Internal Revenue Service considers you married for the whole year. That means... Read more →


Only 80% of wrongly-claimed Employee Retention Credit amounts must be repaid. Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash We're all aware of the continuing medical issues from long COVID. The coronavirus' tax effects appear to be just as persistent. The Internal Revenue Service is still dealing with law changes enacted to provide pandemic relief. The Employee Retention Credit, or ERC, is one of them. This refundable business tax credit was designed for companies that continued paying employees during the COVID-19 pandemic despite financial hardship. To qualify, the businesses were either fully or partially suspended due to a government order, or had... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Electric vehicles (EVs) are supposed to be one way to cut fossil fuel emissions and help slow, if not stop, climate change. But the best laid plans often go awry when lawmakers get involved. A $7,500 EV tax credit was part of the climate-related tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act achieve change. But it came with limits, with the full amount applying only to EVs and plug-in hybrids assembled in North America. Then this week, the Treasury Department further tightened the EV credit rules. Now a certain percentage of the components and minerals... Read more →


The only thing worse than being sick is not having health insurance that will cover your medical costs to get well. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The current frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination surprised his party and most of the country last month when he declared he would again try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if he gets back into the White House . Even if Donald J. Trump's swipe at Obamacare, as the health care program still is known, is more than just campaign rhetoric, the reality of repeal is difficult.... Read more →


More than 20,000 businesses are about to learn how serious the Internal Revenue Service is about stopping questionable Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. The tax agency has sent them a letter notifying them that they won't be getting the COVID-19 pandemic tax relief. Many of the claims were filed by ERC mills that have aggressively promoted the tax relief, often to businesses that did not qualify. The amount of such questionable claims prompted the IRS in September to stop processing all new claims. This first round of IRS letters to some of those who did file for the ERC is... Read more →


You have a lot to do, and which you'd rather be doing, this month. But also take some time to check out a few December tax moves. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Me neither. Although I love the holidays and Christmas decorating, my time and patience get shorter this time of year as my seasonal to-do list gets longer. So I understand if you are rolling your eyes right now as I suggest adding some tax moves... Read more →


Individuals who didn't automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment or claim a Recovery Rebate Credit during the COVID-19 pandemic get a second chance at the money. Economic Impact Payments helped many U.S. families financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. But some eligible filers didn't get the stimulus money directly, and didn't claim it later as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they filed. Now they get another shot at the tax relief. Remember Economic Impact Payments? These funds, also referred to as stimulus payments, were issued during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internal Revenue Service sent most of the payments... Read more →


Taking advantage of these inflation-adjusted tax breaks could put more money in your pocket instead of Uncle Sam's bank account. (Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash) Each of our tax situations is unique. But every taxpayer can agree on one thing. We all want to pay the least amount of tax as possible. That universal goal can be reached by taking advantage of tax deductions, tax credits, and income exclusions. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a relatively easy, and popular, way to reduce a tax bill. Deductions... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Every year, families gather at Thanksgiving. In many cases, it's a chance for relatives and friends who haven't seen each other for a while to reconnect. Some families, however, are much closer proximity-wise. They see each other all the time. And in some of those cases, family members are caregivers. That's why November is a good choice as National Family Caregivers Month. It is formal recognition, as noted in President Joe Biden's proclamation, that millions of Americans provide crucial care and assistance to parents, children, siblings, and other loved ones. Many of these caregivers... Read more →


Substitute a cat for the dog, and that's pretty much how the hubby and I envision retirement! (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) OK, boomer. When that catchphrase meme went viral a few years ago, it marked the end of friendly generational relations. It also could be seen as a wake-up call to retirement savers. With Social Security already facing financial challenges, many point to the added challenges that Uncle Sam's retirement program faces as even more of the Baby Boom generation retires. Congress has yet to address Social Security's future. Of course, the House and Senate seem to... Read more →