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President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget proposal of a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, as well as a levy on unrealized gains on assets (including stock holdings), is getting the most attention. Biden's plan to collect at least a 20 percent tax on U.S. households worth more than $100 million would apply to about 20,000 households, but more than half the revenue would come from households worth more than $1 billion, according to White House estimates. It also would, says the administration, help reduce the nation's budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade. Wish list only:... Read more →


One of the big selling points of taking your taxes electronic is that the Internal Revenue Service's turnaround is quicker. The tax agency has long touted that when taxpayers e-file and have their refunds direct deposited, the tax cash usually shows up within 21 days. Usually. The only thing certain about taxes is that they'll find a way to frustrate you. That's the case when e-filed refunds take longer. Here are six reasons, from the IRS and tax community, as to why your refund may be delayed. 1. Math errors: Yes, taxes are complicated. That's why most of us use... Read more →


The U.S. Department of Education announced this week the cancelation of another $415 million in federal student loan debt. This batch of debt was owed by nearly 16,000 borrowers whose for-profit colleges violated law and educational standards. It brings to around $16 billion the total student debt that has been discharged for more than 680,000 individuals. Uncle Sam's action definitely is good news for those misled students. However, it also raises some questions in connection with another government agency, the Internal Revenue Service. Canceled debt income issues: Normally, any canceled or discharged debt amount counts as income. Officially, it's known... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has signed new contracts with three private tax debt collection agencies. (Image via Giphy) When the Internal Revenue Service four years ago reinstituted, per Congressional mandate, the latest private tax collection program, it signed four collection companies. Today, the IRS announced new deals with three collection agencies. The private collection agency (PCA) contracts take effect tomorrow, following today's expiration of the old contracts. So starting Thursday, Sept. 23, taxpayers with unpaid tax bills may be contacted by one of the following agencies: CBE Group, Inc. P.O. Box 2217 Waterloo, IA 50704 800-910-5837 Coast Professional, Inc. P.O.... Read more →


July 15 is a big day for the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers. Millions of families will start getting Advance Child Tax Credit payments this Thursday. It's also the day the IRS resumes additional collection and enforcement actions that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, had been suspended. "The majority of compliance operations are already running normally after being suspended to provide pandemic-related relief during the People First Initiative April 1, 2020, through July 15, 2020," notes the IRS on a recent update to its mission critical functions web page. However, says the agency, it kept its systemic and automated lien... Read more →


More older Americans are going into debt. For many, it seriously undermines their ability to save for a comfortable retirement. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels) It's no secret why personal finance folks urge us to save early and often. It takes a lot to live like you want when you retire. If you don't have enough stashed after you're done with the 9-to-5 grind, it could be because you are like the individuals in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. They went into more debt as they aged. The government auditing agency's analysis found that older Americans held... Read more →


Some people got less COVID-19 relief money because the IRS took some to pay other debts. Every year, some taxpayers find the tax refunds the Internal Revenue Service sends them are less than they expected. The usual reason for the shortfall is that the federal refund amounts were offset by other debts, such as unpaid taxes, student loans or delinquent child support. That situation cropped up last year when the Recovery Rebate Credit was created as part of COVID-19 relief legislation. The rebates were paid in advance to millions of taxpayers. And in some, but not all, instances, economic impact... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has delivered two rounds of COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs). The first was the $1,200 per person approved in late March 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The second EIP for $600 per person was authorized at the end of last December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), with payments distributed through the first two weeks of January 2021. By now, folks know that if they didn't get the full amounts, which included additional payments for eligible dependents, they need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC). You'll do... Read more →


Forgiven debt can help ease financial burdens, but it usually comes with a tax cost. (Image: CreditRepairExpert/Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service usually is all about information. It wants it from taxpayers getting money and it wants it from those issuing payments. Not so, however, with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that are forgiven under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It doesn't want to know about any of these forgiven loans. In fact, the tax agency has officially told lenders not to mess with Form 1099-C in connection with these special COVID-19 loans. Latest pandemic tax twist:... Read more →


Are you one of those folks who's worrying about how you'll pay your tax bill on July 15? If it's an amount that you just can't come up with or cover with a credit card, look into paying off Uncle Sam over time. The Internal Revenue Service offers a couple of ways to spread out your tax bill over several months. As with most tax transactions nowadays, you can apply for a payment plan online. But depending on the way you decide (and qualify) to pay your tax bill also involves some forms. Those documents, Form 9465 and possibly one... Read more →


IRS Washington, D.C., headquarters photo by Davide Boeke via Flickr CC You've been sheltering in place. You've applied for unemployment benefits. You're alternately checking your bank account and the Internal Revenue Service's Get My Payment online search tool (good luck!) for your COVID-19 economic relief payment. And then there are your taxes. Added COVID-19 tax considerations: Like just about everything during this global pandemic, taxes also are affected. There is, of course, the new July 15 Tax Day deadline, which now applies to a wide variety of tax obligations. But the IRS also is accommodating other tax circumstances, such as... Read more →


Owning a home has long been a symbol of the American dream. For some, however, homeownership turns into a nightmare. Those horrid homeowner dreams became evident in the Great Recession. In the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, artificially high home prices, questionable lending practices and an explosion of subprime mortgages to buyers who under regular lending standards would not have been given a home loan, created a housing bubble. It finally burst in 2007, leaving many homeowners broke as the loans on their properties suddenly were many thousands more than their homes were worth. Many went into foreclosure or walked... Read more →


Yes, that could be a real IRS revenue officer knocking on your door if live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin and have ignored prior notices to pay your overdue tax bill. Have you been a bit remiss in meeting your tax duties? If so and you live in Arkansas, Texas or Wisconsin, you've likely or soon could find an Internal Revenue Service agent on your doorstep. The IRS has announced that these in-person visits are part of a larger effort by the agency to, it its words, ensure fairness in the tax system. The special compliance efforts will encompass both... Read more →


The National Debt Clock is a billboard-sized running total display installed on the western side of One Bryant Park, west of Sixth Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets in Manhattan, New York City. On Oct. 31, 2019, its numbers topped $23 trillion for the first time. The national debt is the total of all the money the U.S. government has borrowed and owes to its creditors, as well as the interest on that debt. Going from the macro to micro level, it's analogous to the total you might owe on a mortgage, a car loan and credit cards. And the... Read more →


I've dealt with bill collectors over the years. Fortunately for me, it's been on behalf of a couple of relatives who found themselves in over their heads financially. Fortunately for my family members, after much — way too much — and often contentious back and forth, we were able to come to a satisfactory resolution. That's why I tend to share former Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson's skepticism about the way that private collection agencies, or PCAs in tax-acronymese, interact with folks who owe taxes. But despite my, Olson's and many others' lingering distrust of these operations, private debt collect is... Read more →


In one tax world case, it does appear that the third time really is a charm. A recent Internal Revenue Service report says that its latest use of private bill collectors to bring in old unpaid taxes is working. In fact, this latest iteration has produced enough additional money to allow the IRS to hire new in-house employees. Third time's a collection charm: The use of private collection agencies, or PCAs as they are known in tax acronymese, was restarted in 2017 after being mandated as part of a 2015 transportation law. It's the third attempt after two previous PCA... Read more →


This post was reviewed and updated Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. The original post can be found here. College and its ever-increasing costs certainly have gotten a lot of attention. During the last two Democratic presidential primaries, candidates have proposed ways that Uncle Sam can provide additional educational assistance to students and their families. As the 2020 school year gets off to a somewhat sputtering start during the COVID-19 pandemic, the costs of dealing with the medical and health care emergency are further complicating things. School changes and costs: Remote classes mean families are having to purchase or upgrade electronic devices... Read more →


The White House's fiscal year 2020 budget proposal was delivered to Capitol Hill today. (Screenshot from AP video via USA Today) The Trump White House today released its fiscal 2020 budget request. The annual fiscal request for money is a month later than usual this year because of the 35-day government shutdown. In his latest budget proposal, Donald J. Trump asks for $8.6 billion for the border wall. He's also calling for spending cuts of $2.7 trillion, the largest proposed reduction ever by an administration. The math involved also is monumental. The budget forecasts trillion-dollar deficits for four straight years,... Read more →


Welcome to the Year of the Pig, the twelfth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. While this year and sign has many meanings in the Chinese culture, it also conjures thoughts of the ubiquitous piggy bank and how we can save more this and every year, regardless of which calendar we follow. Click image to watch full Year of the Pig video from Global News Canada. More of us could use a bigger, and fuller, piggy bank this 2019's Year of the Pig arrives. The recent federal government shutdown... Read more →


October's here! In addition to making some general fourth quarter tax moves, this month is when many employees get to reassess and choose coming-year workplace benefits, many of which also offer tax advantages. And tax-free help paying off student debt could soon be part of those packages. Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. That's why today's employers are trying to figure out exactly what these younger workers want. The traditional worker wishes still apply. All employees want decent pay, regular raises and promotion possibilities. But today's twenty- and mid-thirty-somethings want more, and... Read more →