Deductions Feed

Billowing smoke from the wildfire ravaging norther New Mexico. (Screen shot of video posted on The Weather Channel, provided by Jackson Mathey via Storyful) The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have merged and been burning a large swath of northern New Mexico for weeks now has been designated as the largest in the state's history. The combined blazes, driven by straight-line winds, have engulfed nearly 300,000 acres, or around 469 square miles, of the Land of Enchantment as of this morning. Only around a quarter of the fire area has been contained, according to InciWeb, a U.S. government... Read more →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Back in the classroom. (Photo by Max Fischer) Today, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, is annual National Teacher Appreciation Day. It's actually part of a full week focusing on saying thanks to the men and women who are dedicated to educating young (and older) people. And it got President Joe Biden's official acknowledgement, which isn't a surprise since First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is a community college educator. The teaching profession has always been challenging. I personally saw how much time, effort, and love my grandmother put into being a first-grade teacher. She did that labor of love for almost six... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The inflation we're experiencing right now is truly a pain. Thank goodness most of my driving is my weekly trip to the grocery store, but those bills have almost doubled. However, the current inflation level does have one, tiny bright spot for folks who have a specific type of health care coverage. It's bumping up tax benefits for individuals who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and associated health savings account (HSA). HDHP coverage has grown in popularity as health care costs kept rising, even before this historic inflation increase. As the name indicates, these plan enrollees face more... 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 →


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 →


Photo by 401k2012 via Flickr CC April 18 isn't just the day you must file your 2021 tax return and pay any tax due. This fast-approaching Tax Day also the deadline to make a 2021 tax year contribution to your individual retirement arrangement (IRA), either a traditional or Roth account. For 2021, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your traditional or Roth IRA. If you're age 50 or older, you can add another $1,000 as a catch-up contribution. If you have the cash, or expect to get a refund that could replace the money you use for your IRA,... Read more →


Screenshot of YouTube News Disaster video of Puerto Rico flooding Tax Day 2022 has been moved to May 16 and June 15, but just for some taxpayers. And no, this is not a late April Fools Day joke. The postponement is for reasons none of us would want. It's for folks who were struck by major natural disasters. The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it has granted special tax relief to Puerto Rico residents of who in February were struck by severe storms, flooding, and landslides. They now have until June 15 to file various individual and business... Read more →


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work. Millions who lost earnings when the coronavirus cut their workplace hours filled the fiscal gap with gig jobs. Others left their wage-paying work entirely, opting to start their own businesses. That's meant these entrepreneurs are facing self-employment tax tasks for the first time. It also means many of them are claiming their first home office tax deduction. And that tax-saving break itself means one more tax decision. Are you going to use the regular home office deduction, or go with the simplified method? As with most things tax,... Read more →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... 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 →


FSA Store Medical flexible savings accounts are a great tax break. This workplace-provided benefit allows you to put money into an account before your paycheck's taxes are calculated. Then you use those tax-free funds to cover health care copays or treatments not covered by insurance. FSAs do, however, have one major drawback. The accounts are a use-it-or-lose-it benefit. Basically, if you don't spend your tax-favored money by the end of your benefits' year, your employer gets to keep it. In some cases, however, workers get ways to use more of their FSA money instead of losing it. And one of... 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 →


Don't let filing your taxes scare you. Take that fear and turn it into awareness of common Form 1040 mistakes you need to avoid making. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) The only thing worse than paying taxes is having to fill out the required paperwork every year. Just looking at a Form 1040, whether through the step-by-step Q&A lens of tax software or with the guiding hand of a tax pro, can send chills down the spines of most taxpayers, even those whose tax circumstances are relatively simple. There's that nagging fear that this is a test from Uncle... Read more →


Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels Sure, taxes are due on April 18 (this year), but March is big tax month. Today is the start of the final full month before your 2021 return — and, if you owe, any tax — is due. That means there's still time to take some steps to help shave some off that possible tax bill. Here are five March tax moves, mostly retirement related, to consider. 1. Open or add to your traditional IRA. You can put money into any IRA, traditional or Roth, by Tax Day and designate it as applying to... 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 Kay Bell Regular readers probably noticed that this blog post is much later than usual. The reason is I lost around eight hours today. There were spent at our local hospital emergency room. The hubby fell and hit his head pretty hard. So, unable to get an appointment with our primary care physician until later this week, we decided to go to the ER today out of, as the saying goes, an abundance of caution. We're glad we did. The official diagnosis is a concussion, but a relatively minor one. That's a relief. The ER doctor and consulting... Read more →