Deductions Feed

Around this time each year, the Internal Revenue Service releases its annual inflation adjustments for a wide range of tax matters. The 2023 numbers kicked off the ol' blog's annual taxes and inflation series last Oct. 19. But the House Ways and Means Committee has already tinkered with those expected changes. The Congressional tax-writing panel has sent a bill to the full House that would increase the standard deduction by $2,000 for single taxpayers, $3,000 for head-of-household filers, and $4,000 for married couples filing joint returns. Standard deductions for the current 2023 tax year are $13,850 for single and married... Read more →


If you're just now getting to work on your extended 2022 tax return, which is due to the Internal Revenue Service by Monday, Oct. 16, don't panic. These tips will help you make the most of the little tax time left. (Image courtesy Taxpayer Advocate Service, which also has some tips for Oct. 16 filers.) It's almost Tax Day for extreme procrastinators. The extension you got for your 2022 return ends on Monday, Oct. 16. Since the tax clock is ticking, let's get right to these eight tips that can help you complete your Form 1040 by the fast approaching,... Read more →


Congress has received a lot attention of late for action on the full House floor. Over the weekend, U.S. Representatives narrowly averted a federal government shutdown, agreeing to a measure to fund all of Uncle Sam's offices through Nov. 17. Today, Republican House members ousted their leader, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for the first time ever. But while those large-scale, and related, moves were brewing and ultimately unfolding, some members were actually doing their policy making jobs. Members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee were among those working under the radar. They passed, with votes from lawmakers representing both... Read more →


A few years ago, tugboats pushing barges down the Mississippi River, like this one going under the Vicksburg Bridge, was not a problem. Extreme drought, however, has lowered the river's levels, allowing salty water from the Gulf of Mexico to creep upstream below a layer of freshwater. (Photo by Justin Wilkens on Unsplash) Salt water is creeping up the mouth of the Mississippi River and threatening the drinking supply of several parishes in Southeast Louisiana, including the city and suburbs of New Orleans. The prospects are so severe, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared major disasters in Jefferson, Orleans,... Read more →


You made it through college. Congratulations! Now you've just got to repay that student loan. Photo by Muhammad Rizwan on Unsplash More than 40 million former college students who have federal student loans must soon start repaying that debt. The financial obligation has been on hold since March 2020 as a way to help borrowers who encountered financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these three and half years, the borrowers didn't have to pay their student loans. But that changes next month. The first post-pause payment is due in October, which starts in just a few days. If you... Read more →


Hurricane Lee in the Atlantic on Sept. 11, 2023, before heading north. Hurricane Lee was a strange, scary storm. It formed off the coast of Africa and rapidly intensified into a large category 5 hurricane. But instead of heading for the lower U.S. east coast as is typical this time of year, it turned northward. That track sent Lee toward New England, where rotated offshore before making official landfall Sept. 17 in Nova Scotia, Canada, as a strong extratropical cyclone. Don't be deceived by meteorologists' extratropical classification. Lee still did damage to the already water-logged region. That's why the Federal... Read more →


Screenshot from Atlanta's 11Alive report via YouTube on Tropical Storm Idalia's impact on Southeast Georgia. It took a while longer than expected, but southeast Georgia residents who were in the path of Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Idalia finally get the same relief as their neighbors. The Internal Revenue Service announced today that individuals and businesses in 28 of the Peach State's counties qualify for special tax consideration, including a new Feb. 15, 2024, deadline for filing and paying certain taxes. The delayed tax due date, which matches the one granted Florida and South Carolina taxpayers, applies to deadlines that occurred from Aug. 30,... Read more →


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 →


National Weather Service satellite image of Hurricane Idalia moving across South Carolina. Tax and weather watchers knew this was coming. Today, the Internal Revenue Service made it official. The tax agency announced that all individual and business taxpayers in South Carolina are eligible for tax relief in connection with damages from Hurricane Idalia, which started its journey across the Palmetto State as a tropical storm on Aug. 29. The SC trek was after Idalia made landfall in Florida's Big Bend region two days earlier as a category 3 hurricane, prompting the IRS to grant most of the Sunshine State tax... Read more →


Spc. LeAnn White, 2nd Scout Battalion, 49th Brigade, Alaska State Defense Force, assists with recovery operations in Crooked Creek, Alaska, following May floods. Ice dams caused riverbanks to overflow, severely damaging many homes in the area. (Photo courtesy Alaska National Guard via Defense Visual Information Distribution Service) All weather eyes recently, and understandably, have been on Florida, where on Aug. 30 Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the state's Big Bend area as a category 3 storm. Idalia's winds damaged buildings and roads in Keaton Beach and other Gulf Coast enclaves near where the hurricane came ashore. Flooding was more widespread,... Read more →


Update, Sept. 6, 2023: As expected, South Carolina taxpayers get essentially the same tax relief, since Idalia marched through the Palmetto State as a tropical storm after she hit Florida. Update, Sept. 13, 2023: Finally! Even though Idalia moved through southeastern Georgia before hitting South Carolina, it took a little longer for the IRS to grant tax relief to affected Georgians. The agency made it official today, giving the same basic tax relief to individuals and businesses in 28 of the Peach State's counties. Storm surge along Bayshore Boulevard and the Tampa Convention Center on Aug. 30, 2023, morning as... Read more →


Swimming pool steps photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Jordan González We have new neighbors, and it's obvious why they bought the house. Family members and their friends have been in the swimming pool every day since they moved in. Good for them. I hope they enjoy the pool. I also hope they budgeted for the upkeep. Judging from the assortment of pool companies that also have been over there almost every day, the maintenance to keep it swimmable could be significant. The perpetual pool question: The added costs of being able to step out your back door and take... Read more →


Hawai'i Air National Guard loadmasters and maintenance specialists deliver supplies at Kahului Airport, Maui, to help with the recovery from the fires that devastated the island. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Internal Revenue Service also are offering affected residents and businesses relief. (Photo by U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. John Linzmeier via Wikimedia Commons) The Internal Revenue Service has made it official. Hawaii wildfire victims in Maui and Hawaii counties have been granted tax relief, including a Feb. 15, 2024, deadline to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The... Read more →


Teachers and other eligible educators, stop before filing your tax returns and make sure you claim the tax break for your out-of-pocket classroom expenses. (Photo Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Our neighborhood schools this week welcomed students back from summer break. Teachers and other school staff already had been in the classrooms, getting ready for the youngsters' return. Those educators also likely spent some of their own money on the 2023-24 school year preparations. There's a bit of good tax news for those school employees. They can claim a tax break for their out-of-pocket educational expenses. $300 is still... 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 →


Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash Public schools in my part of Austin will welcome students on Aug. 16. Yeah, that's next week. Many universities also will begin classes this month. That leaves a small window now for some school-related tax lessons. So here's a crash course on eight educational tax breaks. Some help cover kindergarten through high school graduation costs. Others apply only to higher education expenses. There's even some federal tax help for post-graduation folks looking to improve their work skills. Let's start with two popular tax credits, since they offer dollar-for-dollar tax savings. American Opportunity Tax Credit:... Read more →


Residents of four states this spring found themselves dealing with the aftermath of tornadoes that ravaged their neighborhoods. They were given more time to meet various tax deadlines. Their new Tax Day, July 31, is almost here. (Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash) Attention residents of areas of Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee that were declared major disaster areas this spring. Your deadline for filing your 2022 tax return, and completing other tax tasks, is Monday, July 31. All of the affected taxpayers in those states were in places hard hit by Mother Nature in late March and early April... Read more →


A Vermont waterway in a more bucolic time. (Photo by Brian Urso on Unsplash) Vermont was inundated earlier this week by what many are saying is the worst flooding since Tropical Storm Irene devastated the area 12 years ago. That's still to be determined, as state and federal officials continue to literally dig out of the waters' aftermath, as shown in the tweet below. Finally got to return to the house and get my stuff — here’s the aftermath of yesterday’s mudslide and flood in Ludlow, Vermont. Grateful I got out when I did! Don’t think I’ll be moving that... 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 →