Dependents Feed

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms out there got everything they wanted today. Of course, we should be grateful for all that our parents do for us every day of the year. In additional to the emotional support, moms (and dads) literally pay for parenthood. A recent calculation of the average cost to raise a child to age 18 came to $312,202. That figure is for a middle-class family, and doesn’t include college expenses. Yikes! Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told WTOP News that the true price could be... Read more →


A scenic overlook is always worth a stop when traveling. But when it comes to taxes, you definitely don't want to overlook tax breaks that could save you money. (Photo by Gary Yost on Unsplash) There are two ways to reduce your tax bill. You can take deductions, which reduce the amount of your money that's taxable. You also can claim tax credits, which cut any tax you owe dollar-for-dollar, and in a few cases get you refund. The options are not mutually exclusive. But they don't do you any good if you don't claim the ones to which you're... Read more →


Doing your taxes can be stressful, but don't add to it by making an avoidable filing error. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The tax filing, and paying if you owe, deadline is nearly here. Millions of us have yet to send our 1040 forms to the Internal Revenue Service. So next week is likely to be frantic, especially on the part of taxpayers who are doing their own taxes. This also means that these last-minute filers might make some mistakes as they hurry to get their taxes done by April 15. Don't be one of them. Tax... Read more →


Photo by Kampus Production Our neighborhood has been full of kids recently. Last week was our local school district's spring break. Monday was an added day off for the youngsters, as teachers only returned to their schools for a special work day. It also was a six days of parents juggling child care and their jobs. I got a close up of this from our new next-door neighbors. Mom and dad alternated days off from their jobs so one of them could stay home with their two children, a pre-teen and a young teenager. Child care is a major challenge... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction. Those who opt to itemize do so because they have enough tax deductible expenses to exceed their filing status' standard amount. In most cases, those expenses are medical. Generally, you can claim allowable medical costs for yourself, your spouse, and dependents as long as the treatments were prescribed by a physician as necessary to diagnose, ease, or prevent a physical or mental illness. The amount of these medical costs that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income count on your Schedule A, the form where you detail... 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 →


Tax season 2024 officially starts on Jan. 29, and millions of taxpayers are getting ready to deliver their returns that day to the Internal Revenue Service. Some, however, are asking a more basic question. Do I have to file a Form 1040 at all? The answer probably is yes. If you're asking the question, you likely made some money, and the Internal Revenue Code doesn't exempt much from taxation. But as with all things tax, there are exceptions. In some situations, Uncle Sam doesn't demand individuals file. Here's a look at whether you might be able to join that group... 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 →


Plus, a look at how a higher cost of living affects gifts before you go, youngsters' investment earnings, and more. Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash What we would do with our wealth may differ, but most of us want to be rich. And even if the Internal Revenue Service is successful in its recently announced effort to crack down on higher income tax evaders, having money is always preferable. In fact, if you've got beaucoup cash, you don't really have to try to slip one past Uncle Sam. Many of the current wealth-related provisions in the Internal Revenue Code... 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 →


Taxes are all about numbers, but generally speaking, we taxpayers are not big math fans. That's why we hire tax professionals or use tax software. That aversion to doing more calculations is why most of us have chosen, year-in and year-out, to claim the standard deduction. Sure, I know, we should use the tax deduction method, either standard or itemizing, that gives up the better tax due result. Still, I know some folks who use the standard deduction method without even comparing because, as noted, it's easier. There are no receipts to save, no additional adding, subtracting, and figuring percentages.... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Congress apparently is still trying to hash out a tax bill. Republican leaders have created a measure, but it's facing not only Democratic opposition, but also pushback from some of its own members. The hangup within the GOP is the $10,000 limit on tax deductible state and local taxes. Democrats want any tax legislation to include an expansion of the Child Tax Credit, or CTC, that follows the increases allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CTC is one of the most popular federal tax breaks around. The family-friendly tax break has been in the... Read more →


If you're the parent of this rambunctious duo, you definitely have a challenging job. However, this roughhousing duo also might help you claim a valuable federal tax credit. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) is one of the most popular federal tax breaks around. This family-friendly tax break has been in the Internal Revenue Code in some form since 1997. Parents like it because it's relatively easy to claim. It's also a tax credit, which means it will reduce your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CTC benefits were expanded. To counter the economic problems created... Read more →


And if that's not enough to get what's owed, Oregon and other states' child support officials get the U.S. Treasury's assistance in collecting those delinquent family financial payments. Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images It's a given that raising children is an expensive endeavor. When parents split up, that financial burden is shared. That continues, ideally, even when couples split. In those cases, one parent often is held legally responsible for providing funds to the other who has main custody of the youngsters. The payments typically last until the children are legal adults. When the paying parent is delinquent on... Read more →


Hello, July! Yeah, I know my welcome to the first full month of summer is a bit late. But admit it. You don't really focus on the month either until after you wrap up July 4th celebrations. Since Independence Day this year fell on Tuesday, that meant an extra-long holiday weekend for lots of us. But the fireworks are over and, sadly, we'll never be independent of taxes. So it's back to work this first week of July, and back to making tax moves that can at least keep a few more dollars out of Uncle Sam's clutches. Here are... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ License The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) wrapped its latest term on Friday with a couple of education-related rulings — affirmative action in college admissions and student loan forgiveness; the high court said nope to both — that will be dissected for a while. But we're still talking about a year-old decision by the justices. On June 24, 2022, SCOTUS overturned 1973's Roe v. Wade, sending abortion decisions back to the 50 states. That's effectively limited the availability of the medical procedure in more than half of the country. Last year's Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s... Read more →


The expanded Child Tax Credit was a lifeline for millions of families early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The benefit went from $2,000 per qualifying child to $3,600 a year for children younger than age 6, and $3,000 per child for youngsters ages 6 to 17. More of the increased CTC also was refundable, meaning that if the available tax credit amount was more than the filer's tax due, the excess was sent to the taxpayer as a refund. Even better, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) called for most eligible households to get half of their qualifying CTC payment in... Read more →


Homemade Gifts Made Easy May. A short word with many meanings. It's the name of the fifth month of the year. Here in the Norther Hemisphere, it's when springtime comes in fully. That's fitting, since its name comes from Maia, the Greek goddess of spring and growth. The Oxford English Dictionary also says the word is a verb that expresses possibility, as in "that may be true," or permission, as in "may I ask a few questions?" When it comes to taxes, I like to combine the meanings. May is a time of growth and renewal and the possibility of... Read more →


Photo by Elisa Ventur on Unsplash When you make a mistake on your Form 1040, the best thing that could happen is the Internal Revenue Service will catch your relatively insignificant error, fix it, and send you a notice about the change. A worse outcome is the IRS changes reduce and/or delay the refund you're expecting. And the absolute worst tax error outcome is that your mistake isn't a minor one, and the IRS decides to take a longer, closer look at your filing. The only way to avoid these situations is to double check your return to ensure it's... Read more →