Deductions Feed

March's arrival means it's time to start stalking some tax savings. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) While the saying that March comes in like and goes out like a lamb usually is a reference to this month's weather transition from winter to spring (or, here in Central Texas, to summer already), feline aggressiveness could come in handy at tax filing time. There are plenty of tax moves you can make during this final full month before Tax Day, which is this year is the normal April 15 due date. Here are five tax matters to consider in... 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 →


The IRS is OK with celebrating the closing of a business deal on a corporate jet, but not so accepting when the aircraft is used for personal jaunts. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) If Elon Musk and Taylor Swift were unhappy with the attention their jet flights were getting from a private citizen, a federal agency's plans could cause them even more turbulence. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it is initiating dozens of audits on business aircraft that were used for personal travel. The audits will focus on aircraft usage by large corporations, large partnerships, and high-income... Read more →


Photo by Chandler Cruttenden on Unsplash Last August, parts of Michigan were struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding, prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to issue this month a major disaster declaration for nine counties. The Internal Revenue Service subsequently announced tax relief for those individual residents and business owners. One of the tax considerations is a new June 17 filing and payment deadline for the affected Michigan taxpayers. The Great Lakes State is the sixth to be granted the new mid-June Tax Day due to disasters. Some Michigan residents join those who were ill-treated by Mother Nature... Read more →


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 →


Muddy tracks photo by Sean Foster on Unsplash June 17 is becoming the new Tax Day for many taxpayers. Unfortunately for them, the two additional months are because they live in areas hit by major disasters. West Virginia taxpayers are the latest to join this unwelcome club. Other states where individual and business tax filers have a disaster-related June 17 deadline are Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. In West Virginia, the Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief for Mountain State taxpayers in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison, and Kanawha counties. Those five WV counties sustained damages from severe storms,... Read more →


Maine taxpayers join those in Connecticut, Tennessee, and Rhode Island disaster areas for whom Tax Day now is a mid-summer event. Maine road washed away after last December's severe storms. (Photo courtesy Maine Governor's Office via Facebook) Much of California is overrun today by an atmospheric river unleashing heavy rain and wind. Judging from the images of the damages, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) likely will eventually declare the hardest hit areas as major disasters. The Internal Revenue Service then will follow, granting tax relief to those in the designated locales. But that's a bit down the flooded California... Read more →


Some other taxpayers in areas hit by more recent major disasters get even later deadlines — Feb. 29 and June 17 — to complete various 2023 tax tasks. Major disasters can strike anywhere, any time. When tax deadlines and the catastrophes coincide, the Internal Revenue Service gives affected filers more time. Some of those deadlines are coming up in February. (Disaster collage courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Yes, the current tax filing season just started this week, and millions already have sent their 2023 returns to the Internal Revenue Service. But taxpayers in eight states and two U.S. territories... 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 →


You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


Doing your taxes can be a hassle. It's a bit easier when you claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Karolina Grabowska) This weekend, many taxpayers will be working on their 2023 tax returns. They share a couple of traits in addition to simply being eager filers. The first is no surprise. They are expecting a tax refund. And second, their tax situations are relatively simple. Typically, they have only wage income that's reported on a W-2 form, and they use the standard deduction instead of itemizing. The number of individuals who claim the... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images If you're self-employed, use your car for work, and have taken your last business trip of 2023, go out to your vehicle and take a photo of the odometer. There's no Internal Revenue Service rule that you record your odometer's annual reading. But it's a good idea. A date-stamped smartphone image — either on the last day of the year, the first day of the next year, or, say some tax advisers, on both days — is a digital record that can help you determine how much you drove your vehicle for business. If... 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 →


A home north of Clarksville, Tennessee, was destroyed on Dec. 9 by an EF-3 tornado. It was part of a series of deadly twisters that ravaged the area on Dec. 9-10. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo via Wikimedia Commons) For some, the holidays are hard enough without a major catastrophe intervening. But unfortunately for some Tennessee residents, that's just what happened earlier this month. On Dec. 9 and 10, at least six tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee. The National Weather Service (NWS) said that the EF-3 tornado in the Clarksville's area carved a path 42 miles long with... Read more →


Even if you're not a cat, you can appreciate Boxing Day as a way to help others by making charitable donations. Happy Boxing Day! This holiday isn't formally celebrated in the United States, but many people around the world embrace the day after Christmas as a way to keep the season of giving going a bit longer. There are many explanations as to how Boxing Day, and its name, came to be. One commonly accepted origin story is that when it began in the United Kingdom during the Victorian period, household servants were given the day after Christmas off as... Read more →


Cutting the Christmas tree is a family affair at this tree farm. (Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash) The first Christmas tree the hubby and I shared was a plastic one. A cheap plastic one. We were newlyweds on a budget, and we couldn't justify spending what even a small real fir cost back then. So we got the artificial tree, trimmed it with our few ornaments, watched the cat find creative ways to attack it (and the items hanging from it), and had a very merry first married Christmas. Our tradition was born. As both our finances and artificial... Read more →


This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →


Photo by Xingchen Yan on Unsplash If your work involves driving, the Internal Revenue Service has some good news for your 2024 business trips. Today, the tax agency announced that on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard optional mileage rate you can use to claim those eligible miles will go to 67 cents per mile. That's a 1.5 cent increase over the 2023 mileage rate. However, the other two mileage rates that the IRS evaluates and adjusts each year are going down. Travel for medical and, in the case of qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, moving purposes will be... Read more →


My H-E-B helps me keep track of store purchases that might be eligible for FSA reimbursement. (Crumpled receipt photo by Kay Bell) After today's weekly grocery buying trip, I'm pulling out my stash of COVID-19 pandemic masks. Yes, I bought a lot. A whole lot! As before, the facial protection is to shield me from the sneezes and coughs of many of my uncovered fellow H-E-B shoppers. This time, though, I'm hoping the upper respiratory cacophony is due to the changing weather, dust stirred up by the firing up of furnaces, and, here in Central Texas, cedar fever. But you... 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 →