Politics Feed

Expensive homes are subject to higher mansion taxes in 17 locales across the United States. (Photo by Daniel Barnes on Unsplash) A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about growing opposition to higher taxes on expensive real estate in Los Angeles and Chicago. So naturally, a recent Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) piece on these so-called mansion taxes caught my eye. Local mansion taxes have been around since 1982, notes ITEP local policy analyst Andrew Boardman in his article for the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. However, the momentum for them has built in recent years. Nearly all of today's... Read more →


Photo: President Joe Biden/White House Facebook page In his State of the Union address on March 7, President Joe Biden touched on how he wants to spend our money in the coming 2025 fiscal year. The Biden Administration followed up the next week with its formal budget proposal in the Treasury Department's General Explanations of the Administration's Fiscal Year 2025 Revenue Proposals. The Green Book, as it's popularly known, describes the tax proposals in the budget, along with associated revenue estimates. While a president is required by law to present a budget, what it includes — both in Biden's remarks... Read more →


Did you discover you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) payment? You still have time to get out of the tax jam by applying for the ERC voluntary disclosure program. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) ERC voluntary disclosure deadline is March 22 Last December, the Internal Revenue Service announced that businesses that received improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) amounts could let the agency know about the error. In these cases, many of which were created when companies got bad tax advice from aggressive ERC promoters, the companies would have to repay only 80 percent of the... Read more →


President Joe Biden has targeted capital gains tax laws in his fiscal year 2025 budget. But don't freak out if you have some money in the markets. For the most part, Biden's looking to get more from really wealthy market mavens who typically pay lower capital gains tax rates on the long-term assets they sell. Collecting billionaires' unrealized capital gains: When you sell an asset for more than your paid for it, that profit is a capital gain. The tax rate for these gains typically is less than ordinary tax rates that apply to earnings like wages. In most cases,... Read more →


The first Direct Filer was a satisfied IRS employee who got a $400 tax refund. However, GOP opponents of the program say it was wrongly established and misspends tax dollars. Following a soft launch, the Internal Revenue Service today, March 12, officially opened Direct File to all eligible taxpayers in the pilot program's 12 participating states. The no-cost tax preparation and e-filing program cuts out the commercial tax middleman, allowing certain taxpayers able to complete their annual filing task by dealing, as the name says, directly with the IRS. Right now, that's only taxpayers in 12 states with relatively simple... Read more →


The Recovery Rebate Credit also is available until April 15, 2025, for unclaimed 2021 tax year amounts. Economic impact payments, or EIPs, issued in 2020 and 2021 helped millions deal with the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some people didn't get the coronavirus stimulus money to which they were entitled. These eligible individuals still have a chance to collect the cash by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. But time is running out. The Internal Revenue Service is alerting those who didn't file a 2020 tax return need to complete that form and claim the COVID funds by... Read more →


Update, Wednesday, March 20, 2024: The ruling that the Chicago housing ballot measure was invalid was overturned on March 6 by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, so the matter went to the city's voters on March 19. The latest count shows it failing by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin. The election board will finalize vote totals by April 9. Photo by Rachel Davis on Unsplash A person's home is the owner's castle. Some homeowners think that's how tax collectors view their properties, especially when it comes to real estate tax assessments. In some places, local officials want... Read more →


Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →


Tax season 2024 is off to a slow start compared to filings at this time last year. At this early point in the tax season last year, the Internal Revenue Service had received nearly 19 million returns. But by the end of the first week of the 2024 filing season, just around 15.3 million returns had arrived at the IRS. That's a substantial 19.1 percent decrease from 2023's early filings. Still, some 2024 taxpayers are happy. They're recipients of the more than 2.6 million refunds that the IRS issued by Feb. 2. The dollar total of those early refunds was... Read more →


Last week, I finally got all the documents I need to file my 2023 tax return. As an independent contractor, the bulk of my income tax statements were 1099-NEC forms. But some folks are getting 1099-Ks. And these tax statements still are causing confusion. Form 1099-K has become more common with the growth of the gig workforce, and the delivery of products and services through online apps and marketplaces, such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, eBay, Etsy, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Old form, new amounts: The forms are not new, but the amount of earnings that trigger their issuance has changed.... Read more →


Taking things a bit more slowly often is a good idea. For many, that approach also applies when it comes to filing their annual tax return. (Photo by Kay Bell) While millions of taxpayers are eager each January to get their returns to the Internal Revenue Service, there just as many who want to take their time. Some are just natural procrastinators. They wait until the last minute to finish every task. But when it comes to tax filing, there actually are some good reasons to not be in such a hurry. Here are seven. 1. To see if Congress... Read more →


Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash The major challenge for Congress right now is finalizing funding so the federal government won't shut down in March. But some members also are, as noted in yesterday's post, trying to get a mini tax extenders measure passed. And that's not the only tax bill on some lawmakers' minds. A bill to eliminate the federal estate tax was introduced just as the larger bipartisan House/Senate tax bill was clearing the House Ways and Means Committee. Estate tax elimination effort. Again: Some cynical Washington, D.C., watchers might say this bill was introduced primarily for political purposes.... Read more →


Members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees who approved bipartisan legislation last week hope the eventual outcome of their effort will be as sunny as this view of the U.S. Capitol during warmer times. (Photo: Wikipedia) Congress actually accomplished something last week. Representatives and Senators kicked the can down the legislative road agreed to measures that eliminated the immediate threat of a government shutdown. Even more surprising was another bipartisan deal. While the stop-gap government deal was being brokered, the Democratic Senate Finance Committee chair and his Republican counterpart leading the House Ways and Means Committee signed off on... 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 →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the March on Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. (Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash) With much of the United States in the grips of severe winter weather, many of today's celebrations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and legacy have been postponed. If that's the case where you live, you can spend your extra time on this legal holiday reconnecting with King's works. A good starting place is Britannia's timeline of King's life, travails, and accomplishments. You'll also want to read some of his works. There is, of... Read more →


You probably are getting ready for the three-day weekend coming up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday on Monday, Jan. 15. But if you pay estimated taxes, you also know that date usually is the deadline for the prior tax year's fourth payment. Since it's MLK Day this year, this due date is pushed to the next business day, Tuesday, Jan. 16. You need to meet that final deadline to avoid a possible tax bill or penalty (or both) when your file your 2023 tax return later this year. Why estimated tax? Most of us pay... Read more →


Feeling adventurous this tax filing season? If you live in one of 12 states, you can be a guinea pig for the Internal Revenue Service's Direct File pilot program. Direct File will be available when the 2024 tax filing season officially opens on Jan. 29. The participating states are Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. This IRS-offered test of free tax preparation and e-filing will be available via smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop computer. There are English and Spanish versions. However, the exact availability timing is in flux. When the... Read more →


The majority of taxpayers get refunds. They also file early each tax season so they can get their money as soon as possible. But some are always disappointed. While the Internal Revenue Service aims for a 21-day turnaround, from the time it gets your return and processes it until the day you have your refund in hand, that's not a rule. To borrow from Capt. Barbossa in the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, it's more of a guideline. The IRS used to issue a chart showing expected refund dates based on when taxpayers filed. Now that document, IRS Publication... Read more →


Things are brighter for residents of 12 states where taxes were lowered this year. (Photo by NASA on Unsplash) Most states operate on a fiscal year that starts on July 1, so many of their law changes take effect in the summer. But in some cases, state lawmakers set the start of a new year as enactments day for new laws. That makes things easier for resident, especially when the changes are tax-related, since tax years typically align with the January-to-December calendar. That's the new tax law case in 34 states, according to research from the Tax Foundation. Lower state... 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 →