Politics Feed

Washington's capital gains tax proposals have people talking. On both coasts. In Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden's call for those earning more than $1 million to pay a 43.4 percent tax on their investment earnings instead of the current 20 percent tax rate has anti-tax lawmakers and lobbyists working overtime to stop it before it gets going. That total comes from a return to the pre-George W. Bush tax cuts ordinary income tax rate of 39.6 percent plus the 3.8 percent Affordable Care Act investment income surcharge. Meanwhile, around 2,350 miles to the west, a new capital gains tax on... Read more →


Happy International Women's Day (IWD), the global commemoration and celebration of women's successes. But it's also recognition that more work is needed before gender equality is achieved. Organized efforts to focus on women's accomplishments and goals have been conducted globally since 1911, with the official March 8 date set in 1914. This year, the IWD theme chosen by the United Nations is, not surprisingly, Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. The official IWD website is highlighting the #ChooseToChallenge on social media. #HappyInternationalWomensDay We can choose to challenge & call out gender bias & inequality. We... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers have already followed this calendar note's insistent instruction. Reading tax statistics can be a lot like checking out COVID-19 vaccination options. You can't just look at one number. You have to take into account the circumstances that produced the percentage that caught your attention. That's the deal with the 2021 filing season figures. Percentages skewed by season lengths: As of Feb. 26, the latest complete information collected by the Internal Revenue Service, almost 45.3 million 2020 tax returns have been filed. That's a 23.7 percent drop from the amount of submitted returns through the end of February... Read more →


The news is good if you're eligible for the third coronavirus financial relief payment. The Senate today, Saturday, March 6, approved the Biden Administration's American Rescue Plan. UPDATE, Thursday, March 11, 2021: Biden signed the bill into law early in the afternoon today. He originally been scheduled to sign the bill on Friday, after it had been reviewed again and printed. However, the White House decided to move up Biden penning his enactment signature to the enrolled bill after it arrived at the White House on the night of Wednesday, March 10, so that its help provisions could begin. The... Read more →


President Joe Biden's heart may belong to his 1967 classic Corvette Stingray, but he's working to make Uncle Sam's 600,000 automotive fleet electric. (Photo by Adam Schultz via Flicker) Much of the focus on the new White House understandably has been on President Joe Biden's COVID-19 relief package. But Biden also has been pushing his alternative energy plans, specifically a move to electric vehicles (EVs). Just days after his inauguration, he vowed to replace the bulk of the federal government's fleet of vehicles with made-in-America EVs. On Tuesday, March 2, Biden met virtually with executives in the EV charging infrastructure... Read more →


March 1 has arrived. Or, as some coronavirus pandemic weary wits have dubbed it, March 2.0 or March 366. Yes, we've been dealing with COVID-19 for a year now. And yes, the virus and its myriad disruptions continue. But the development of multiple vaccines and prospects for expanded distribution of the shots give us reason to hope that the coronavirus after-times are within sight. Another COVID-19 relief package, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, also is closer to reality. The House passed the measure over the weekend, and the Biden Administration is pushing the Senate to hammer out its differences with... Read more →


IRS Washington, D.C., headquarters (Photo by Davide Boeke via Flickr CC) Taxpayers are not the only ones ticked off because they got failure to file notices from the Internal Revenue Service. "Enough is enough," two leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee has told IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a recent letter. W&M Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-New Jersey), chair of the tax-writing panel's Subcommittee on Oversight, took the agency to task not only for the 260,000 incorrect non-filing notices it recently sent, but also for a series of other missteps. "[W]e are... Read more →


The tax filing season clock is ticking, but will the alarm go off on April 15 as usual? That's the IRS plan for now, but some in Congress and the tax community would like Uncle Sam to extend the 2021 Tax Day deadline like happened last year. The Internal Revenue Service is insistent that despite a later than normal opening of the 2021 tax filing season, it will end as usual on April 15. Some lawmakers and members of the tax community, however, think this filing season needs to follow the 2020 example and be extended beyond the usual mid-April... Read more →


President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, addresses the Department of Defense. (White House Facebook page photo) It's a new tax year, a new filing season belatedly underway and a new Administration with some ideas on tax changes. Every time a new president moves into the Oval Office, especially one of the opposite party, political wags try to make pithy observations. Personally, I bow to some esteemed wits of the past, like Will Rogers, who said, "The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." Rogers' sardonic comment came to mind because... Read more →


I'm not sure if Luisa Madrid is a tax professional, but her winning caption for the New Yorker magazine contest sure hits home at filing season. One of the oldest tales of pushing the tax return envelope is taxpayers who try to claim pets as dependents. Children. They're a challenge. They're a joy. They cost a lot. A whole lot, if you ask parents. They also provide some tax breaks. And if the Biden Administration and some in Congress have their way, children could be worth even more in the proposed next round of COVID-19 relief. Things are still in... Read more →


Patrick Mahomes, a possible future GOAT, and his Kansas City Chiefs look to win a second consecutive Super Bowl. To do so, they'll have to control GOAT Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (CBS promotional photo) It's Super Bowl LV weekend. A very subdued one, in keeping with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The National Football League and CBS Sports are doing what they can to gin up excitement. And for the millions of us who'll watch on TV, that's probably enough. Heck, the match-up of Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady is probably enough. But cities across the country, even... Read more →


I'm willing to bet that line 30 will be one of the most scrutinized lines on the 2020 tax year Form 1040. That's where taxpayers can claim the new Recovery Rebate Credit, or RRC. The RRC is the official name of the money issued in 2020 and earlier this year as COVID-19 economic impact payments, or EIPs. The payments actually were advance payments on this tax credit. If you didn't get any or all of either EIP last year, you can claim it this filing season on the aforementioned and likely popular line 30. Depending on your actual income amount... Read more →


Being a homeowner can be a royal pain in the tush. I speak from experience. The hubby and I have bought a condo and five houses over the years. But, as you can tell from my buying string, it's my preferred living arrangement. And a lot of people joined us in the in the homeownership club in 2020. The National Association of Realtors says last year's housing boom was driven by sales of existing homes. The specific numbers from the NAR report released Jan. 22 show existing home sales totaled 5.64 million in 2020. That's 5.6 percent higher than in... Read more →


Small businesses are adapting their operations to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some tax breaks in the relief bill enacted at the end of 2020 could help. (Photo by Norma Mortenson via Pexels) Most COVID-19 relief focus has been on the added financial help to individuals. That's understandable. Millions of folks have been struggling to make ends meet as the pandemic has ravaged the economy. But they are facing fiscal woes in large part because their employers are in trouble, too. When companies get their footing back, they can start to rehire laid off staff and things should pick... Read more →


President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery proposal, dubbed the American Rescue Plan, includes among other things a third economic impact payment (EIP). This next payment is $1,400 for individuals earning less than $75,000 or $150,000 for a married couple filing a joint return. That would bring the $600 second EIP to the much-touted $2,000 total. And as with the other two payments, the Internal Revenue Service again will be in charge of getting the money out to eligible recipients. I know. Some of y'all are freaking out. You had issues getting your first EIP authorized by the Coronavirus Aid,... Read more →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, D.C., in 1963 where he delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. (Photo via Wikimedia) It's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021. If there's one tiny, thin silver lining to the terrible times we are enduring due to COVID-19 and political unrest, it's that these awful realities should help us focus on Dr. King's efforts. Equal justice: It is the first MLK Day following the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and too many others that sparked this 21st century drive for... Read more →


Four years ago, Congress forced the Internal Revenue Service to again use private collection agents (PCAs). This third deal with debt collectors came after the IRS ended two previous arrangements when they proved to be, shall we say, problematic. Now it looks like the current IRS PCA collaboration also has some issues. Low collection rate: A recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report says that the private tax debt collectors currently under IRS contract have brought in just a fraction — 1.79 percent of the total value of accounts — of the $30 billion in unpaid tax they've... Read more →


Soon after Joseph R. Biden trades in his former Vice President honorific for President on Jan. 20, the now-Democratic led Congress will take up the 46th Commander in Chief's COVID-19 relief plan. Millions of Americans, even those who didn't vote for Biden and VP-Elect Kamala Harris, are hoping it passes soon. The key appeal of the plan is more coronavirus relief money. Last year, some House and Senate Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in calling for the second economic relief payment of $2,000 per person. That was trimmed to $600 per person in the final bill that became law on... Read more →


When the Internal Revenue Service issued the first round of COVID-19 economic relief payments as debit cards last year, a lot of them ended up in trash cans. Many folks thought the mailing was just another slick marketing attempt to get them to apply for an added credit card. They tossed those envelopes and the valuable relief cards they contained in the trash. So that this next batch of approximately 8 million COVID relief debit cards now hitting (or at least heading to) mail boxes isn't mistaken for junk mail, the IRS has made changes to the envelope. Clear envelope... Read more →


If you're among those anxiously awaiting your second COVID-19 economic relief payment (EIP), you have one more thing to worry about. Scammers are trying to get their hands on your money before you do. These criminals also are trying to get you to help them do just that. And the latest confusion about delivery of relief money to closed bank accounts could increase coronavirus relief scams. Bad bank account problems: Up to 14 million taxpayers who used tax preparation software to file their returns last year and opted to get advances of their expected refunds on pre-paid debit cards are... Read more →


Photo: Pixabay via Pexels The good news, at least from the reports I'm getting from my family, friends, folks in the tax community and social media, is that people are getting their second COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs). This latest round of payments officially is a tax credit known as the Recovery Rebate. It was part of the end-of-year federal funding bill, aka the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA). The Internal Revenue Service started directly depositing the money, based on information it has in its system, on Dec. 29, two days after the legislation was signed into law. Now the... Read more →