Economy Feed

As the fight continues on Capitol Hill over how to pay for President Joe Biden's economic and infrastructure plans, property taxes are getting a lot of attention. In one case, it's the real and continuing battle by some lawmakers to repeal or at least revise the itemized deduction limit on state and local taxes, including income and real estate levies collected at those governmental levels. In the other, it's a false claim about a new, nationwide real estate tax. SALT deduction change: First, a look at the real taxes, the state and local taxes, or SALT, collected by almost every... Read more →


The loss of tax revenue is substantial, since most states collect tax (or are supposed to) on all their meals, from eat-in to pick up to delivery. Tasty and taxable. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) Running a restaurant poses many challenges. Dealing with increased food costs. Hiring and training staff. Finding an accessible and affordable location. Complying with health and other regulatory rules. Paying taxes. The tax consideration is getting special attention in California, where an extended investigation reveals that around a fifth of the state's restaurants are using high-tech methods to skip out on taxes. "The California Department of... Read more →


Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments are producing a financial benefit to more than the families receiving the money. The early tax credit amounts, which started going out in July and will continue through December, also appear to keep more workers on the job. That's a finding from a report by Humanity Forward, which partnered with researchers at the Washington University of St. Louis, Appalachian State, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and the Urban Institute to examine the potential effects of the tax break. In addition, the tax credit also is encouraging some to follow through on entrepreneurial plans. Popular tax... Read more →


Photo by sarachicad via Flickr CC Since COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, both employers and employees have been struggling to recover. There was hope when vaccines became widely available in early 2021, things would change. Coronavirus jab hesitancy and the Delta variant wrecked that. Some blamed added federal unemployment benefits on the trouble companies had finding staff when they reopened. Others said it was the businesses' fault for not offering better wages and benefits. Now, in the midst of the Great Resignation in which millions of workers have opted not to return to their prior workplaces, companies are still... Read more →


Sin taxes, those government levies on products or activities generally deemed as not good for us, typically are a favorite revenue raiser for states. Now Uncle Sam, or at least Capitol Hill Democrats looking for ways to pay for their proposed $3.5 trillion economic package, are taking a page from their state tax counterparts. One of the suggested taxes is a hike of the current federal excise tax on cigarettes and cigars. Another is a new tax on vaping. The House Ways and Means Committee summary of the taxes says: This provision doubles the current rate of excise taxes on... Read more →


The Great Resignation created by folks deciding not to return to their jobs after extended COVID-19 absences has led to a lot of new businesses. That means there a many new bosses out there, most of them dealing with a different part of the Internal Revenue Service for the first time. As business owners, they potentially face new types of taxes. Exactly which taxes depend largely on how their new company is established. That's why selection of a business entity is a major tax decision. Business entity options: As part of 2021's National Small Business Week, sponsored annually by the... Read more →


Who hasn't felt this way at work from time to time? This year, after COVID-forced reassessment of their jobs, millions decided to quit. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, including workplaces. Where offices stayed open or reopened, there are the coronavirus precautions, such as work station spacing and staff masking. Other offices are allowing or requiring their staff to work remotely. Hello home offices (that, sorry, likely aren't tax deductible) and Zoom glitches. COVID also gave us the worst-case scenario for too many workers. Reduced consumer demand meant some businesses needed... Read more →


With the financial situation of Uncle Sam's retirement benefits program getting more dire, a recurring suggestion — raise the Social Security payroll tax wage base — is getting some traction this year. Labor Day typically marks the end, at least unofficially, of summer. After the early September long weekend, most schools are back in session, albeit still in remote/real classroom combos due to the Delta COVID-19 variant. Workers, many also still in hybrid coronavirus cubicle/Zoom formats, tend to focus on their jobs. Those jobs are critical not just to the employees, but the economy as a whole and to two... Read more →


Capitol photo by Scrumshus via Citypeek-Wikipedia As Capitol Hill creeps toward further consideration of the Biden Administration's $3.5 trillion spending bill, the focus is narrowing on just how to pay for Uncle Sam's fiscal year 2022 budget. One of the ways the White House wants to pay for the measure's climate initiatives, paid leave, child care, education, and health care is by raising the top marginal individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent. That's the tax rate the wealthiest paid until the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut it in tax year 2018 to 37 percent. That tax reform change... Read more →


Individuals and private businesses weren't the only ones to take economic hits during the persistent pandemic. As people started isolating, either of their own volition or due to mandates, and retailers had to close, states officials also started worrying about the associated revenue damage that COVID-19 would cause to their treasuries. Apparently, in several states those fears were, thank goodness, exaggerated. Flat or increased revenue for many states: "Despite historic declines in the first half of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, tax revenue was on the mend in most states by the end of the year," according to a... Read more →


Photo by 竟傲 汤 from Pexels Texas is pretty much open. Even my local grocery store, which for almost a... Read more →


It's a good summer for young people looking for jobs. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) Before COVID-19, one of the traditional rites of passage for young people was getting a summer job. After literally being locked out last summer due to business pandemic precautions, young workers are returning. In fact, for American teenagers looking for work, this may be the best summer in years. The share of teenagers working is above pre-pandemic levels. The staffing firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas projects teens will add about 2 million jobs to the economy this summer. Still, despite all that economic and... Read more →


Photo: Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created to help small businesses continue to operate in the face of COVID-19 complications. Its execution, however, has been a mixed bag for many businesses and their tax pros, not always working as smoothly as its creators had hoped. Still, the forgivable loan program has its fans. And those worried about its impeding March 31 expiration can rest easier. The Senate last week agreed to the House bill extending the PPP. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it. When that's done, borrowers will be able to apply for... Read more →


The third round of coronavirus economic impact payments are on their way. So are con artists trying to convince financially strapped folks that there are easier ways to get the government payments of up to $1,400 per person. Don't fall for the lies. Some of the just-approved $1,400 COVID-19 relief payments will be delivered by local postal carriers. Others will get their coronavirus cash by direct deposit or Treasury-authorized debit cards. Be on the lookout for the payments, as well as crooks trying to steal them and your identity. The latest COVID-19 economic relief plan, officially known as the American... 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 →


It's National Margarita Day! Each Feb. 22, the focus is on appreciating this popular tequila-based cocktail. Or as we call it here in Texas, every day. FX/FXX TV's spy-turned-private detective Sterling Archer offers his margarita recipe. If, however, you're looking for a drink that's a bit more elaborate that the basic one preferred by the animated (in so, so many ways!) and self-absorbed bon vivant, check out the Cooking Channel's top 28 margarita recipes. Personally, I prefer beer. But if a 'rita is your drink, I hope you enjoy a safe happy hour today — I hear they are quite... Read more →


There's some good news for people paying student loans. Shortly after taking office on Jan. 20, President Joe Biden's directed the Department of Education to continue loan payment relief. The next day, the Department complied. "At the request of President Biden, the Acting Secretary of Education will extend the pause on federal student loan payments and collections and keep the interest rate at 0%," noted the brief statement on the Education Department's website. The Education Department announcement also reiterated the reason cited by Biden: the economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden's Student Loan Executive Order Issued... Read more →


UPDATE, Dec. 29, 2020, 4:20 p.m. CST: Good news for those who saw their unemployment benefits lapse by the delayed signing of the second COVID relief bill. The Department of Labor say they will get the full 11 weeks of benefits, although most will have to wait a few weeks for state agencies to reprogram the package's provisions into their computers. To reflect this decision, the original headline "Millions out of luck and money as federal unemployment assistance ends" was changed. UPDATE, Dec. 27, 2020, 7:34 p.m. CST: The presidential COVID bill holdout is over. Donald J. Trump tonight signed... Read more →


Add "The 12 Days of Christmas" to the list of things that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year. No, not the iconic holiday song. That's still around. But some of the lyrics took a hit when they were evaluated in 2020 for the annual PNC Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI). For this 37th look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index and how it applies to procuring the song's 12 gifts from a True Love, The PNC Financial Services Group had to make some hard choices. Notably, the 2020 PNC CPI had to adjust for... Read more →


Christmas at the computer. (Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels) You've adjusted to working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Now are you ready for the virtual office holiday party? That's the route some companies are taking as they try to hang on to some semblance of seasonal traditions. Fewer parties, some virtual: Plans for any type of office holiday party are, not surprisingly, down dramatically from last year. In 2019, nearly 76 percent of companies planned year-end events. This year, just 23 percent of businesses are planning parties, with almost three-quarters of the 2020 festivities expected to be virtual,... Read more →