Education Feed

Photo by Evelyn Giggles, Flickr CC Schools nationwide are open. That means lots of teachers' bank accounts are taking hits. Last year, the National School Supply and Equipment Association's (NSSEA) survey found that educators spent an average of $750 of their own money to ensure their students have what they need to learn. Another report by Expect that cost to increase this term — another report by My eLearning World sets this year's per-teacher cost at $820 — in part due to inflation. Some small tax savings for teachers: Inflation also helped out a bit with a of tax relief... Read more →


You've had that student loan for what seems like forever. So naturally, you're eager to take advantage of the debt forgiveness offered by the Biden Administration. But don't act too quickly or you could be a scam victim. Soon after President Joe Biden announced his plan that will erase in some cases up to $20,000 in undergraduate student loans, consumer advocates had some suggestions of their own. Beware of perps on the prowl with promises that they can get rid of your student loan obligation more quickly. Or get you even more loan relief if the federal plan doesn't cover... Read more →


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash Millions of people whose student loan debt will be wiped out now face another financial question. What to do with a bit more disposable income. Financial advisers suggest they pay off other debt, such as high-interest credit card balances. That's a smart move. So is the recommendation that folks put their newly available former debt payments into an emergency fund. I'd like to also toss out there the option of saving for retirement. As an added bonus, most retirement account options offer some sort of tax benefit. Here are some tax-favored retirement-saving possibilities that... Read more →


College can be fun. Paying for it, not so much, especially when you have to take out loans. Some student borrowers are getting loan relief from the White House, but also might end up owing state taxes on their forgiven student debt. (Photo by cottonbro) Around 20 million folks who borrowed money to attend college got good news last week when President Joe Biden canceled a chunk of their student loan debt. The Biden plan's major component says that individuals earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households) a year will be eligible for up... Read more →


School is back, and that means homework. College students and their parents especially need to review some lessons on ways the Internal Revenue Code can help pay many higher education costs. The table below offers a look at two popular educational tax credits, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The AOTC is the one most undergraduate students (or their parents) will claim. The LLC is for additional educational costs beyond the first four years, including classes you take after getting out of school. Education Benefits Comparison Tax Year 2022 Criteria AOTC LLC Maximum benefit... Read more →


Coming back from an appointment today, I saw school buses roaming my neighborhood. Classes for my local school district start Wednesday, so I guess the drivers were just on reconnaissance runs. Students, their parents, and of course teachers are making preparations, too, not just here in the Austin, Texas, area, but nationwide. Much has been written (or, in my case, blogged) about state sales tax holidays (a few are still on the horizon) and the savings on school-related items. In most cases, we tend to think of students and their families taking advantage of the no-tax events. However, teachers also... Read more →


CT and NJ shoppers get sales tax relief on classroom clothing and, in the Garden State, more at the end of this month. And then there were five. That's how many states remain in the August back-to-school tax holiday list. Three of them — in Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts — are this weekend. The other two, in Connecticut and New Jersey, will close out this month. Since most of the 19 states offering tax holidays this year have by now held their no-tax shopping events, all y'all know the drill. The table below has specific dates and links with tax-free... Read more →


Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr CC With things more or less back to whatever now counts as normal, kids (and parents) are counting down the days until school restarts. They're also looking, especially with inflation bumping up prices, for ways to save on necessary school supplies, which a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found are expected to be around $864 this year. Sixteen states are offering ways to help their back-to-school shoppers. They're offering state (and in some cases local) sales tax holidays in August. Florida's two-week back-to-school tax holiday began July 25 and continues through midnight... Read more →


Summer's winding down, with schools opening their doors across much of the country in just a few weeks. So of course, you're thinking of one last getaway to escape the sweltering dog days. But before you head out to a beach retreat or cooler mountain cabin, take a few minutes for taxes. August is a good time to make some tax moves that could save you some dollars and future headaches. Here are four to consider. 1. Make your tax holiday shopping list: The return this fall of students to classrooms is most welcome by COVID-weary parents who saw much... Read more →


Summer's winding down, meaning kiddos soon will be going back to school. But before they head to their classrooms, they'll need a few things. Three Southern states are focusing on families with such shopping lists. Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee are closing out July with back-to-school tax holidays. The longest is Florida's event, which began Monday, July 25, and runs through Sunday Aug. 7. Sunshine State shoppers can save on purchases of clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($50 or less); learning aids and jigsaw puzzles ($30 or less); and computers and certain accessories ($1,500 or less). Tax holidays in Mississippi... Read more →


Figuring out how to pay off student loans is a math problem that goes well beyond school days. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska) The payment pause on student loans expires in six weeks. As that Aug. 31 deadline approaches, former students also are waiting for President Joe Biden to take further action to help lessen, or eliminate, their higher education debt. In addition to the political ramifications of any White House action, especially in an important midterm election year, there also are tax implications. Taxable forgiven debt: The tax code generally treats forgiven or canceled debt as taxable income. It's officially... Read more →


19 states are holding sales tax holidays this summer, most focusing on back-to-school shopping. But some states are offering tax savings on other items and have multiple events planned, led by Florida with 9 tax holidays on the way for a wide variety of shoppers. Many school supplies, like these at my local grocery store, will be sales-tax-free in Texas later this summer. (Photo by Kay Bell) Florida's official nickname is the Sunshine State, but this year it qualifies for another title. It's king of the state sales tax holiday season. Florida, along with 17 other states, is offering the... Read more →


A group of Kentucky homeowners switched to a different, higher-rate tax district so their increased taxes would pay for things like street cleaning. A transcription error meant they got it and other services for free for eight years. (Photo by Kay Bell) Property tax bills are a major expense for homeowners. They also can be confusing. Here in Texas, most property tax money goes to the homeowners' local school districts. But there's usually more. Our real estate bill, for example, has collections for our independent school district, as well as five other taxing jurisdictions. That's why every tax bill recipient... Read more →


One of our neighbors made sure we all knew they had a new, cool graduate. (Photo by Kay Bell) I swear, my nieces and nephews were just in kindergarten. And wasn't that neighbor kid trick-or-treating as a dinosaur a couple of years ago? So how am I getting high school and college graduation announcements for these young people? Most of them will get a nice, actual paper congratulations card. A few will find a gift card tucked inside. However, a couple of these newly minted young adults will get actual gifts. But they won't be items that have to wrapped.... Read more →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Photo by Jess Bailey Designs The only thing worse than getting a surprising high property tax appraisal — which, as one of April's tax tips advises, you definitely should protest for venting, as well as potential lower tax, purposes — is having your local tax collector tell you that your tax payment is overdue. That happened to 2,400 homeowners in upstate New York, according to LocalSYR.com. Tax rebate endangered: Technically, the property owners in Onondaga County didn't get a past due bill. Instead, they incorrectly received notice from the Empire State's Department of Taxation and Finance that they could lose... Read more →


Back in the classroom. (Photo by Max Fischer) Today, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, is annual National Teacher Appreciation Day. It's actually part of a full week focusing on saying thanks to the men and women who are dedicated to educating young (and older) people. And it got President Joe Biden's official acknowledgement, which isn't a surprise since First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is a community college educator. The teaching profession has always been challenging. I personally saw how much time, effort, and love my grandmother put into being a first-grade teacher. She did that labor of love for almost six... Read more →


President Joe Biden's fiscal year 2023 budget proposal of a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans, as well as a levy on unrealized gains on assets (including stock holdings), is getting the most attention. Biden's plan to collect at least a 20 percent tax on U.S. households worth more than $100 million would apply to about 20,000 households, but more than half the revenue would come from households worth more than $1 billion, according to White House estimates. It also would, says the administration, help reduce the nation's budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade. Wish list only:... Read more →


Since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 nearly doubled the standard deduction amounts, even more people have chosen to use that filing method. IRS data indicate that close to 90 percent of us have opted not to mess with itemizing. But dumping the Schedule A doesn't mean you give up all deductions. On tax year 2021 returns, you can claim some of your cash charitable deductions directly on Form 1040. And if you take a look at Schedule 1, one of the documents that the Internal Revenue Service created to accompany Form 1040 when the TCJA took... Read more →


Scenic overlooks, like this view of the Austin skyline from my suburban neighborhood, can be lovely. But when it comes to taxes, you don't want to overlook tax breaks. (Photo by Kay Bell) If you're like most taxpayers, when you finally decide to do your taxes, you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But don't pay a price for you haste. If you rush through filling out your Form 1040, you could cheat yourself out of some tax savings. It happens every year. Folks overlook deductions, whether they itemize on Schedule A or claim above-the-line breaks... Read more →