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Welcome to Part 2 of the ol' blog's series on 2021 tax inflation adjustments. We started with a look at next year's income tax brackets and rates. That item also has a directory, at the end of the post, of all of next year's tax-related inflation updates. Today we look at standard and itemized deductions, certain limitations on some Schedule A claims and the sort-of still around personal exemption amount. Note: The 2021 figures in this post apply to that tax year's returns to be filed in 2022. For comparison purposes, you'll also find 2020 amounts that apply to this... Read more →


For millions of U.S. workers, this month is the beginning of their benefits open enrollment period. This is your annual chance to switch, adjust or cancel usually tax-free company perks for you and your family. The biggest employer-provided benefit is medical insurance. Health coverage has taken on new importance during the coronavirus pandemic. But companies offer many more options that help make their workers' lives a bit easier and less costly. And many benefits experts expect COVID-19 considerations during this open season to alter the usual trend of workers simply letting existing coverages roll into the new year, which is... Read more →


National Small Business Week 2020, like much everything else this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, is going mostly virtual. Small businesses always face a lot of challenges. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic posing myriad new operational and financial problems, things are even more difficult. During the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) celebration of this year's National Small Business Week, which runs through Sept. 26, the Internal Revenue Service has been highlighting some tax breaks for these companies. Key among those breaks are credits that can help smaller employers. Tax credits are particularly welcome because they provide dollar-for-dollar tax savings.... Read more →


Couple waiting to get married at San Francisco City Hall. (Photo by Brian Kusler via Flickr) One good thing has come of my self-imposed pandemic lock down. Seeking a distraction from the news channels I usually watch, I'm finally getting more of my money's worth from our cable account. I've been exploring the many channels the hubby and I typically tend to click right past. For the last week or so, I've tuned in to WEtv because of its run of CSI: Miami episodes. No judging, please! Actually, the TV is more like a talking lamp (really!). The dramatic intonations... Read more →


Are your spouse's debts are costing you? The IRS has a bit of good news for some husbands and wives. They'll be getting back the coronavirus payment portion they were shorted due to their spouses' unpaid child support. (Photo by Kat Jayne via Pexels) Congress and the White House may be struggling to reach a deal on additional COVID-19 economic relief payments, but the Internal Revenue Service has stepped up to get some of the original stimulus money to few more folks. The agency says that next month it will send catch-up Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) to about 50,000 individuals.... Read more →


Rapper Cardi B quizzes Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on taxes (and more) in Elle magazine video chat. The 2020 Democratic Convention kicks off today, but former Vice President Joe Biden, who later this week will be formally nominated by his party to take on Donald J. Trump, got a media head start. Biden's recorded video chat with music superstar Cardi B was posted this morning. No, the nearly 17-minute video wasn't put out by the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign. The conversation was sponsored by Elle, where Cardi's visage graces the fashion/lifestyle magazine's September cover. And no, Cardi's not coming... Read more →


If you get $500 from Uncle Sam in the next week or so, don't freak out. It's real if you used one of the Internal Revenue Service's online coronavirus registration tools and didn't originally get all the relief you were due. The tax agency is sending the money to those who previously were denied the $500 per child economic impact payment (EIP) amount created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The problem with the shorted amount wasn't with these individuals' or their minor children's' eligibility. It was due to a glitch in the IRS system set... Read more →


Hello August! These annual hot and, here in Central Texas, sticky days of late summer usually are a transitional time. Families take one last summer vacation. Parents and kiddos (but mostly parents) get ready for the return of school. Not so in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic continues to keep much of our lives on hold, like those final holiday trips and school openings. Taxes, though, are more persistent. Yes, COVID-19 did delay Tax Day until last month. But as far as the rest of the tax realm is concerned, there still are some matters that must be considered. That means... Read more →


Classic television's Cleaver family, circa 1960. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons) Senate leaders and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin promise they'll release next week the Republican response to the Democratic House's already approved next round of COVID-19 relief payments. Until then, we're still speculating on what will be in the counter proposal. It's a safe bet, however, that it will contain a second round of direct payments. The first payments, created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that became law in late March. What's not clear, though, is who would qualify for this additional stimulus money. Halfway... Read more →


There are an estimated 72 million fathers in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest complete data, which is for 2014. Last year, say the country's official statisticians, around 24 million of these men were in married relationships where they and their spouses were raising children younger than age 18. Another 2 million men in 2019 were single fathers. On Father's Day 2020, these men doing the critical child care job alone earn this week's By the Numbers honors. First dad's day for single pop: That last figure also is notable not just because of recognition by... Read more →


It's official. School is out for the summer. And some day camps could soon offer families a break from coronavirus close quarters and a tax break. For millions of families across the United States, the official end of the school year doesn't really mean much. The kids already have been home for weeks instead of in classrooms because of COVID-19 closures. But things may be about to change. Some day camps are starting to open, albeit tentatively and with lots of new rules and limitations. For some, the option to send the kiddos to another supervised situation is a welcome... Read more →


June has arrived. But the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on our lives, including our tax lives, mean that in 2020 we likely won't be able to enjoy our usual summertime living is easy lifestyles. (Photo courtesy City of Clearwater, Florida) Hello weird, scary, frustrating June 2020. We're sort of glad you're here, even though the coronavirus means many of us aren't going to be taking a summer vacation and many more of us will still be messing with 2019 taxes until mid-July. Yep, as everyone knows by now, COVID-19 precautions by the Internal Revenue Service have pushed this year's... Read more →


Updated Friday May 15, 2020, 7 p.m. CDT Many found the first $1,200 (at most) of coronavirus relief payments to be too little and a tad too late. This latest round of relief, which calls for additional payments of up to $6,000 for some families, isn't likely to advance beyond the House in its current form, but at least it's a start toward more federal financial help. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opens debate on the latest COVID-19 relief bill. (Live House video feed screenshot) Today's good COVID-19 relief news is that the House is expected to vote on (and pass)... Read more →


The child care workplace benefit, as well as medical ones, are enhanced under two just-issued Internal Revenue Service notices. If your job doesn't offer child care benefits, you might be able to get other tax help in taking care of your youngsters via a tax credit. This mom is representative of many parents, who are starting to feel the pressure of weeks of quarantining with and homeschooling their children during COVID-19 stay-home orders. Earlier this year as the coronavirus was surreptitiously infecting Americans, lots of parents were going about their usual business, which included making summer plans for their children.... Read more →


And what you might be able to do about it. But not until next year. The hubby and I recently got our COVID-19 economic impact payment, despite my grumblings last month about not being able to get into the Get My Payment online tracking tool. We knew that due to some financial moves we've made in recent years in preparation for retirement, we wouldn't get the full possible payment. In case it's slipped your mind, that's $1,200 per individual, twice that for married couples who file a joint return. If you have qualifying dependent children younger than age 17, you... Read more →


Photo by Mrs. Flinger via FlickrCC It's Mother's Day 2020. This holiday, first celebrated regionally in 1908 before going nationwide six years later, usually means that children spend the day with their moms. Such closeness, however, has been happening every day for weeks for many families. Moms and dads and children and sometimes extended family members have hunkered down together at home 24/7 as a COVID-19 precaution. But it is mom's special day, so I hope that all y'all came up with some change of pace this second Sunday in May to celebrate all that mothers do and all the... Read more →


FreeStocks.org via Pexels The Internal Revenue Service is continuing to send out COVID-19 economic relief payments, but some folks have to act fast to ensure that they aren't shorted. Recipients of Supplemental Security Income and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits who also are caring for dependent children need to let the IRS know about those kids. If the youngsters are age 16 or younger, they could mean an added $500 each in coronavirus relief. But if these child-rearing SSI and VA recipients don't let the IRS know about their families by Tuesday, May 5, those won't get the added $500... Read more →


The coronavirus pandemic has added a whole other layer of worry for parents. The COVID-19 relief payment of $500 for each qualifying child won't erase those worries, but the money could help ease some financial concerns. (Photo by Julia M. Cameron via Pexels) Parents know that kids are costly. That fiscal fact is especially notable when mom and dad have been laid off during the coronavirus crisis. That's why the Internal Revenue Service is making what it's dubbed the Plus $500 Push. It's an effort to ensure that everyone who's eligible for a COVID-19 economic relief payment gets all the... Read more →


When your job doesn't pay much, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can be a big help. This tax break for lower- and middle-income workers has been a part of the tax code since 1975's Tax Reduction Act. It was a logical extension of the 1960s-era War on Poverty, creating a way for lower-paid workers to offset the Social Security taxes that take a relatively bigger bite out of their smaller paychecks. Since it's a tax credit, the EITC provides a dollar-for-dollar offset of any tax owed. And since it's a refundable tax credit, eligible recipients can get any EITC... Read more →


Photo by Vera Arsic via Pexels The biggest problem for most of us in coronavirus lockdown with our families, whether ordered by state or local officials or self-imposed, is figuring out how to not get on each other's last nerve. For some, however, the forced togetherness is deadly serious. Possibly just deadly. Domestic violence since COVID-19 appeared has spiked as victims find themselves forced to stay home with abusers, according to those who work to protect people, still primarily women, from abusive partners and spouses. It's happening globally, across the United States and here in Texas. "During a time of... Read more →