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The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has become a flash point in the coming election. On Capitol Hill, the constitutionally decreed national delivery service has been at the center of it's become a battle highlighting Republican claims of mail-in voter fraud (largely unsubstantiated) and Democratic concerns about Postal Service funding (not enough) and slowing down of services (too much). The mail also is a practical issue for the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers. Despite increasing efforts to shift to digital tax transactions, the federal tax agency still relies on old fashioned snail mail for many of its tasks and those that... Read more →


My desk in my home office which I deduct when I file my taxes. Not that I'm paranoid, but sometimes it seems like unseen others somehow know what's going on in my life. The latest example is tax related. Earlier this week, a #TaxTwitter pal asked that social media group about home office tax deductions. Granted, this is not an unusual question since the coronavirus pandemic has meant many of us have been working from home, a lot of us for the very first time. Today, the Internal Revenue Service issued a tax tip on what taxpayers need to know... 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 →


It's been almost a week since Tax Day 2015. That's why today's Tax Form Tuesday is celebrating Form 1040. Actually, this week's feature includes not just the actual tax return you recently sent to the Internal Revenue Service, but also the many forms and schedules that accompanied your return, plus all the associated documents you used to complete it. Yep, we're talking tax record keeping. There's no federal tax law or IRS regulation detailing a preferred way to keep your tax records. That's because every taxpayer situation is different. But the one constant is that you do need to hang... Read more →


via GIPHY The long-delayed Tax Day 2020 came and went yesterday and you weren't part of it. Maybe you were distracted by COVID-19 worries or financial concerns brought about by the pandemic. I get it. Family crammed together for weeks, savings are running low and every ache sends you online to check coronavirus symptoms. Taxes just don't seem that important. But Uncle Sam and his tax folks are back at their jobs and they're doing them. To ensure that you don't run too afoul of the Internal Revenue Service, here are four steps you need to take as soon as... Read more →


Hello Tax Day 2020. We've been waiting for you for such a long time. In fact, a whole lot of folks have been waiting for July 15, according to research by from IPX 1031. Ultimate tax procrastinators: It's not unusual for millions to wait to file. Last year, Internal Revenue Service data showed almost 18 million filed during the last week of that tax season. That procrastination delay remained and even increased after COVID-19 pandemic precautions pushed 2020's Tax Day into the summer. IPX 1031's look at geo-targeted online search data showed that more than 22 million Americans have taken... Read more →


Meanwhile, the rest of us regular taxpayers say thanks for the offer and, as Tax Day 2020 looms, continue to look for ways to keep from paying so much on our nowhere-near-a-million earnings. If you're still working on your tax return instead of jetting off in your private plane to a luxury destination, then you might agree with the latest tax-the-rich plea. You also might need some of the tax-saving tips listed later in this post. With July 15, aka coronavirus Tax Day 2020, looming, millions of taxpayers are scouring their records and the tax laws looking for ways to... Read more →


When the extended and complicated 2020 tax filing season officially ends at mid-week, the IRS says it will resume many postponed normal actions. This means taxpayer payments — including to debt collectors — and other tax matters that have been on COVID-19 hold will go back to what we used to call normal. In this coronavirus era, we all just want things to be like the name of the central Illinois town of Normal, where the historic theater also shares that moniker. The IRS says it's heading that direction this week. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons) The 2020 extended main tax... Read more →


July truly is April this year, at least as far as my personal budget. Some of our insurance payments are quarterly. That means every April, we have to come up with that money, as well as cash to cover the first quarter of our estimated taxes. The Internal Revenue Service's calendar when it comes to its second quarter estimated tax payment doesn't strictly follow the Gregorian calendar. Uncle Sam's tax collector wants the tax year's second Form 1040-ES and payment in June. My main estimated tax explainer discusses the timing of these payments, but below is a quick look from... Read more →


You're working on your tax return and discover that you are that close to shaving a few more dollars off what you owe Uncle Sam. Many in this situation are tempted to get creative. Don't. The Internal Revenue Service has seen it all. OK, most of it. The bottom line is that sketchy tax deduction claims are invitations to IRS auditors. Crazy and possibly costly tax break claims: Earlier this year before Tax Day got pushed to July 15 by coronavirus precautions, Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary talked with some tax professionals about the wild write-offs they've seen. Singletary... Read more →


Got enough coffee to get you through your taxes this final weekend before the July 15 due date? We're finally here. It's the last weekend before our 2019 tax returns are due on Wednesday, July 15. If you're one of the millions of filers who hasn't done your taxes yet, you've got three options: Panic, Get organized now, or Ask the IRS for more time. Your choice depends upon exactly where you are right now in the filing process. (Of course, panic could be a viable option for each of us at any time during tax season, especially if we... Read more →


Tax returns AND any tax owed are due next week. Wednesday, July 15, to be exact. (Painted window in Harlingen, Texas, 1939, by Lee Russell; New York Public Library image via Unsplash) We're into the home stretch of the coronavirus extended 2020 tax season. That means that millions of taxpayers (or their tax preparers) are working on 2019 returns or extensions to finish up those 1040s. While you can send the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get until Oct. 15 to submit your actual return, you still must pay any tax you owe by July 15. If you don't,... Read more →


Are you one of those folks who's worrying about how you'll pay your tax bill on July 15? If it's an amount that you just can't come up with or cover with a credit card, look into paying off Uncle Sam over time. The Internal Revenue Service offers a couple of ways to spread out your tax bill over several months. As with most tax transactions nowadays, you can apply for a payment plan online. But depending on the way you decide (and qualify) to pay your tax bill also involves some forms. Those documents, Form 9465 and possibly one... Read more →


Tax notices are among the pieces of mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service in recent weeks. Due to COVID-19 complications, those documents detailing IRS questions about earlier filings have later due dates. The deadline for some is this Friday, July 10. It's the first full week of July 2020, meaning that the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column (shameless plug) shows that we're just single digit days away from this year's July 15 filing deadline. And some folks have an even earlier due date. If you recently received an Internal Revenue Service notice, you might... Read more →


I know you're tired of taxes continuing into July. I know you just want to be done with your filings and the Internal Revenue Service and move on to other things. But I also know that most of you, especially if you're facing coronavirus-related financial difficulties, don't want to just hand over money, possibly hundreds of dollars to Uncle Sam. You'll do just that if you were due a tax refund on your 2016 taxes and didn't file for it during the 2017 tax season. That's the situation for an estimated 1.4 million individual taxpayers. If they don't claim those... Read more →


Hello July, which according to this year's goofy tax calendar is April. That means instead of heading to the beach, which is closed anyway due to COVID-19, or taking a longer trip to Europe, which isn't letting U.S. residents in, again due to COVID-19, we're spending mid-summer focusing on taxes. The main one, of course, is filing 2019 returns by the new Tax Day 2020: July 15. That date also is key for several other tax tasks to take care of in July. Here are six that you need to deal with in these two weeks before the 2020 tax... Read more →


The tax agency has made it clear that the July 15 filing deadline is firm. But you still can get an extension to file, giving you until Oct. 15 to submit your Form 1040. Just ask for it by July 15. Plus, there other filing extension options (and forms on this Tax Form Tuesday!) for other tax circumstances. If you were hoping the Internal Revenue Service would push Tax Day 2020 beyond July 15, sorry. The agency says the already-delayed filing and tax paying deadline for 2019 returns is firm. When the IRS announced that decision late Monday afternoon (or... Read more →


If you're still waiting for your federal tax refund, the Internal Revenue Service has a bit of good news for you. When you finally get the amount that you overpaid on your 2019 taxes, Uncle Sam will tack on a bit on interest to make up for your wait. Actually, it's more than a bit if you compare it to current interest rates for most accounts. The IRS this week announced this week that it will be paying a 5 percent annual interest rate on refunds issued between April 15 and June 30. Since the IRS adjusts its interest earning... Read more →


Did you get your COVID-19 stimulus money, either as direct deposit, debit card or a check like this? If so, you also should have received a letter discussing the payment and amount. The IRS says you need to keep that letter in your tax files. Congress might be working on another round of COVID-19 economic relief payment (EIPs). I say might because although the House in mid-May approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and its provisions for even more stimulus money, the Senate and White House are dragging their heels. Not quite the max: Democrats,... Read more →


Tax professionals have always played an important role in the lives of taxpayers. Their value has been underscored during coronavirus tax time, with the many new COVID-19 tax laws. (Yes, I'm looking at you Paycheck Protection Program.) But, as with just about every aspect of life, tax preparers aren't perfect. Specifically, some let their own tax tasks slide, according to a recently released Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) review. In reviewing Internal Revenue Service data, TIGTA uncovered 10,495 preparers who prepared more than 2 million 2016 tax year returns for clients, but who but did not file their... Read more →