Finances Feed

The Internal Revenue Service has delivered two rounds of COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs). The first was the $1,200 per person approved in late March 2020 under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The second EIP for $600 per person was authorized at the end of last December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), with payments distributed through the first two weeks of January 2021. By now, folks know that if they didn't get the full amounts, which included additional payments for eligible dependents, they need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC). You'll do... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell The Internal Revenue Service won't start processing 2022 tax year returns until Jan. 23, but you can file before then. A lot of folks are doing just that. The most common and obvious motive for filing early is to get the refund you're expecting. But there are some other reasons you might want to get your return to the IRS as soon as possible. 1. To beat tax ID thieves to the punch. The IRS and its Security Summit partners have made good progress in recent years in reducing tax identity theft and refund fraud. One... Read more →


Unemployment benefits can be a godsend when you lose your job. They also can be a god-awful problem at tax time. That money you get to help tide you over until you find another job is taxable income. In certain situations, however, lawmakers have provided unemployment compensation, or UC (and yes, that's its official name, so the compensation moniker explains the taxing), have exempted some of the government money from federal tax. COVID UC exemption: That was the case during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The extraordinary circumstances of so many people losing their jobs at the same time... Read more →


One of the forms in the long list of tax documents you need to file your 2022 return is the 1099-K. This form has been used for years for third-party payment processors — for example, PayPal, Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, rideshare companies, and many more — to report to fund recipients the money they got during the year. The Internal Revenue Service also gets a copy so it can check the amounts that the earners report on their tax returns. Taxpayers have been getting 1099-K forms since 2012, with this initial reporting coving third-party amounts in 2011. The factors that... Read more →


Money troubles lead some taxpayers to refund anticipation loans. If you're not careful, it could make finances worse. When the Internal Revenue Service officially opens the 2023 tax filing season, which is expected to be at near the end of the month (it was Jan. 24 last year), it will process e-filed 1040s first. Those returns' electronic data automatically goes into the IRS processing system. That means, says the agency, most of those early filers should get their refunds within 21 days. But what if you just can't wait three weeks for the tax cash? Or you know your refund... Read more →


The tax code is like a car. A big, old, clunky car that just keeps chugging along. But every now and then you need to tune it up and change the tires. Here are some tweaks to the 2023 filing season model. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) Tax filing rolls around every year. But every year, there also are a few changes that make the process slightly different from prior filings. We didn't have any major tax law changes in 2022. But some old rules come into play, as does the expiration of some tax breaks that many folks had enjoyed... Read more →


The tax year is over. Long live the tax year. Taxes are, if nothing else, persistent. Sure, there are a few (or more) changes every year, even if it's only inflation adjustments. But even in years when the changes are negligible, they are back, starting to add up on the first of every January. That's why 2023 is the first By the Numbers honoree of this new year. The transition from an old to a new tax year is also the focus of this post. It's a look at six tax matters that affected or at least fascinated us in... Read more →


Don't miss out on any tax breaks as you put together your retirement plan. That includes claiming the Saver's Credit if you're eligible. Some retirement savers got an early Christmas present. On Dec. 23, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.7 trillion omnibus package that keeps the federal government running and more. Among the more was a revision of retirement provisions known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. And one of those changes is the eventual conversion of the Saver's Credit into a matching contribution tied to workplace plans and IRAs. That's a good... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska The Internal Revenue Service is making progress on its documents backlog, which started in 2020 with COVID-19 pandemic office closures and snowballed. But it's not there yet. That's distressing news for taxpayers and their tax pros who've been waiting for accounts to be brought up to date. But there's a tiny silver lining for those whose refunds are among the still-stalled IRS stack. Inflation has pushed up the interest rate that the IRS will pay on refunds that take longer than 45 days to process and issue. More interest on overdue refunds: IRS interest rates are... Read more →


Are you worried about getting a slew of 1099-K forms next year in connection with your side gig earnings? The Internal Revenue Service has an early Christmas present for you. The tax agency today announced that it was going to delay the requirement that third-party settlement organizations — places like Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, and similar payment mechanisms — issue the 1099-Ks to earners who in 2022 received at least $600 in a single payment or in aggregate, regardless of the number of transactions, for their goods or services. Instead, the new lower earnings level that triggers issuance of 1099-Ks will... Read more →


Yes, you've got a lot to think about during the holidays, but add this tax task, too, if you're older and have a tax-deferred retirement plan. Don't miss the Dec. 31 RMD deadline. If you read my December tax moves post a couple of weeks ago, thank you. Now I'm here to reiterate one of those end-of-year actions. Take your required minimum distribution. That sentence makes sense to older readers who used tax-deferred retirement accounts, such as a traditional IRA or traditional 401(k) workplace plan, to save for retirement. But Uncle Sam doesn't want to wait forever to collect on... Read more →


via GIPHY Seven days from now, many of us will be opening Christmas presents. Hanukkah is underway. Regardless of what or how you celebrate December holidays, your purchases probably increase this month. And this year, inflation, even though it's abated a bit recently, means you have or will pay more for all those gifts, food, and other festive trimmings of the season. Every year, PNC financial services issues its Christmas Price Index, or CPI. It measures, using a methodology similar to Uncle Sam's official CPI, or consumer price index, the current costs of the gifts given in the classic holiday... Read more →


Photo by Pixabay Health and retirement are inextricably linked, and not just when we talk about staying in good shape in order to enjoy post-work years more fully. The link also is evident in the tax code, notably with the tax benefits of health savings accounts, or HSAs, that I blogged about last week. An HSA starts as a way for high deductible health plan enrollees to save tax-free for medical expenses, and then can morph into retirement funds when the account owner is older. In doing research for that HSA post, I ran across another retirement connection to the... Read more →


Life today demands multitasking. That includes taxes. And the champion here is the health savings account, or HSA. It offers three tax advantages. First, contributions to an HSA are made before taxes are assessed on the money. This lowers your taxable income a bit. Second, HSA funds grow tax-free. Third, when you use HSA money to pay eligible medical expenses, those withdrawals are tax-free, too. A flexible, multiple, and mobile savings option: But wait. There's more. There's no use-or-lose with an HSA. The full amount in the account simply rolls over from year to year. Plus, an HSA is quite... Read more →


December 1998 was hectic. The hubby was in California, getting onboarded for his new job, which actually would be in Florida. Our cat and I were in suburban Maryland, finishing up packing for our move to the Sunshine State. Most of that packing was done from 7 p.m. into the early morning hours, as I was still commuting to my job in downtown Washington, D.C., during the day. I had planned to quit so I could focus on the move, which was scheduled for early in the new year. However, a heads-up from a buddy in my company's Human Resources... Read more →


Photo by cottonbro studio The season of giving goes beyond presents for family and friends or donations to charities. December is also when many people who work in restaurants, salons, hotels, and similar industries get their largest tips of the year. One thing that's the same, however, is the tax consequences of those gratuities. Regardless of their size or when you get them, tips are taxable income that must be reported on federal and, for most folks, state tax returns. Workers who've held long-time jobs where tips are commonplace know this. But with the economic changes wrought by the COVID-19... Read more →


Photo by cottonbro studio Italian retailers prefer cash transactions. That helps explain why the country ranks near the bottom in Europe in digital payment adoption, and is among the 30 most "cash dependent" major economies in the world, according to the latest Cash Intensity Index (ICC). This ranking, measures the effect of cash usage on the Gross Domestic Product in 95 countries around the world. The currency preference also is why Italian business owners are cheering the 2023 draft budget proposed by new far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. The new government's fiscal plan includes a measure to permit stores, taxis... Read more →


Everyone who helps fellow taxpayers, regardless of language, makes a real-life difference. So here's also a look at some of those who do that as VITA and TCE volunteers. Photo by Dakota Corbin on Unsplash Back in October, the Internal Revenue Service announced it had awarded $41 million in grants to 348 programs that help U.S. taxpayers complete their annual federal tax returns. These groups sponsor Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, where low-to-moderate income and elderly filers can get free tax prep help and e-filing. Even before the sites were announced, the... Read more →


Among the things Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discussed with late-night television host Stephen Colbert during her Nov. 30 appearance on his "Late Night" show was her signature that will be on currency starting next year. (Screenshot from Late Night YouTube video) I tend to go cashless as much as possible, but I'm also a currency collector. Yeah, one of my many dichotomies. I have a 1976 version of the $2 bill, Yes, the greenback with Thomas Jefferson's mug is real and still in circulation. I also stashed a crisp new $10 bill a few years ago when it looked like... Read more →


The sports arena in Miami bore the FTX name until the cryptocurrency exchange filed for bankruptcy. (Photo by 350z33 via Wikipedia Commons) Even before the FTX meltdown, cryptocurrency operations were in regulators' and legislators' sights. Now more, worldwide, are calling for added government attention to the sector. European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde has called regulation and supervision of crypto an "absolute necessity." Gary Gensler, chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in a Yahoo Finance interview today said his agency already has the authority it needs to oversee the crypto industry. But he also noted that... Read more →


Small businesses and the companies that handle their electronic transactions are not the only ones upset at a new law requiring more tax reporting. So are the people who use sites like Facebook Marketplace or eBay to occasionally sell a few items. These casual sellers are concerned that their not-for-profit transactions might end up in the Internal Revenue Service database, forcing them into unwanted additional dealings with the tax collector. New transaction trigger trouble: The problem is the new $600 per sale trigger that replaced the previous 200 transactions or $20,000 in aggregate sales. Now third-party agents who handle these... Read more →