Fiscal cliff Feed

Senate ready for some football; adjourns Sunday without reaching fiscal cliff deal

OK, I was mostly joking when I said earlier today that fiscal cliff talks would not impinge on viewing of or attendance at tonight's Cowboys vs. Redskins NFL game in suburban Washington, D.C. Well ... The Hill newspaper reports that the Senate, whose leaders have taken over the negotiations, left just before 7:30 p.m Eastern time. That gave lawmakers and their staffers plenty of time to make it to their box seats at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., -- I know, as the hubby and I used to commute from our Capitol Hill jobs to our Prince George's County home... Read more →

Talks reportedly are continuing on Capitol Hill this Sunday, Dec. 30, as lawmakers struggle to find a way keep us from falling off the fiscal cliff in less than 48 hours. Today, however, there is a firm deadline for the talk participants to take a break, if not conclude. It's 8:20 p.m. Eastern, 7:20 p.m. Central. That's kickoff time at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., for the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins game. Political pundits put the chance of a fiscal cliff deal being reached before Jan. 1, 2013, at 50-50. That's almost the same as the computer simulation predictions... Read more →

As you're getting your 2013 tax filing material together (you are doing that now, aren't you?) take a good look at your final W-2 of 2012. It's the last time you'll see that small of a FICA withholding amount. Since January 2011, the amount of FICA, sometimes indicated as Social Security tax on pay stubs, taken out of workers' paychecks has been 4.2 percent. That will change on Jan. 1, 2013. Next year the 6.2 percent withholding rate returns. The tax cut holiday always was meant to be temporary, a short-term stimulus measure to keep folks spending during the recession.... Read more →

I never was a big fan of either version of "Beverly Hills 90210." You remember the original show about the trials, tribulations, machinations and melodrama of a group of fictional rich Southern California high schoolers. Or maybe you now watch the updated version now on the air. It that's your cup of TV tea, that's fine. I'm not here to judge, just to note that I preferred then and now the trials, tribulations, machinations and melodrama of a real life government institution that too often seems like a group of rich Washington, D.C., high schoolers. Yeah, I'm talking about Congress.... Read more →

Don't get too excited, but there appears to be some optimism that a fiscal cliff deal might be near in advance of a mid-afternoon White House meeting with Senate and House leaders. I'm not going to get into blow-by-blow reporting of the negotiations, but it seems that as is too often the case in Washington, D.C., lawmakers might be coming to terms -- and their senses -- on a last-minute deal to stave off the implications of the Jan. 1, 2013, fiscal cliff deadline. OK, picky calendar watchers, the real effective date is Jan. 2, since that's the first business... Read more →

It's always darkest before dawn. Personally, I think it's the darkest when it's dark. Dawn in central Iowa by Carl Wycoff via Flickr Creative Commons And things are pretty dark in Washington, D.C., right now when it comes to a fiscal cliff solution. I'm not alone in my pessimism. A Gallup Poll conducted just days before Christmas found that Americans' optimism that a budget agreement will be reached before Jan. 1 has waned. Half of the poll respondents now believe a fiscal cliff solution is near, with 48 percent doubtful. That's a drop from the previous three weeks, when the... Read more →

With the Mayan end of world threat over, it's time to focus on the fiscal cliff

Welcome back from your holiday festivities. I hope you got everything you asked of Santa. Not to run the Jan. 1, 2013, deadline into the ground, but since we avoided the Mayan end of days, the possible coming U.S. financial calamity has totally taken center stage. So now we get to wait to see if there will be a post-Christmas miracle in the form of a fiscal cliff deal. Senators and the President are expected back in their offices on Thursday, Dec. 27. Representatives are awaiting word to return to Capitol Hill. Right now it's looking more and more likely... Read more →

Not to be a Grinch on the eve of Christmas Eve, but while we wait for the fiscal cliff to be resolved, it's worth a look at what tax bills could be in 2013. While Obama is an admitted "hopeless optimist" who believes a tax and spending deal can be reached by Dec. 31, I'm not so sure. Yeah, I know that less than two weeks ago I professed a tiny bit of faith that a deal would be struck before Dec. 31. But even then I qualified that prediction by saying I didn't expect any agreement to be reached... Read more →

With Christmas just around the corner I was in a giving mood last week at my other tax blog, so there was an extra post. Actually, it was Republican Representatives who were my trusty topic elves -- I can see those guys with pointy ears and green tights -- and provided me with the extra blog fodder. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) came up with Plan B that he hoped his fellow Republicans would support as a way to move us away from the financial chaos scheduled to hit on Jan. 1, 2013. Unfortunately for the Speaker, dissension in GOP... Read more →

When Congress and the President return to Washington, D.C., Obama wants lawmakers to consider a stripped-down measure -- dare we call it Plan C? -- that he says will keep taxes at their current rates for all but the wealthiest Americans. While it will definitely be welcome by most taxpayers, it is far from the grand bargain that Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, who saw his own Plan B fiscal cliff proposal killed by the insistent anti-tax faction in his own party, tried to reach in 2011. As envisioned, such an agreement would be a political tax and spending... Read more →

OK, it's an easy joke, but you knew it was coming. It's also quite possible that Dec. 20, 2012, marks the beginning of the end of Rep. John Boehner as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Last night, Boehner was unable to quell the rebellion among GOP conservatives and abandoned his alternative tax plan, deciding to not put it to a vote. The so-called Plan B would have increased taxes on millionaires but permanently installed the lower Bush-era tax rates (and other provisions) for other taxpayers. The Ohio Republican has had a tough time marshaling his troops after the 2010... Read more →

You've got to give House Speaker John Boehner credit. He's united a diverse group of lawmakers, lobbyists and policy groups in their disdain for his fiscal cliff Plan B solution. House Speaker John Boehner making a fiscal cliff point on the House floor, Dec. 13, 2012. Photo courtesy the Speaker's office. So what's got folks shaking their heads? Among the proposals highlighted on the Speaker's web page are: Permanently extend the current income tax rates -- 10 percent to 35 percent -- for everyone making less than $1 million; for millionaires and more, the top rate would be the 39.6... Read more →

Unless you're a couple of tax professionals, the Internal Revenue Code probably had very little to do with your courtship. But the truth is, taxes can be a big part of every relationship. For most of us (and soon maybe more of us after the Supreme Court hears an estate-tax related same-sex marriage case), our tax laws have an effect on us once our relationships move to the "I do" phase. That's why Santa's romantically-named reindeer Cupid reminds us that our marital status on Dec. 31 determines our filing status for the whole tax year. These wise words are Reindeer... Read more →

Could it be? Could the country be slowly backing away from the fiscal cliff? Late Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) proposed a tax-rate increase -- mark it down; it was a first! -- on individuals with income of more than $1 million. The fact that the leader of the Republicans in the House has made such a move earns his $1 million earnings threshold By the Numbers honors, a day late (it was a crazy weekend!) and, based on my bank account, $999,999 short. Raising the top tax bracket from the $200,000 for singles, $250,000 for families top tax... Read more →

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson discusses fiscal cliff tax complications

Is your NFL team losing? Simply bored with the games on in your area? Then it's the perfect time to watch National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson discuss the fiscal cliff and what it means to taxpayers. Olson's remarks were made last week when she was a guest on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. As part of the discussion, Olson discussed three fiscal cliff components: Higher individual tax rates and the effect on payroll withholding, both for taxpayers and employers; Extenders, the tax laws that have expired (this last time at the end of 2011) but that are generally reauthorized, or extended (sometimes... Read more →

Pay no tax before it's time. That old tax axiom generally is good advice. But not necessarily this year. That's why Prancer, one of Santa's trusty sleigh pullers, says higher income folks should consider springing into action before the end of 2012 and selling appreciated assets. Today's post from Prancer is the third installment of Reindeer Year-end Tax Tip Games 2012. Reindeer decoration photo by Kevin Dooley via Flickr Creative Commons Dasher and Dancer offered their advice earlier. Each day through Friday, Dec. 21, each of Santa's trusty transportation team will provide a year-end tax tip. Tax move turnaround: The... Read more →

A look, literally, at expiring tax laws

And the march toward the fiscal cliff goes on. Over at my second tax home Bankrate, my story on some key tax laws that are set to expire in a few weeks has been turned into an infographic. These all were created or expanded as part of the Bush tax laws enacted in 2001 and 2003. The estate tax, which expired as planned in 2010 per Dubya's policy, was resurrected in 2011 and is set to revert to pre-Bush levels on Jan. 1, 2013. Ain't we got tax fun? You also might find these items of interest: What tax rates... Read more →

Welcome to 12-12-12, the last repeating-number date of the century. The repetition of 1s and 2s has prompted a lot of interest, intrigue and for some, celebration. "Iconic dates have become a wedding trend in the United States, reaching new heights when over 65,000 couples tied the knot on 7-7-'07," Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer for David's Bridal, told USA Today. So couples are queuing up worldwide to say "I do" today. The Concert for Sandy Relief tonight will feature some of the biggest names in the music industry. Thanks to online live streams and social media integrations, the charity... Read more →

Alan Simpson goes 'Gangnam Style' in deficit reduction video effort

Alan Simpson, longtime U.S. Senator who's now better known as part of the Simpson-Bowles budget deficit reduction plan, belies (and defies) his 81 years and takes to new media to encourage young people to get involved in federal debt reduction efforts. And if that means going Gangnam Style in the video for the Campaign to Fix the Debt and The Can Kicks Back, then Simpson doesn't have any issue with, as he put it, making "a perfect ass" of himself. So all you whippersnappers, Uncle Alan wants you to "stop Instagramming your breakfast and Tweeting your first-world problems and getting... Read more →

This weekend I was sorting through some stories on the difficulty that Congress has in reaching an agreement on tax issues. I know, you wish you had my life, right? Here are some headlines that caught my eye. Now here's the really interesting thing. Only one of these five assessments of Congressional tax deliberations is from 2012. Can you figure out which is the most current? It's the fourth one, "Guessing at the law." That's the headline on a story in the September 2012 issue of Accounting Today about the trouble we're all having in trying to make year-end tax... Read more →