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Black's, an iconic Central Texas barbecue chain, was caught improperly distributing tip money to managers, instead of the 270 employees to whom it should have been paid. Those restaurant workers now have their proper gratuities, which are taxable income. Being a restauranteur has always been a challenge. The same can be said for eatery staff. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic, amped up the workplace issues both owners and employees face. So what else could complicate things? Tips. In one famed Central Texas BBQ joint, it was the way tips were collected and distributed among workers. The U.S. Department of... Read more →


Satellite image of Hurricane Fiona's landfall on the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico at 3:35 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on Sunday, Sept. 18. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo) Fiona, the first major hurricane of the 2022 tropical season, not only wiped out power to most of Puerto Rico, it also was responsible for four deaths on the island. Hurricane Fiona made landfall at the southwestern edge of Puerto Rico the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 18, but was big and strong enough to wreak havoc across the entire U.S. island territory. The strike came almost exactly five years after Hurricane... Read more →


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District engineers at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant in Jackson, Mississippi, after flooding led to a water crisis in the state's capital city. The pumping system is getting back online. In the meantime, a couple of Uncle Sam's agencies are offering residents relief. (USACE photo by Sabrina Dalton via Wikipedia Commons) Thursday, Sept. 15, is the deadline for most taxpayers who must make third quarter estimated tax payments. Some Mississippi filer, however, get until next February. But the reason for the extension is not one they, or anyone, would want. Heavy rains... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic ignited an explosion of side hustles, with many folks cobbling together multiple independent operations to replace traditional jobs lost to the virus. The U.S. economy has picked up, and many businesses are forcing bringing their former and work-from-home staff back into the office. But side hustles remain popular. Most side hustle for more than money: Even where they have wage-paying work, many Americans also have side jobs, according to a survey by Insuranks, a small business insurance marketplace. Ninety-three percent of the adults surveyed by Insuranks said they have an added job alongside their main employment positions.... Read more →


Welcome to the first Sunday of the 2022 National Football League season. It's the best day of the week for U.S. professional football fans. Yeah, I know the first game was last Thursday night and the Buffalo Bills sent a message to the defending Super Bowl champs, in L.A., no less, and everyone else. But today is full of America's most popular sport. There are 14 match-ups, starting at noon Central Time. That's where I am, so that's that flyover clock reading that my search (shown below) gave me. Adjust accordingly for your team and time zone. Then the first... Read more →


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 →


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 →


St Louis, Missouri, residents are rescued from flood waters that swamped the city after record rainfall in late July. (Photo: West County EMS and Fire) Severe storms brought flooding rains to parts of eastern Missouri before moving into Kentucky. But Bluegrass State residents got Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Internal Revenue Service attention first, with that relief granted last week. But now, some Show Me State storm victims also are getting federal assistance, including some easing of certain tax filing and payment deadlines. The IRS today (Aug. 10) announced that Missouri individuals and businesses in the City of St.... Read more →


A Kentucky National Guardsman views flood damage in the southeastern part of the state on July 29 from a Blackhawk helicopter as the Bluegrass State unit flies in to provide help. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Jesse Elbouab via Flickr) Historic flooding ravaged southeastern Kentucky last week, destroying homes and killing at least 37 people. Tens of thousands who were spared the worst of the overwhelming water damage are coping with power losses. Now some of those folks are getting from help from the federal government. President Joe Biden declared the most severely hit parts of the Bluegrass... Read more →


Photo by Amol Mande We're into the second month of the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, but it's other disaster outbursts that have prompted action by Uncle Sam. In early May, parts of Oklahoma were hit by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. A month later, Montanan faced severe storms and flooding. After Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) review, the White House issued major disaster area declarations in both states. Now the Internal Revenue Service, as is usually the case, is providing affected taxpayers some relief. Sept. 1 deadline for Oklahomans: Individual and business taxpayers in Oklahoma who were hit... Read more →


One of these things is different from the rest: IRS Warns Donors about Charity Scams Following Recent Tragedies in Boston and Texas (2013) Fake charities make 2018 'Dirty Dozen list (2018) IRS cautions taxpayers about fake charities and scammers targeting immigrants (2021) IRS "Dirty Dozen" list warns people to watch out for tax-related scams involving fake charities, ghost preparers and other schemes (2021) Be aware of scammers who use fake charities to get sensitive information (2021) Bogus charities are always a problem. (2022) 76 Fake Charities Shared a Mailbox. The I.R.S. Approved Them All. (2022) The first six items above... Read more →


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay The 2022 calendar aligned this year so that July 4th provided many of us with an extra-long holiday weekend. But the fireworks are over and, sadly, we'll never be independent of taxes. So it's back to work this first week of July, and back to making tax moves that can at least keep a few more dollars out of Uncle Sam's clutches. Here are five to consider this July. 1. Note the taxable driving change. If you use your vehicle for business or medical travel, that tax benefit got a bit better on July 1.... Read more →


A constant and continual message from the Internal Revenue Service is that more of us should electronically file our returns. But, says the National Taxpayer Advocate, the agency isn't making e-filing easy enough. The Internal Revenue Service IRS offers more electronic amended filings, just day after Taxpayer Advocate says agency's e-filing options are lacking Among the many issues National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins cited in her latest report to Congress is limited e-filing options, for both annual returns and amended ones, The IRS answered that charge at least a little today, announcing that it has expanded e-filing options for... Read more →


You thought you'd get a break from taxes when summer arrived, didn't you? Sorry. June, the first month of summer, also includes tax deadlines for some taxpayers. If you're a U.S. taxpayer who is living and working abroad, including members of the Armed Forces posted overseas, June 15 is your Tax Day. You must file your 2021 tax return by then. June 15 also is the due date for the second estimated tax payment of 2022. This applies to folks who make money that isn't subject to withholding tax. And some folks in Puerto Rico who suffered through major flooding... Read more →


Was this you on Tax Day, struggling with your return? If you just decided to chuck it and you owe, you need to file by June 14 or face an added tax penalty. (Photo by Mikhail Nilov) Did you totally miss Tax Day? If so, and you owe the Internal Revenue Service a now overdue payment, the agency says it's not too late. In fact, if you pay up soon, specifically by next Tuesday, June 14, you'll avoid a larger noncompliance charge. Normal tax penalties: Under normal non-filing and non-payment calculations, the IRS assess two penalties. The late-filing penalty is... Read more →


If you're a young person with a summer job, be aware of the tax implications. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) Your teenager has a summer job lined up, and you're thrilled. So is your youngster. But before the young worker heads off for the first day of gainful employment, it's a good idea to consider the tax implications. Here are five common tax issues that young workers, and their parents, face. 1. The teen likely will have to file some sort of tax return. The U.S. tax code is wonderfully egalitarian when it comes to filing. Anyone who makes a certain... Read more →


Unemployment benefits can help relieve some of the sting of losing your job. But there are downsides. The monthly amounts again are fully taxable. And during the COVID pandemic, criminals have had a field day getting fraudulent payments, and causing tax troubles for those individuals whose identities they stole. The COVID-19 pandemic and employment still are inextricably linked. When the coronavirus hit the United States in 2020, the concern was for the companies that had to shut down, and their employees who suddenly were without paychecks. Congress passed a series of COVID relief bills that provided relief options for companies... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Interest payments are a part of almost every person's life. If you carry a credit card balance, you pay interest on it. If you have a mortgage, interest is probably the largest (but, for now, still tax-deductible) part of your monthly payment. And if you don't pay all the federal tax you owe on time, interest adds to you total U.S. Treasury bill. But with taxes, the reverse also is true. When the Internal Revenue Service is slow in getting your overpayment processed, your refund will include interest payments to you. And right now, due to... Read more →


Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service. Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot? If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single... Read more →


The time left until Tax Day 2022 is tick, tick, ticking away. If you're feeling like silent movie legend Harold Lloyd, hanging on by your fingernails as you try to finish your Form 1040 by Monday, April 18, rescue yourself by filing instead for a six-month extension. Most of us are procrastinators at some point in our lives. This tendency to hold back tends to show up when we're facing particularly difficult decisions or tasks. Tax filing time is one of those times. But waiting until the last minute can be costly. If we get in a hurry to meet... Read more →