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Happy Monday to Patriots' — I mean Buccaneers' — fans. Your man Tom Brady did it again. Instead of the usual sports league drug tests, can we get a DNA sample to prove that the man is human? It's an even happier Monday for all y'all who collected on Super Bowl LV bets, both the ones on the on-field match-up and all the goofy prop bets for things only peripherally related to the National Football League championship game. The Internal Revenue Service is happy for you, too, as long as you report those winning wagers on your tax return. All... Read more →


Photo by ivan sellar from Pexels You're finally ready to give up being the boss. Or maybe you got a great offer for your business. Or maybe the COVID-19 pandemic did a number on you and your company. Whatever your reason, you've decided it's time to close your company's doors. Make sure that during that process, you take taxes into account. The Internal Revenue Service offers these tips to business owners who've decided to call it quits. File the appropriate final return: This filing is for the year you close your business. The type of return you file, and the... Read more →


Many Social Security recipients are celebrating the announcement that their benefits will increase in 2022. But if you get other income to help you enjoy your retirement, you could owe tax on your government benefits. There's some good news for the around 72 million people who receive Social Security benefits, either as retirees or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients (or both). The Social Security Administration announced* on Wednesday, Oct. 13, that they will see a 5.9 percent increase in their benefit checks in 2022. It's the largest increase to the government benefits, which primarily go to retirees, in nearly four... Read more →


Fans of peer-to-peer payment apps are worried that a proposed $600 bank account reporting threshold will affect their transactions. It won't. The U.S. tax system is based on voluntary compliance by taxpayers. But the Internal Revenue Service wasn't born yesterday. It knows full disclosure by all taxpayers is a pipe dream. That's why the agency relies on, and pushes for, increased third-party notifications. That's where taxable transactions are reported not only to the taxpayers, but also the IRS. The most common situation is the W-2 annual wage statement, but there are plenty of others. The latest instance of third-party reporting... Read more →


The big deadline change for 2021 was when the Internal Revenue Service extended the regular income tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17. But it also made a few more calendar moves, including one that this month affects folks with foreign financial accounts. The IRS left in place the due date for filing Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, usually referred to as FBAR. Sort of. Although the tax agency didn't move the April deadline, it did grant FBAR filers an automatic extension until Oct. 15. That's right. Owners of foreign accounts now face the... Read more →


In addition to visiting your local pumpkin patch this month, make time for these October tax moves. (Photo by James Wheeler via Pexels) It's October. I know I say this every month, but wow, this day got here quickly. And it's just the start of a busy month. This first full month of fall means it's time to winterize your house if you live in a place with changing seasons. You've got candy to buy so trick-or-treaters won't be disappointed. But take it from me, don't buy the sweets too soon or you'll have to buy more by the time... Read more →


One of the biggest challenges for any business, whether new or established, small or larger, is hiring. It's also a challenge for the Internal Revenue Service, especially when companies don't understand or intentionally avoid employment taxes. Money lost from unpaid payroll taxes, both unreported or underreported, is huge, notes a recent Kiplinger's Tax Newsletter, accounting for a large portion of the overall federal Tax Gap. This is the amount of money the IRS is owed, but hasn't been able to collect. Kiplinger cites IRS data from 2019 that found $77 billion of payroll taxes fell through the cracks yearly from... Read more →


via GIPHY On a visceral financial level, we all hate paying taxes. But what we hate almost as much is that the tax laws often seem overly complicated or just plain goofy. Take estimated taxes. These are four extra payments that the Internal Revenue Service and many states require taxpayers to make to cover the taxes due on earnings that aren't subject to paycheck tax withholding. Straightforward enough, right? Until it comes to payment deadlines. Even though there are, in most cases, four of them and they're called quarterly estimated tax payments, the IRS uses a calendar that's a bit... Read more →


Updated, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, to add just-announced Hurricane Ida relief for some Pennsylvania taxpayers. Just two weeks ago, we were awaiting Hurricane Ida. Since then, Hurricane Larry went spinning into the North Atlantic and Tropical Storm Mindy rushed across parts of Florida and Georgia. Today. Sept. 13, Tropical Storm Nicholas is heading toward a Texas Gulf Coast landfall, after which it will send more rain into already water-logged Louisiana. But we're still dealing with Ida's deadly fallout in states beyond landfalling Louisiana. After coming ashore near New Orleans as a category 4 on Aug. 29, she moved northeastward across... Read more →


Whatever your reason for moving, be it a temporary disaster displacement or settling into your forever dream home, you need to let the Internal Revenue Service know where you are. Americans typically are a peripatetic lot. We move to be nearer family, to take new jobs, to enjoy the retirement lifestyle we've carefully planned. Other times, our moves are not a choice we wanted to make. After a major disaster, for example, folks who lived in a hard-hit area decide enough is enough. They're outta there. I totally get it. Even though our house in South Florida suffered relatively minor... Read more →


A distinctive signature has long been a mark of individuality. Take a look at former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's original loops or Donald J. Trump's spikes. But with cursive handwriting being dropped from many schools' curricula, the chance of seeing someone's John Hancock rival, well, U.S. Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock's historic mark are vanishing. And the IRS is helping erase handwritten signatures by allowing more forms to be electronically signed. One non-medical COVID-19 side-effect will have a long-lasting side effect on everyone. More electronic transactions in our every-day lives. That includes our tax lives. About this time last... Read more →


Last November, Louisiana voters in 55 of the state's 64 parishes approved sports betting. Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the necessary enacting bills into law in June. And this month, the Louisiana Gaming Control Board passed emergency sports betting rules, effective Aug. 23, to start the licensing process and finalize permanent rules. The process probably isn't streamlined enough to allow bettors to put down cash on the Thursday, Sept. 9, meeting of my frustratingly underachieving Cowboys and the current Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers, which kicks off the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season. But the hope of sports betting supporters... Read more →


Records, tax and financial, are often among the property damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. If you're lucky, you might be able, like this woman, to salvage some of the documents. If not, you'll need to recreate them to take advantage of tax-related storm relief. (Image courtesy Louisiana Law Blog) We're heading into peak Atlantic hurricane season, which means much of the United States could face disastrous circumstances like those already being dealt with coast-to-coast. In major disasters, various types of tax relief are available, including claiming storm-related losses as an itemized deduction. One of the key considerations here... Read more →


IRS image Last fall, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it was adding QR, or Quick Response, codes to some of the notices it sends taxpayers. Specifically, the codes are going on tax due notices. The goal, says the IRS, is to make it easier for taxpayers to deal with the notices. Recipients of the QR coded correspondence can use their smartphones to scan it and go directly to IRS website. From there, they can access their taxpayer account, set up a payment plan, or contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Basically, the digital option eliminates the tax middleman or woman.... Read more →


Millions of filers are still working on 2020 tax returns, some due to extensions, others filing for the first time to get various COVID-19 economic impact payments. But time, tide and taxes wait for no man or woman. Or the Internal Revenue Service, which has revised the individual Form 1040 and its three schedules for the 2021 tax year. Form 1040: Aside from the usual year notations, there are some line number reference that have changed in connection with items that are transferred to the 2021 Form 1040 from the form's three schedules. That's no surprise since, as noted a... Read more →


It's no surprise that, after facing a ginormous backlog of paper tax forms that piled up when the Internal Revenue Service closed most of its campuses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the agency is looking to force more electronic filings. Proposed regulations published in today's Federal Register add seven forms to the IRS list of returns that businesses must, once a certain filing threshold is reached, submit electronically. The move is made possible by a provision of the Taxpayer First Act (TFA), which became law in July 2019 and included a variety of changes designed to... Read more →


Knowing whether a group is a tax-exempt organization is important, not just from Uncle Sam's revenue collection (or not) perspective, but also from a public standpoint. Donors who want to deduct charitable gifts need to know that the group to which they're giving is legit in the Internal Revenue Service's eyes. These public charities are referred to as 501(c)(3) organizations, getting their name from the section of the tax code that created them. However, there are several other tax-exempt classifications under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c). They are granted, for example, to groups that have charitable, educational, religious, or similar... Read more →


President Joe Biden this week reinstated a long-standing White House tax tradition. Biden and the First Lady, as well as the Vice Presidential couple, made public their annual tax return filings on Tax Day, May 17 this year. (White House Facebook image) Monday was Tax Day 2021. Yes, it was just more than a month later than usual. But one tax thing did return to normal this year. The President and Vice President of the United States released their tax returns to the public. Tax sharing by Biden: The 2020 tax year joint filing by President Joe and First Lady... Read more →


The time left until tomorrow's Tax Day 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, take a break by filing for an extension instead. In a survey earlier this tax filing season by Credello, more than three-quarters of respondents said they know what they're doing when it comes to filing their taxes. Oh, really? Not that I'm questioning the poll participants' honesty, but taxes are not really the area where you want to fake it 'til you make it. If you... Read more →


Enjoying a comfortable retirement later means planning for and contributing to nest eggs now. For some, the Saver's Credit offers an added tax incentive. Some lawmakers want to make the credit even better. I'm a big believer in saving for retirement because, well, I'm a big believer in retiring. Specifically, in retiring when and how I want. And that takes money. Uncle Sam apparently shares my pro-nest-egg point of view. In addition to the tax breaks available for those who take advantage of myriad retirement saving options, the Internal Revenue Code also offers a double reward for some with the... Read more →


Even before 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) greatly increased the standard deduction amounts, most people chose to use the standard deduction amount. But one thing that the latest tax reform law didn't change is the ability for many to get some added deductions without itemizing. These used to be called, at least by the tax community, above-the-line deductions. They got that moniker because pre-TCJA they appeared in the last section of the old long Form 1040, just above the last line of that form's first page where your adjusted gross income (AGI) was entered. (A handful also were... Read more →