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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 →


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 →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. Most taxpayers used the standard deduction even before 2017's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made it even more appealing by essentially doubling the amounts. Still, millions of filers every year find that claiming itemized deductions gives them a better tax result. And medical expenses tend to be a big reason why they opt to itemize, especially when they know and claim all the possible health-related expenses. Annual deduction choice: You're... Read more →


Remember last summer when we all suddenly learned that the letter from Donald Trump about the first COVID-19 economic impact payment was an official Internal Revenue Service notice? Many of us thought it was a thinly disguised campaign mailer and tossed it. Others didn't even receive it. And many of those who held on to the document did so because they viewed it as a political artifact. But the letter, officially known IRS Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment, had details on how much money you received in connection with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that... Read more →


Bernie Madoff leaving a court hearing in 2009. Bernard "Bernie" Lawrence Madoff died on April 14 in a federal prison medical facility where he was being treated for terminal kidney disease. The 82-year-old had been in jail since 2009 for orchestrating the world's largest Ponzi scheme. Madoff pleaded guilty on March 12, 2009, to 11 federal crimes, including operating the financial fraud that bilked as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over two decades. He was sentenced three months later to the maximum 150 years behind bars and ordered to pay restitution of $170 billion. At the time of... Read more →


For the second consecutive year, millions of individual taxpayers aren't freaking out about their taxes as April 15 nears. That's because for the second consecutive year, the annual Tax Day has been postponed. But still, some folks are crashing right about now to get their 2020 filings done. That's because the Internal Revenue Service decision to move Tax Day 2021 from mid-April to May 17 applies only to individuals who must file income tax returns, aka the IRS' 1040 forms series. And some of these still have an April 15 deadline if they must pay estimated taxes for the 2021... Read more →


If it feels like you just filed required federal forms about your overseas financial holdings, you're probably right. Last year, as we all were working to adjust to the myriad tax (and life) changes precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of tax deadlines got pushed back. Some way back. One of those was the filing extension for Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, usually referred to as FBAR. Some individuals didn't have to submit this document until Dec. 31, 2020. Now FBAR filers are facing a new deadline. Next week. On Thursday, April 15. That's right. The... Read more →


Photo: RODNAE Productions via Pexels April 7 is National No Housework Day. I didn't realize that until #TaxTwitter pal Joe Kristan noted it at the end of his Eide Bailly LLP tax roundup blog post today. In my defense, I overlooked No Housework Day because that's basically every day for me. Oh, I do some household chores, but grudgingly. And I'm lucky. The hubby is a more diligent cleaner than I. That means we don't (so far) have a paid housekeeper. But some folks do. And depending on the arrangement, those who hire household help have some tax tasks to... Read more →


You lost your job last year and collected unemployment. You knew that the benefits are taxable income, so when you filed your 2020 tax return earlier this year, your calculations made sure that Uncle Sam got his piece of your unemployment money. Then along came the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, and its provision excluding a portion of jobless benefits from tax. How do you get your overpaid unemployment taxes back? This week, the Internal Revenue Service followed up on its earlier announcement that filers shouldn't amend their 2020 returns because of the new... Read more →


Ah, college days. Studying, working between and after classes and now trying to avoid becoming a tax scam victim. (Photo by Tim Gouw via Unsplash) Many college students shoehorn jobs into their study schedules to help pay for their continuing educations. In addition to pocketing that cash throughout the year, many of these young workers also look forward at filing time to tax refunds from their jobs. So do crooks. The Internal Revenue Service today warned of an ongoing phishing scam in which the perpetrators are targeting education institutions, including students and staff with email addresses ending in the .edu... Read more →


The tax world is full of instances that are different from the real world. There are quarterly estimated tax payments that don't align with our standard calendar quarters. There are birthdays that are considered having been celebrated earlier when we get older. And now there are financial transactions that aren't financial transactions, at least when it comes to cryptocurrency. IRS has crypto questions: Cryptocurrency, often referred to generally as bitcoin (the Kleenex tissue of virtual money), has been a target of the Internal Revenue Service for years. Most recently, the agency has focused on getting taxes due on crypto transactions.... Read more →


Last March, parents were frantically searching for day camps to enroll their kiddos once school let out for the summer. Then COVID-19 arrived. Most camps shut down or dramatically pared back operations and parents added teacher and summer activity director to their already long list of de facto titles. We're still not sure whether or how many summer day camps will resume this year, but things are looking better thanks to expanding coronavirus vaccinations across the country. That means that parents might be able to once again take advantage of the child and dependent care credit in connection with certain... Read more →


The American Rescue Plan is now on its way to President Joe Biden. As soon as Biden signs it, millions of taxpayers can look forward to the third COVID-19 economic relief payment. And taxpayers who've already filed their 2020 returns and paid tax on unemployment benefits they received last year also can get ready to file amended returns. That's because during its consideration of the bill last week, the Senate included a provision that made the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits tax-free. UPDATE, Thursday, March 11, 2021: Biden signed the bill into law early in the afternoon today. He originally... Read more →


Being the boss can be fulfilling, exciting and, if profitable, mean more tax responsibilities, like paying self-employment taxes. (Photo by Zen Chung via Pexels.com) There are a lot more self-employed taxpayers this filing season, thanks to (you guessed it) the COVID-19 pandemic. People whose hours were reduced at their full-time jobs made up (or tried to) the lost income with side gigs. Others whose salaried positions were eliminated embraced their entrepreneurial spirit and became their own bosses. Now they are filing their tax returns for the first time with self-employment income. That, of course, means encountering another form, Schedule SE.... Read more →


In addition to looking for another job, folks who got unemployment benefits also have to deal with paying taxes on the payments and, in some cases, other complications. Unemployment benefits can be a lifesaver. That's been especially true during the year+ that we've been dealing with COVID-19 complications. Employers had to reduce services or close completely. In addition to the business costs, the establishments' workers were suddenly facing steep pay cuts or no pay at all. Congress has boosted state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through much of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest federal UI add-on is set to expire in... Read more →