Inflation Feed

I loved this couch, but it was starting to wear so we donated it away while it was still in good shape. Some folks, however, would have sold the sofa. Now, such transactions could trigger a confusing tax situation. With inflation still squeezing budgets, some people have taken to selling old items. Garage sales are the traditional route, but if your neighborhood limits when you can put old items out for sale (dang those HoAs), then there's always the internet. A tax law change, however, could mean a tax hassle for infrequent, small-time online sellers. They could get a tax... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska I have money in the stock market. When I was a younger investor, I checked my assets a lot. Like almost every day. Then I realized that was just going to make me crazy(ier), so I shifted to a monthly review of where my holdings were. Now I just check quarterly. Most of the reason for my reduction in the frequency of my equity evaluations is that I'm at that part of my life where my holdings are pretty much set for my fast-approaching retirement years. The good news is that the recent market dive, while... Read more →


Inflation is still a concern, for consumers and politicians, but it is easing a bit (at least for some consumers). One reason for the change is falling gas prices. GasBuddy reported on Sept. 12 that for the thirteenth consecutive week, the nation’s average per-gallon gas price dropped. It went to $3.67 per gallon, down 7.6 cents from a week ago. AAA's daily tracker shows a Sept. 15 national per gallon average of $3.698. But those are averages. Your pump prices may vary. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, noted in the latest analysis that there are "drastically... Read more →


Financial advice for older people also should include planning for taxes on Social Security benefits, unless a House bill to end that process passes. If you're of a certain age (confession: I am), you're likely getting lots of notices about the possible hike in 2023 of Social Security benefits. At one point, prognosticators were saying it could be as much nearly 11 percent. However, the recent easing of inflation lessens the likelihood of a double-digit percentage bump. The latest prediction is a 9.6 percent bump. Still not bad. Most folks who get Social Security benefits will welcome any increase in... Read more →


Geralt via Pixabay Economists use a variety of measurements to track inflation, but the one that matters most to you and me is the personal consumption expenditure, or PCE, price index. This gauge of consumer spending increased 1.1 percent in June. The difficulty many folks are having in meeting their rising living expenses finally prompted some Congressional action. The Senate is expected to vote next week on what's been dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a budget reconciliation package that includes tax, climate change mitigation, and health care provisions. But closer to home, 16 state governments are taking more... 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 →


Shutterstock The hubby and I are spending the Independence Day holiday like we usually do. We're staying home. Even in our younger days, we didn't travel on holidays. We also lived in places where fireworks, the big draw on the Fourth of July, were easily accessible or visible from our homes. Of course, there was that year in Washington, D.C., where our car almost got towed, but that just added excitement to the festivities on the National Mall. Almost 48 million people, however, disagree with the way the hubby and I celebrate July 4th, according to AAA. That's how many... Read more →


With inflation at historic levels, U.S. families are re-examining their budgets. Uncle Sam recently did the same with his money, or rather the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did. What this federal agency within the government's legislative branch found was surprising. The word that the CBO actually used was unexplained in connection with the robust growth of tax collections. Unexplained income tax revenue: "Tax collections in both 2020 and 2021 were larger than the currently available data on economic activity would suggest," according to the CBO report "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2022 to 2032" issued on May 24. "That unexplained... Read more →


Evening traffic on Pennybacker Bridge in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Manuel Garza via Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service today delivered a bit of good news to taxpayers who use their vehicles for medical and business purposes. The standard optional mileage rates used to calculate tax deductible amounts are going up on July 1. The increase of the rates, which last were adjusted in December as part of the IRS' annual review of transportation costs, comes as the nation's national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline nears $5. "The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect... Read more →


Plus, a look at when Uncle Sam gets to tax some of the federal retirement payouts he distributes. The U.S. economy might be slowing down a bit, but people still are finding jobs. May's unemployment figures, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 3, showed a slight increase in jobs. That kept last month's unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, just above the lowest level since December 1969. Work data for last month also showed that the jobless rate, the federal government's employment count that includes those not looking for work and those holding part-time positions for economic reasons,... Read more →


This coming Memorial Day long weekend is the first in more than two years that millions of Americans are treating as more-or-less normal. (Remember that?) And people's pent-up travel wishes are pushing aside COVID-19 pandemic worries in a big way. AAA Memorial Day 2022 forecast AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day three-day holiday. This is an increase of 8.3 percent over 2021, and brings travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. But another year also comes to mind. Back in 2012, gasoline was $3.64 per gallon. When adjusted... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The inflation we're experiencing right now is truly a pain. Thank goodness most of my driving is my weekly trip to the grocery store, but those bills have almost doubled. However, the current inflation level does have one, tiny bright spot for folks who have a specific type of health care coverage. It's bumping up tax benefits for individuals who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and associated health savings account (HSA). HDHP coverage has grown in popularity as health care costs kept rising, even before this historic inflation increase. As the name indicates, these plan enrollees face more... Read more →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Inflation is the biggest domestic, and political, concern right now. And after months of waiting, the Federal Reserve's expected reaction to rising prices came last week. The board members of the United States' central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday, March 16, for the first time since 2018. The bump of a quarter percentage point to its benchmark rate is the first of expected increases to combat the country's highest inflation in four decades. When all is said and done, most financial observers say the previously near-zero interest rates to be near 2 percent... Read more →


Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, gasoline prices in the United States were going up due to that Econ 101 basic supply and demand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more U.S. workers starting doing their jobs remotely. Working from home meant no commuting, so fewer vehicle fill-ups. Oil producers, notably the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel, responded by cutting production sharply in 2020. Since then, things have returned to, for lack of better words, more normal. Demand for oil and products like gasoline has surged since pandemic lows. But production has not kept up. More people wanting a scarce... Read more →


via GIPHY Did you do more driving to conduct business in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to abate a bit? Are you planning, Delta and Omicron variants notwithstanding, to hit the road for more business travel in 2022? If so, the Internal Revenue Service has some good tax deduction news for you. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (or van, pickup or panel truck) will be a bit more. Next year, according to the notice the IRS issued today (Friday, Dec. 17), you can write off business travel at 58.5... Read more →


The United States has a voluntary compliance tax system. Uncle Sam trusts all of us to follow the tax laws and file and pay any amounts that are due the U.S. Treasury. But Uncle Sam is no fool when it comes to taxes. He also has a system of penalties to encourage or, if we refuse, punish us for not fulfilling our tax responsibilities on our own. The most severe are criminal prosecutions. The Internal Revenue Service also employs civil actions to get taxes due. Most of us, though, are more familiar with the fines and fees that are assessed... Read more →


Photo: JHL via Flickr The last couple of years have been challenging for U.S. citizens living and working abroad. The COVID-19 era for expatriates has meant they've had to deal with changing demands from their American-based employers along with the health rules of the nation where they live. One thing, however, has remained the same. Most Americans who go abroad for work still must deal with the Internal Revenue Service. They owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless of where it's earned, because Uncle Sam still relies on a worldwide tax system at the individual level. There are, however, some... Read more →


This lord a-leaping and his nine other colleagues will cost you a hefty sum this year if you give them and the 11 other gifts inspired by the "12 Days of Christmas" carol to your true love. (Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels) Did you survive Black Friday shopping? More to the point, did your bank account survive? The crowds this year apparently were smaller, but the freedom to shop in real life didn't offer as many savings. Plus, there was inflation. As everyone knows by now, prices have been rising. That definitely is true for the annual PNC Financial... Read more →


AMT law changes plus annual inflation adjustments mean that this parallel tax aimed at the wealthy is no longer such a broadly-based ATM for the tax collector. The political and legislative battle over how to collect from the wealthiest taxes, which was mentioned in yesterday's Part 6 tax inflation post on (among other things) estate taxes, is not new. It's been going on for decades. The Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, is one way that Washington, D.C., came up with to ensure that the rich pay at least some taxes. This post, Part 7 of the ol' blog's 10-part inflation... Read more →