Inflation Feed

Remember back in January when I listed 6 reasons why you should wait to file your federal tax return? The Internal Revenue Service has come up with a new one for taxpayers in several states. Specifically, the IRS is telling individuals who last year received special state-issued payments to help offset higher inflation costs to wait before submitting their 2022 federal 1040s. The reason for the delay? The IRS must decide how much, if any, tax it's going to collect on the state relief amounts. Residents in 17 states awaiting IRS word: Officials in 17 states last year issued inflation-prompted... Read more →


Drivers faced plenty of challenges in 2022, notably the dramatic jump this year in fuel prices. That prompted the Internal Revenue Service in June to hike 2022's optional standard mileage rates for the last six months of the year. Now the IRS has bumped up the business rate again as part of its annual adjustments to a variety of tax laws. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2023, the standard optional mileage rate for a car (or van, pickup or panel truck) used for business purposes will be 65.5 cents per mile. That's up 3 cents from the midyear increase that applies... Read more →


via GIPHY Seven days from now, many of us will be opening Christmas presents. Hanukkah is underway. Regardless of what or how you celebrate December holidays, your purchases probably increase this month. And this year, inflation, even though it's abated a bit recently, means you have or will pay more for all those gifts, food, and other festive trimmings of the season. Every year, PNC financial services issues its Christmas Price Index, or CPI. It measures, using a methodology similar to Uncle Sam's official CPI, or consumer price index, the current costs of the gifts given in the classic holiday... Read more →


Is your retirement plan on target? Maybe not, thanks (no thanks!) in part to the COVID pandemic and inflation. People have been, understandably, more focused of late on meeting daily living expenses than saving for the future. Such financial concerns likely are partially responsible for the results of a new retirement savings report from Fidelity. The Boston-based investment company found that the average 401(k) balance declined for the third straight quarter. It dipped below the six-figure mark, coming in at $97,200. That's 23 percent lower than a year ago. The average individual retirement arrangement (IRA) balance also dropped. The average... Read more →


The United States' tax system depends on voluntary compliance by taxpayers. But Uncle Sam is no fool. He and his tax collectors are believers of the adage "trust, but verify." The Internal Revenue Service also follows up on that verification with penalties when it finds taxpayers — and the professionals we pay to take care of our taxes — aren't fulfilling our tax responsibilities on our own. The most severe punishments come via criminal tax prosecutions. The IRS also employs civil actions to get due taxes. And many of us are familiar with the various fines and fees that are... Read more →


Fornillo Beach in Positano along Italy's Amalfi Coast. (Photo by Mihael Grmek via Wikipedia Commons) The hubby and I just finished watching the second season of Stanley Tucci's culinary trek across Italy. So, at least for a few more weeks, we're thinking (OK, dreaming) about moving to that boot-shaped Mediterranean peninsula. If we did, which we won't, we wouldn't renounce our U.S. citizenship. That comes with too steep a tax price. But officially remaining American nationals also carries a tax cost. Most Americans who move abroad still owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless of where it's earned. That's because... Read more →


Before law changes, the now inflation-indexed Alternative Minimum Tax, known as the AMT, seemed to work like an ATM for the Internal Revenue Service, allowing it to collect this parallel tax from more than the wealthy for whom it was created. (Photo by Erik Mclean) Calculating one tax bill is bad enough, but some people have to deal with a second one at tax filing time. The Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, is a separate tax system created to ensure that the wealthiest pay at least some tax. The parallel AMT was added to the Internal Revenue Code in 1969... Read more →


Plus a look at how higher costs of living affect capital gains, youngsters' investment earnings, gifts, and more. Image via Giphy Them that got, are them that get. Not only is that a lyric (and theme) from a fabulous Ray Charles song, it's a good synopsis of the current estate tax law, especially with 2023 inflation adjustments. Many of the current wealth-related tax provisions help the richest among us stay that way. But some of them can help all of us, regardless of our income level, increase our relative wealth. And, as reviewed in this Part 6 of the ol'... Read more →


If you've been to a doctor recently, refilled a subscription, had to go to an emergency room, or just bought over-the-counter medications, you know that all these cost a lot more than in previous years. It's enough to make you sick, or at least nudge up your blood pressure a bit. However, the tax code might have an Rx that can help. There are a variety of medical tax breaks that can help lower your federal tax bill. Several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in today's Part 5 post of the ol' blog's annual... Read more →


Very few of us share the same tax circumstances. However, there is one thing every taxpayer can agree on. We all want to pay the least amount of federal tax as possible. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a major way of reducing our annual tax bill. But wait. There's more. There are the adjustments to income, listed on Form 1040 Schedule 1 and still known as above-the-line deductions. You can claim all of these 25 tax breaks regardless of whether you itemize or take the standard deduction.... Read more →


With some tax planning now, along with some help from tax-favored accounts, you can ensure your retirement is full of smiles, love, and flowers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions) It's always a good time to start saving for your eventual retirement. The U.S. tax code helps via a variety of tax favored retirement options. And the Internal Revenue Service helps every year by making cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments that boost the amounts you can put into your post-work accounts. The tax agency today announced how much you can stash in 2023 in tax-deferred — or tax-free — retirement accounts and pension plans.... Read more →


Tax year-in and tax year-out, most filers claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing. The standard option has always been appealing because it's easy. There are no receipts to save, no added calculations. Even better, the Internal Revenue Service provides the standard amount you can claim, based on your filing status, right there at the bottom of the first page of Form 1040. The standard deduction train picked up even more passengers after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 essentially doubled the standard amounts. And those now more valuable deduction amounts are getting even better, thanks to... Read more →


At times, it seemed like inflation was heading to infinity and beyond. (Photo by Edvin Richardson) Inflation replaced COVID as the daily topic back in 2021, and things just escalated as that economic figure kept climbing in 2022. Most of the time, the focus has understandably been on how inflation is costing us at the grocery, the gas station and, well, just about everywhere. But we're finally getting some good inflation news from the Internal Revenue Service. Really. Some sections of the Internal Revenue Code are tied to inflation. Every year, the IRS takes a look at these numbers and,... Read more →


The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave retirees and other recipients of the program's payments good news this week. Next year, they'll get an 8.7 percent cost-of-living increase. That's the highest in more than 40 years, and comes on the heels of this year's bump that, at the time, was the largest retirement benefits bump in decades. Some higher earners, however, aren't so happy. Today's SSA announcement also noted that the amount of income subject to payroll taxes also is going up in 2023. This amount, known as the Social Security wage base, is the maximum earnings, by both salaried workers... Read more →


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 →