Healthcare Medical Feed

Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash In 2019, the Internal Revenue Service received nearly 156 million tax returns. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the number of 1040s filed hit 169.7 million. The increase continued in 2021 with the IRS receiving 169.1 million returns, and into 2022, when 164.3 returns were sent to the tax agency. The main reason for the 2020-2022 filing spikes was the coronavirus-related financial help — economic impact payments and increased advance Child Tax Credit amounts — that the IRS was tasked with delivering. Many, OK most, of those millions who hadn't filed before 2020... Read more →


We're just a couple of weeks into this new year, and I've received three 1099s and a donation thank-you letter. I am not alone. Official tax forms and statements are filtering into mail boxes, both curbside and electronic, across the country. The exact tax-related documents differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but we all share one thing. We need them in order to accurately fill out annual tax returns. They include W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, 1099-NECs for freelancers, and 1099-MISC and DIV documents for those who have investment earnings. It is, after all, called an income tax. But... Read more →


The tax code is like a car. A big, old, clunky car that just keeps chugging along. But every now and then you need to tune it up and change the tires. Here are some tweaks to the 2023 filing season model. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) Tax filing rolls around every year. But every year, there also are a few changes that make the process slightly different from prior filings. We didn't have any major tax law changes in 2022. But some old rules come into play, as does the expiration of some tax breaks that many folks had enjoyed... 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 →


When are tax-deductible expenses like bananas? When you bunch them. (Photo by Couleur) I just got an email from my dentist, who's suddenly turned into an ad hoc tax adviser. He wanted me to know that he's got a few appointments open through the end of the year in case I need to spend my medical flexible spending account money. His alert also got me thinking about another tax tactic, bunching. Types and timing of deductible expenses: Since enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 2017, year-end bunching has taken on increased importance. This potential tax saving technique means you... Read more →


Photo by Pixabay Health and retirement are inextricably linked, and not just when we talk about staying in good shape in order to enjoy post-work years more fully. The link also is evident in the tax code, notably with the tax benefits of health savings accounts, or HSAs, that I blogged about last week. An HSA starts as a way for high deductible health plan enrollees to save tax-free for medical expenses, and then can morph into retirement funds when the account owner is older. In doing research for that HSA post, I ran across another retirement connection to the... Read more →


Life today demands multitasking. That includes taxes. And the champion here is the health savings account, or HSA. It offers three tax advantages. First, contributions to an HSA are made before taxes are assessed on the money. This lowers your taxable income a bit. Second, HSA funds grow tax-free. Third, when you use HSA money to pay eligible medical expenses, those withdrawals are tax-free, too. A flexible, multiple, and mobile savings option: But wait. There's more. There's no use-or-lose with an HSA. The full amount in the account simply rolls over from year to year. Plus, an HSA is quite... Read more →


Photo by Guneet Jassal on Unsplash It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Yep, tax actions need to be added to your already very long holiday to-do list. You only have 31 days to take advantage of some Internal Revenue Code provisions that could save you money. That's always a welcome gift from Uncle Sam, but especially at this time of year. Plus, if you take relevant tax steps sooner in the month, you'll also free up time for more traditional festivities. So let's get to it.... Read more →


Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash You're heading home from your Thanksgiving get-together, loaded down with leftovers and maybe something less welcome. Yeah, your indigestion has been acting up, inflamed by overly rich food and some family members who just wouldn't let things go. The good news is that you can use your flexible spending account (FSA) funds to pay for the Tums or Gaviscon or whatever over-the-counter (OTC) remedy works for you. You may remember that not too long ago, you had to jump through hoops to get FSA coverage for these store shelf treatments under an Affordable Care... Read more →


Sifting through all the options during workplace benefits enrollment season can be confusing and frustrating. Here are some things to think about, including taxes, as you evaluate your company's offerings. (Photo by MART PRODUCTION) We're in the heart of the annual benefits enrollment season. Not only is the Affordable Care Act healthcare marketplace open for business, but older Americans are signing up for Medicare. But a big segment of American workers rely on workplace-provided benefits to cover then health care and other needs. If you're checking out your company's benefits, either to enroll for the first time or continue the... 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 →


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 →


Photo by Mohd Jon Ramlan on Unsplash The Food and Drug Administration is now sifting through the public comments it received on its proposal to ban the sale of flavored cigars. It may take a while. The agency got more than 71,600 comments before the comment period ended on Aug. 2. The pro and con remarks came from individuals who sell as well as enjoy cigars. Businesses, large and small, along with their professional trade groups, also let the FDA know their positions. Health issues, freedom of personal choice, economic concerns, and potential increases in illegal tobacco product sales were... Read more →


Photo by Zaji Kanamajina on Unsplash Here in the United States, sin taxes were the lone revenue bright spot for many states, at least early during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it's a different story in Japan. Alcohol consumption among younger Japanese already had been dropping pre-COVID, in part due to a national plan launched in the 1990s to reduce alcohol-related health and societal problems. When COVID spread across the globe, drinking in Japan, especially among younger people, dropped even more. The result is that current liquor tax collection in Japan has plummeted. Japan's liquor tax revenue... Read more →


The state of Texas, which I celebrate personally in my house with many Lone Star-themed furnishings, shows a lot of love for businesses, but not so much for its residents, according to a recent CNBC analysis. (Photo by Kay Bell) The Lone Star State has a storied literary tradition, but it's a 19th century English writer's description that apparently now applies to Texas. It's the best of times for Texas businesses, but the worst of times for the state's residents, according to a Charles Dickens' echoing report by CNBC. The cable business news network scored all 50 states on 88... 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 →


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 →


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 →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →