Healthcare Medical Feed

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 →


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. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


FSA Store Medical flexible savings accounts are a great tax break. This workplace-provided benefit allows you to put money into an account before your paycheck's taxes are calculated. Then you use those tax-free funds to cover health care copays or treatments not covered by insurance. FSAs do, however, have one major drawback. The accounts are a use-it-or-lose-it benefit. Basically, if you don't spend your tax-favored money by the end of your benefits' year, your employer gets to keep it. In some cases, however, workers get ways to use more of their FSA money instead of losing it. And one of... Read more →


Scenic overlooks, like this view of the Austin skyline from my suburban neighborhood, can be lovely. But when it comes to taxes, you don't want to overlook tax breaks. (Photo by Kay Bell) If you're like most taxpayers, when you finally decide to do your taxes, you want to get it over with as soon as possible. But don't pay a price for you haste. If you rush through filling out your Form 1040, you could cheat yourself out of some tax savings. It happens every year. Folks overlook deductions, whether they itemize on Schedule A or claim above-the-line breaks... Read more →


Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels Sure, taxes are due on April 18 (this year), but March is big tax month. Today is the start of the final full month before your 2021 return — and, if you owe, any tax — is due. That means there's still time to take some steps to help shave some off that possible tax bill. Here are five March tax moves, mostly retirement related, to consider. 1. Open or add to your traditional IRA. You can put money into any IRA, traditional or Roth, by Tax Day and designate it as applying to... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell Regular readers probably noticed that this blog post is much later than usual. The reason is I lost around eight hours today. There were spent at our local hospital emergency room. The hubby fell and hit his head pretty hard. So, unable to get an appointment with our primary care physician until later this week, we decided to go to the ER today out of, as the saying goes, an abundance of caution. We're glad we did. The official diagnosis is a concussion, but a relatively minor one. That's a relief. The ER doctor and consulting... Read more →


You checked out my post on who has to file a tax return (thank you!) and confirmed that you're one of the select lucky few who doesn't have to file a 1040. But you still might want to send the Internal Revenue Service a tax return. Here are 10 such should-file situations, starting with the ones that could get you a tax refund. 1. Too much tax was withheld. Most of us have income tax amounts taken from our regular paychecks. Other sources of income also sometimes take some tax amounts off the top. When too much is withheld, you're... Read more →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels For some folks, the question isn't when to file, but whether they need to do so at all. It's a legitimate issue. While most of us do have to send in a Form 1040 every year, there are some situations where the Internal Revenue Service doesn't demand filing. So just who has to file a tax return? Filing requirements for most of us: Generally, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident you must consider three things when determining whether you have to file a tax return: your age, your filing status and your... Read more →


I got my first tax statement today, a 1099 for some freelance work I did last year. That's just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their tax year 2021 returns. In addition to income statements, such as the 1099-NEC I got, 1099s with details on investment earnings, and W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, there are beau coup documents reporting tax-related transactions. Among the most common are forms detailing home related mortgage interest and taxes paid from escrow accounts, retirement account distributions, prize and gambling winnings, and in some cases, health... 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 →


Here in Central Texas, we're experiencing a mild December. We finally got a light freeze in outlying areas last night, but temperatures in the immediate Austin area are expected, at least for a couple of days this week, to climb into the mid-to-upper-80s. Human residents aren't the only ones enjoying the moderate spell. Plants are taking advantage of the warmth, too, like the Gerber daisy trio to the left that decided to make an appearance on our backyard patio. While the late-year flowers are lovely to look at, accompanying pollen is wreaking havoc with my allergies. I am not alone.... Read more →


A close-up of some of our Christmas tree ornaments, including the newest one showcasing Austin icon El Arroyo's sign wisdom. (Photo by Kay Bell) Ho, Ho, Ho! The jolly month of December is here, bringing the official start of winter, Christmas and other holidays, and taxes. Yeah, that last December item might harsh your holidays. But the tax moves you make over the next 31 days could make your 2021 and 2022 tax situations happy and bright. Here's a look at 6 December tax moves you at least want to consider. 1. Keep an eye on Congress. Yeah, too often... Read more →


Medical matters have been front and center for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even without a global health crisis, taxpayers know they need to keep an eye on not just their wellbeing, but also on how medical expenses could create a tax outcome that's healthier for the filers rather than the Internal Revenue Service. There are a variety of medical tax breaks. And several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in this Part 5 of the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series, is a look at those changes for the 2022... Read more →