The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) coordinates emergency responses, such as this one in early January before the latest disastrous rains and flooding engulfed the state. (Photo courtesy Cal OES Facebook) California covers a huge area, so there's room for plenty of extremes. That includes weather. Over the last few days, the Golden State has gone from devastating drought to equally devasting flooding. This week began with around 90 percent of California's population under a flood watch. Today, the Internal Revenue Service announced that it is giving taxpayers who are dealing with the disastrous conditions in 31... Read more →


Lyriq photo courtesy Cadillac Sometimes the obvious is, well, obvious. Until it isn't. Back in 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous intuitive declaration about knowing pornographic material when he saw it made things clear. Then on Jan. 11, 2015, we Dallas Cowboys fans, then belatedly the NFL, knew that Dez Bryant's touchdown catch was definitely a catch. Now General Motors (GM) and Uncle Sam are fighting over what, for most of us, is pretty clear, specifically what counts as an SUV. The government's final answer will affect the new Inflation Reduction Act tax credit for electric versions of sports... Read more →


Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR The first work week of 2023 is in the books. How many miles did you drive for business purposes? If you're using your personal vehicle to conduct business you need to know. And if the number is to satisfy an Internal Revenue Service examiner's question about your mileage deduction, you need to be exact. The IRS can disallow questionable guesstimates, meaning your tax deduction could end up being zero. The U.S. Tax Court has backed up the agency when taxpayers don't keep adequate records. To help you avoid that unwanted tax reversal, here are some do's... Read more →


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay Most states operate on a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30. That's why we see some new laws take effect each summer across the United States. However, those states also make the effective date for other changes the first of the year. It's easier for us residents, who operate on a January to December calendar, to accept that timetable. That's especially true of tax laws, since most states also tend to follow the Internal Revenue Service calendar. New tax laws effective New Year's Day: This Jan. 1, notes the Tax... Read more →


Massive waves on Lake Erie splashed homes in Hamburg, New York, during the historic blizzard that moved across the Empire State just before last Christmas. While the result was a collection of real-life ice sculptures, the storm's ultimate effects were far less lovely. (Screen capture from WXChasing YouTube video) I admit it. I whined about the unusual cold front that moved into the Austin area Christmas week 2022. One of the reasons we moved here was for the area's generally moderate winters. But I was properly shamed. A few freezing nights was nothing like the deadly storm that gripped parts... Read more →


Money troubles lead some taxpayers to refund anticipation loans. If you're not careful, it could make finances worse. When the Internal Revenue Service officially opens the 2023 tax filing season, which is expected to be at near the end of the month (it was Jan. 24 last year), it will process e-filed 1040s first. Those returns' electronic data automatically goes into the IRS processing system. That means, says the agency, most of those early filers should get their refunds within 21 days. But what if you just can't wait three weeks for the tax cash? Or you know your refund... 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 →


It's ready, set, go for tax season 2023, at least for business taxpayers. The IRS has announced a start date for these filings. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) We have a start date for the Internal Revenue Service's 2023 tax filing season! Stop cheering all you tax early birds who've already got your personal returns ready to go. This is not for you. Thursday, Jan. 12, is the day that the IRS will begin accepting electronically filed business returns. That's a few days later than in 2022. Last year, business filers got the jump on the rest of us on Jan.... Read more →


Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay We're two days into the New Year. Feel any different? Aside from thinking it's a Sunday instead of Monday, me neither. But some things, in addition to flipping calendar pages, have changed. From a tax standpoint, you'll see some differences, starting with those calendars. Weekends and holidays will shift some regular tax deadlines to new days. You also could see some differences on your 2022 Form 1040, thanks in part to tax breaks that no longer apply. Those changes are just a few things to note as we head into the 2023 tax year.... Read more →


The tax year is over. Long live the tax year. Taxes are, if nothing else, persistent. Sure, there are a few (or more) changes every year, even if it's only inflation adjustments. But even in years when the changes are negligible, they are back, starting to add up on the first of every January. That's why 2023 is the first By the Numbers honoree of this new year. The transition from an old to a new tax year is also the focus of this post. It's a look at six tax matters that affected or at least fascinated us in... Read more →


Before the House Ways and Means Committee released six years of Donald J. Trump's federal filings, the last time was got an ostensible glimpse of the former president's Form 1040 was back in October 2015. That's when he shared this photo on his Twitter account of him signing what he said was his federal tax return for that year. With just a few hours left in 2022, some of us are doing some last-minute tax accounting. OK, maybe that's just me and a handful of others who've already planned our annual living room countdown to 2023. I know that one... 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 →


There's still time to give for 2022 tax purposes, especially if you make an electronic donation. If you're among the minority of taxpayers who still itemize, year-end philanthropy is one of the easiest ways to boost your Schedule A deductions. And much of that giving his happening right now. Nonprofits Source, a digital marketing consultant for nonprofit groups, says an estimated 30 percent of annual giving occurs in December. Ten percent of those gifts are made in the last three days of the year. If you're part of this last-minute giving group, here are some tips on getting your potentially... Read more →


Don't miss out on any tax breaks as you put together your retirement plan. That includes claiming the Saver's Credit if you're eligible. Some retirement savers got an early Christmas present. On Dec. 23, President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.7 trillion omnibus package that keeps the federal government running and more. Among the more was a revision of retirement provisions known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. And one of those changes is the eventual conversion of the Saver's Credit into a matching contribution tied to workplace plans and IRAs. That's a good... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska The Internal Revenue Service is making progress on its documents backlog, which started in 2020 with COVID-19 pandemic office closures and snowballed. But it's not there yet. That's distressing news for taxpayers and their tax pros who've been waiting for accounts to be brought up to date. But there's a tiny silver lining for those whose refunds are among the still-stalled IRS stack. Inflation has pushed up the interest rate that the IRS will pay on refunds that take longer than 45 days to process and issue. More interest on overdue refunds: IRS interest rates are... Read more →


Merry Monday Holiday After Christmas on Sunday. Happy Boxing Day. Joyous End-of-Year Tax Tasks to Complete Week. Yep, the start of the last week of 2022 has a lot of identities. But it's that last designation that you need to pay close attention to, since the end of the tax year is critical when it comes to many tax moves. Here are eight you need to consider and, if they apply to you, complete by Dec. 31 — or actually by Friday, Dec. 30, in some cases since it's the last business day of 2022. 1. Take your required minimum... Read more →


Merry Christmas 🎅 Peace ☃️ Joy 🎄 Happy Holidays I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas. The video above offers a brief look at how the hubby and I celebrate Dec. 25. I know, I should have shot it horizontally, but that's why I'm a writer, not a cinematographer. And no, there will be no videos of me making our holiday dinner. Enjoy today and your traditions however and whatever you celebrate, or if you don't! I'll be back here with a return to taxes tomorrow. Until then, a few more of our favorite Christmas items reflecting our native Texan... Read more →


Kris Kringle, portrayed by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 classic movie "Miracle on 34th Street." (via Giphy) I'm a Christmas traditionalist. OK, so I expand the traditional holiday season. We, at my urging, put up holiday decorations right after Halloween. We have a lot of them, so it takes time. Plus, I'm a fan and nonresident celebrant of Canada's Thanksgiving. Our neighbors to the north's celebration of the harvest and other blessings of the past year falls on the second Monday of October, following a more North American seasonal shift. Even better, it provides a welcome space between Turkey Day... Read more →


Are you worried about getting a slew of 1099-K forms next year in connection with your side gig earnings? The Internal Revenue Service has an early Christmas present for you. The tax agency today announced that it was going to delay the requirement that third-party settlement organizations — places like Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, and similar payment mechanisms — issue the 1099-Ks to earners who in 2022 received at least $600 in a single payment or in aggregate, regardless of the number of transactions, for their goods or services. Instead, the new lower earnings level that triggers issuance of 1099-Ks will... Read more →


A heat pump's outdoor unit is pulling what warmth it can out of the air in freezing conditions. (Photo by Peter Eastern via Wikipedia Commons) North winds are gusting up to 30 mph right now here in suburban Austin, Texas. By sunset, we'll be at freezing, with temperatures in the area tonight expected to drop to between 10 and 15 degrees. Despite my alternately freaking out thanks to memories of 2021's snow, ice, and prolonged freezing temperatures that led to extended electric and water utility outages across most of Texas, ranting, and stuffing old hand towels into every new window... Read more →