Paying taxes Feed

Photo via Office of the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General One of the downsides of the Internal Revenue Service closing most of its offices earlier this year as a COVID-19 precaution was that taxpayer returns piled up. And it was a huge pile of mail, estimated at one point to be more than 12 million pieces. Some of that snail mail stack included tax payments. But since they weren't recorded, the compliant taxpayers still got automated tax-due notices. To the agency's credit, when it realized it was sending out erroneous notices demanding already delivered money, it stopped. But now, the... Read more →


My local H-E-B Grocery smartphone app's barcode reader helps me discover the price of a product if it's not shown on the item packaging or store shelf. I love the technology almost as much as I love potato chips! I love my grocery store app. Not only does it offer digital coupons, it lets me make shopping lists, find the aisles where the products I want are located and if there's no price sticker on the item the shelf, I can use the app to scan the package's barcode code for that info. Now the Internal Revenue Service is becoming... Read more →


The growing acceptance of electronic financial transactions has pretty much put an end to paper checks. Pretty much, but not totally. Some people still send old-school paper checks. And some of them sent such pen-to-paper payments to the Internal Revenue Service earlier this year to cover their due taxes. Unfortunately for the payers, their checks arrived at IRS offices that were closed as part of the agency's coronavirus pandemic precautions. And now that the IRS is digging those payments out of its massive mail backlog, there's a possibility that some of the months-old checks could bounce. But the agency is... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service heard the complaints about incorrect unpaid tax notices and has acted. It announced yesterday, Aug. 21, afternoon that it is temporarily halting the mailing of three nonpayment notices. The decision came on the heels of public outcry, some of it among taxpayers and the professional tax community on social media, as well as letter from the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. COVID-19 mail complications: The notice problem was the result of, what else, the coronavirus pandemic. The IRS closed most of its physical operations in March, but mail kept coming. That was because... Read more →


Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), right, and his colleague, the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia), conduct a hearing in pre-pandemic days. (W&M Committee photo) In a recent post about the Internal Revenue Service sending out nonpayment notices that it knew were wrong, I asked now what? Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal has one answer. The Massachusetts Democrat is calling on the IRS to stop sending tax bills until the agency catches up on its huge mail backlog. Stop the notices: In a letter to IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, Neal noted that this summer, following IRS... Read more →


Photo via Office of the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General And the crazy that is COVID-19 tax season 2020 keeps on coming. The recent buzz on tax social media was/is about Internal Revenue Service balance-due notices that arrived in folks' mailboxes. However, the people who got the notices did file on time and did pay when they filed. So what gives? The problem, in most cases, is that the payments were/are stuck in the agency's huge — 10 million pieces — U.S. Postal Service mail backlog. Since those initial concerns were aired on social media (thank you #TaxTwitter!), things seem... Read more →


Being your own boss is a challenge even in good times. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting your personal and professional life, keeping your individual enterprise operating is particularly dicey. So you probably were thrilled when Donald J. Trump took executive action last weekend to establish a temporary payroll tax holiday. Since you're both the boss and employee, that means that you pay both those components of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) payroll taxes. Getting to hold off paying at least some of your employee portion certainly could help with your cash flow. Or not. Right now, Trump's executive... Read more →


Remember the Michigan man who lost his property because he underpaid by $8.41 the overdue real estate tax bill? The state's highest court says the how the tax sale of Uri Rafaeli's house was handled was wrong, at least as far as the transaction's proceeds. Because of that finding, the Michigan Supreme Court said Rafaeli, an 85-year-old retired engineer, is due financial compensation for the loss of his home to the tax collector. That means Rafaeli soon should be depositing more than $24,000 from the county. High Court speaks: "[G]overnment shall not collect more in taxes than are owed, nor... Read more →


Image courtesy SimpsonsWorld via Giphy.com Do you remember your first phone number? I'm talking about the one when you were a kid. The one you parents made you memorize in case you needed to call home for any reason. For younger folks, that's not a problem. But when you reach a certain age, not that I'm confessing to any chronologically specific range, those early memories tend to fade. Despite that natural process, some of us still remember our childhood phone numbers. You'll have to trust me on my numerical recall. I'm leery enough of hackers, con artists and other assorted... Read more →


When the extended and complicated 2020 tax filing season officially ends at mid-week, the IRS says it will resume many postponed normal actions. This means taxpayer payments — including to debt collectors — and other tax matters that have been on COVID-19 hold will go back to what we used to call normal. In this coronavirus era, we all just want things to be like the name of the central Illinois town of Normal, where the historic theater also shares that moniker. The IRS says it's heading that direction this week. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons) The 2020 extended main tax... Read more →


July truly is April this year, at least as far as my personal budget. Some of our insurance payments are quarterly. That means every April, we have to come up with that money, as well as cash to cover the first quarter of our estimated taxes. The Internal Revenue Service's calendar when it comes to its second quarter estimated tax payment doesn't strictly follow the Gregorian calendar. Uncle Sam's tax collector wants the tax year's second Form 1040-ES and payment in June. My main estimated tax explainer discusses the timing of these payments, but below is a quick look from... Read more →


Tax returns AND any tax owed are due next week. Wednesday, July 15, to be exact. (Painted window in Harlingen, Texas, 1939, by Lee Russell; New York Public Library image via Unsplash) We're into the home stretch of the coronavirus extended 2020 tax season. That means that millions of taxpayers (or their tax preparers) are working on 2019 returns or extensions to finish up those 1040s. While you can send the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get until Oct. 15 to submit your actual return, you still must pay any tax you owe by July 15. If you don't,... Read more →


Do you have a big tax bill, but are down to your last bottom dollar? That's the worry of many taxpayers in this coronavirus-affected filing season. But you do have payment options. (Photo by cottonbro via Pexels) Tax Day 2020 is rapidly approaching and a lot of taxpayers are not ready for it. It's not just their Form 1040 filing that's an issue. They are concerned about paying any tax that's also due on this year's July 15 due date that was postponed by coronavirus precautions. The audit defense company TaxAudit reports that more than a third — 37 percent... Read more →


If you want to pay your taxes in cash, you now have more retail locations from which to choose. But make your choice soon. It takes days to set up a cash tax payment. If you dawdle, you could end making a late cash payment and owing Uncle Sam penalty and interest charges, too. Do you like paying by cash? Then you'll be thrilled by the Internal Revenue Service's latest tax payment move. Ace Cash Express and Casey's General Stores across the country have joined 7-Eleven stores in offering a way for taxpayers to pay their tax bills with cash.... Read more →


We're less than two months from Tax Day 2020, which was pushed to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Or are we? There's been some talk and a few actual reports in the media that the White House is contemplating pushing the tax deadline back again, possibly to Sept. 15 or even mid-December. Just talk, so far: An NBC News report noted that talks of an even later Tax Day are preliminary. In that same article, Trump Administration officials stressed that no tax date change decision has been made. But some in the tax community are still a little... Read more →


The first two estimated tax payments for 2020 aren't due this week because of COVID-19 changes, but it's still time to look at how much you owe via 1040-ES and how best to figure those amounts. I've paid estimated taxes for almost as long as I've filed taxes. These payments, in case this tax is new to you, are the equivalent of withholding. With estimated taxes, however, we taxpayers must cover the income (and usually other) tax on things like freelance earnings or investment payouts since we get the money without anything being taken out beforehand for Uncle Sam. There... Read more →


We're in what during normal times would be the annual tax season's big push to the end (or an extension). But these are not normal times. Instead, it feels more and more like we're living in a tax version of Bill Murray's classic "Groundhog Day." That's because for the second time in three days the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service have moved the deadlines for filing and paying taxes. Friday, March 20, morning Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin decided that an earlier decision that split the usual April 15 deadline for tax filing and paying should be changed. So he... Read more →


States also are coping with COVID-19 and tax return timing, with a handful already delaying some returns. UPDATE, March 21, 2020: Tax Day 2020 has changed again. Now taxpayers have until July 15 to file their 2019 returns and pay any due tax. This latest change was announced March 20 and the IRS issued some guidance on the changes on March 21. This window's timely admonition usually is good advice as April 15 nears. This year, however, Tax Day may be pushed back due to the spreading coronavirus. (Painted window in Harlingen, Texas, 1939, by Lee Russell; New York Public... Read more →


You finished your tax return and the news is not good. You owe Uncle Sam money. Don't freak out, at least not yet. Your payment isn't due until April 15. That gives you time to figure out how to come up with the cash and/or get it to the U.S. Treasury. The Internal Revenue Service, naturally, has some suggestions. Let's start with the agency's new favorite tax payment method. Yep, I'm talking electronic. You have several digital options. 1. Credit, Debit or Digital Wallet: Paying by plastic is one of the oldest and most popular tax e-pay methods. As the... Read more →


Law schools and their students, like these at Georgia State University College of Law, are major contributors to the success of Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics nationwide. (Photo courtesy Philip C. Cook LITC) Sometimes, taxpayers encounter issues more serious that just filing their returns. They discover that the Internal Revenue Service has some questions about a prior return or an appeal of an agency decision isn't going as expected or that the federal tax collector is taking his name to heart and initiating collection procedures. What to do? Specifically, what to do if you don't have much money? Find your nearest Low-Income... Read more →