Paying taxes Feed

Four years ago, Congress forced the Internal Revenue Service to again use private collection agents (PCAs). This third deal with debt collectors came after the IRS ended two previous arrangements when they proved to be, shall we say, problematic. Now it looks like the current IRS PCA collaboration also has some issues. Low collection rate: A recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report says that the private tax debt collectors currently under IRS contract have brought in just a fraction — 1.79 percent of the total value of accounts — of the $30 billion in unpaid tax they've... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers are facing a deadline at the end of this week. No, unfortunately I am not talking about the Jan. 15 mark that the Internal Revenue Service is required by law to meet in distributing the second round of COVID-19 economic relief payments. I'm talking about paying Uncle Sam instead of getting money from him. The final estimated tax payment for tax year 2020 is due on Friday, Jan. 15. Taking care of taxes yourself: Around 22 million individuals file these extra tax payments, which total four if you make them for the full tax year. They are... Read more →


Photo by Olya Kobruseva via Pexels Happy New Year! Oh, sorry. Was I typing too loud? I'm glad you were able to festively, and I hope safely, ring in 2021. Now that it's here, it also brings a new tax filing season. The Internal Revenue Service's delivery of the second round of COVID-19 relief money shouldn't hamper its handling of 2020 returns, which should officially start later this month. So if the IRS can be ready, so can we. So here are a few tax things to think about and take care of, after, of course, you're fully recovered from... Read more →


Most of us are cheering the rapidly approaching end of tumultuous 2020. I definitely am right there with you with some pre-New Year's Eve joyfulness. But take a little time off from your anticipatory year-end celebrations to check out these tax moves. These final three tax tasks for the final three days of the year could pay off at filing time in 2021. 1. Know the value of donating items instead of cash. You have until Dec. 31 to donate to an IRS-qualified charity so you can claim the gift as a deduction on your 2020 tax return. If you... Read more →


We need to follow Santa Claus' example this month. Just as he checks his naughty or nice list, we need to check on tax moves to make by Dec. 31. It's December. 2020 and its craziness is almost over! Are you ready? Specifically, are you ready for the holidays? For those of us still committed to pandemic precautions, it's going to be a different, and yes, a bit less jolly, season. But one thing is the same as in previous Decembers. We still need to make some tax moves before Jan. 1. Some December tax moves will demand a little... Read more →


It's no secret that COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the 2020 tax filing season. In addition to law changes and a delayed mid-summer filing deadline, previously implemented Internal Revenue Service precautions like shutting down offices are continuing to cause problems. Those closures likely helped prevent coronavirus infections among IRS personnel, but they also produced a massive mail backlog, estimated at one point by none other than the agency's commissioner at more than 12 million pieces of U.S. Postal Service material. Those snail mail envelopes included tax payments. But since they weren't opened, the IRS didn't account for them and its automated... Read more →


Millions of Americans still are without jobs. Money from the first COVID-19 economic relief package is long gone. And there's no telling when (or if) Congress might approve more pandemic stimulus. And on top of paying rent or feeding families, some people are facing an added and intimidating bill. They owe taxes to Uncle Sam. The Internal Revenue Service has long heard cries of poverty from folks with large tax bills. In response, the tax agency has instituted systems to work with financially strapped taxpayers. When the pandemic complicated every aspect of everyone's lives earlier this year, the IRS created... Read more →


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 →