Politics Feed

This photo via Donald J. Trump's Twitter account is the closest we've gotten to seeing his tax returns. That could change, though, now that the House flipped to Democratic control in the midterm election. Even before it was official that Democrats had wrested House control from the GOP in yesterday's midterm elections, Donald J. Trump's taxes were once again a target. Votes were still being counted and, on the West Coast cast, when some on the House tax-writing committee announced that the when leadership is transferred to them in January 2019, they will officially request to see Donald J. Trump's... Read more →


Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! Vote! The choices you make in today's mi... Read more →


This dog might not feel as guilty as he looks, but shame can be useful in some tax collection situations. (Photo by Ansel Edwards/Flickr) When I was a kid and did something I wasn't supposed to, all it took was one quick glance from my mom to make me feel so ashamed. I'm not sure even my mother's steely look would work nowadays on kids who've grown up on reality TV and who make their every move, good or bad, public on social media. But when it comes to taxes, shame seems to work. Many U.S. jurisdictions post the names... Read more →


Despite the mug's proclamation, Michael Scott (as portrayed by Steve Carell in the U.S. version of The Office) tended to be a bad boss. Donald J. Trump is that boss that almost all of us have at one time had. You know the one. He or she is always telling clients, "Sure, we can do that. No problem, no problem at all." Maybe no problem for the boss, but plenty of problems for the workers who have to follow through and make good on the pie-in-the-sky pledge. That's probably how Congress is feeling right now in the wake of Trump's... Read more →


Voters across the United States will vote for Congressional and state candidates that will have a profound effect on their lives for the next several years. But just as important are the fates of 155 statewide ballot measures that voters in 37 states will be asked to decide on Nov. 6. And many of those initiatives are about taxes. With a week to go before the midterm elections, here's a bit of background on ballot measures and a look at some of the notable tax-related issues that many of us will decide. Sin taxes not a sure thing: Since we're... Read more →


Anecdotal campaign info indicates that the new Republican tax law isn't motivating potential midterm voters to support that party's candidates. That's probably why the campaigner-in-chief recently tossed in an off-the cuff promise of a pre-Nov. 6 tax cut for the middle class. Spoiler: that isn't happening. Now a formal survey confirms the lack of enthusiasm for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), aka the GOP tax reform bill. Voters 'meh' at best on tax cuts: A Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll conducted last week on behalf of National Public Radio (NPR) and PBS NewsHour found that just 11... Read more →


The World, Mostly by Leif Kurth via Flickr CC Donald J. Trump got a lot of attention when he popped down to Texas last week for a midterm campaign rally. He told the Houston crowd that he was a nationalist. That term, he explained, describes the philosophy he's espoused since the get go of his presidential political life. He wants to put America first. There's nothing wrong with wanting your country to get the best deals and treatment in international relationships. But Trump also narrowly, and to my thinking incorrectly, defined globalists as people who want to put global issues... Read more →


As Donald J. Trump has been making the campaign rounds in advance of the midterm elections, he's made some interesting — OK, wrong — comments about taxes. And in trying to cover for explain those remarks, some folks are compounding the misinformation. The latest example underscores a misconception about how retirement account withdrawals are taxes. Trump's tax cut talk: Trump has been touting a pre-Nov. 6 tax cut of 10 percent for the middle class. While nothing is impossible in this crazy world, that's not likely since Congress is not scheduled to return to Capitol Hill until Nov. 12. Many... Read more →


Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) during a Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill she introduced. Another Harris proposal, this time a tax credit for middle-income taxpayers, has caught the White House's attention. (Photo courtesy Kamala Harris Twitter account) It's official. Unofficially. The 2020 presidential campaign is underway. Last week, California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris introduced her LIFT (Livable Incomes for Families Today) the Middle Class Act. The bill's most notable feature is a refundable tax credit of up to $6,000. Tax-savvy folks know a tax credit is better than a deduction because it provides a dollar-for-dollar way to cut your tax... Read more →


On top of everything else, the Texas floods have produced rafts of floating fire ants. Click image to see KVUE News Twitter video of this monstrosity! There are new stories every day about folks working to reclaim a semblance of normal after the massive destruction of Hurricanes Florence and Michael. Here in Central Texas, hundreds of homes and businesses were (and some still are) under water. Our governor is considering whether to ask Uncle Sam for federal disaster relief to help affected folks get back on their feet. If the Lone Star State does ask and get federal disaster relief,... Read more →


Most folks agree that Wyoming is one of the most naturally beautiful states in the country. But tax experts have different opinions on its taxes and who they help and hurt. (Grand Teton National Park photo courtesy Wyoming Office of Tourism) One of the great things about taxes is that the policies that create them, the tax laws themselves and who and how they affect millions of taxpayers can be parsed so many ways. Take, for example, two recent analyses of state taxes. Tax Foundation each year issues its State Business Tax Climate Index (SBTCI). This analysis of states' tax... Read more →


This photo via Donald J. Trump's Twitter account shows, it says, him signing on Oct. 15, 2015, his 2014 federal return. It's still the only glimpse of Trump's federal tax returns that he's ever provided, either before or after moving into the White House. It's official. Donald and Melania Trump were among the millions of taxpayers who got tax-filing extensions and finally this week filed their 2017 return. It's also official that we won't be seeing the Trumps' 2017 taxes. No Trump taxes: Trump, as he made clear during his presidential campaign, won't release his taxes while they're under audit.... Read more →


Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House's tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, and his Republican colleagues in June celebrated the six-month anniversary of their major tax reform bill. Back then, they thought the new tax laws would give them a political edge in the coming November elections. They thought wrong. (Photo courtesy U.S. Speaker of the House) When the Republican controlled House and Senate passed a major tax reform bill last December, it was supposed to be a twofer. First, enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) fulfilled long-standing GOP fiscal and political goals of reducing taxes... Read more →


Politics often is a dirty business. Mudslinging is ubiquitous nowadays. In one governor's race, an even messier substance is involved. A common complaint about politics is all the associated mudslinging. Such is the case in Illinois' gubernatorial race. But it's even messier, less desirable stuff that's come into political play. J.B. Pritzker, the Democrat running for Prairie State governor, removed his estate's toilets to lower the property's real estate tax. Renovation vs. removal: It's not a new revelation. The Chicago Sun-Times reported in May 2017 that Pritzker bought the historic mansion next door to his existing Chicago Gold Coast home,... Read more →


The Trump children gathered for this undated family photo. They are, from left, Robert Trump, Elizabeth Trump Grau, Fred Trump Jr., Donald Trump and Maryanne Trump Barry. A piece of information filed years ago during Barry's judicial confirmation hearing led to a New York Times' exposé on the family's wealth and tax tactics. (Donald J. Trump presidential campaign photo) Talk about an awkward Thanksgiving. It seems that Donald J. Trump's oldest sister is how The New York Times got the inside info on the Trump family fortune and taxes. You know of the story even if you haven't yet read... Read more →


My octogenarian mother does an amazing job of taking care of herself and her little dog, aka my furry younger brother. My mother and her pup come to our place, like the Thanksgiving visit pictured here, but usually it's me taking time from work to head her way. (Photo by Kay Bell) But since she no longer drives and hates to impose on friends and neighbors, I make regular trips to her place to help her run errands, take her to doctor appointments and just visit. It's not too much of a hassle because she lives relatively close and it's... Read more →


Tax litigator Charles Rettig (far left) is sworn in on Oct. 1 as new IRS commissioner by his boss, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (far right). (Photo courtesy Mnuchin's Twitter account) It's official. Charles P. "Chuck" Rettig is the Internal Revenue Service's 49th commissioner. He moved into his new office on Monday, Oct. 1, almost 11 months after his predecessor, John Koskinen, left the job. After 36+ years with the California-based law firm of Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, P.C., Rettig now will be in charge of around about 80,000 employees and a budget of approximately $11 billion. Rettig's official... Read more →


Do you have thoughts about the Internal Revenue Service's plan to stymie state efforts to work around the new $10,000 federal deduction limit on state and local taxes? You are not alone. On Aug. 23, the IRS issued a proposed rule designed to rein in state efforts to give their residents a way to get a tax write-off for all of their state and local taxes, commonly referred to in the tax world as SALT. In that same announcement, the IRS also said it will hold a Nov. 5 public hearing on its proposal regulation and, leading up to that... Read more →


One thing almost everyone agrees on, both politically and financially, is that we all need to do a better job of saving for retirement. But some young savers are undercutting their own efforts by regularly tapping their workplace retirement accounts early. As part of Labor Day celebrations, Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that, in part, instructed the Treasury and Labor departments to look into ways to make it easier and cheaper for smaller employers to band together to offer 401(k)-type plans for their workers. Expanding these tax-deferred workplace retirement plans is a good idea. With the demise of... Read more →


One of the reasons that Congress has in recent years been tight-fisted when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service's budget is because the agency apparently operates pretty darn well with what it already has. That's the case, at least, when it comes to IRS collection activity, according to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report released on Monday, Sept. 17. The tax watchdog office's generally positive review comes on the heels of the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) also generally complimentary examination of the federal tax agency. While both reports are welcome by the IRS, they also raise... Read more →