Sales tax Feed

Happy Valentine's Day! This Feb. 14, the hubby and I are snuggling, but today it's mainly to keep warm. Like much of North America, we're dealing with a serious arctic blast. I hope you and your sweetie are having a good Valentine's Day. And I hope you got exactly what you wanted from your love. In many cases, it might be something simple or homemade. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering financial ramifications mean that spending on Valentine's Day gifts this year has dropped. Those celebrating plan to spend an average $164.76, down $32 on average per person,... 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 →


via GIPHY Seven days from now, many of us will be opening Christmas presents. Hanukkah is underway. Regardless of what or how you celebrate December holidays, your purchases probably increase this month. And this year, inflation, even though it's abated a bit recently, means you have or will pay more for all those gifts, food, and other festive trimmings of the season. Every year, PNC financial services issues its Christmas Price Index, or CPI. It measures, using a methodology similar to Uncle Sam's official CPI, or consumer price index, the current costs of the gifts given in the classic holiday... Read more →


UPDATE, Nov. 5, 2022, 10:25 p.m. CDT: The Houston Astros win game 6 by a 4-1 score and are 2022 World Series Champions! Houston Astros mascot Orbit hopes to trade in his extra-large regular season cap tonight for a 2022 World Series Champion one. (Photo by Kay Bell) The Houston Astros will play what fans, including me, hope is their last game of the 2022 Major League Baseball season tonight in Minute Maid Park. If they beat the Philadelphia Phillies, they get to hoist the World Series trophy in front of their hometown fans. Some H-Town businesses, however, might be... Read more →


Dealing with global taxes can be a real puzzle. (Rubik's Globe photo by Alan Kotok via Flickr CC) Americans are inordinately competitive, especially when it comes to international matchups. But there's not much for the United States to cheer as far as our ranking in the Tax Foundation's latest International Tax Competitiveness Index. Each year, the Washington, D.C.-based tax policy nonprofit measures the degree to which the tax systems of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) 38 member countries promote competitiveness. The U.S. tax system basically is middle of the pack in the Tax Foundation's 2022 evaluation. OK,... Read more →


Photo by Kindel Media I am not a fan of camping. Bugs. Sleeping on the ground (see bugs). But I do love campfires, especially when they're used to char marshmallows for s'mores. Apparently so do millions of other people worldwide. And thanks to a United Kingdom tax ruling, that country's fans of this graham cracker-chocolate-marshmallow treat can continue to enjoy the gooey goodies across the pond sans some VAT, or value added tax, charges. A U.K. tax tribunal recently ruled that a British food wholesaler of American snacks is not liable for VAT on its product Mega Marshmallows, which are... Read more →


Inflation is still a concern, for consumers and politicians, but it is easing a bit (at least for some consumers). One reason for the change is falling gas prices. GasBuddy reported on Sept. 12 that for the thirteenth consecutive week, the nation’s average per-gallon gas price dropped. It went to $3.67 per gallon, down 7.6 cents from a week ago. AAA's daily tracker shows a Sept. 15 national per gallon average of $3.698. But those are averages. Your pump prices may vary. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, noted in the latest analysis that there are "drastically... Read more →


CT and NJ shoppers get sales tax relief on classroom clothing and, in the Garden State, more at the end of this month. And then there were five. That's how many states remain in the August back-to-school tax holiday list. Three of them — in Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts — are this weekend. The other two, in Connecticut and New Jersey, will close out this month. Since most of the 19 states offering tax holidays this year have by now held their no-tax shopping events, all y'all know the drill. The table below has specific dates and links with tax-free... Read more →


Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr CC With things more or less back to whatever now counts as normal, kids (and parents) are counting down the days until school restarts. They're also looking, especially with inflation bumping up prices, for ways to save on necessary school supplies, which a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey found are expected to be around $864 this year. Sixteen states are offering ways to help their back-to-school shoppers. They're offering state (and in some cases local) sales tax holidays in August. Florida's two-week back-to-school tax holiday began July 25 and continues through midnight... Read more →


Summer's winding down, with schools opening their doors across much of the country in just a few weeks. So of course, you're thinking of one last getaway to escape the sweltering dog days. But before you head out to a beach retreat or cooler mountain cabin, take a few minutes for taxes. August is a good time to make some tax moves that could save you some dollars and future headaches. Here are four to consider. 1. Make your tax holiday shopping list: The return this fall of students to classrooms is most welcome by COVID-weary parents who saw much... Read more →


Summer's winding down, meaning kiddos soon will be going back to school. But before they head to their classrooms, they'll need a few things. Three Southern states are focusing on families with such shopping lists. Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee are closing out July with back-to-school tax holidays. The longest is Florida's event, which began Monday, July 25, and runs through Sunday Aug. 7. Sunshine State shoppers can save on purchases of clothing ($100 or less); school supplies ($50 or less); learning aids and jigsaw puzzles ($30 or less); and computers and certain accessories ($1,500 or less). Tax holidays in Mississippi... Read more →


Photo by William Fortunato Being a parent is a challenge, even with the best of children. It's also expensive, especially for parents of infants. And the costs have increased thanks to the recent inflation spike. "Most parents are the poorest they'll ever be in their kid's life on the day their kid is born," Kathryn Edwards, an economist with the RAND Corporation, recently told  Boston's NPR news station WBUR. "That's what makes something like the cost of diapers hit really hard, is that you're hitting people who in 10 years probably have absolutely no problem affording diapers. It’s just really... Read more →


Shopping is even more fun when you also get some sales tax holiday savings. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) The theme for many state sales tax holidays this year is go long. On July 1, three states kicked off sales tax break periods that run at least one year. But four states are sticking to the usual, and shorter, time frame for their annual sales tax holidays this month. Alabama kicks off these more traditional back-to-school tax holidays this weekend. From Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17, Yellowhammer State shoppers will see the state's sales tax waived on purchases of... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell Millions of Americans are displaying the U.S. flag today. Some, like my neighbors shown in the photo atop this post, planted poles for Old Glory and replicas in their yards, at the beginning of the long Independence Day holiday. Others fly the Stars and Stripes every day. If you're inclined to fly the U.S. flag any time, the following infographic has some tips from Uncle Sam himself — OK, USA.gov — and the Flag Code, officially Title 4, Chapter 1 of the U.S. Code. More flag tips and tidbits: Want to impress friends and family at... Read more →


19 states are holding sales tax holidays this summer, most focusing on back-to-school shopping. But some states are offering tax savings on other items and have multiple events planned, led by Florida with 9 tax holidays on the way for a wide variety of shoppers. Many school supplies, like these at my local grocery store, will be sales-tax-free in Texas later this summer. (Photo by Kay Bell) Florida's official nickname is the Sunshine State, but this year it qualifies for another title. It's king of the state sales tax holiday season. Florida, along with 17 other states, is offering the... 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 →


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels Inflation is the biggest domestic, and political, concern right now. And after months of waiting, the Federal Reserve's expected reaction to rising prices came last week. The board members of the United States' central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday, March 16, for the first time since 2018. The bump of a quarter percentage point to its benchmark rate is the first of expected increases to combat the country's highest inflation in four decades. When all is said and done, most financial observers say the previously near-zero interest rates to be near 2 percent... Read more →


Today is the federal holiday celebrating George Washington's birthday. That's it. Just George. Not his Mount Rushmore colleagues Tom or Teddy or Abe. Not any other man who's been Commander in Chief. But most of us refer to this annual February celebration as Presidents Day. The unofficial public renaming actually happened somewhat organically. Evolution from one to all presidents: When Washington's Feb. 22nd birthday became the first federal holiday to honor an American president back in 1879 , it was celebrated on the actual date. But under the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it was shifted to the third Monday... Read more →


A new year means a new federal tax filing season, but most states collect some type of income tax, too. And when 2022 arrived, so did a variety of tax changes across the United States. In many, it was tax cuts, even with the effects of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic posing some revenue problems. The unanticipated tax cuts mean that states are likely to face difficult budget choices in the future. But hey, lawmakers, especially in election years, tend to think about the here and now, leaving future fiscal issues to the future and those around then to deal with... Read more →


Shutterstock If you're celebrating the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022 with an adult beverage at midnight, enjoy! When you bought your booze, you might have noticed it cost a bit more, especially if you go bubbly. Apparently, says Wine Searcher, "The much-vaunted Champagne drought of 2021 is real – and it's starting to show in the retail sector." Wine Enthusiast says here in the United States, we're in the early stages of a Champagne shortage that is expected to last several years. When things are hard to get, the ol' law of supply and demand means the price tag... Read more →


The South Carolina statehouse in Columbia soon could be the site of a legislative effort to cut the state's individual tax rates and end business taxes. A South Carolina lawmaker wants to cut the state's individual tax rate in half and eliminate taxes on businesses. Some Palmetto State residents see the proposal as a potential post-Christmas present. Others, however, are worried about how the state will pay for projects. Spartanburg State Sen. Josh Kimbrell has been working of the bill since the summer and officially filed it this month. His plan would cut South Carolina's top income tax rate from... Read more →