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 →


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 →


Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels A cell phone provider's television ad that's on heavy rotation here in the Austin area touts that it has no added fees or taxes. What it really means is that those charges, aside from sales tax, are included in the price of whatever company plan you choose, rather than listed as separate line items in your monthly bills. So, despite that Mad Men-style ad sleight of hand, you're going to pay taxes, fees, and state and local government surcharges for your mobile phone services. And you're paying more than ever toward these amounts. Taxes... Read more →


The loss of tax revenue is substantial, since most states collect tax (or are supposed to) on all their meals, from eat-in to pick up to delivery. Tasty and taxable. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) Running a restaurant poses many challenges. Dealing with increased food costs. Hiring and training staff. Finding an accessible and affordable location. Complying with health and other regulatory rules. Paying taxes. The tax consideration is getting special attention in California, where an extended investigation reveals that around a fifth of the state's restaurants are using high-tech methods to skip out on taxes. "The California Department of... Read more →


I spend way too much time on social media, specifically Twitter. I like the quick hit, hyperbolic, melodramatic tone of many of the folks I follow. One Tweet in particular caught my eye last week with its dismissal of LuLaRoe clothing. Geraldine DeRuiter, who blogs at The Everywhereist, is not a fan. "LulaRoe clothing has spread like a spandex pox over my local thrift store. Shirts and skirts and dresses, all so bizarrely ugly, and not a good sort of ugly, but a strange, sad, I-think-maybe-humanity-should-go-extinct kind of ugly."https://t.co/voUOOQRRCf — Geraldine (@everywhereist) September 19, 2021 After I quit laughing, I... Read more →


Republicans in the Mississippi legislature are again pushing for their state to end its personal income tax and replace some of the revenue that would be lost with a higher sales tax. This is not a Magnolia State receipt. Mississippi's sales tax is 7 percent, with the tax change plan calling for it to go to 9.25 percent. I get it. People hate paying income taxes, even when they know the money pays for things that are important to their communities. But things gotta be paid for somehow. That's the question facing Mississippi lawmakers and residents as the state once... Read more →


Image by Hucklebarry from Pixabay When the hubby and I started out our life together, we were young and poor. Like watching every cent poor. That included our food budget. All those decades ago, our regular Monday night meal was macaroni and cheese. In the budget-conscious beginning, it was store brand boxed mac and cheese mix. As our earnings increased, we upgraded to brand name boxes. We knew were doing OK when Monday Meal morphed into the frozen version. We still have Monday Meal, but not exclusively on the first weekday. But it's still a quick dinner that we supplement... Read more →


Ah, August. In normal times (remember those?), we'd be complaining about the late-summer heat, parents would be counting down days until school started, and tax geeks would be looking at things they should do this month. Well, things are decidedly not normal. It's been abnormally hot in much of the country already. Some schools are reopening, but with more COVID-19 precautions than they had planned since the virus has re-emerged with a vengeance due to the Delta variant. Those August tax moves, though, they're still around, of course with some coronavirus twists. And today, Aug. 2, the first Monday of... Read more →


Attention shoppers in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Your states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays this final weekend in July, and beyond for Sunshine State and Volunteer State tax bargain hunters. Retailers are getting ready for youngsters to return to classrooms. Shoppers are getting ready for tax-free savings on school supplies and more. (Photo by Kay Bell) Despite a surge among unvaccinated of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most schools are making plans to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Retailers also are joining the back-to-school parties. This year, 18 states scheduled sales tax-free events, most of them... Read more →


UPDATED, Aug. 14, 2021: This post was published originally on July 15 in advance of the 2021 back-to-school state sales tax holiday season. Now, almost a month later, the 2021 sales tax holiday season wraps up this weekend with three events. Connecticut's and Massachusetts' no-tax events started today. Maryland's week-long tax holiday ends at the stroke of midnight tonight. You can find more on each state's tax holiday in the table below. It has details and handy links for all 18 of this summer's tax-free shopping events, whether completed or finally under way. It's mid-July, a particularly important date this... Read more →


It's the Fourth of July weekend. The 2021 celebration is getting added attention, since last year most of America's birthday parties were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But July 1 is another date of note. The year's midpoint is the first day of the fiscal year for most states and, according to The Tax Foundation, 13 have notable tax changes that took effect last week. There are individual income tax changes in Idaho and Illinois, corporate adjustments in Indiana and Montana, inheritance tax alterations in Iowa, and revisions of sales, use and gross receipts taxes in Florida, Kansas, New... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer across the United States. It's also a time for sales tax free shopping in two states. Here in Texas, my neighbors and I get the long weekend to pick up some water and energy efficient appliances without owing the state's 6 percent and local sales taxes, which could afford up to another 2 percent in tax savings. My friends and former neighbors in Florida also get a sales tax holiday this coming holiday weekend and longer. Last week, the Sunshine State's governor signed into law the state's 10-day-long 2021 Disaster Preparedness... Read more →


You just finished filing your taxes last week. That included, for most Americans, state tax returns, too. And for some, the news was not good, especially on the state tax front. Residents of 42 states and Washington, D.C., face state and local taxes on at least some of the income, either earned (usually from jobs) or unearned (usually investment income). For some, the dollars handed over to their state and local tax collectors are more troubling than their federal tax amounts. High state taxes, both corporate and individual, usually is cited as a key reason lower-tax states like my native... Read more →


As COVID-19 continues to control to at least some degree our lives, federal and state tax officials are offering tax benefits to those who take steps to control and lessen the effects of the persistent pandemic. Photo: Anna Tarazevich from Pexels If you still itemize deductions, the Internal Revenue Service today announced that you can count a few more purchases toward your Schedule A medical claims. Of course, the additions are because of COVID-19. Specifically, the IRS says in Announcement 2021-7 that the costs of personal protective equipment, aka PPE, purchased for the primary purpose of preventing the spread of... Read more →


Add "The 12 Days of Christmas" to the list of things that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic this year. No, not the iconic holiday song. That's still around. But some of the lyrics took a hit when they were evaluated in 2020 for the annual PNC Christmas Price Index (PNC CPI). For this 37th look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Consumer Price Index and how it applies to procuring the song's 12 gifts from a True Love, The PNC Financial Services Group had to make some hard choices. Notably, the 2020 PNC CPI had to adjust for... Read more →


Photo by Emanuel Kluge via Flickr CC Could the COVID-19 pandemic produce changes in tax systems worldwide? That's what one global economic group thinks could and should happen. There's no argument about the revenue problems caused by the coronavirus in 2020. They are being felt acutely as we head into the heart of the year's holiday season. In addition to the coronavirus' disruption of traditional get-togethers due to health concerns, there's the pandemic's financial component. COVID-19 business cutbacks and closures have left too many with reduced, or no, paychecks. Businesses that are open are seeing fewer customers because of those... Read more →