Shout Out Feed

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash Waiting on your Internal Revenue Service tax refund is frustrating. In most instances, though, the issues that slowed the tax refund are resolved and the money is issued in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the hundreds of thousands of filers whose personal information was used by identity thieves trying to intercept the real taxpayers’ refunds. Not only must they go through the process of alerting the IRS of the stolen identity and fraudulent refund claim, their wait for their rightful refunds takes much, much longer. In some... Read more →

CNN/Max In case political news has slipped by you, I’m jealous and sorry to break your bubble. But it’s an extremely consequential election year, so here goes. The first debate between the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential candidates is set for June 27. Social media is abuzz — and aghast and, too often, appalling — with political scoops, insights, and just plain wrong info 24/7. And for all the old-school voters, campaign TV spots are already airing. Meanwhile, both President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump continue to raise money to pay for, among other things, those pricey television ads.... Read more →

Photo by Chris on Unsplash The tax code is complicated. Even for the most basic situations, there are income levels that determine whether you must file, and if so, what your tax rate is. As your life and finances get more complicated, so do your taxes. That’s why most of us depend on tax software to meet our annual filing needs. Even the tax professionals we turn to for added support go electronic, mostly at the Internal Revenue Service’s insistence. But it never hurts to have a least a rudimentary understanding of our tax system. It is our money that’s... Read more →

Sometimes, you can find what you need online or by calling someone for help. Other times, especially when it comes to taxes, getting the answer in person is more reassuring. That's what IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers offer, and for the last few years, they've held special no-appointment-needed Saturday openings. The tax agency watchdog looked at how well that's worked. (Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash) A week ago, the Internal Revenue Service was holding its fourth and final walk-in Saturday at select Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States and Puerto Rico. The IRS has more than 360 TACs... Read more →

Unsplash+ in collaboration with George Dagerotip President Joe Biden last week endorsed the Department of Justice's (DoJ) move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. Biden said in social media posts — X (aka Twitter) and YouTube — that the move would reverse “long-standing inequities” under the current criminalization of cannabis. "Look folks, no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana," the president said in his video statement. Not legalization, but lowering federal interest: The Justice Department move would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use, which currently is the... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service, like almost every other entity in our lives, continues to expand its digital reach. Taxpayers have for decades been encouraged to electronically file and pay taxes. This year, the IRS tested Direct File that let a limited number of taxpayers prepare online and then e-file directly with the agency instead of using a commercial tax software program. We also can access our taxpayer accounts online. In certain situations, we can contact the IRS via email. And the IRS looking to expand paperless operations in the near future. Uncle Sam’s digital tax collector got another boost in... Read more →

Those who enter the New York Criminal Courts building are greeted by Thomas Jefferson's words engraved on the façade. The third U.S. president cited "equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion" as one of the essential principles of American democracy. (Photo by Carl Mikoy, Flickr Creative Commons) In September 2019, Donald J. Trump changed his official residence from New York to Florida. The then-president gave no official reason for the paperwork move. However, one reason likely was the Sunshine State’s lack of a personal income tax. Though Trump refused to release his federal or state... Read more →

Elizabeth Magie portrait over her The Landlord’s Game board. (Photo: Wednesday’s Women) Rent or buy? Taxes are a part of the equation when making that crucial property decision. Taxes, or rather a specific type of tax, also was the impetus for a real-estate-based board game that morphed into (or, some would say, was appropriated by) what we now know as Monopoly. The game of property purchases and their rental rates when placed on prime gameboard landmarks has remained popular since its launch in 1933, thanks in part to hundreds of licensed spinoffs. And while Charles Darrow, an unemployed salesman in... Read more →

April 15 was Tax Day for most of us. That included President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff. When Biden and Harris took office, they reinstated the annual tradition of our country's top elected officials voluntarily releasing their tax filings. The 2023 tax year returns of the Bidens and Harris/Emhoff earn this weekend's Saturday Shout Out. You can see the details at the White House's official Tax Returns online page. In addition to this year's filings, there are links to the returns filed by the president and... Read more →

Tax Day 2024 is Monday, April 15. Have you filed your 1040 yet? By the end of March, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 90 million tax returns. Sounds like a lot, right? But that's just 70 percent of the almost 129 million returns the tax agency is expecting to get this tax season. So a lot of taxpayers (or their tax preparers) are busy this weekend. Of course, not all those 39 million yet-to-be-filed returns will be finished by April 15. A good portion will be extended, giving the taxpayers (and their tax preparers) until Oct. 15... Read more →

While the Internal Revenue Service is in the midst of revealing its annual Dirty Dozen list another government agency also is taking tax-related action. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) Enforcement Bureau issued a cease-and-desist letter against Veriwave Telco. The letter ordered the Dover, Delaware, company to halt its origination of an apparently illegal National Tax Relief Program robocall campaign. The FCC warned the company that failure to comply with the requirements outlined in the letter could result in mandatory blocking by downstream providers of all traffic from Veriwave. In addition, the FCC's enforcement branch issued a K4 Order, notifying all... Read more →

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Danny Werfel recently spoke to a group of students, faculty, and IRS guests at the Kogod Tax Center at American University in Washington, D.C., revealing what has been dubbed the IRS' generational digital transformation plan. That plan is part of what the Biden Administration said it expects from the federal tax agency when it offered Werfel the commissioner job in the fall of 2022. "They told me, the next commissioner could lead the IRS through the most important tech-enabled transformation of a government agency in U.S. history," said Werfel. "So again, my jaw dropped to the... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service has held two special walk-in Saturdays this year at its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the United States. Two more are scheduled for April and May. The no-appointment-needed sessions are welcomed by taxpayers who need help (note, however, that the TAC reps aren't offering tax return filing assistance), as long as you can find them. A recent report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found that's not always easy, especially if you search online for a TAC office. Issue reported by the IRS: To the IRS' credit, the agency brought this concern to... Read more →

Photo: President Joe Biden/White House Facebook page In his State of the Union address on March 7, President Joe Biden touched on how he wants to spend our money in the coming 2025 fiscal year. The Biden Administration followed up the next week with its formal budget proposal in the Treasury Department's General Explanations of the Administration's Fiscal Year 2025 Revenue Proposals. The Green Book, as it's popularly known, describes the tax proposals in the budget, along with associated revenue estimates. While a president is required by law to present a budget, what it includes — both in Biden's remarks... Read more →

(Photo by Kindel Media) Spring break is here. In the Austin, Texas, area that means South By Southwest. And the Austin Rodeo. Plus, in less than a month, millions will experience the last major solar eclipse for 20 years to cross North America, including some prime viewing here in parts of Texas. Yes, the Lone Star State's capital city is in the path. And all this means, in addition to worse traffic, that a lot of property owners will be making some big, and tax-free, bucks. They are or soon will be making their homes available as short-term rentals. Tax... Read more →

Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash The Internal Revenue Service has been making the news (and blogs) recently for its efforts to get more money from wealthy taxpayers. The new IRS revenue collection initiatives — new audits of business aircraft use and collection notices to wealthy non-filers — piqued my curiosity about other tax matters that focus on the rich. I found a few — seven actually — and am sharing them in this weekend's Saturday Shout Outs. Let's start with the man who heads the IRS. After the aircraft audit announcement, CNBC Wealth Editor (what a cool job title!)... Read more →

Photo by Marten Newhall on Unsplash The biggest recent scam story had nothing to do with taxes. It was the confession of a financial advice journalist of how she fell for an elaborate con job that ended with her putting $50,000 in cash in a box and handing it to a stranger. The crooks kicked off that scam by calling the writer, recounting enough of her personal information to get her hooked. It was all downhill from there, with an outrageous combination of purported government agencies, including a CIA impersonator. IRS security still suspect: We're all told to protect our... Read more →

Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →

Last week, I finally got all the documents I need to file my 2023 tax return. As an independent contractor, the bulk of my income tax statements were 1099-NEC forms. But some folks are getting 1099-Ks. And these tax statements still are causing confusion. Form 1099-K has become more common with the growth of the gig workforce, and the delivery of products and services through online apps and marketplaces, such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, eBay, Etsy, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Old form, new amounts: The forms are not new, but the amount of earnings that trigger their issuance has changed.... Read more →

This time of year, most taxpayers are focused on filing their annual tax returns. But most isn't all. Some individuals are trying to sort out other federal tax issues. The Internal Revenue Service is making more face-to-face time to help these taxpayers. More time for taxpayers: The IRS has Taxpayer Assistance Centers, or TACs, across the United States. While tax return preparation is not a service offered at IRS TACs, the facilities do work with taxpayers to help resolve other tax-related issues. Now, nearly 250 of those offices will extend their usual 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekday hours to... Read more →