Shout Out Feed

Photo by Karolina Grabowska I have money in the stock market. When I was a younger investor, I checked my assets a lot. Like almost every day. Then I realized that was just going to make me crazy(ier), so I shifted to a monthly review of where my holdings were. Now I just check quarterly. Most of the reason for my reduction in the frequency of my equity evaluations is that I'm at that part of my life where my holdings are pretty much set for my fast-approaching retirement years. The good news is that the recent market dive, while... Read more →


Photo by Alexander Mils So far this year, 17 states have or will issue rebate money to their residents. Massachusetts is about to up that list count to 18, thanks to a 1986 state law. The Bay State's Department of Revenue this summer reported a fiscal-year-end tax revenue surplus of nearly $3 billion. Once the state auditor certifies the amount, which at the last unofficial count was $2.941 billion, the tax cap law known as Chapter 62F takes effect. The payback law, a referendum approved 36 years ago by Massachusetts voters, requires the state rebate its taxpayers a percentage of... Read more →


Photo by Evelyn Giggles, Flickr CC Schools nationwide are open. That means lots of teachers' bank accounts are taking hits. Last year, the National School Supply and Equipment Association's (NSSEA) survey found that educators spent an average of $750 of their own money to ensure their students have what they need to learn. Another report by Expect that cost to increase this term — another report by My eLearning World sets this year's per-teacher cost at $820 — in part due to inflation. Some small tax savings for teachers: Inflation also helped out a bit with a of tax relief... Read more →


Photo by Ben Vardi (Ben Vardi, Public Domain) It's the three-day Labor Day holiday weekend marking the end of summer. It's also three straight days of college football games. So, of course, folks are enjoying cookouts and/or tailgating. Both those events typically involve adult beverages, surreptitiously in the case of college football games, depending on where you're holding your "Go Team!" pre-game celebration. Today's multiple Saturday Shout Outs welcome this convergence of the United States' most popular sport and Labor Day weekend. First, there's the legal aspect of booze and parking lot football parties. Intoxalock looks at 5 Alcohol Laws... Read more →


College can be fun. Paying for it, not so much, especially when you have to take out loans. Some student borrowers are getting loan relief from the White House, but also might end up owing state taxes on their forgiven student debt. (Photo by cottonbro) Around 20 million folks who borrowed money to attend college got good news last week when President Joe Biden canceled a chunk of their student loan debt. The Biden plan's major component says that individuals earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households) a year will be eligible for up... Read more →


The Biden Administration notched a big win last when the president signed the Inflation Relief Act into law. Despite the name, The Inflation Reduction Act is a slimmed-down version of the Joe Biden's original Build Back Better bill. The new law, which took effect on Aug. 16, doesn't have most of the social safety net provisions Biden wanted. It also, by some accounts, won't do much about inflation. But it does contain some major climate change provisions, will eventually lower the price Medicare recipients pay for some prescription drugs, raise taxes on corporations, and allow the Internal Revenue Service to... Read more →


Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash Are you freaking out about the possibility that one of the new Internal Revenue Service enforcement agents will be coming for you? Most of us don't have to worry. The prime targets are the very wealthy. Why has the IRS been instructed to go after this filing demographic? One reason is because the richest taxpayers who try to hide taxable assets offer the biggest return when they are caught. Another reason is that they've been flying under the IRS audit radar for way too long. Dramatic drop in high wealth audits: A Government Accountability Office... Read more →


Some on Capitol Hill want to make it easier for you to use your Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make small, every day purchases. The 2022 election year legislative calendar might be working against them, but Congressional fans of cryptocurrency still are looking at ways to make it more appealing to mass consumers. On July 26, two Senate Banking Committee members, including the committee's top Republican, introduced the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act. The bill, cosponsored by Ranking Member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) would, in part, make small personal virtual currency transactions for goods and... Read more →


Geralt via Pixabay Economists use a variety of measurements to track inflation, but the one that matters most to you and me is the personal consumption expenditure, or PCE, price index. This gauge of consumer spending increased 1.1 percent in June. The difficulty many folks are having in meeting their rising living expenses finally prompted some Congressional action. The Senate is expected to vote next week on what's been dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, a budget reconciliation package that includes tax, climate change mitigation, and health care provisions. But closer to home, 16 state governments are taking more... Read more →


Figuring out how to pay off student loans is a math problem that goes well beyond school days. (Photo by Karolina Grabowska) The payment pause on student loans expires in six weeks. As that Aug. 31 deadline approaches, former students also are waiting for President Joe Biden to take further action to help lessen, or eliminate, their higher education debt. In addition to the political ramifications of any White House action, especially in an important midterm election year, there also are tax implications. Taxable forgiven debt: The tax code generally treats forgiven or canceled debt as taxable income. It's officially... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Cryptocurrencies are going through a rough patch, at least as far as the investment world is concerned. But devotees of the virtual assets insist they are here to stay, and that general acceptance of digital currency as payments for retail purchases is on the way. A recent survey seems to support that position. Widespread retail crypto payments expected soon: A majority of U.S. retailers expect digital currency payments to be the norm in the next five years, according to a study released last month by Deloitte in collaboration with PayPal. The study's poll in December 2021... Read more →


The White House's proposed federal gasoline tax three-month holiday proposal is not just stalled. A metaphorical Congressional tow truck has pulled it from the legislative roadside where it was sputtering. The main reason is, as noted earlier, is surprisingly united Capitol Hill opposition to waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. In fact, lawmakers also have been united in refusing to increase it. It hasn't been hiked since 1993. Another reason is, despite the grousing and social media posts of auto fill-up pump prices, people are still hitting the roads, at least early this summer. That's taken some... Read more →


Photo by John-Mark Smith Federal law changes tend to get the most attention. That's understandable. They affect billions of people across the United States. Plus, it's easier for the major media to focus on one governmental entity instead of 50. But for many of us, our state's law changes are just as critical. Sometimes, they affect us even more. Some of those new state laws took effect when the calendar page flipped to July. Since this is a tax blog, we're looking specifically tax laws. Notable changes to tax codes became law in 14 states on Friday, July 1, says... Read more →


With inflation at historic levels, U.S. families are re-examining their budgets. Uncle Sam recently did the same with his money, or rather the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) did. What this federal agency within the government's legislative branch found was surprising. The word that the CBO actually used was unexplained in connection with the robust growth of tax collections. Unexplained income tax revenue: "Tax collections in both 2020 and 2021 were larger than the currently available data on economic activity would suggest," according to the CBO report "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2022 to 2032" issued on May 24. "That unexplained... Read more →


Juneteenth is officially on the day that gives it its contraction name, June 19th. But since that was on Sunday, federal offices, the stock market, and some states observance Juneteenth on Monday, June 20. It's the second year of Juneteenth being celebrated as a federal holiday. Since today is Sunday, federal offices will observe it on Monday, June 20. As a native Texan, I was aware of the date. It's was the day in 1865 when recalcitrant (insert your own R word if you wish) early Lone Star Staters were forced to acknowledge — and let enslaved Texans know —... Read more →


All graphics courtesy IRS Tax Pros Twitter account Benjamin Franklin wasn't quite correct. There are three constants in life: death, taxes, and tax scams. For more than two decades, the Internal Revenue Service has annually highlighted the 12 worst recent scams. This year's Dirty Dozen includes questionable tax arrangement touted by con artists, pandemic-related schemes to steal people's identities and refund money, dubious tax payment options, and unscrupulous tax preparers. For the last few years, the IRS has shifted from a single list of a dozen tax scams to multiple alerts with more details on the various scams. Those new... Read more →


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite image of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 4, 2017 South Florida has been getting soaked from the first tropical system of the 2022. But it's nameless. As soon as Agatha, the first Pacific hurricane of the year, developed, then struck Mexico, and continued northeast across that country, U.S. residents wondered whether its remnants would reform as the first named Atlantic hurricane of 2022. That didn't happen. But hurricane watchers now say they expect the weather mass to organize and pass near Bermuda as Tropical Storm Alex on Monday, June 6. UPDATE, Sunday, June 5:... Read more →


Photo by Mateusz Dach Every new year starts with optimism about what can be accomplished, even (or perhaps especially) in the tax world. Then comes summer, and expectations dim. That's especially true on the federal law-making level in an election year. Democrats have adjusted their hoped-for pre-Memorial Day deadline to move a slimmed-down budget reconciliation bill that would implement higher taxes on the wealthy, combat climate change, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. The same stop sign has been flashed internationally, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's global tax plan meeting resistance abroad and at home. But there is some... Read more →


Jamie Lee Curtis plays an IRS examiner in the new indie hit Everything Everywhere All at Once from A24 Films. She even gets a fight scene in the movie. Check it out at the May item in my tumblr blog Tumbling Taxes. Tax Day 2022 has come and gone, and most of us, for better or worse, are done with taxes for another year. But if you want a little more tax in your life — fictional, not real — then you always can take in a movie. Yep, taxes show up in movies a lot. Sometimes our revenue obligations,... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Interest payments are a part of almost every person's life. If you carry a credit card balance, you pay interest on it. If you have a mortgage, interest is probably the largest (but, for now, still tax-deductible) part of your monthly payment. And if you don't pay all the federal tax you owe on time, interest adds to you total U.S. Treasury bill. But with taxes, the reverse also is true. When the Internal Revenue Service is slow in getting your overpayment processed, your refund will include interest payments to you. And right now, due to... Read more →