Shout Out Feed

The annual Army-Navy game is the only college football matchup I make a point to watch. Go Navy! This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put such gridiron rivalries in jeopardy. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Johnny Bivera via Wikipedia Commons) The Mid-American Conference (MAC) today became the first Division 1 college football governing body to cancel its fall season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "There are simply too many unknowns to put our student athletes in these situations. This is simply a miserable decision," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. Yes, for the sports fans, schools, players and coaches,... Read more →


Screenshot from an interview in 2011 of Georgist economist and professor Mason Gaffney (Posted on Vimeo by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation) Not to be morbid, but I like reading obituaries. They reflect not only on peoples' lives, but also provide a look at the worlds and times in which they lived. Well-written obits essentially are mini history lessons. I came across one such commemoration last week that introduced to me the late Mason Gaffney, as well as Henry George and the economic concept of land-value-only taxation. A tax to pay for progressive goals: Gaffney, who passed away on July 16,... Read more →


The Hon. John Lewis receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2010. (Obama White House photo) The celebration of the life of the Hon. John Lewis continues. Today, the late civil rights leader and long-time member of Congress lies in state in his native Alabama. Other key moments from his early days in the South also will be commemorated as part of the six-day journey of memorialization and tributes that continues in Washington, D.C., before he goes to his final rest in Atlanta. America, the world actually, lost a true hero when Lewis passed away on... Read more →


Tax season 2020 is over. That means the focus of most Americans returns to the same thing we've been fixating on (besides taxes) for the last few months: COVID-19. The coronavirus is still here. It's getting worse in some — OK, a lot of — states. Even in the areas where it seems to be under better control, people are still worrying about what it means to their lives and, of course, their livelihoods. Although some jobs returned earlier this summer, that partial economic recovery is not expected to last after coronavirus cases reemerged following state re-openings. So folks are... Read more →


You're working on your tax return and discover that you are that close to shaving a few more dollars off what you owe Uncle Sam. Many in this situation are tempted to get creative. Don't. The Internal Revenue Service has seen it all. OK, most of it. The bottom line is that sketchy tax deduction claims are invitations to IRS auditors. Crazy and possibly costly tax break claims: Earlier this year before Tax Day got pushed to July 15 by coronavirus precautions, Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary talked with some tax professionals about the wild write-offs they've seen. Singletary... Read more →


Often, too often, we use independence and freedom interchangeably. Even dictionaries and thesauruses say the words each mean to some degree the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint (freedom) or the state of being free from the control or power of another (independence). On this July 4, 2020, we are reevaluating what those definitions mean to us, our families, friends and neighbors, to people we don't know personally and to the United States as a whole. The scrutiny of those definitions could fill library shelves nationwide where reference — and history... Read more →


A new study says young people looking for summer jobs should see more of these signs, just later in the season. Summer is so different this year. That's especially true for young people, who, depending on their ages, look forward to just messing around, going to camp or getting a job. Most kiddos already have been messing around for months. Hey, parents who are trying to telecommute (or really commute if they have essential jobs) and also home school during a global pandemic can only do so much! On the camp front, many overnight camps are still closed, but some... Read more →


Looking for some weekend or beyond tax reading? Then check out the latest Internal Revenue Service Research Bulletin. Notice that I didn't say light tax reading. This collection of papers presented last June at the 9th Annual Joint Research Conference on Tax Administration, an event cosponsored by the IRS and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, is 252 pages. And some of the topics can be dense. The presenters and attendees at the 2019 conference, both in persona and online, included researchers from many areas of the IRS, officials from other government agencies and academic and private sector experts on tax... Read more →


Former Vice President Joe Biden meeting supporters in Iowa last year in the early days of his campaign. Now he's the Democratic presidential nominee. His and opponent Donald Trump's tax plans will be a part of the election discussions. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr) It's a done deal. Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the Democrat challenging Donald J. Trump this November for the White House. Biden secured enough delegates last week to formally become the Democratic nominee on the first ballot at the party's convention. That official imprimatur will come in August at the Democrats' combined in-person... Read more →


Can't sleep? You're not alone in these trying, tax and otherwise, times. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels) 2020 has been, at best, a difficult year and we're not even halfway through. For these first five months, millions of us have been facing each day a barrage of concerns that are producing a continual level of extraordinary stress. In addition to our normal day-to-day anxieties, we've been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, its unemployment and financial fallout, the recent deaths African Americans at the hands of individuals and while in law enforcement custody, heated and escalating political messaging in a... Read more →


This U.S. Department of Justice mug shot of Al Capone was taken four months before his tax eviction conviction on Oct. 17, 1931. It's 89 years, later and Scarface still gets our attention, most recently in a movie about his later days. If there's one tiny sliver of silver lining in coronavirus self-isolation, it's that I feel a bit better about shelling out money for added television features. During our stay-home time, the hubby and I are taking advantage of premium cable, as well as the multiple streaming platforms to which we subscribe. Right now, my viewing tastes are winning.... Read more →


Photo by Mrs. Flinger via FlickrCC It's Mother's Day 2020. This holiday, first celebrated regionally in 1908 before going nationwide six years later, usually means that children spend the day with their moms. Such closeness, however, has been happening every day for weeks for many families. Moms and dads and children and sometimes extended family members have hunkered down together at home 24/7 as a COVID-19 precaution. But it is mom's special day, so I hope that all y'all came up with some change of pace this second Sunday in May to celebrate all that mothers do and all the... Read more →


Confused about who gets coronavirus relief payments? Apparently so is the Internal Revenue Service's distribution system. Thousands of foreign workers, many living overseas, were sent COVID-19 economic relief payments due to an unforeseen glitch that funneled the money, meant for U.S. taxpayers, to other countries, according to a Politico report. That story is this weekend's featured Sunday Shout Out. Former foreign college workers: The payments mostly went to college-age workers who spent time in the United States during the last two years. That's the time period the IRS is using to calculate who gets how much of the stimulus authorized... Read more →


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor a global pandemic stays protectively-masked U.S. Postal Service carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. The COVID-19 economic relief payment checks really are in the mail. That means a whole new slew of coronavirus scams also are showing up via phone calls, as well as in people's mail boxes, both electronic and real-life curbside ones. Since millions of actual paper COVID-19 relief checks are being snail mailed, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is involved in the scam-fighting efforts. These law enforcement officers are joining other federal... Read more →


The COVID-19 outbreaks and subsequent worldwide stay-at-home orders have meant empty streets. Hello, Saturday! We made it through not just another week, but not-Tax-Day week, where we saw the arrival of a weird April 15 when neither our federal nor state tax returns were due. Now onward to July 15. Except for some states. A couple, Hawaii and Iowa, have usual personal income tax deadlines later than mid-April, so their extension deadline is later than July 15. A few — Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Virginia — want their personal state filings before mid-summer. And then there's the myriad deadline... Read more →


July is America's big celebratory month. The major time to party is, of course, on the United States' birthday, July 4. But in 2020, the tax community's revelry will be on July 16. That's the day after this year's revised Tax Day of July 15. And now we tax geeks, gurus and everyday Joe and Jane Taxpayers will have even more to celebrate since the Internal Revenue Service has expanded the July 15 due date to more tax situations. Below is a review of the key tax deadlines that now fall on July 15. Tax return filing and payments: Individual... Read more →


Photo courtesy MoneyBogNewz via Flickr CC This weekend many businesses and their tax advisers are still trying to sort out the complexities of Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program. It's part of the $2 trillion federal coronavirus relief package, officially known as the CARES Act, that became law on March 27. The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was created to get cash relatively quickly to small business owners whose operations have taken hits due to the pandemic and efforts to stem it, such as forced closures. It's supposed to have less red tape than the existing SBA loan programs and... Read more →


The law that created coronavirus stimulus payments just took effect yesterday and we're weeks at best from getting actual money. But tax planners have been thinking about COVID-19 tax intricacies since the illness exploded in the middle of this tax season. These payments just add a new tax filing wrinkle, since what we put on our 2019 returns could be a key part in the relief amount's ultimate dollar calculation. Tony Nitti, a CPA and tax partner with RubinBrown in Aspen, Colorado, has a good preview of what our tax filing actions now could mean to our potential coronavirus payments... Read more →


National Guard troops have been deployed to help states meet COVID-19 needs, ranging from personal protective equipment training, support of medical testing facilities and healthcare professionals and assisting with disinfecting and cleaning common public spaces. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Defense) Taxes have been in the public spotlight this week, not because right about now we normally would be nearing the annual filing deadline, but because of how the coronavirus pandemic has thrown normal, including our tax obligations, out the window. By now you know that April 15 is not Tax Day this year. Instead, it's been pushed to July... Read more →


States also are coping with COVID-19 and tax return timing, with a handful already delaying some returns. UPDATE, March 21, 2020: Tax Day 2020 has changed again. Now taxpayers have until July 15 to file their 2019 returns and pay any due tax. This latest change was announced March 20 and the IRS issued some guidance on the changes on March 21. This window's timely admonition usually is good advice as April 15 nears. This year, however, Tax Day may be pushed back due to the spreading coronavirus. (Painted window in Harlingen, Texas, 1939, by Lee Russell; New York Public... Read more →