Shout Out Feed

This lord a-leaping and his nine other colleagues will cost you a hefty sum this year if you give them and the 11 other gifts inspired by the "12 Days of Christmas" carol to your true love. (Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels) Did you survive Black Friday shopping? More to the point, did your bank account survive? The crowds this year apparently were smaller, but the freedom to shop in real life didn't offer as many savings. Plus, there was inflation. As everyone knows by now, prices have been rising. That definitely is true for the annual PNC Financial... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels I know, it seems like it's all crypto all the time of late here at the ol' blog. But that's because that's what's happening right now in the tax world. There is, of course, the new tax reporting rules for digital assets, including cryptocurrency, that are part of the just-enacted transportation law. One of the reasons lawmakers approved the closer look by the Internal Revenue Service at digital transactions is because law enforcement officers have found the sector rife with criminal tax activity. It's not just anecdotal reports. OK, it is some anecdotal reports,... Read more →


Photo by Joshua Welch via Pexels It actually happened. Infrastructure Week — or more accurately, weeks — finally is real. And it will be officially celebrated on Monday, Nov. 15, when President Joe Biden signs H.R. 3684, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, into law. The measure, of course, provides fund for traditional transportation projects across the United States. It also includes money for soft infrastructure efforts, notably extending broadband internet service to the more rural parts of the country, as well as several environmental components. Overall, the bill costs $1.2 trillion. Of that amount, $550 billion of new federal... Read more →


Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels Investments have dominated recent money talk, on Capitol Hill and in the broader tax and financial communities. First there was the Congressional proposal to tax billionaires' unrealized gains. This approach is a change from the usual capital gains tax applied on profits when assets actually are sold. The idea was dropped (for now) during negotiations among Democrats to find agreement on their spending plan. Then the markets decided to go wild last week, with the three major stock indexes — the Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ — all ending on Friday, Nov. 5, at all-time... Read more →


Elected officials come into office with grand plans. Then the reality of governing hits. Although President Joe Biden has a nominally Democratic House and Senate, the margin in both chambers, especially when we're talking about the perpetually infighting Dems, is razor thin. That means Biden is not going to get everything he proposed on the campaign trail. That's become obvious in the wrangling still going on over his scaled-back Build Back Better (BBB) budget bill. Estate tax/other benefits tradeoff: The Biden Administration had hoped to help pay for new and increased family-focused tax breaks in the BBB by upping another... Read more →


The Child Tax Credit (CTC) was expanded as part of the COVID-19 relief bill signed into law by President Joe Biden. Instead of $2,000 per child, the CTC in for the 2021 tax year is $3,600 per child age 5 or younger. It's $3,000 for children ages 6 to 17. Part of the 2021 credit money is going out through the end of the year as advance payments. The October payments went out last Friday. Two more rounds, on the 15th of November and December, will be issued. Few of us will turn down money, so the credit increase and... Read more →


Lewis Hamilton visiting fans at the 2018 Formula 1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone (Photo by Jen_ross83) It's the greatest time of the year for sports fans as a variety of games and events overlap. College and professional football games fill up our weekends, and for the National Football League (NFL) our Mondays and Thursdays. Pucks have dropped in National Hockey League (NHL) arenas. The National Basketball Association (NBA) preseason will give way next week to match-ups that count. And, of course, four Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are facing off to determine which two will make it into the... Read more →


The tax voyeur in all of us enjoyed the latest unsurprising revelations of how rich people hide money around the world, including a dozen U.S. states and D.C., to avoid paying taxes. The attention to this not really news item also is a good time to note the difference between illegal tax evasion and legal tax avoidance. The South Dakota capitol building is in the state's capital city of Pierre. The state itself is the U.S. capital as far as the most trusts identified in the Pandora Papers. (Photo by Jake DeGroot via Wikipedia) Last week we got news that... Read more →


Photo via Pexels There have been some stumbles with the delivery of Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments this summer, the most recent happening last month when some were delayed. That's understandable. The AdvCTC distribution is yet another new job for the Internal Revenue Service, which already is struggling to handle its regular jobs during a persistent pandemic. Still, it's frustrating for folks depending on the money, which has been increased for the 2021 tax year to $3,600 for each child younger than age 6, and $3,000 for each youngster ages 6 to 17. Many missing the money: Half of... Read more →


Is the fifth time the charm? The owners of cannabis businesses legal in their states certainly hope that modified multiple maxim is true. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would allow cannabis businesses in the 36 states with retail dispensaries (that are taxed) to operate the same way their non-marijuana related colleagues do. They could pay their federal taxes with a check, secure loans to expand their operations, and accept bank debit card transactions by customers. Right now, that's all problematic at best. Businesses that sell marijuana are limited in their banking options since the plant still is... Read more →


Technology, not heavy equipment, can close the Tax Gap, according to two former IRS commissioners. The Tax Gap has always been a concern of the Internal Revenue Service, Congress, and taxpayers who pay their taxes. Basically, it's the amount of money the IRS figures it is due from filers, but which it's been unable to collect. Two former IRS execs say they know a way the agency can collect more unpaid taxes. Even better, write former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti (he was head honcho from 1997 to 2001) and Fred Forman, former associate commissioner for modernization from 2000 to 2004,... Read more →


An overhead view of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the former World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers that were destroyed by the al-Qaeda attacks 20 years ago today. (Photo courtesy 9/11 Memorial and Museum via Facebook) Today is the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and central Pennsylvania. The annual commemoration ceremony at the New York memorial will be much the same as in prior years. Family members of 9/11 victims will gather on the Memorial Plaza this morning to read aloud the... Read more →


Of course there's a tax crime connection. A defunct Connecticut minor league hockey club is the focus of a new Netflix documentary. The film's tales of the brawling Danbury Trashers offer this weekend's diversion, along with a bit of a tax connection. I fell in love with hockey when I went to my first game, a Washington Capitals match back in 1981 shortly after we moved to the National Capital area. Those early Capitals' teams sucked majorly. But they had some good individual players. The skills and heart of Rick Green, Mike Gartner, and young American phenom Bobby Carpenter made... Read more →


Satellite image of Hurricane Ida entering the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. (Click the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service image to see looping version). Everyone in Hurricane Ida's path better already be on the road out of there or in or heading to some storm safe shelter. This one could be really, really bad. So for this weekend's Saturday Shout Out, I'm turning to items on last-minute preparation for and recovery after a major disaster. Time's short, so here goes, starting with some of Uncle Sam's official government assistance websites. Federal... Read more →


Capitol photo by Scrumshus via Citypeek-Wikipedia As Capitol Hill creeps toward further consideration of the Biden Administration's $3.5 trillion spending bill, the focus is narrowing on just how to pay for Uncle Sam's fiscal year 2022 budget. One of the ways the White House wants to pay for the measure's climate initiatives, paid leave, child care, education, and health care is by raising the top marginal individual income tax rate to 39.6 percent. That's the tax rate the wealthiest paid until the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act cut it in tax year 2018 to 37 percent. That tax reform change... Read more →


Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels On Friday, the second of this year's Advance Child Tax Credit payments were directly deposited to accounts of families who signed up to get the tax relief measure that way. Those awaiting an actual paper Treasury Department check should see them arrive in their snail mail boxes in a few days. In most cases, the money, which is a prepayment of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) is welcome. But in some instances, the early money could cause payback problems for families whose tax situations changed this year. Child Tax Credit benefits and... Read more →


If you don't follow international taxes, you probably missed the CumEx story. The team of investigative reporters who uncovered the alleged tax fraud schemes back in 2017 characterized it as "the largest tax robbery in the history of Europe." Thirty-eight reporters from 19 newsrooms in 12 countries collaborated across borders to dig through 180,000 pages of documents related to the allected tax fraud. Just what did the alleged tax schemers do? The short version is, allegedly, that banks, stock traders, and lawyers obtained billions from European treasuries through suspected fraud and speculation involving investment dividend taxes. According to the journalists,... Read more →


Thoreau's Cove, circa 1908, on Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts. (Photo from the U.S. Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons) Nature is a healing touchstone for many. That was especially evident when we reduced our socializing due to COVID-19. A walk in a park was a way to get out of our self-imposed lockdowns and stay safely distant from others while embracing the environment. Many people went further as the coronavirus pandemic continued, moving from crowded cities to suburban or urban retreats where they could work from home. They found, in a fashion, their own modern day Walden Ponds. At... Read more →


The University of Alabama soon might have some new competitors in the SEC. (Pixabay via Pexels) Sure, the COVID-delayed 2020 Summer Olympics are finally underway, but here in Texas we're fixating on, what else, football. The Dallas Cowboys will kick off the NFL's 2021 preseason in a couple of weeks, but it's college football that is dominating the conversation right now. It looks like the Big 12, which only has 10 colleges in the conference, is about to lose two more. Oklahoma (OU) and Texas (UT) reportedly are joining the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Not only would that mess up the... Read more →


View from the Astros' dugout in Minute Maid Park. (Photo by Kay Bell) The National Basketball Association's (NBA) championship series is on and, at least to this casual fan, surprisingly competitive. Major League Baseball (MLB) has started its second-half, with my two favorite teams at polar opposite ends of the playoff picture. National Football League (NFL) players will report to training camps this month. But aside from summer crossover, there's one other thing professional sports teams have in common. The billionaire owners of major league sports franchise owners are always the winners, even when their teams lose. How? By utilizing... Read more →