State/Local Feed

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash Nebraskans frustrated by their state’s inability to come up with property tax relief plan turned to a broader tax overhaul, the EPIC plan. EPIC stands for Eliminate all Property, Income and Corporate taxes. The measure would have constitutionally prohibited the legislature from imposing any tax except for a state-administered sales tax. EPIC was first introduced in the Nebraska legislature in 2023, but never made it out of committee. That’s when the plan to take it directly to the state’s voters was born. But that’s not going to happen either. Epic ballot initiative fail: “The... Read more →

Next Monday, July 15, is Tax Day for residents of disaster areas in three states. This tax deadline applies to taxpayers affected by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) major disaster declarations in parts of Alaska, Maine, and Rhode Island. The disaster areas are listed below. The bold-type state names are links to the Internal Revenue Service's tax relief announcements for each area. The Wrangell Cooperative Association of Alaska Tribal Nation off coastal Alaska. That area was hit by severe storms, landslides, and mudslides that began on Nov. 20, 2023. Eight counties in Maine that sustained damages from severe storms and... Read more →

Updated Tuesday, July 9, 2024 Residents whose lives are disrupted by a major disaster are targets. So are those who want to help. Either way, don’t become a victim. Hurricane Beryl, the second named storm of the 2024 tropical storm season, made her third landfall early today along the Texas Gulf Coast. The good news is that Beryl was a category 1 when it blasted into the Lone Star State. That's far less powerful than the category 5 it reached on its travel through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The bad news is that Beryl was still a hurricane.... Read more →

That will leave a dozen states still taxing at least some food bought by grocery shoppers. My favorite section of my local H-E-B grocery. (Photo by Kay Bell) When you loaded up your grocery cart for your July 4th spread, you probably weren’t thinking about taxes. That’s because most of us live in states that, for the most part, don’t tax food. That’s not the case in 13 states. Those jurisdictions do tack a few percentage points of sales tax on most foodstuffs. But one of those states will join the no-grocery-tax ranks later this summer. In late August, Oklahoma’s... Read more →

Photo by Rene Bernal on Unsplash Happy Independence Day, America! Or as we call it at our house, the July 3 Until Whenever Our Neighbors' Fireworks Stash Is Fully Exploded holiday. Yep, residents of our suburban enclave started celebrating last night. It's an annual dress rehearsal for the full array of pyrotechnics today. And it continues for days. I’m sure the hubby and I are not alone. In 49 states and the District of Columbia, private display of certain types of fireworks are legal. Which jurisdiction is the outlier? Massachusetts is the only U.S. state where it is illegal to... Read more →

Some of the school supplies at my local H-E-B grocery. Most of these products will be tax-free during Texas' back-to-school tax holiday in August. (Photo by Kay Bell) Summer arrives in full force in July. So do the annual — cover your ears, children — back-to-school tax holidays. Yes, classes will resume before you know it. And this month, shoppers in five states and Puerto Rico will get some tax-free savings during events typically touted as school-related. In reality, lot of us long past school days can enjoy many of the tax-exempt items. If your state doesn’t hold a sales... Read more →

Unsplash+ in collaboration with Olivie Strauss Hello, July! We are soooo ready for this first full month of official summer. This first week of July will be a short one for many of us. We’ll be taking advantage of July 4 falling on Thursday, making it an extra-long Independence Day holiday weekend. But once the fireworks are over, it’s back to the regular grind where we never are independent of taxes. That’s why we also need to also make some time in July for tax moves. Here are five to consider. 1. Get ready for disastrous weather. Even though I’m... Read more →

Scenic Georgetown is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. It’s where the D.C. Office of the Attorney General (OAG) alleged a bitcoin billionaire lived for years, but did not pay District income taxes. (Photo courtesy Where you live affects your taxes, says the woman who’s spent most of her life in two states, Texas and Florida, without a personal income tax. For a while, though, I did live in two tax collecting jurisdictions, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Fortunately for the hubby and me, when we resided in the national capital, we weren’t on the District of... Read more →

Florida residents are getting some tax breaks on items to help them prepare for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which started this week and forecast to be the most active ever. The Sunshine State’s first of two disaster preparedness sales tax holidays began on June 1, the official start of the annual hurricane season. It runs through Friday, June 14. Florida’s second emergency preparation sales tax event will be Aug. 24 through Sept. 6, aligning with the time of year when the tropical season tends to increase. Long history of strong storms: Florida individuals and businesses don’t need a reminder... Read more →

The 2024 hurricane season has just begun, but some people are still dealing with disasters from last and earlier this year. Some of them now are facing a June 17 tax filing and payment deadline. Mother Nature has been Mommy Dearest across much of the United States so far this year. Way too many federal announcements and media reports have included the phrase “A historic severe weather outbreak occurred” in 2024, meaning that millions of Americans have found themselves in major disaster areas. And the current hurricane season has just begun! Unfortunately, the disastrous start to this year was a... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service recommended, and the U.S. Treasury agreed, that the free tax software program created and operated directly by the IRS will be a permanent tax preparation and electronic filing option. Federal tax officials are encouraging all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to join the expanded Direct File program in filing season 2025. All U.S. taxpayers next year could have another no-cost option to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service today announced they found this tax season’s Direct File pilot program successful enough to expand to taxpayers across the... Read more →

Students, and their families, have a lot to worry about. 529 plan savings can help ease some of the financial concerns. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Andy Quezada) Happy 529 Day! OK, it’s not an official holiday. It was started in 2021 by National Day Calendar and College Savings Foundation (CSF), and is one of the many commemorations that fill up the 365 days, 366 in Leap Years, of each year. Some of the special days are, to my thinking, downright goofy, although I do believe ice cream deserves to be celebrated every single day. But some merit serious... Read more →

It seems the Internal Revenue Service, or at least its Direct File program, has a new public relations agency. It’s a group of Capitol Hill Democrats and Independents. The U.S. Senators and Representatives signed a May 15 letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel lauding the IRS free online tax preparation and e-filing option. The Direct File pilot program, created and run by the IRS, was rolled out this filing season in 12 states. When it wrapped on April 15, almost 141,000 taxpayers had used it. Direct File users received more than $90 million in refunds.... Read more →

The tornado that struck Afton, Iowa, in Union County on April 26, 2024. That county is one of eight that have been declared major disaster areas, meaning residents are eligible for a variety of federal assistance, including tax relief. (Photo by Dean Baron via National Weather Service) Iowans in eight Hawkeye State counties that were struck by severe storms and tornadoes last month now have until Oct. 15 to file various federal individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. This latest Internal Revenue Service disaster relief applies to individuals and households that live or have a business in... Read more →

Free File, the Internal Revenue Service’s partnership with the tax software industry that allows millions of taxpayers to prepare their returns and e-file them for free, is still open for this year’s procrastinating filers. Private-sector companies will help those who filed for an extension (or who are just late filing) complete and submit their 1040s through the Oct. 15 extension deadline. And that no-cost filing service also will be around at for the next five filing seasons, the tax agency announced today. Extended through 2029: This year’s Free File program was its 22nd season at Under this public-private... Read more →

The coming Memorial Day break is seen as the unofficial start of summer in the United States. It’s also usually been the start of higher summer gasoline prices. That’s not the case this year. So far. Pump prices rose nationwide this spring, but actually have fallen a tad recently. Today’s AAA national average of a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.598. That was up a smidge (0.008) from yesterday, May 20, but less than the $3.612 recorded a week ago. Record road trips: Will the lower gas prices hold? An expected record number of drivers hope so, at least until... Read more →

Some of the March 14 tornado damage in Indian Lake, Logan County, Ohio. (Photo credit: Indian Lake Chamber via Facebook) During the evening of March 14, supercell thunderstorms dropped numerous strong tornadoes across western and central Ohio. By the time things cleared, the deadly twisters also had left trails of destruction across the Buckeye State. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed three EF1 twisters, two reaching EF2, and an EF3 across Ohio. The NWS office in Wilmington, just north of Cincinnati, reported a total of 145 miles of combined tornado tracks across the state. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) investigation... 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 →

This is the Internal Revenue Service’s fourth and final Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Saturday opening in 2024. IRS reps will be accepting walk-in help requests at 59 TACs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Photo by Tim Douglas The Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers in 32 jurisdictions one more chance this year to get help at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) without having to make an appointment. The agency’s final Saturday walk-in is tomorrow, May 18. At the select TACs — 59 total — across the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, you can... Read more →

Photo by Aidan Howe on Unsplash U.S. commercial gambling revenue hit a quarterly record of $17.67 billion in first three months of 2024. It marks the gaming industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth, according to the American Gaming Association. And Caitlin Clark hadn’t even played a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) game yet. Clark’s WNBA May 14 debut with her Indiana Fever facing the Connecticut Sun drew an average television audience of 2.13 million viewers, making it the most watched WNBA game in almost 23 years. I’m willing to bet, pun intended, that is also was the most bet on... Read more →