State/Local Feed

Updated Wednesday, April 7, 2021 Just days after the Internal Revenue Service's March 17 announcement that it was moving the 2021 tax filing deadline from April 15 to May 17, most states that collect some type of personal income tax followed the federal tax agency's lead. The IRS decided that filers could use more time to file and pay their 2020 taxes since we're all still dealing to some degree with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That "we" includes the IRS, which faces a backlog of 2019 returns (and 2020 filings, too, since the tax season opened in... Read more →


One of the severe storms that hit Michigan on June 26. In the wake of a major disaster declaration, the IRS is giving some of the state's taxpayers until Nov. 1 to take care of tax tasks. (Photo by Ben Kessler via the National Weather Service) The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to an early start. Since then, though, it's been a slow tropical season. Thank you, Saharan dust (and Deb Fox)! However, other major natural disasters have made up for it. So far in 21, there have been 14 instances of tax relief provided by the Internal Revenue... Read more →


Attention shoppers in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Your states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays this final weekend in July, and beyond for Sunshine State and Volunteer State tax bargain hunters. Retailers are getting ready for youngsters to return to classrooms. Shoppers are getting ready for tax-free savings on school supplies and more. (Photo by Kay Bell) Despite a surge among unvaccinated of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most schools are making plans to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Retailers also are joining the back-to-school parties. This year, 18 states scheduled sales tax-free events, most of them... Read more →


It's mid-July, a particularly important date this year for parents. No, I'm not talking about the Advance Child Tax Credit payments that started going out today. I'm talking about the imminent arrival of the 2021-22 school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic somewhat under control — Be gone, Delta variant and everyone please get vaccinated! — schools across the country will be opening this year. Yes, that sound you hear over the internet is millions of parents celebrating. Tax holidays, too: That other sound you hear is taxpayers, both parents and child-free, celebrating, too, because the annual back-to-school tax holidays also... Read more →


As this recent report from my local Community Impact newspaper shows, Austin's housing market is en fuego. That's good news for sellers, but bad news for homeowners sticking around and seeing the increased prices drive up our property tax bills. My relationship with my neighbors, regardless of where we've lived, has been … interesting. They all and always intrigue and annoy me on a daily basis. To be fair, I suspect they feel the same about me. Right now, however, my real beef is with my former neighbors. Specifically, the ones who recently sold their homes in Austin's astoundingly (some... Read more →


Kickback apparently has discontinued its bottled cold coffee with CBD, but still offers the cannabis chemical in ready-to-drink teas and ground coffee. (Photo by Deceptitom via Wikipedia) It's been one of those weeks. That's why when I woke up late this morning – OK, early afternoon — I thought (was hoping) it was Saturday. Once the caffeine kicked in, I discovered that maybe I should be using another energy booster. Cannabidiol, or CBD as it's commonly called. CBD is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients in the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana or hemp. As recreational... Read more →


Cleaning up after customers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels) Some businesses reopening after the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have struggled to hire workers. The big debate is whether coronavirus relief, primarily Uncle Sam's added unemployment benefits, or low wages is why so many jobs are going unfilled. That argument is likely to continue, along with the Congressional battle to raise the federal minimum wage. Earlier this year, the effort to increase it from $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour failed. Some state, city minimum wages hiked: Wage increase advocates, however, have had more success at other governmental... Read more →


It's the Fourth of July weekend. The 2021 celebration is getting added attention, since last year most of America's birthday parties were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But July 1 is another date of note. The year's midpoint is the first day of the fiscal year for most states and, according to The Tax Foundation, 13 have notable tax changes that took effect last week. There are individual income tax changes in Idaho and Illinois, corporate adjustments in Indiana and Montana, inheritance tax alterations in Iowa, and revisions of sales, use and gross receipts taxes in Florida, Kansas, New... Read more →


Juneteenth, which first began in Texas, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. But today's Juneteenth celebrations are especially notable. This commemoration of June 19, 1865, the day when slaves in Texas got the official word that they were free. It's been a state holiday here since 1980. Now it's a national holiday. Officially, it's now known as Juneteenth National Independence Day. That name change happened when President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and luminaries like 94-year-old Opal Lee, the Texan who had worked for decades to get to... Read more →


Photo courtesy Zutobi Could it be? Is Infrastructure Week finally happening? Maybe. There are bills and revisions to bills and working groups and bipartisan agreements and partisan criticisms of agreements. The only thing that the, at last rough count, eight transportation-plus proposals floating around on Capitol Hill have in common is that none has the votes right now in either chamber to pass. But things are fluid and could change, for better or worse (depending on your political and fiscal position), at any time. The only certainty is that something must be done by the end of this 2021 fiscal... Read more →


June 15 — yep, this coming Tuesday — is Tax Day for all Louisianans (and Texans and Oklahomans) who endured mid-February's historic freeze. But some Pelican State taxpayers now get even longer to finish up their 2020 tax year returns. The Internal Revenue Service says victims of severe storms and flooding in parts of Louisiana that began May 17 now have until Aug. 16 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The affected filers live in or have businesses in Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette Parishes. These parishes were designated as disaster... Read more →


Photo by Roberto Nickson via Pexels On May 26, sky watchers across much of the world were awed by the Blood Moon lunar eclipse. It coincided with the moon's closest approach to Earth, meaning the so-called supermoon took on a reddish hue during the event, giving it the dramatic name. Then just last week, some of us were treated to an annular solar eclipse that appeared as a ring of fire when the moon blocked out only the middle of the sun, leaving its glow around the edges. Most, however, saw the June 10 astronomical phenomenon as the moon taking... Read more →


Overhead view of flooding. (Image by Pok Rie via Pexels) It's already been a literally disastrous year for millions of Americans. When Mother Nature does her worst, major disaster areas are declared, meaning affected residents get access to federal assistance. However, the process for providing disaster-related tax relief can take time and be confusing. Sometimes it can be frustratingly close to, or even after, impending tax deadlines. The Internal Revenue Service can't make any decisions to give disaster-struck individual and business taxpayers any filing and payment relief until the president declares a major disaster and the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more →


Photo by Min An from Pexels Among the many welcome events that are returning as we continue to move beyond complete COVID-19 lockdown are weddings. Congratulations and best wishes to all the brides and grooms out there who finally are enjoying their long-planned celebrations. My gift to all y'all newlyweds is a few words of marital tax advice. With apologies for the spare gift wrapping, here are some tax tasks you need to take care of now, or at least as soon as you get back from your honeymoon. 1. Make sure everyone knows your new name. After marriage, some... Read more →


Are you ready for Tax Day take two? It's June 15 and it's almost here. That mid-June day is the annual deadline for millions of U.S. taxpayers who are living outside the country. That includes members of the armed forces stationed abroad. It's also the due date for the current year's second estimated tax payment. And this year, even more taxpayers will participate. June 15, 2021, is the first Tax Day for millions who literally endured disastrous situations earlier this year. Here's the scoop for all these folks now facing impending June tax obligations. U.S. taxpayers living abroad: Every year,... Read more →


No diet drinks in our pantry! (Photo by Kay Bell) Today we celebrate the sweet, iced or glazed, and often decorated treat we know as doughnuts. The first Friday of June each year is National Doughnut Day. On the other 364 days, though, many of us try to avoid calorie-heavy foods and beverages. And many lawmakers want to help us resist our collective sweet tooth by making such items more expensive. Specifically, they want to tack on new or additional taxes to the belt-busting products. In some cases, the so-called sin tax is on high-fat foods. But the main target... Read more →


More older Americans are going into debt. For many, it seriously undermines their ability to save for a comfortable retirement. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels) It's no secret why personal finance folks urge us to save early and often. It takes a lot to live like you want when you retire. If you don't have enough stashed after you're done with the 9-to-5 grind, it could be because you are like the individuals in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. They went into more debt as they aged. The government auditing agency's analysis found that older Americans held... Read more →


June's arrival, especially now that many coronavirus limits are being lifted, means the start of summertime fun. But it's also a good month to make some key tax moves before heading off to your favorite recreational pursuits. We did it! Survived Tax Day 2021 … unless you're among the millions who got an extension to file or live in a state where the deadline to submit 2020 tax returns was even further delayed. In that case, one of the things you need to take care of this month is filing your taxes. Here more on that and four other tax... Read more →


During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, airline health protocols got most of the attention. That's not surprising, since when flying, we're all trapped for hours with strangers in a metal tube with recycle air. Now, with more of us vaccinated and ready to get out again and see sights beyond our homes, the travel focus has shifted. It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer and a major road-tripping holiday. Highway bound: AAA expects Memorial Day 2021 travel to rebound substantially. The national motoring membership organization predicts 60 percent more travelers this long holiday weekend than last year's... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer across the United States. It's also a time for sales tax free shopping in two states. Here in Texas, my neighbors and I get the long weekend to pick up some water and energy efficient appliances without owing the state's 6 percent and local sales taxes, which could afford up to another 2 percent in tax savings. My friends and former neighbors in Florida also get a sales tax holiday this coming holiday weekend and longer. Last week, the Sunshine State's governor signed into law the state's 10-day-long 2021 Disaster Preparedness... Read more →


You just finished filing your taxes last week. That included, for most Americans, state tax returns, too. And for some, the news was not good, especially on the state tax front. Residents of 42 states and Washington, D.C., face state and local taxes on at least some of the income, either earned (usually from jobs) or unearned (usually investment income). For some, the dollars handed over to their state and local tax collectors are more troubling than their federal tax amounts. High state taxes, both corporate and individual, usually is cited as a key reason lower-tax states like my native... Read more →