State/Local Feed

Billowing smoke from the wildfire ravaging norther New Mexico. (Screen shot of video posted on The Weather Channel, provided by Jackson Mathey via Storyful) The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have merged and been burning a large swath of northern New Mexico for weeks now has been designated as the largest in the state's history. The combined blazes, driven by straight-line winds, have engulfed nearly 300,000 acres, or around 469 square miles, of the Land of Enchantment as of this morning. Only around a quarter of the fire area has been contained, according to InciWeb, a U.S. government... Read more →


Unemployment benefits can help relieve some of the sting of losing your job. But there are downsides. The monthly amounts again are fully taxable. And during the COVID pandemic, criminals have had a field day getting fraudulent payments, and causing tax troubles for those individuals whose identities they stole. The COVID-19 pandemic and employment still are inextricably linked. When the coronavirus hit the United States in 2020, the concern was for the companies that had to shut down, and their employees who suddenly were without paychecks. Congress passed a series of COVID relief bills that provided relief options for companies... Read more →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Electric vehicle charging in a workplace garage. (Photo by Kay Bell) One of our errands this week was getting the hubby's vehicle inspected. It's required to renew the auto's annual state registration. We get to repeat the process in six months for my car. But when it comes to my Chevy sedan, I soon might be writing the state of Texas a larger check. I drive a hybrid and there's renewed interest in adding an annual surcharge to vehicles that don't rely solely on fossil fuel. Welcome, but pay, please: Sure, Lone Star State officials were thrilled when Elon Musk... Read more →


Not in the Lone Star State? IRS also looking to add personnel in Ogden, Utah; Kansas City, Missouri; and Puerto Rico. Looking for a job with the Internal Revenue Service? Good news. The tax agency, which earlier announced plans to fill 10,000 staff positions, is hiring. And it's starting in my backyard. The IRS has more than 900 open slots at its Austin, Texas, processing center. To get folks at these jobs as soon as possible, the agency is holding an In-Person Direct Hiring Event, its version of a job fair, on Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12. Specifically,... Read more →


Photo by Jess Bailey Designs The only thing worse than getting a surprising high property tax appraisal — which, as one of April's tax tips advises, you definitely should protest for venting, as well as potential lower tax, purposes — is having your local tax collector tell you that your tax payment is overdue. That happened to 2,400 homeowners in upstate New York, according to LocalSYR.com. Tax rebate endangered: Technically, the property owners in Onondaga County didn't get a past due bill. Instead, they incorrectly received notice from the Empire State's Department of Taxation and Finance that they could lose... Read more →


Taxes don't typically prompt celebrations like that of these school children welcoming May with a traditional Maypole dance. But thinking about tax moves this month can help you avoid costly faux pas. (Photo by Paul Barnett via Wikimedia Commons) May is supposed to be the month full of flowers from the previous month's showers. Unfortunately, this year the month is starting off on a decidedly unmerry note. In the wake of the devastating Kansas tornadoes, forecasters are warning of multiple rounds this week of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, across the Plains, Midwest, and South. That's why heeding weather warnings and... Read more →


Photo by Kampus Production via Pexels. Here in Austin, we're in the midst of doing our civic duties. In between the March primaries and late May runoffs from inconclusive races in that voting session, residents of the Lone Star State's capital are deciding on a trio of ballot questions. Two deal with property taxes. The third asks, in part, if we Austinites would like to eliminate enforcement of low-level marijuana offenses. There's a statue of Willie Nelson in downtown Austin. What do you expect the result to be? Toking in Tejas: Joking aside, Austin is just one Texas city that's... Read more →


It's likely to be a long road getting to free filing offered directly by the IRS. (Photo by Christopher Paquette via Flickr CC) With the bulk of the annual tax-filing season over, it's time for the regular autopsies of how things went. Much attention is rightfully focused on the Internal Revenue Service's continuing problems in digging out of the 2020 and 2021 backlogs exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic protocols. But this year, the ways we taxpayers get our returns to the overloaded IRS also is getting a lot of attention. The chorus calling for the IRS to cut out the tax... Read more →


It didn't take much to convince the hubby and me to put on some going-out-in-public clothes today and head out to vote early. A couple of property tax reduction questions were on our local ballot. Sure, we would have done our civic duty anyway, but those proposals that would help reduce homeowners' real estate taxes definitely are a get-out-the-vote driver. More valuable homes, bigger tax bills: Here in Texas, as in many other places across the United States, home values have skyrocketed. We learned just how much when we got our latest notice a couple of weeks ago from the... Read more →


Vice President Kamala Harris looks on as President Joe Biden makes remarks on the White House lawn. (White House photo) Tax tradition return redux: Biden and Harris again release their tax returns The United States' top two elected officials were among the millions who filed 2021 tax returns this year. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden reported on their joint Form 1040 adjusted gross income of $610,702. After the figuring was done, they paid $150,439 in federal income tax, which was a 24.6 percent effective tax rate. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Douglas Emhoff reported more... Read more →


via GIPHY So, you missed Tax Day. It happens. Don't panic. But don't dawdle. The Internal Revenue Service is serious about wanting your tax forms and, of course, any taxes you owe. If you miss the annual deadline, regardless of exactly when it falls, then you'll likely end up facing filing-related penalties, the harshest of which is for not filing at all. Below are four things you need to do now to get out of that penalty jam with as little damage as possible. Plus, there's a fifth tax move that could pay off for folks who aren't legally required... Read more →


Tax Day arrives even later for some major disaster area victims. Most U.S. taxpayers are chilling today. They either filed their annual tax return on Monday, April 18, the slight delay created by Emancipation Day 2022 falling on the usual April 15 Internal Revenue Service deadline. Or they sent the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get an extra six months to file. But some tax procrastinating residents of Maine and Massachusetts are working on their federal (and state) returns today. That's because Monday was Patriots Day, a statewide holiday in those two New England states. The IRS pushed Tax... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


If you've put off your tax filing until this last week before Tax Day, don't panic. You've still got time to do the tax job right. Tax Day is one week away! Yeah, I know. Not really a reason for celebrating, especially if you're just now tackling your taxes. There's no way to make this final tax filing week festive. However, these 10 last-minute filing tips can help you get the job done by the April 18 deadline. 1. Determine whether you need to file. Most Americans who earn money, be it through full-time jobs or self-employment or investment income,... Read more →


April brings not only spring showers, but also a focus on the annual tax-filing due date. Welcome to the first full week of April, the big month when it comes to taxes. After the two previous delayed Tax Day filing seasons, the Internal Revenue Service is committed to getting back on schedule, at least as far as the deadline for us taxpayers to meet. If you've yet to file your 2021 return, here are five tax tasks to complete as the April 18 filing deadline nears. 1. Decide what you're going to do about your 2021 return. With Tax Day... Read more →


Screenshot of YouTube News Disaster video of Puerto Rico flooding Tax Day 2022 has been moved to May 16 and June 15, but just for some taxpayers. And no, this is not a late April Fools Day joke. The postponement is for reasons none of us would want. It's for folks who were struck by major natural disasters. The Internal Revenue Service announced last week that it has granted special tax relief to Puerto Rico residents of who in February were struck by severe storms, flooding, and landslides. They now have until June 15 to file various individual and business... Read more →


Don't be an April Fool, or gullible person who's an easily caught fish when it comes to fakes floating around today. And never get caught in a tax myth net, on April 1 or any day. How's your April Fools' Day going? I hope you haven't been tricked into believing some outrageous claims. There even are a few April 1 tax pranks out there on social media. Don't fall for them. If you read or hear something tax-related that sounds a bit sketchy, take the time to check it out with reputable tax sources. To help in this area, here... Read more →


Federal tax returns get most of the attention during the annual tax season. That's because Uncle Sam's individual income tax laws apply across the country. But state taxes also are demanded of most Americans. For 2021 filings, residents in 42 states and the District of Columbia could face filing requirements. And most of them also offer their own state-specific versions of the federal Free File option. Only 8 total no-tax states: The only states with no personal income tax at all are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. Tax savvy readers probably noticed the increase in... Read more →


It's that time of filing season again. The Internal Revenue Service is reminding millions of people that they've left collective billions of dollars unrefunded. Yep, for a variety of reasons, every year people who are due tax refunds don't file the necessary tax paperwork to get their money. The U.S. Treasury holds on to it, but just for three years. If the due tax refunds aren't claimed within that time frame, Uncle Sam gets to keep the money. Forever. That means the claiming clock is ticking down for an estimated 1.5 million individuals who didn't file 2018 tax year returns... Read more →