Tax planning Feed

March's arrival means it's time to start stalking some tax savings. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) While the saying that March comes in like and goes out like a lamb usually is a reference to this month's weather transition from winter to spring (or, here in Central Texas, to summer already), feline aggressiveness could come in handy at tax filing time. There are plenty of tax moves you can make during this final full month before Tax Day, which is this year is the normal April 15 due date. Here are five tax matters to consider in... Read more →


Consistent contributions to tax-advantaged retirement accounts can help them grow from seedlings to a solid and sizeable amount of money for your post-work years. (Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash) The stock market has been on a roll, rather than a roller coaster, of late. On Friday, March 1, The Nasdaq recorded its first record close in more than two years. The Dow and S&P 500 are off to their best start to a year since 2019. That's more good news for investors, particularly those whose holdings are in retirement accounts. These savers already saw their retirement vehicles achieve their... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Most taxpayers claim the standard deduction. Those who opt to itemize do so because they have enough tax deductible expenses to exceed their filing status' standard amount. In most cases, those expenses are medical. Generally, you can claim allowable medical costs for yourself, your spouse, and dependents as long as the treatments were prescribed by a physician as necessary to diagnose, ease, or prevent a physical or mental illness. The amount of these medical costs that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income count on your Schedule A, the form where you detail... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Meg Aghamyan First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes filing your taxes together in one package. 💘💕💗💕💘 Or not. OK, I pushed it trying to rhyme marriage and package. Now it's clear why I stick to prose instead of poetry And that "or not" stanza is a bit counterintuitive on Valentine's Day, a time when we traditionally celebrate love and inseparability. But we are talking taxes on this heart day, so there's always an exception. Married filing options: It's true that most of the time, it's better to file one return jointly. Not only is... Read more →


This time of year, most taxpayers are focused on filing their annual tax returns. But most isn't all. Some individuals are trying to sort out other federal tax issues. The Internal Revenue Service is making more face-to-face time to help these taxpayers. More time for taxpayers: The IRS has Taxpayer Assistance Centers, or TACs, across the United States. While tax return preparation is not a service offered at IRS TACs, the facilities do work with taxpayers to help resolve other tax-related issues. Now, nearly 250 of those offices will extend their usual 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekday hours to... Read more →


Taking things a bit more slowly often is a good idea. For many, that approach also applies when it comes to filing their annual tax return. (Photo by Kay Bell) While millions of taxpayers are eager each January to get their returns to the Internal Revenue Service, there just as many who want to take their time. Some are just natural procrastinators. They wait until the last minute to finish every task. But when it comes to tax filing, there actually are some good reasons to not be in such a hurry. Here are seven. 1. To see if Congress... Read more →


Fortune cookie tax filing wisdom (Photo by Kay Bell) If the 2024 tax-filing season is anything like previous ones, millions of taxpayers sent their 2023 taxes to the Internal Revenue Service today, the official start of federal return processing. The most obvious and common motive for first-day filing is to get expected refunds. But there are some other reasons you might want to file your taxes early. Here are eight. 1. To beat tax ID thieves to the punch. The IRS and its Security Summit partners have made good progress in recent years in reducing tax identity theft and associated... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tax season 2024 officially starts Monday, Jan. 29. Lots of taxpayers have already filled out their 1040 forms and are just waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to start processing them next week. Most of these early filers are expecting tax refunds. They also likely have relatively simple tax lives. Lucky them. Others, however, have more complicated tax and financial circumstances. These folks have more tax documents with details that must be transferred to their return forms and schedules. They also need to consider how their situations might affect their tax returns. Below is... Read more →


Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash The major challenge for Congress right now is finalizing funding so the federal government won't shut down in March. But some members also are, as noted in yesterday's post, trying to get a mini tax extenders measure passed. And that's not the only tax bill on some lawmakers' minds. A bill to eliminate the federal estate tax was introduced just as the larger bipartisan House/Senate tax bill was clearing the House Ways and Means Committee. Estate tax elimination effort. Again: Some cynical Washington, D.C., watchers might say this bill was introduced primarily for political purposes.... Read more →


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash In just more than a week, millions of taxpayers will be focusing on the start of the 2024 tax filing season. But some residents of Illinois, Tennessee, and the U.S. Virgin Islands also must pay attention to other altered tax deadlines. They live in areas declared major disasters by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As is typically the case, the IRS followed those announcements by providing the affected taxpayers some tax relief. Here are some reminders of the new tax deadlines — in February for some Illinois and Caribbean residents, and June for... Read more →


You're ready to file your tax return, but there's one problem. You don't have all the statements you need to complete your Form 1040 and associated schedules. Many of us, however, are just going to have to be patient for a couple more weeks. While some issuers have sent taxpayers the required statements, many don't get them out until close to, in most cases, the mandated Jan. 31 delivery date. The documents typically are snail mailed, but technology is gaining ground. Issuers of most of my annual tax statements now let me know by email the documents are ready. Then... Read more →


Tax filing season 2024 continues its rollout, with some business returns getting the go-head next week. The key word here is some. Some business forms must wait: While the Internal Revenue Service's Modernized e-File (MeF) status webpage says it will start accepting electronically filed business returns at 9 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, Jan. 16, a follow-up announcement has put the brakes on some filings. An IRS QuickAlert email last week noted that some business forms will not be accepted until the full 2024 filing season starts on Monday, Jan. 29. Below is the text of the delay announcement, including... Read more →


You probably are getting ready for the three-day weekend coming up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday on Monday, Jan. 15. But if you pay estimated taxes, you also know that date usually is the deadline for the prior tax year's fourth payment. Since it's MLK Day this year, this due date is pushed to the next business day, Tuesday, Jan. 16. You need to meet that final deadline to avoid a possible tax bill or penalty (or both) when your file your 2023 tax return later this year. Why estimated tax? Most of us pay... Read more →


Free File opens earlier, on Friday, Jan. 12. And business filers can e-file their returns starting Tuesday, Jan. 16, the first business day after the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. And we have a starting date! The Internal Revenue Service today announced that it will begin accepting and processing 2023 tax year individual returns on Monday, Jan. 29. But wait. There's more. Free File available Jan. 12: The IRS also has a date for taxpayers eligible to use its Free File service. This no-cost tax preparation and e-filing partnership of the IRS and some members of the tax... Read more →


The majority of taxpayers get refunds. They also file early each tax season so they can get their money as soon as possible. But some are always disappointed. While the Internal Revenue Service aims for a 21-day turnaround, from the time it gets your return and processes it until the day you have your refund in hand, that's not a rule. To borrow from Capt. Barbossa in the original "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, it's more of a guideline. The IRS used to issue a chart showing expected refund dates based on when taxpayers filed. Now that document, IRS Publication... Read more →


Doing your taxes can be a hassle. It's a bit easier when you claim the standard deduction instead of itemizing. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Karolina Grabowska) This weekend, many taxpayers will be working on their 2023 tax returns. They share a couple of traits in addition to simply being eager filers. The first is no surprise. They are expecting a tax refund. And second, their tax situations are relatively simple. Typically, they have only wage income that's reported on a W-2 form, and they use the standard deduction instead of itemizing. The number of individuals who claim the... Read more →


Updated Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, to include the just announced official start of the 2024 tax filing season. Not only is it the first week of a brand, spanking new year, it's the first week of the 2024 tax filing season. I know, the Internal Revenue Service isn't yet accepting 2023 tax returns. That won't happen until the official start of the 2024 filing season on Monday, Jan. 29. But lots of taxpayers already are getting their forms in order, so they can send them the minute the IRS officially opens its doors, and computer system, to process them. And... Read more →


Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Monika Grabkowska Happy New Year! I know, it's already two days old, so I'm a bit late. But I'm cutting myself some slack since it's the first work day of the year after a three-day holiday. I'm also cutting myself some slack when it comes to annual resolutions. I'm not making any. It's not that I'm opposed to setting goals. But I hate that annual judgy list. I'm still working on some prior year intentions, so I don't see a need to add to my tasks. If you, however, like to start off each... Read more →


Is getting rich one of your 2024 New Year resolutions? It could happen tonight if you have the winning Powerball numbers. The Dec. 30, 2023, drawing didn't produce a winner of the multi-million dollar jackpot. So tonight's Powerball payout for a single winner is $810 million, or the more likely $408.9 million that's available in a single payment. The possible payout already is the fifth largest Powerball jackpot. And it will grow a bit more today, as wishful millionaires buy tickets up until the numbers are chosen at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time tonight. UPDATE, Jan. 2, 2024: The New Year's... Read more →


Photo by olia danilevich Millions will celebrate the end of 2023 on Sunday, Dec. 31. But the last day of the year isn't just for partying. Dec. 31 also is an important tax day. It's the deadline to take care of some tasks that could affect your 2023 tax bill. Other things that happen on the year's final day also have tax implications. Here are five common end-of-year situations that have Dec. 31 tax timing implications. 1. Getting married: If you say "I do" on 12/31, then the Internal Revenue Service considers you married for the whole year. That means... Read more →