Tax planning Feed

The tax filing season clock is ticking, but will the alarm go off on April 15 as usual? That's the IRS plan for now, but some in Congress and the tax community would like Uncle Sam to extend the 2021 Tax Day deadline like happened last year. The Internal Revenue Service is insistent that despite a later than normal opening of the 2021 tax filing season, it will end as usual on April 15. Some lawmakers and members of the tax community, however, think this filing season needs to follow the 2020 example and be extended beyond the usual mid-April... Read more →


Since the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) was enacted on March 11, the Internal Revenue Service has distributed approximately 159 million COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs). Those deliveries come to more than $376 billion. This third round of coronavirus pandemic payments, worth up to $1,400 per person, has been going out in batches. Recipients include taxpayers who've filed 2020 returns, Social Security recipients, and veterans and their families. Still, there are some folks who aren't on the IRS' EIP delivery list. These are, for the most part, people who haven't file a tax return because they're not legally required to... Read more →


For the second consecutive year, millions of individual taxpayers aren't freaking out about their taxes as April 15 nears. That's because for the second consecutive year, the annual Tax Day has been postponed. But still, some folks are crashing right about now to get their 2020 filings done. That's because the Internal Revenue Service decision to move Tax Day 2021 from mid-April to May 17 applies only to individuals who must file income tax returns, aka the IRS' 1040 forms series. And some of these still have an April 15 deadline if they must pay estimated taxes for the 2021... Read more →


It's April. You know what that means. Major League Baseball is back! Yep, the return of The Boys of Summer takes top billing this month since the Internal Revenue Service pushed the usual April 15 Tax Day to May 17. I'll be spending this Opening Day doing what I do every year when the professional baseball season starts: watching games. All 30 MLB teams are in action today, so that's a lot of innings to occupy my time. Update: Today's meeting of my East Coast team, the Baltimore Orioles, at the Red Sox's Fenway Park is postponed until Friday due... Read more →


You've kept a close eye on your nest egg. If some of it is in tax-deferred accounts, required minimum distributions are back in 2021. If you're an older retirement account owner and freaking out because the April deadline for your first required minimum distribution is almost here, take a breath. The convergence of coronavirus pandemic tax considerations and a major retirement law's changes mean that there's no April 1 required withdrawal in 2021. No fooling. But you'll still have to make your regular 2021 RMD by the end of the year. RMD refresher: Let's start with a quick refresher on... Read more →


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 →


This is the weather we in the Austin area have to look forward to this evening. Severe weather and natural disasters occur year-round across the country. Regardless of where you live and the potential disaster threat, get ready now! (KXAN NBC4 weather graphic) I always look forward to spring, but when it arrives, I wonder why. In addition to warmer weather and new growth in my garden (yes, even after last month's Arctic Blast!), the seasonal change also brings severe weather. I'm charging up all my devices this afternoon, since if the forecast pictured above of potentially severe weather comes... Read more →


Princess Bride impatience via Giphy.com You're due a tax refund. Plus, your 2020 tax situation means you can claim the rest of the COVID-19 related Recovery Rebate Credit that you didn't automatically get last year. So, of course, you filed on Feb. 12, as soon as the Internal Revenue Service started accepted returns. Now you're wondering, why the heck you haven't yet received your refund. Unusual overload: The bad news is that the IRS is still dealing with backlogs, primarily of mailed correspondence, created when it had to shut down its offices last year as part of coronavirus precautions. The... Read more →


The tax world is full of instances that are different from the real world. There are quarterly estimated tax payments that don't align with our standard calendar quarters. There are birthdays that are considered having been celebrated earlier when we get older. And now there are financial transactions that aren't financial transactions, at least when it comes to cryptocurrency. IRS has crypto questions: Cryptocurrency, often referred to generally as bitcoin (the Kleenex tissue of virtual money), has been a target of the Internal Revenue Service for years. Most recently, the agency has focused on getting taxes due on crypto transactions.... Read more →


This year's annual federal tax return filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to May 17. Yep, for the second consecutive year, our 1040 forms won't have to be in or on their way to Uncle Sam's tax collector until after the traditional deadline. And yes, COVID-19 is the reason, largely because of tax law changes and backlogs related to the pandemic. But many of those who had urged an automatic delay for Tax Day 2021 are not impressed by the IRS action. Sure, we now have a bit more time to file our personal returns, but little more.... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is still working its way through millions of pieces of correspondence delivered last year, so the last thing it needs is more. But it's getting it. Federal lawmakers and organizations representing members of the tax community have mailed letters over the last week to the U.S. Treasury and IRS urging the delay this year of April's usual Tax Day. April 15 is still THE day: Tax returns so far are still due on April 15, the traditional filing deadline. And the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig is holding to that date. For now. During a March 3... Read more →


With the expansion of available COVID-19 vaccines, many workers are looking forward to shutting down their home offices and soon heading back to their offices. Others, however, have left the workforce for good. Unfortunately, the work status change for some recent retirees didn't happen quite as they had planned. More than two-thirds, or 68 percent, of individuals who responded to Allianz Life's 2021 Retirement Risk Readiness survey said they retired earlier than expected. That's a significant increase from the 50 percent who took early retirement last year. The coronavirus pandemic has underscored that much of life is beyond our control.... Read more →


Even during a pandemic, more routine illnesses occur. Don't put off seeing a doctor. Your medical spending account money can help cover office visit copays and much more. And if you're facing a March 15 deadline to spending the money, don't miss it! Medical concerns are top of mind for most of us right now because COVID-19. But as doctors are quick to point out, you shouldn't let pandemic fears keep you from seeking medical help, either for less-severe ailments or regular treatments of a chronic illness. In addition to paying attention to your and your family's health, you also... Read more →


A panoramic view of Positano, Italy, the famously vertical town where actor and food/travel show host Stanley Tucci found the highly-desired Amalfi Coast lemons. (Image courtesy Italia Agenzia Nazionale Turismo) Tonight, the hubby and I will watch our latest favorite television series, Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. The CNN show is part travelogue, but with routes determined by Tucci's tastes, which are so far spectacular. The award-winning actor, director, screenwriter, Instagram bartender and cookbook author (you're not surprised, are you?) essentially is eating his way through Italy, the county from which both sides of his family hail. He started in... Read more →


Winter can be gorgeous. It also can be disastrous, as all us Texans more accustomed to heat waves than winter storms found out last week. (Photo by Kay Bell) It's been near 80 degrees for the last two days in my part of Texas. This time last week, we were in the teens during the day, after single-digit overnight low — and record-breaking — cold temperatures. This surprisingly strong cold snap left a lot of damage. People lost power and water. Freezing pipes in freezing houses burst. Food was spoiled. Many are looking at weeks to even get repairs underway... Read more →


IRS Washington, D.C., headquarters (Photo by Davide Boeke via Flickr CC) Taxpayers are not the only ones ticked off because they got failure to file notices from the Internal Revenue Service. "Enough is enough," two leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee has told IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a recent letter. W&M Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) and Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-New Jersey), chair of the tax-writing panel's Subcommittee on Oversight, took the agency to task not only for the 260,000 incorrect non-filing notices it recently sent, but also for a series of other missteps. "[W]e are... Read more →


Last year, as companies and employees were struggling with operational changes necessary to safely deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service IRS provided relief that allowed employers to tweak benefits plans so that employees had increased flexibility to make mid-year changes to dependent care spending accounts. This change helped parents who had set aside tax-deferred money in child care accounts, but because their kids were at home while mom and/or dad also worked at home, did not need as much care account funds as they anticipated pre-pandemic. Today, the IRS has issued additional guidance on the latest coronavirus... Read more →


Just can't bring yourself to do your taxes? Don't worry. There's no rush (yet). And there are some good reasons to wait a bit before finishing your Form 1040. The 2021 tax filing season is finally underway. The Internal Revenue Service started processing returns on Friday, Feb. 12. A lot of the 1040 forms actually had been submitted electronically weeks earlier, and were just waiting for Uncle Sam to accept them. This is not unusual. Millions of taxpayers file as early as possible, with good reason, every year. But there's something to said for those of us who wait. Here... Read more →


Tax Season 2021 is finally here! The Internal Revenue Service has started accepting tax returns and, more importantly, is now processing the filings as of today, Friday, Feb. 12. Millions have already filed. Most of them used tax software, either on their own or through the Free File program, which the IRS and its tax prep partners opened up a month ago. Those 1040 forms have been on hold. Now they've been transmitted to the IRS. Others, however, still have some work to do. We're waiting for some tax statements to straggle in, either to our snail mail or email... Read more →


I've always done my taxes. When the hubby and I married, I continued this annual task, now filing our joint return. The only change is that every tax season the hubby periodically peers over my shoulder as I work on our return and chants, "Deduct! Deduct! Deduct!" Although taxes aren't his thing, he's right. Deductions can help lower taxes. And for most of our marriage, we've found it better to itemize deductions on Schedule A. But even then, we've been able to use now and then what are known as above-the-line deductions. Back when these write-offs got that name, they... Read more →


We've always asked a lot of our teachers. We've been asking more during the COVID-19 pandemic. But at least they are getting a bit of tax help this filing season thanks to a tweak to the educators' tax break. Now teachers and other qualifying school personnel can count some coronavirus out-of-pocket expenses when they claim the $250 deduction on their returns. That added spending option was included last December's Consolidated Authorization Act, 2021 that combined government funding, COVID-19 relief and some expiring tax provisions. You might remember it as the bill that provided a second $600 economic impact payment. This... Read more →