Tax planning Feed

One of our neighbors made sure we all knew they had a new, cool graduate. (Photo by Kay Bell) I swear, my nieces and nephews were just in kindergarten. And wasn't that neighbor kid trick-or-treating as a dinosaur a couple of years ago? So how am I getting high school and college graduation announcements for these young people? Most of them will get a nice, actual paper congratulations card. A few will find a gift card tucked inside. However, a couple of these newly minted young adults will get actual gifts. But they won't be items that have to wrapped.... Read more →


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 →


For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. The theme for this year's week, which wraps up today, May 7, is Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship. As part of the May 1 through 7 recognition of small businesses, SBA Administrator Guzman visited nine cities across the United States to participate in, along with SBA local office personnel and local elected officials, celebrations of the country's 32.5 million small businesses. Since taxes are a critical component of small businesses, the... 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 Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The inflation we're experiencing right now is truly a pain. Thank goodness most of my driving is my weekly trip to the grocery store, but those bills have almost doubled. However, the current inflation level does have one, tiny bright spot for folks who have a specific type of health care coverage. It's bumping up tax benefits for individuals who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and associated health savings account (HSA). HDHP coverage has grown in popularity as health care costs kept rising, even before this historic inflation increase. As the name indicates, these plan enrollees face more... 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 →


Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels Did the just-completed main tax-filing season leaving you wanting to give the Internal Revenue Service a piece of your mind? You're in luck. The Treasury Department's Office of Tax Policy and the IRS formulate an annual Priority Guidance Plan to help the agencies focus their resources on issues that are most important to taxpayers and tax administration. And each year, Treasury and IRS ask all us taxpayers to let them what we think they should concentrate on during the plan's time frame. Calling all taxpayers: That invitation was issued today as IRS Notice 2022-21,... Read more →


Photo by cottonbro from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2022. Those who submitted tax returns have been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe it's time to give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought. Here are 5 tax matters to consider so that you can completely clear your 2021 tax year decks. 1. Review your payroll withholding: The IRS reminds us every year that most taxpayers get refunds. That's because a lot of filers plan it that way. They overwithhold taxes from their paychecks as a forced savings account.... Read more →


Most U.S. taxpayers made it through Tax Day 2022. They either filed their 1040 forms, or they got an extension to submit their returns by Oct. 17. The Internal Revenue Service reported that by April 15, which usually is the annual filing deadline, but was pushed to the next business day by Washington, D.C.'s Emancipation Day holiday, it had received more than 122.5 million returns. That's around 73 percent of the people who filed in 2020 and 2021, when filings exceeded historical averages. The count was higher those years because people who normally weren't required to send in a return... 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 →


Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service. Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot? If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single... Read more →


Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. via Pexels Filing status is one of those tax matters that seems so simple, but which often trips up taxpayers in real life. As noted (shameless plug warning) in my 5 filing status choices item for the April Tax Tips page, most folks' status stays the same from tax year to tax year. But a change (or two, or more) in your personal situation could mean you need to revisit how you file your return. The head of household (HoH) status is a frequent source of confusion. Here, an unmarried person takes care of the... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers are facing their first tax payment for 2022 on Monday, April 18. No, I'm not talking about any tax due you sent along with the 2021 return you filed or are frantically working on this last week before Tax Day. That money counted toward last year's taxes. I'm talking about the taxpayers who will be paying a separate amount to cover their earnings during the first quarter of 2022. Yep, it's estimated tax time again. And yep, the first payment of the current tax year coincides with any tax due for the previous one, making Tax Day... 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 are a U.S. taxpayer living outside the country and frantically working to meet this year's April 18 tax-filing deadline, take a breath. Then mark your calendar for June 15. The Internal Revenue Service grants taxpayers who are overseas, including members of the armed forces stationed abroad, and automatic two-month extension to file. You don't have to send in Form 4868 to get it the extra filing time. Note, however, that this automatic extension to file is just that, an extension to file. If you owe tax for the 2021 tax year, you must pay it by this year's... Read more →


Photo by 401k2012 via Flickr CC April 18 isn't just the day you must file your 2021 tax return and pay any tax due. This fast-approaching Tax Day also the deadline to make a 2021 tax year contribution to your individual retirement arrangement (IRA), either a traditional or Roth account. For 2021, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your traditional or Roth IRA. If you're age 50 or older, you can add another $1,000 as a catch-up contribution. If you have the cash, or expect to get a refund that could replace the money you use for your IRA,... 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 →


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work. Millions who lost earnings when the coronavirus cut their workplace hours filled the fiscal gap with gig jobs. Others left their wage-paying work entirely, opting to start their own businesses. That's meant these entrepreneurs are facing self-employment tax tasks for the first time. It also means many of them are claiming their first home office tax deduction. And that tax-saving break itself means one more tax decision. Are you going to use the regular home office deduction, or go with the simplified method? As with most things tax,... Read more →