Tax planning Feed

The Internal Revenue Service IRS is expected to process more than 160 million individual and business tax returns this filing season. Through March 15, the IRS had received nearly 71.6 million individual returns. Some taxpayers probably put off filing in the hopes that the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act would be enacted by Tax Day. Several of its provisions could help both personal and business filers. Whether that will happen is still unclear, as the tax bill that cleared the House has hit a lot of speed bumps in the Senate. Other taxpayers, however, aren't that concerned... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Spring officially arrived at 11:06 p.m. March 19. Have you finished your spring cleaning yet? Me neither. But I have started. To be honest, it was prompted when the hubby and I had some work done to our house. With the structure getting some sprucing up, it only seemed natural to replace some interior items. The next question was what to do with the old stuff? For many, a yard sale is a good way to get rid of unwanted but workable items. But those who don't want to spend a Saturday haggling with... Read more →


Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash Moving to another country for a job involves a lot of changes, but one thing stays the same. Thanks to our worldwide tax system for individuals, as a U.S. citizen you remain a U.S. taxpayer, regardless of where you live. That makes you responsible for filing federal tax returns on your overseas earnings. Uncle Sam, however, does provide some tax breaks to his citizens living and working abroad. They get more time to file, with a June 15 deadline. And thanks to tax treaties, globally peripatetic taxpayers also get certain foreign earned income exclusions... Read more →


Photo by Kampus Production Our neighborhood has been full of kids recently. Last week was our local school district's spring break. Monday was an added day off for the youngsters, as teachers only returned to their schools for a special work day. It also was a six days of parents juggling child care and their jobs. I got a close up of this from our new next-door neighbors. Mom and dad alternated days off from their jobs so one of them could stay home with their two children, a pre-teen and a young teenager. Child care is a major challenge... Read more →


President Joe Biden has targeted capital gains tax laws in his fiscal year 2025 budget. But don't freak out if you have some money in the markets. For the most part, Biden's looking to get more from really wealthy market mavens who typically pay lower capital gains tax rates on the long-term assets they sell. Collecting billionaires' unrealized capital gains: When you sell an asset for more than your paid for it, that profit is a capital gain. The tax rate for these gains typically is less than ordinary tax rates that apply to earnings like wages. In most cases,... Read more →


Herbal supplements might make you feel better, but such products typically don't qualify as medical treatments that are eligible for tax-favored treatment. (Photo by Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can offer some taxpayers triple tax savings. Holders of HSAs also have a longer window to contribute to these tax-advantaged plans. As noted in my March tax moves post, you can contribute to your HSA by Tax Day (that's April 15 this year), and have it count as money put into the account for the prior tax year. In addition to being a... Read more →


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 →