Tax planning Feed

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the tax case Moore v. United States. Charles and Kathleen Moore filed the lawsuit challenging the Mandatory Repatriation Tax provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. That section of the tax reform law was designed to discourage U.S. corporations from keeping funds overseas by reducing certain taxes on foreign earnings. But in exchange In exchange for those tax cuts, investors and corporations had to pay a one-time, retroactive tax on all foreign income dating back to 1986. The repatriation provision,... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Charlie Harris Financial gifts arrive this month for many mutual fund investors. Most funds make annual distributions in December, based on their results at the October end of their fiscal year. The money paid to fund owners also presents the Internal Revenue Service with a present. The distributions are taxable. The fund owner owes tax on the amounts regardless of whether the money is reinvested or paid directly to the investor. Such distributions typically are only a small portion of a fund's returns. However, sometimes the December amounts are big enough to pose a serious tax... Read more →


My H-E-B helps me keep track of store purchases that might be eligible for FSA reimbursement. (Crumpled receipt photo by Kay Bell) After today's weekly grocery buying trip, I'm pulling out my stash of COVID-19 pandemic masks. Yes, I bought a lot. A whole lot! As before, the facial protection is to shield me from the sneezes and coughs of many of my uncovered fellow H-E-B shoppers. This time, though, I'm hoping the upper respiratory cacophony is due to the changing weather, dust stirred up by the firing up of furnaces, and, here in Central Texas, cedar fever. But you... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images As we have become more globally interconnected, worldwide tragedies affect more of us. We have family and friends scattered across the globe. We want to support and help them, especially in troubled times. But those connections can have a dark side. Crooks take advantage of our goodwill. Fraudsters tout fake charities to worldwide victims, seeking to divert much needed help into their own malicious pockets. After disasters, the Internal Revenue Service regularly reminds taxpayers to be alert for such cons. Fake charity scams also are, sadly, a perennial on the IRS' annual Dirty Dozen... Read more →


Individuals who didn't automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment or claim a Recovery Rebate Credit during the COVID-19 pandemic get a second chance at the money. Economic Impact Payments helped many U.S. families financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. But some eligible filers didn't get the stimulus money directly, and didn't claim it later as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they filed. Now they get another shot at the tax relief. Remember Economic Impact Payments? These funds, also referred to as stimulus payments, were issued during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internal Revenue Service sent most of the payments... Read more →


Are you enjoying Thanksgiving? I hope so. And if your Turkey Day celebration extends, like it does for most of us, into Friday and the weekend, Happy Beyond Thanksgiving! But when you're ready (or forced) to get back to your regular routine, you might want to make time to consider the items in the box below: five tax turkeys and how to avoid them. A few relatively easy tax moves in these areas could help make your tax life easier. 2023's Tax Turkeys 🦃 🍗 🦃 to Avoid Not adjusting your incorrect withholding Not collecting your employer's maximum 401(k) match... Read more →


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash This Thanksgiving week is a big travel week for millions of Americans. Most people are heading to friends' and/or relatives' where they'll share a Turkey Day spread. Others are using the time for other, non-holiday recreational pursuits. By this time next week, they'll be back home. In most cases, they'll return to homes are in the United States. However, thousands of U.S. citizens have relocated internationally. Despite the location distances, those Americans abroad share something with domestic residents other than celebrating a traditional U.S. holiday. They still owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless... Read more →


UPDATED, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023, to add a couple of new links as I found as I caught up on my own weekend tax reading. Source: Monopoly Wiki An inheritance from a friend or relative can be a nice surprise and a way to fondly remember that person. Such gifts typically do not have any tax implications for either the estate or heirs, at least not immediately, at the federal level. As noted in Part 6 of the ol' blog's annual tax inflation series, the value of an estate that is exempt from Uncle Sam's clutches goes from $12.92 million... Read more →


Before law changes, the now inflation-indexed Alternative Minimum Tax, known as the AMT, seemed to work like an ATM for the U.S. Treasury. The AMT was created 54 years ago to ensure the rich paid at least some tax, but since it originally wasn't indexed for inflation, it increasingly affected a lot of less-wealthy taxpayers. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) What's worse than figuring your tax bill? Having to figure a second, parallel amount you might owe. That's a situation that taxpayers who owe the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, end up facing at filing time. The... Read more →


Plus, a look at how a higher cost of living affects gifts before you go, youngsters' investment earnings, and more. Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash What we would do with our wealth may differ, but most of us want to be rich. And even if the Internal Revenue Service is successful in its recently announced effort to crack down on higher income tax evaders, having money is always preferable. In fact, if you've got beaucoup cash, you don't really have to try to slip one past Uncle Sam. Many of the current wealth-related provisions in the Internal Revenue Code... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images If you've been to a doctor recently, refilled a subscription, had to go to an emergency room, or just bought over-the-counter medications, you know that all these treatments cost a lot more than in previous years. It's enough to make you sick, or at least nudge up your blood pressure a bit. However, the tax code might have an Rx that can help. There are a variety of medical tax breaks that can help lower your federal tax bill. Several of them are adjusted each year to account for inflation. Here, in Part 5... Read more →


Taking advantage of these inflation-adjusted tax breaks could put more money in your pocket instead of Uncle Sam's bank account. (Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash) Each of our tax situations is unique. But every taxpayer can agree on one thing. We all want to pay the least amount of tax as possible. That universal goal can be reached by taking advantage of tax deductions, tax credits, and income exclusions. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a relatively easy, and popular, way to reduce a tax bill. Deductions... Read more →


Taxes are all about numbers, but generally speaking, we taxpayers are not big math fans. That's why we hire tax professionals or use tax software. That aversion to doing more calculations is why most of us have chosen, year-in and year-out, to claim the standard deduction. Sure, I know, we should use the tax deduction method, either standard or itemizing, that gives up the better tax due result. Still, I know some folks who use the standard deduction method without even comparing because, as noted, it's easier. There are no receipts to save, no additional adding, subtracting, and figuring percentages.... Read more →


Wide open spaces have a lot of appeal to many of us. Also appealing are the wider income tax brackets in 2024 just announced by the IRS. (Photo by Austin Pacheco on Unsplash) Inflation has dropped from its post-pandemic historic high in 2022, but it's still enough to cause financial pain. That, along with producers hanging on to their higher prices to recoup some of their COVID-19 losses, eats into our buying power, as every consumer is painfully aware. But there are a few instances when inflation can work to our advantage. One is when it prompts the Internal Revenue... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Every year, families gather at Thanksgiving. In many cases, it's a chance for relatives and friends who haven't seen each other for a while to reconnect. Some families, however, are much closer proximity-wise. They see each other all the time. And in some of those cases, family members are caregivers. That's why November is a good choice as National Family Caregivers Month. It is formal recognition, as noted in President Joe Biden's proclamation, that millions of Americans provide crucial care and assistance to parents, children, siblings, and other loved ones. Many of these caregivers... Read more →


Getting your tax ducks in a row takes on a different meaning, and bird, in November. But whatever fowl you choose for the metaphor, make some time this month to complete tasks that will prevent tax turkeys. (Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni) Hello, November! We welcome cooler (but not cold!) temperatures, holiday feasts (yes, I love pumpkin pie), and seeing family and friends for the first time in, well, months. This penultimate month of the year is also a good time to tackle some tax tasks. I know, you already have a lot on your November to-do list. But check out... Read more →


Confused about your workplace benefits options during open enrollment? Your answers to the following questions could help. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Millions of U.S. workers are now deciding what workplace benefits they want in 2024. Many during this annual open enrollment period simply re-up the options they chose last year. I get it. It's easy. But you could be costing yourself, both in out-of-pocket cost and tax savings. So, before you make a final decision, ask yourself the following questions. 1. Will your company help your repay your student loan? College costs and the debt that... Read more →


The 2023 filing season officially ended for most U.S. taxpayers on Monday, the Oct. 16 extension deadline. Now the Internal Revenue Service is looking forward to next year. The agency today announced that its finalizing a Direct File program that will involve at least four states. Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New York officials have decided be a part of the 2024 filing program, which will be under total IRS purview rather than in conjunction with the tax software industry as is the current Free File system. State tax help key: Getting the buy-in of California and New York, home to... Read more →


Updated Tuesday, October 17, 2023 The Internal Revenue Service's surprise announcement came on what was Tax Day for millions of Golden State taxpayers who earlier got additional federal filing time due to major disasters. State officials have followed suit, extending California's due date, too. In addition, the IRS last week gave U.S. taxpayers living in Israel almost a year to take care of a variety of current tax obligations. Storms across California earlier this year produced widespread flooding and other disastrous conditions. That prompted federal relief, including extended tax deadlines. Today, the IRS gave Golden State taxpayers another month to... Read more →


The coming wage base bump also means more FICA taxes for higher earners. It looks like this man got the good news that his Social Security benefit will be larger next year. However, the tax news for high earners who are still working isn't as welcome. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave 71 million benefits recipients good news today. Next year, they'll get a 3.2 percent increase in their Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. The cost-of-living (COLA) bump means that retirees will, on average in 2024, see more than... Read more →