Recordkeeping Feed

The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon tousles Donald J. Trump's hair during the Republican candidate's Sept. 15, 2016, appearance on the late-night television program. That hair. He spent $70,000 on that hair. Yes, I — and you and everybody — is talking about that $70,000 tax deduction claim by Donald J. Trump on his taxes, which were obtained by The New York Times and detailed in an expansive story this past weekend. Trump's hair has long been a point of curiosity and comedy. He knows it. He even has played it up with voters and on non-Apprentice television appearances. I... Read more →


Almost 14 million U.S. taxpayers are getting a few extra dollars from Uncle Sam. If you're one of them, you can thank the Internal Revenue Service and the COVID-19 changes to the 2020 filing season. Pandemic tax season timing tweaks mean that these regular refund recipients also will be getting some interest — an average of $18 — in addition to their expected tax-back amounts. Interesting deadline days: The IRS announced the upcoming interest payments back in late June. Now it's making good on that promise, which was necessitated by this year's Tax Day delay. The postponing of the filing... Read more →


Photo via Office of the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General And the crazy that is COVID-19 tax season 2020 keeps on coming. The recent buzz on tax social media was/is about Internal Revenue Service balance-due notices that arrived in folks' mailboxes. However, the people who got the notices did file on time and did pay when they filed. So what gives? The problem, in most cases, is that the payments were/are stuck in the agency's huge — 10 million pieces — U.S. Postal Service mail backlog. Since those initial concerns were aired on social media (thank you #TaxTwitter!), things seem... Read more →


My desk in my home office which I deduct when I file my taxes. Not that I'm paranoid, but sometimes it seems like unseen others somehow know what's going on in my life. The latest example is tax related. Earlier this week, a #TaxTwitter pal asked that social media group about home office tax deductions. Granted, this is not an unusual question since the coronavirus pandemic has meant many of us have been working from home, a lot of us for the very first time. Today, the Internal Revenue Service issued a tax tip on what taxpayers need to know... Read more →


It's been almost a week since Tax Day 2015. That's why today's Tax Form Tuesday is celebrating Form 1040. Actually, this week's feature includes not just the actual tax return you recently sent to the Internal Revenue Service, but also the many forms and schedules that accompanied your return, plus all the associated documents you used to complete it. Yep, we're talking tax record keeping. There's no federal tax law or IRS regulation detailing a preferred way to keep your tax records. That's because every taxpayer situation is different. But the one constant is that you do need to hang... Read more →


You're working on your tax return and discover that you are that close to shaving a few more dollars off what you owe Uncle Sam. Many in this situation are tempted to get creative. Don't. The Internal Revenue Service has seen it all. OK, most of it. The bottom line is that sketchy tax deduction claims are invitations to IRS auditors. Crazy and possibly costly tax break claims: Earlier this year before Tax Day got pushed to July 15 by coronavirus precautions, Washington Post financial columnist Michelle Singletary talked with some tax professionals about the wild write-offs they've seen. Singletary... Read more →


Did you get your COVID-19 stimulus money, either as direct deposit, debit card or a check like this? If so, you also should have received a letter discussing the payment and amount. The IRS says you need to keep that letter in your tax files. Congress might be working on another round of COVID-19 economic relief payment (EIPs). I say might because although the House in mid-May approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and its provisions for even more stimulus money, the Senate and White House are dragging their heels. Not quite the max: Democrats,... Read more →


Photo by fauxels from Pexels Working from home is a major lifestyle change wrought by COVID-19 and efforts to stem its spread. That's produced good, bad, ugly and tax results. The good is no commuting. The bad is family members who think since you're home, you still can do everything else, too. The ugly is the attire most of us wear as we work from home, except for the times we put on a clean shirt for Zoom meetings. Then there's the matter of taxes. Workers' locations, new tax nexus? Since shutdown orders went into place in mid-March, businesses have... Read more →


We're heading, finally, into the heart of tax return filing season 2020. Even if you fill out and submit your Form 1040 electronically, as most of us do, you still need the documents that provide the figures you transfer to your return. One area of interest to millions every filing season is interest. In some cases, the interest you pay on certain loans can provide a tax break. In another, it could mean you owe Uncle Sam a bit more. This week's Tax Form Tuesday looks at three common interest-related tax documents. (Quick note: the forms' names below are linked... Read more →


Sorry, but no matter how much your cat "helps" in your home office, the feline will not qualify as an employee, whose costs are tax deductible. However, you might be able to write off a part of your personal residence's homeowner's policy. (Photo by Lisa Omarali via Flicker CC) The hubby and I are still in self-quarantine, but while we've put the brakes on most of our regular activities, one part of our life is continuing as usual. Our house. Every homeowner will tell you that in addition to being the complete kings and queens of your (for the most... Read more →


April is winding down. That means severe, and some deadly, spring storms are erupting all over the United States. And in just more than a month, hurricane season will officially start. A couple of states — Alabama and Texas — earlier this year offered their residents a sales tax holiday so they could save some money as they stocked up on emergency supplies. But even if you have to pay tax on your bottled water and canned food and batteries, start gathering your supplies now. Also take a pre-disaster inventory of your property. A full, accurate list of your belongings... Read more →


Happy Pi Day 2014. March 14 is the annual celebration of pi, usually indicated by the Greek letter π, since the 3/14 calendar format is a close representation of pi's first three digits. What exactly is pi? Naturally, I went to the internet to find out, so math experts please cut me a slice of slack here. The consensus is that pi is a number that originally was defined as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. It's a mathematical constant, meaning it isn't changed by the size of the numbers it is used to equate. It's also... Read more →


My [too] many medical treatment folders and dedicated medical travel log. (Kay Bell photo) I'm in the tax filing minority. I still itemize. Medical issues are the primary reason I've been filling out Schedule A for the last few years. Not to bore you with the gory details, but recently I've had a couple of medical scares and surgeries. Combine those with the requisite multiple physician follow-ups (this afternoon I'm heading to my fifth of sixth doctor appointments this month), continued testing and, of course, prescriptions and let's just say I'm helping many, many doctors pay off their vacation homes... Read more →


I finally got the final 1099 I was waiting for yesterday. Yay! Now I can file my return. The 1099 situation for a retired Southern California dentist, however, didn't go so smoothly. David Powell, got a 1099 from MetLife insurance showing he was paid $1,500 for dental work he says he never performed. Since MetLife also sent that 1099 to the Internal Revenue Service, this meant Powell was on the hook for taxes on money he never earned. Double check documents immediately: Powell's case is why you always need to look at every tax statement — 1099s, W-2s, bank, brokerage... Read more →


Yes, I know I'm a nag when it comes to year-end tax moves. I've posted about individual steps to take by Dec. 31 both at the beginnings of November and December, as well as looked at business tax moves to make now. But as happens all the time in life and taxes, I've come up with a few more year-end tax moves that didn't make the earlier lists, or at least were mentioned just in passing. So here goes with five more tax moves to make by Dec. 31 1. Don't miss the RMD deadline. You followed all the financial... Read more →


This summer the Internal Revenue Service launched an effort to make sure cryptocurrency owners comply with tax law. The IRS treats the online money as an investment, not cash. It sent more than 10,000 Bitcoin et al investors letters to educate them of their tax responsibilities, encourage them to report their transactions and get payment where due. The IRS crypto asset outreach appears to have worked. Positive taxpayer and IRS responses: Not only did the IRS get responses to the letters (which is what you should always to when you get a notice from the federal tax collector), in many... Read more →


Business meals are covered by per diem rates. Business travel entails a variety of expenses. In addition to the costs of getting to your work-related destination, you've got to pay for a place to stay, a rental car if you flew there, meals and incidentals. When you hit the road as an employee, your boss has a couple of options when it comes to reimbursing you. You can collect all your business travel receipts and turn them in with an expense report. Or the company can provide you with a set-per-diem amount. Per diem, from Latin for by day, is... Read more →


One of my previous jobs was an office manager. I was in charge of reviewing expenditures before they were approved and then making sure they were paid once the services were provided. Every month or so I'd get an invoice for some office supplies. Every month I threw it in the trash. It was from a scam company that tried to sneak the paperwork into my to-pay file. Occasionally, people representing these "suppliers" would call about the allegedly overdue bill. When I told them I had forwarded the bill to our legal department, they quickly hung up. That was 30... Read more →


//Kara's Party Ideas If you don't have to work on this post-July 4th Friday, then you're probably spending the day recovering from your patriotic and fireworks-laden celebrations. Some folks also are resting up from their birthday partying. Yep, I'm talking about those folks born on the Fourth of July. Famous 4th birthday celebrants: Several celebrities share this early July birth date. People magazine published a slide show and those from that presentation that caught my eye include: Eva Marie Saint, the Academy Award winning actress immortalized in On the Waterfront, which was directed by Elia Kazan and also showcased real-life... Read more →


Tax season is over for another year. Now all that's left cleaning up after the filing crunch. I know many of y'all are tempted to simply toss everything in the trash. Don't. You don't have to the tax version of television's Hoarders, but there are some tax-related documents you need to hang onto, at least for a while. These 7 frequently asked questions and answers can help you get a better handle on your tax record keeping. 1. Why should I keep records? Well-organized records make it easier to prepare your tax return. Documentation, both the amount and in good... Read more →