Recordkeeping Feed

Spring has come and gone here in Central Texas. We're heading into a stretch when afternoon high temperatures are going to push 90 degrees. But it's still a good time for some spring cleaning, especially since it's going to too hot to be outdoors. And especially if you decided to get your taxes done well ahead of the May 17 Tax Day 2021 deadline. Over the years, I've posted my post-filing record retention recommendations. My tax document record keeping suggestions following last year's also-delayed Tax Day still are good, even if I say so myself. True, if you need but... Read more →


A group of Kentucky homeowners switched to a different, higher-rate tax district so their increased taxes would pay for things like street cleaning. A transcription error meant they got it and other services for free for eight years. (Photo by Kay Bell) Property tax bills are a major expense for homeowners. They also can be confusing. Here in Texas, most property tax money goes to the homeowners' local school districts. But there's usually more. Our real estate bill, for example, has collections for our independent school district, as well as five other taxing jurisdictions. That's why every tax bill recipient... Read more →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Photo by Jess Bailey Designs The only thing worse than getting a surprising high property tax appraisal — which, as one of April's tax tips advises, you definitely should protest for venting, as well as potential lower tax, purposes — is having your local tax collector tell you that your tax payment is overdue. That happened to 2,400 homeowners in upstate New York, according to LocalSYR.com. Tax rebate endangered: Technically, the property owners in Onondaga County didn't get a past due bill. Instead, they incorrectly received notice from the Empire State's Department of Taxation and Finance that they could lose... 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 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 →


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 →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


Imgur-Finextra Organized crowdfunding has been around for 25 years. It's helped people make ends meet, cover emergency expenses, make movies, support others in need. It's taken on a new life due to recent catastrophic events. During the first seven months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, more than 175,000 GoFundMe campaigns were established in the United States for coronavirus-related needs. Now, as Ukrainians fight off Russian invaders, direct online contributions are flooding into efforts to aid the country's resistance and humanitarian efforts. Such expansion of financial transactions means, of course, that here in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service... Read more →


Pixabay via Pexels We're well into the 2022 tax filing season, meaning most of us have received the documents we need to file our tax returns. The main ones, our W-2 forms from employers and 1099s reporting other types of compensation, were supposed to be sent by the end of January. But sometimes that doesn't happen. Or the tax form you got was wrong. When then? Here are four steps to take now, along with some other missing tax document issues to consider. 1. Check your email: More of our lives go electronic every day. That includes tax-related matters. Lots... Read more →


And while the new $600 trigger for Venmo, PayPal, and other such electronic transfer options does apply to this year's transactions, you won't get the associated 1099-K forms until next (2023) filing season. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay You and your pals regularly meet for lunch or happy hour and split the costs. You also send your baby sister some cash when she runs low. And, of course, you do all this via a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment app that lets you transfer money quickly to your friends and family members' mobile devices. Now you're freaking out because you heard... Read more →


If the IRS letter about your third COVID economic impact payment or advance Child Tax Credit has the wrong amount, the agency says to file anyway, using your "best information." (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) Did the letter you got from the Internal Revenue Service about last year's economic impact payment (EIP) or advance Child Tax Credit money have your amount(s) wrong? The Internal Revenue Service says don't let that dissuade you from filing your 2021 tax return. In fact, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, during a conference call with reporters to discuss today's start of the annual tax filing... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell I'm married to a procrastinator. The most infuriating thing about it is not that he puts off things, but that occasionally he's right to not rush to finish projects. And yes, projects is a euphemism for tasks I've asked him to do. Sometimes situations change, making moot what originally looked like the right move. Other times, the delay prevents making what would have been a wrong action. And in a few cases, if a job was done on my timetable, the changed circumstances would have meant redoing it. So over the many years we've been together,... Read more →


I got my first tax statement today, a 1099 for some freelance work I did last year. That's just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their tax year 2021 returns. In addition to income statements, such as the 1099-NEC I got, 1099s with details on investment earnings, and W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, there are beau coup documents reporting tax-related transactions. Among the most common are forms detailing home related mortgage interest and taxes paid from escrow accounts, retirement account distributions, prize and gambling winnings, and in some cases, health... Read more →


This holiday season, some families are getting an added gift: their final Advance Child Tax Credit payment for 2021. An estimated 36 million families will see their final Advance Child Tax Credit arrive in their bank accounts today, Dec. 15. The bank deposit will be labeled CHILDCTC. Those getting the early 2021 tax year payments by mailed paper Treasury checks should have their money soon. Then what? Today's end of the pre-payments is the start of another process. When filing season starts next year, eligible families will claim the remaining Child Tax Credit (CTC) amounts for this year on their... Read more →


Welcome to another Monday federal holiday. Today is Columbus Day. It's not necessarily manic, unless you're spending it finally finishing your 2020 tax return that you got extended until Oct. 15. In that case, this post for tax procrastinators might help. As with many — OK, all — retailers use these three-day federal holidays as reasons for sales. And usually tacky TV commercials. Got your mattress bargain yet? Then there are the associated celebrations. Parades. The coronavirus-delayed Boston Marathon this year. Myriad special events nationwide honoring special people associated with day or its origins or its namesake. Evolving views of... Read more →


Updated, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, to add just-announced Hurricane Ida relief for some Pennsylvania taxpayers. Just two weeks ago, we were awaiting Hurricane Ida. Since then, Hurricane Larry went spinning into the North Atlantic and Tropical Storm Mindy rushed across parts of Florida and Georgia. Today. Sept. 13, Tropical Storm Nicholas is heading toward a Texas Gulf Coast landfall, after which it will send more rain into already water-logged Louisiana. But we're still dealing with Ida's deadly fallout in states beyond landfalling Louisiana. After coming ashore near New Orleans as a category 4 on Aug. 29, she moved northeastward across... Read more →


Records, tax and financial, are often among the property damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. If you're lucky, you might be able, like this woman, to salvage some of the documents. If not, you'll need to recreate them to take advantage of tax-related storm relief. (Image courtesy Louisiana Law Blog) We're heading into peak Atlantic hurricane season, which means much of the United States could face disastrous circumstances like those already being dealt with coast-to-coast. In major disasters, various types of tax relief are available, including claiming storm-related losses as an itemized deduction. One of the key considerations here... Read more →


Including some amended filing considerations that are affected this year by COVID-19 law changes. Photo by Ann H from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2021. Those of us who submitted our tax returns have just been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe we should give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought before we finally wrap up this tax season. Here are 5 tax matters you need to consider so that you can completely clear your 2020 tax year decks. 1. Check your refund status: This is the biggie... Read more →


Remember last summer when we all suddenly learned that the letter from Donald Trump about the first COVID-19 economic impact payment was an official Internal Revenue Service notice? Many of us thought it was a thinly disguised campaign mailer and tossed it. Others didn't even receive it. And many of those who held on to the document did so because they viewed it as a political artifact. But the letter, officially known IRS Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment, had details on how much money you received in connection with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that... Read more →


Image by Maxime Duprez via Twitter Happy National Pi Day 2021. Or as usurping marketers in the United States also call it Pie Day, even though there is a day designated for the food. Go ahead, get your bargain-priced sweet or savory pies today. But March 14 actually celebrates the mathematical constant pi, or π in the Greek alphabet. In case it's been a long time since math class, that's the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. The trillion-digit ratio is rounded to 3.14. You can find more about pi in one of my earlier March 14 blog... Read more →