Recordkeeping Feed

Drone composite image of the significant damage to structures in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma. A large part of the small town in south-central Oklahoma was struck by an EF3+ tornado on April 27, 2024. (Photo by Wikiwillz via Wikipedia Commons) The United States’ tornado season used to be in the spring, with most of them occurring in the middle of the country known as Tornado Alley. But things have changed. Or maybe data collection improved. Whatever the reason, tornado-spawning storms are showing up almost year-round, and they’re showing up well beyond the original Tornado Alley boundaries. This year could be one... Read more →


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash You made it through Tax Day. Now it's time to store all that information you used to fill out your Form 1040. While it's tempting to just toss it all, don't. It often takes the Internal Revenue Service a while to process filings. The agency could come back weeks, months, or even years from now with a question about an entry on your return. Just to be safe, you need to hang on to some of the material for as long as the IRS has to question your filing. Once that statute of limitations... Read more →


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 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 →


Last week, I finally got all the documents I need to file my 2023 tax return. As an independent contractor, the bulk of my income tax statements were 1099-NEC forms. But some folks are getting 1099-Ks. And these tax statements still are causing confusion. Form 1099-K has become more common with the growth of the gig workforce, and the delivery of products and services through online apps and marketplaces, such as PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, eBay, Etsy, Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb. Old form, new amounts: The forms are not new, but the amount of earnings that trigger their issuance has changed.... Read more →


Hello, February. Even though it's the second month of the year, it's the first full month of the annual tax-filing season. So if you're just now starting to focus on filing your return, don't feel bad or alone. A lot of us are right there with you. Since February is the shortest month, even with this year's extra Leap Year day, I'll keep the monthly tax moves list brief, too. Here are four tax moves to consider in the next 29 days. 1. Keep an eye out for tax statements. Yesterday, Jan. 31, was the day that employers were supposed... 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 →


Most taxpayers will never be as chill as this tabby, especially now that the annual tax filing season is here. But these tips could make the tax task a little easier. (Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash) If you've already got your 2023 tax return ready to send to the Internal Revenue Service tomorrow, Jan. 29, when the agency starts processing filings, you can peruse other items on the ol' blog. (Thank you!) If, however, you're not quite ready yet to tackle Form 1040, I got you. Even when your taxes aren't complicated, many of us dread filling out tax... 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 →


Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Monika Grabkowska Happy New Year! I know, it's already two days old, so I'm a bit late. But I'm cutting myself some slack since it's the first work day of the year after a three-day holiday. I'm also cutting myself some slack when it comes to annual resolutions. I'm not making any. It's not that I'm opposed to setting goals. But I hate that annual judgy list. I'm still working on some prior year intentions, so I don't see a need to add to my tasks. If you, however, like to start off each... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images If you're self-employed, use your car for work, and have taken your last business trip of 2023, go out to your vehicle and take a photo of the odometer. There's no Internal Revenue Service rule that you record your odometer's annual reading. But it's a good idea. A date-stamped smartphone image — either on the last day of the year, the first day of the next year, or, say some tax advisers, on both days — is a digital record that can help you determine how much you drove your vehicle for business. If... Read more →


Even if you're not a cat, you can appreciate Boxing Day as a way to help others by making charitable donations. Happy Boxing Day! This holiday isn't formally celebrated in the United States, but many people around the world embrace the day after Christmas as a way to keep the season of giving going a bit longer. There are many explanations as to how Boxing Day, and its name, came to be. One commonly accepted origin story is that when it began in the United Kingdom during the Victorian period, household servants were given the day after Christmas off as... Read more →


This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →


Photo by Xingchen Yan on Unsplash If your work involves driving, the Internal Revenue Service has some good news for your 2024 business trips. Today, the tax agency announced that on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard optional mileage rate you can use to claim those eligible miles will go to 67 cents per mile. That's a 1.5 cent increase over the 2023 mileage rate. However, the other two mileage rates that the IRS evaluates and adjusts each year are going down. Travel for medical and, in the case of qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, moving purposes will be... Read more →


Teachers and other eligible educators, stop before filing your tax returns and make sure you claim the tax break for your out-of-pocket classroom expenses. (Photo Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Our neighborhood schools this week welcomed students back from summer break. Teachers and other school staff already had been in the classrooms, getting ready for the youngsters' return. Those educators also likely spent some of their own money on the 2023-24 school year preparations. There's a bit of good tax news for those school employees. They can claim a tax break for their out-of-pocket educational expenses. $300 is still... Read more →


Photo by Saulius Sutkus on Unsplash August has arrived, reminding us that summer is almost over. There are just a few weeks left to take a final vacation during these sweltering dog days. But before you head out to a beach retreat or a cooler mountain cabin, take a few minutes for taxes. This month is a good time to make some tax moves that could save you some (or more) dollars and/or keep you out of tax trouble. Here are five to consider. 1. File your 2022 return by Aug. 15. OK, this applies only to a few, relatively... Read more →


Reviewed and updated Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024 The New Year's Day 2024 Powerball drawing was life-changing for the yet-to-be identified person who bought the lone winning ticket in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Congrats to the winner of the $842.4 million jackpot, which has a one-time cash payment value of $425.2 million. And better luck next time for the rest of us! Picking lucky numbers from a lottery game dispenser. Benjamin Franklin wasn't wrong, but he did live in pre-national lottery times. Today, joining death and taxes as life's constants is Americans' love of gambling. One of the most popular betting options... Read more →


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko Sometimes a tax notice is a good thing. That was the case for a Georgia man who paid his county taxes. Or so he thought. But a follow-up notice prompted him to raise questions about the prior payments. And that led last week to the arrest of a clerk at the Spalding County Tax Commissioner's office on charges of theft and forgery. Paid taxes not paid: The two theft charges come from the taxpayer's payment of his taxes in cash. The alleged forgeries were from receipts for those payments. Before these incidents were reported, the Spalding... Read more →


Click on image for animation. Tropical Storm Arlene marked the official opening on Thursday, June 1, of the 2023 hurricane season. The good news is that she's now fizzled, as the above animated satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Hurricane Center, or NOAA NHC for all my fellow government acronym fans. Better news is that the NHC says it doesn't expect any tropical cyclone activity for the next 48 hours. The lull could be longer; that's just the time range that Uncle Sam's forecasters are using. A slow hurricane season start is not unusual. The Weather... Read more →


Two enterprising women packing up items they sold for shipping. (Photo by Kampus Production) A major contributor to the Tax Gap is unreported taxable income. The Internal Revenue Service thought it was going to be able to collect more when Congress new reporting rules were included in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. ARPA dramatically reduced the income level at which third-party, e-commerce payment platforms — such as eBay, PayPal, Etsy, CashApp, and Venmo, — must issue 1099-K forms to sellers who got money through them. It was set to drop from $20,000 to $600 beginning in 2023. That... Read more →