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 →


The companies that are supposed to issue my 1099 forms are being particularly slow this filing season. I've only received five. I'm still waiting for about double that to show up in my snail mail box (yeah, that's still happening) or as an email notice that they're available for download. The Internal Revenue Service realizes that millions of taxpayers eagerly await these documents. The agency also is aware of the burden their issuance places on companies, particularly smaller firms. Businesses must get the documents, notably Form W-2 wage statements and myriad 1099 forms that go to freelance, contract, and third-party... Read more →


Being a bit pokey can sometimes pay off at tax filing time. (Photo by Kay Bell) My husband and I have a lot in common. We also are a lot different. I tend to obsessiveness, wanting to take care of things as soon as I can. The hubby, on the other hand, is more deliberative. Unless it absolutely has to be done immediately, he's OK with waiting. And waiting and waiting. We've managed to make out differing approaches work. And I must admit that sometimes, he's right to put off projects. Not always, but sometimes. Situations change, making moot what... Read more →


We're just a couple of weeks into this new year, and I've received three 1099s and a donation thank-you letter. I am not alone. Official tax forms and statements are filtering into mail boxes, both curbside and electronic, across the country. The exact tax-related documents differ from taxpayer to taxpayer, but we all share one thing. We need them in order to accurately fill out annual tax returns. They include W-2 forms for folks with wage-paying jobs, 1099-NECs for freelancers, and 1099-MISC and DIV documents for those who have investment earnings. It is, after all, called an income tax. But... Read more →


Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR The first work week of 2023 is in the books. How many miles did you drive for business purposes? If you're using your personal vehicle to conduct business you need to know. And if the number is to satisfy an Internal Revenue Service examiner's question about your mileage deduction, you need to be exact. The IRS can disallow questionable guesstimates, meaning your tax deduction could end up being zero. The U.S. Tax Court has backed up the agency when taxpayers don't keep adequate records. To help you avoid that unwanted tax reversal, here are some do's... Read more →


Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay We're two days into the New Year. Feel any different? Aside from thinking it's a Sunday instead of Monday, me neither. But some things, in addition to flipping calendar pages, have changed. From a tax standpoint, you'll see some differences, starting with those calendars. Weekends and holidays will shift some regular tax deadlines to new days. You also could see some differences on your 2022 Form 1040, thanks in part to tax breaks that no longer apply. Those changes are just a few things to note as we head into the 2023 tax year.... Read more →


Small businesses and the companies that handle their electronic transactions are not the only ones upset at a new law requiring more tax reporting. So are the people who use sites like Facebook Marketplace or eBay to occasionally sell a few items. These casual sellers are concerned that their not-for-profit transactions might end up in the Internal Revenue Service database, forcing them into unwanted additional dealings with the tax collector. New transaction trigger trouble: The problem is the new $600 per sale trigger that replaced the previous 200 transactions or $20,000 in aggregate sales. Now third-party agents who handle these... Read more →


The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has become a popular donation day. The charitable boosting effort, dubbed Giving Tuesday when it was initiated in 2012, is now the unofficial kick-off of the annual end-of-year charitable season. Most people don't give to good causes because they get tax breaks. Thank goodness for that, since the 2017 tax reform bill made it more difficult to claim a charitable deduction for donations. And that brings us to the first of this post's six charitable donation tax tips. 1. Itemizing required: The only way to get a tax deduction for your donations is to claim them... 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) It looks like Florida is about to be hit by another hurricane. Current Subtropical Storm Nicole is expected to accelerate from a subtropical system into a hurricane before it makes landfall along the Sunshine State's Atlantic coast. That's terrible news for Florida residents still dealing with the aftermath of... Read more →


I loved this couch, but it was starting to wear so we donated it away while it was still in good shape. Some folks, however, would have sold the sofa. Now, such transactions could trigger a confusing tax situation. With inflation still squeezing budgets, some people have taken to selling old items. Garage sales are the traditional route, but if your neighborhood limits when you can put old items out for sale (dang those HoAs), then there's always the internet. A tax law change, however, could mean a tax hassle for infrequent, small-time online sellers. They could get a tax... Read more →


Satellite image of Hurricane Fiona's landfall on the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico at 3:35 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on Sunday, Sept. 18. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration photo) Fiona, the first major hurricane of the 2022 tropical season, not only wiped out power to most of Puerto Rico, it also was responsible for four deaths on the island. Hurricane Fiona made landfall at the southwestern edge of Puerto Rico the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 18, but was big and strong enough to wreak havoc across the entire U.S. island territory. The strike came almost exactly five years after Hurricane... Read more →


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District engineers at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant in Jackson, Mississippi, after flooding led to a water crisis in the state's capital city. The pumping system is getting back online. In the meantime, a couple of Uncle Sam's agencies are offering residents relief. (USACE photo by Sabrina Dalton via Wikipedia Commons) Thursday, Sept. 15, is the deadline for most taxpayers who must make third quarter estimated tax payments. Some Mississippi filer, however, get until next February. But the reason for the extension is not one they, or anyone, would want. Heavy rains... Read more →


St Louis, Missouri, residents are rescued from flood waters that swamped the city after record rainfall in late July. (Photo: West County EMS and Fire) Severe storms brought flooding rains to parts of eastern Missouri before moving into Kentucky. But Bluegrass State residents got Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Internal Revenue Service attention first, with that relief granted last week. But now, some Show Me State storm victims also are getting federal assistance, including some easing of certain tax filing and payment deadlines. The IRS today (Aug. 10) announced that Missouri individuals and businesses in the City of St.... Read more →


A Kentucky National Guardsman views flood damage in the southeastern part of the state on July 29 from a Blackhawk helicopter as the Bluegrass State unit flies in to provide help. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Jesse Elbouab via Flickr) Historic flooding ravaged southeastern Kentucky last week, destroying homes and killing at least 37 people. Tens of thousands who were spared the worst of the overwhelming water damage are coping with power losses. Now some of those folks are getting from help from the federal government. President Joe Biden declared the most severely hit parts of the Bluegrass... Read more →


Summer's winding down, with schools opening their doors across much of the country in just a few weeks. So of course, you're thinking of one last getaway to escape the sweltering dog days. But before you head out to a beach retreat or cooler mountain cabin, take a few minutes for taxes. August is a good time to make some tax moves that could save you some dollars and future headaches. Here are four to consider. 1. Make your tax holiday shopping list: The return this fall of students to classrooms is most welcome by COVID-weary parents who saw much... Read more →


Online hospitality services have only grown in popularity since the first Airbnb rental in 2008. The private property rental service now has dozens of competitors worldwide. In the United States, state and local tax officials quickly discovered the revenue they were losing when owners let their homes or rooms. Most of the major clearinghouses for private rentals have worked out agreements to collect and remit occupancy taxes, similar to Airbnb deals, in the United States and globally. Of course, when taxes and real estate are involved, there always are bugs to resolve. In Dallas, for example, the city council is... Read more →


Photo by Amol Mande We're into the second month of the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, but it's other disaster outbursts that have prompted action by Uncle Sam. In early May, parts of Oklahoma were hit by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. A month later, Montanan faced severe storms and flooding. After Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) review, the White House issued major disaster area declarations in both states. Now the Internal Revenue Service, as is usually the case, is providing affected taxpayers some relief. Sept. 1 deadline for Oklahomans: Individual and business taxpayers in Oklahoma who were hit... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is under scrutiny again, this time for conducting unusual and intensive audits of two top FBI officials who were critical of Donald J. Trump. The IRS has asked the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to investigate how former FBI director James B. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, both were subjected to a rare, compliance research audit that is supposed to random. Congress also will get involved. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-New Jersey) already, and repeatedly, has taken IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to task for IRS shortfalls and missteps. In May, during a hearing... 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 →