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 →


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 →


Just can't bring yourself to do your taxes? Don't worry. There's no rush (yet). And there are some good reasons to wait a bit before finishing your Form 1040. The 2021 tax filing season is finally underway. The Internal Revenue Service started processing returns on Friday, Feb. 12. A lot of the 1040 forms actually had been submitted electronically weeks earlier, and were just waiting for Uncle Sam to accept them. This is not unusual. Millions of taxpayers file as early as possible, with good reason, every year. But there's something to said for those of us who wait. Here... Read more →


I'm feeling a bit like the Internal Revenue Service's appointments secretary, but this Friday, Jan. 15, is a date when many taxpayers need to take action. Yes, I'm talking about the fourth estimated tax payment due at the end of this week, but also about some final tax year 2019 housekeeping. Specifically, individuals and businesses who were in the paths of some major disasters last year. The timing of those catastrophes prompted the IRS to give taxpayers who had already filed for an extension to finish their 2019 tax returns until Jan. 15, 2021, to complete them. These folks now... Read more →


The end of the disappearing stream water feature in our backyard. The installation was a home improvement. My work today to shore up a part of it was home maintenance. The differences have tax break implications. (Photo by Kay Bell) I spent most of today taking care of home repairs that I felt confident doing. It's not a long list. I am not really a do-it-yourself kind of person when it comes to most things around the house. Still, even though I've worked from home for years, being stuck here more than usual because of the COVID-19 pandemic has made... Read more →


Technology is great, until it isn't. That's how a lot of people are feeling after recently trying to use the Internal Revenue Service's Income Verification Express Service, or IVES. Financial community members use the program to expedite loan processing. This week, though, that wasn't happening. Expedited income confirmation: The IRS created the service so that registered users can more quickly confirm borrowers' incomes. Once taxpayers give a lender the OK to use IVES to check their earnings, the lender logs on to the IRS website to request the loan applicants' transcripts. That tax return, W-2 and 1099 transcript information generally... Read more →


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 →