Tax Tip Feed

Pixabay via Pexels Members of the military have a lot of things to worry about. New enlistees are concerned whether they'll make it through basic training. Military personnel who are stationed far from their families worry about how spouses and children are faring. And, of course, those posted in dangerous parts of the world are in constant concern for their own safety. But every tax filing season, members of the military also must worry about taxes. Taxes for all, but some military breaks: Yes, with all the other responsibilities we place on the men and women who serve the United... Read more →


No, that money from the Internal Revenue Service that just showed up in your bank account or snail mail box is not another COVID-19 economic impact payment. It's the result of the IRS working through tax returns that were filed before a new tax law that excludes a chunk of unemployment benefits from taxation. This week, the IRS announced that another 1.5 million taxpayers will get these unemployment-income-related refunds. The IRS says the average refund going out now is $1,686. COVID relief for the out-of-work: This is the latest round of refunds made to comply with changes in the American... Read more →


You got your first Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) this month. The added $300 for each of your kiddos age 5 or younger or $250 per child if your youngsters are age 6 through 17 is nice. But your 2021 financial situation has changed, and you've done the math. The calculations show that this COVID-19 relief money, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and which the Internal Revenue Service is sending based on your 2020 tax year filing data, no longer applies. In fact, since you're making a bit more money this year, if you keep getting the AdvCTC... Read more →


One of the severe storms that hit Michigan on June 26. In the wake of a major disaster declaration, the IRS is giving some of the state's taxpayers until Nov. 1 to take care of tax tasks. (Photo by Ben Kessler via the National Weather Service) The 2021 Atlantic hurricane season got off to an early start. Since then, though, it's been a slow tropical season. Thank you, Saharan dust (and Deb Fox)! However, other major natural disasters have made up for it. So far in 21, there have been 14 instances of tax relief provided by the Internal Revenue... Read more →


Attention shoppers in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Your states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays this final weekend in July, and beyond for Sunshine State and Volunteer State tax bargain hunters. Retailers are getting ready for youngsters to return to classrooms. Shoppers are getting ready for tax-free savings on school supplies and more. (Photo by Kay Bell) Despite a surge among unvaccinated of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most schools are making plans to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Retailers also are joining the back-to-school parties. This year, 18 states scheduled sales tax-free events, most of them... Read more →


Everybody needs some help now and then. On Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24, the Internal Revenue Service is providing assistance to those in 16 metropolitan areas who need to file a 2020 tax return so they can get various COVID-19 relief payments. The first of six scheduled Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments hit bank accounts and U.S. Postal Service boxes last week. The bulk of these initial payments — the Internal Revenue Service says it sent out $15 billion to about 35 million families — were dispersed automatically. The recipients, who had previously filed returns or used... Read more →


Millions of parents are as happy as these youngsters, thanks to the first Advance Child Tax Credit payment that arrived this month. Others, however, are wondering why they got less. The first of six scheduled Advance Child Tax Credit payments have arrived, and for the most part, the recipients are elated. Paul Williams, an economist and writer, has collected many of the happy recorded (or recreated) reactions in an entertaining Twitter thread. Some folks, however, aren't so thrilled. In fact, they're wondering why they didn't get the full $300 per month for each dependent child younger than age 6 and... Read more →


Don't fall for scammers who falsely say they can help you get, or get more, of the enhanced Child Tax Credit amounts that started going out this week. Instead, get help from a tax pro or use the Internal Revenue Service's online tools. The Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments started showing up in bank accounts today. Folks who'll get the enhanced early credit amounts by snail mail should see those U.S. Treasury checks soon. The Internal Revenue Service says it delivered today the first batch of the early Child Tax Credit payments, worth roughly $15 billion, to around 35... Read more →


It's mid-July, a particularly important date this year for parents. No, I'm not talking about the Advance Child Tax Credit payments that started going out today. I'm talking about the imminent arrival of the 2021-22 school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic somewhat under control — Be gone, Delta variant and everyone please get vaccinated! — schools across the country will be opening this year. Yes, that sound you hear over the internet is millions of parents celebrating. Tax holidays, too: That other sound you hear is taxpayers, both parents and child-free, celebrating, too, because the annual back-to-school tax holidays also... Read more →


July has become a big month for the Internal Revenue Service. Last year, in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, July 15 was the delayed regular tax return filing deadline. This year, July 15 is the kickoff date for Advance Child Tax Credit payments and resumption of some IRS collection and enforcement efforts. This summer month also a welcome time for folks who early in 2021 filed tax returns reporting all their 2020 unemployment benefits. The IRS announced today that around 4 million of those taxpayers are about to get refunds for their tax overpayments. Where the IRS has taxpayers'... Read more →


With companies reopening as the coronavirus has abated somewhat, rush-hour traffic has returned to highways across the United States. Austin area workers, like these on the Capital of Texas Highway, are among those resuming commuting. (Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr) Many workplaces across the United States are returning, at least in part, to pre-COVID-19 form. That means many employees are heading back to their offices. And that means commuting is returning, too. The good news for many workers is that they get tax-free help in going back to their jobs. Since it's been a while between bus, train, vanpool... Read more →


Cleaning up after customers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels) Some businesses reopening after the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have struggled to hire workers. The big debate is whether coronavirus relief, primarily Uncle Sam's added unemployment benefits, or low wages is why so many jobs are going unfilled. That argument is likely to continue, along with the Congressional battle to raise the federal minimum wage. Earlier this year, the effort to increase it from $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour failed. Some state, city minimum wages hiked: Wage increase advocates, however, have had more success at other governmental... Read more →


Your youngster might not have enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks (I'm right there with you, kiddo, when it come to the noise!), but your son or daughter could make you eligible for Advance Child Tax Credit payments starting this month. Hello, July! Yeah, I know my welcome to the first full month of summer is a bit late. But admit it. You don't really focus on the month either until after July 4th. Since it's the midpoint of the tax year, July usually is a great time to look into some tax saving tasks (more on this a bit... Read more →


It's the Fourth of July weekend. The 2021 celebration is getting added attention, since last year most of America's birthday parties were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But July 1 is another date of note. The year's midpoint is the first day of the fiscal year for most states and, according to The Tax Foundation, 13 have notable tax changes that took effect last week. There are individual income tax changes in Idaho and Illinois, corporate adjustments in Indiana and Montana, inheritance tax alterations in Iowa, and revisions of sales, use and gross receipts taxes in Florida, Kansas, New... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service has wrapped up its 2021 version of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. In announcing the cons by category, the agency was able to elaborate more on each trick on the list. In case you missed the posts earlier this week, here are the ol' blog's posts on each of them: Pandemic related scams, aka Part 1, which focuses on attempts steal COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) and other tax-related coronavirus relief distributed by the IRS, from Monday, June 28; Personal information cons, or Part 2, with a look at phishing, its cousin voice phishing or vishing,... Read more →


We regular folks tend to have a complicated relationship with the wealthy. And by complicated, I mean one-sided, unrealistic, and too often reverential. Being aspirational, we love to gawk at what they can get away with because of their money, and dream of one day being in their Manolos and mansions. That's fueled way too many not-really reality shows. Such hopes also are a big reason scammers can convince wealthy wannabes to fall for schemes that peddle false hopes of large tax deductions. In real-life tax reality, these dodges simply are a way to push hopeful taxpayers further away from... Read more →


What's the result when the worst things happen? Too often, it's terrible people taking advantage of good people. This occurs with alarming regularity in the tax world following tragedies and disasters. Con artists use horrible events to convince compassionate individuals to donate to groups that will help out the victims. What really happens all too often is the caring donors become victims, too. Fake charities are just one type of scam in today's third installment of the IRS' Dirty Dozen for 2021. This category of tax ruses in which dishonest people trick others into doing something illegal often includes fraudulent... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic presented new opportunities for crooks, as noted in yesterday's post on the first group of 2021's Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. Today, however, we're back with the golden oldies, as in trying to steal your gold. And your identity. These Personal Information Cons use a variety of techniques that have been around for years. There's phishing, its cousin voice phishing or vishing, Internal Revenue Service impersonators, social media trolling and tricks, and ransomware. Regardless of which illegal method is used, the goal is the same. Criminals try to get as much of your personal information as possible, including... Read more →


It's Dirty Dozen Week at the Internal Revenue Service. That's right, a week of examining the 12 most common and/or worst tax scams that have cropped up over the last year. I've been blogging about the annual IRS scam list for as long as Don't Mess With Taxes has been around. Sadly, some of the scams that I noted in my first list post back in the spring of 2006 — phishing for taxpayer identity details, fake charities, unscrupulous tax preparers — tend to show up year after year. You can see the repeat offenders in the 2019 and 2020... Read more →


Need help filing a 2020 tax return so you can get Advance Child Tax Credit payments? The IRS and community groups in 12 metro areas are holding events to help you do just that. In a few weeks, the Internal Revenue Service will start sending out advance payments of the Child Tax Credit. The early credit amounts will go out automatically to taxpayers who, based on their 2019 or 2020 tax filing data in the IRS system, qualify for the family-friendly tax break. But not everyone who's eligible for the Child Tax Credit, which generally will be $300 a month... Read more →


Advance payments this year of some of 2021's Child Tax Credit amounts can be a nice helping hand for some families. But the early distributions aren't for everyone. Those who want to wait to claim the tax break when they file in 2022 can go online to let the IRS know they'd rather wait. (Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas via Pexels) The Internal Revenue Service is finalizing distribution of advance payments for the last half of 2021 to families that qualify for the newly enhanced Child Tax Credit. The Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments of $250 or $300... Read more →