Tax Tip Feed

You can quit double checking your calendar. It is indeed fall, even if the cooler temperatures haven't gotten the message across much of the United States. If you have children, autumn is noted by the kiddos returning to classrooms. That's happening in more places, as we seem to be shifting from pandemic COVID-19 to the coronavirus' endemic phase. Many parents also discover at this time of year that their youngsters have grown. A lot. That means new outfits. In big families, nuclear and extended, outgrown outfits turn into hand-me-downs. But if you have no one who'll take your still good,... Read more →


If you've yet to file a 2019 or 2020 tax year return, you should get to work on that oversight soon. Like get them done by Sept. 30 soon. By meeting that end-of-this-month date, you may be able to avoid the usual late-filing penalty. It's typically assessed at a rate of 5 percent per month, up to 25 percent of the unpaid tax. And since the 2019 and 2020 due dates are long gone, that could be a substantial abated amount, depending on how much tax you owe. Helping both taxpayers and tax agency: The Internal Revenue Service's penalty relief... Read more →


Black's, an iconic Central Texas barbecue chain, was caught improperly distributing tip money to managers, instead of the 270 employees to whom it should have been paid. Those restaurant workers now have their proper gratuities, which are taxable income. Being a restauranteur has always been a challenge. The same can be said for eatery staff. Then along came the COVID-19 pandemic, amped up the workplace issues both owners and employees face. So what else could complicate things? Tips. In one famed Central Texas BBQ joint, it was the way tips were collected and distributed among workers. The U.S. Department of... 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 →


You have lots of choices when it comes to helping your neighbors and community. There's even an option if taxes are of particular interest to you. Hey, it happens. You are, after all, reading my tax blog right now. If that's you, then the Internal Revenue Service wants you to fill up your free time by helping people prepare and file their tax returns next year. The IRS and its community partners are recruiting people to be a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs during the coming 2023 tax season.... Read more →


Singer-songwriter James Taylor provided the soundtrack for the White House's Sept. 13 celebration of the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act. (White House photo via Facebook) The Biden Administration this week celebrated the enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) with a ceremony on the White House lawn. And while a government report on inflation that came out the same day warned of continuing inflation costs, President Joe Biden and attendees didn't let the new dampen the festivities. The White House insists that the IRA will work as planned, and Biden touted the law's provisions, including the climate-change-prompted energy provisions,... 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 →


The COVID-19 pandemic ignited an explosion of side hustles, with many folks cobbling together multiple independent operations to replace traditional jobs lost to the virus. The U.S. economy has picked up, and many businesses are forcing bringing their former and work-from-home staff back into the office. But side hustles remain popular. Most side hustle for more than money: Even where they have wage-paying work, many Americans also have side jobs, according to a survey by Insuranks, a small business insurance marketplace. Ninety-three percent of the adults surveyed by Insuranks said they have an added job alongside their main employment positions.... Read more →


Welcome to the first Sunday of the 2022 National Football League season. It's the best day of the week for U.S. professional football fans. Yeah, I know the first game was last Thursday night and the Buffalo Bills sent a message to the defending Super Bowl champs, in L.A., no less, and everyone else. But today is full of America's most popular sport. There are 14 match-ups, starting at noon Central Time. That's where I am, so that's that flyover clock reading that my search (shown below) gave me. Adjust accordingly for your team and time zone. Then the first... Read more →


Huell (right) and Patrick, henchmen for AMC's "criminal" criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, take a short break in a Breaking Bad episode to enjoy the comfort of a huge pile of ill-gotten cash. (Photo courtesy AMC TV) Remember earlier this summer when a South American worker got a paycheck of more than $165 million Chilean pesos, or nearly $184,000 in U.S. dollars? It was a mistake. And while the man reported the overpayment to his supervisors, he also decided to take the money and run. As far as I can tell by surfing the Google machine, the guy's still out there... Read more →


You've had that student loan for what seems like forever. So naturally, you're eager to take advantage of the debt forgiveness offered by the Biden Administration. But don't act too quickly or you could be a scam victim. Soon after President Joe Biden announced his plan that will erase in some cases up to $20,000 in undergraduate student loans, consumer advocates had some suggestions of their own. Beware of perps on the prowl with promises that they can get rid of your student loan obligation more quickly. Or get you even more loan relief if the federal plan doesn't cover... Read more →


UPDATED, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022: As the expression goes, that escalated quickly. Tropical Depression 9 is now Tropical Storm Ian. Florida is under a pre-landfall state of emergency, awaiting Ian's arrival, the timing of which is shown in the new National Hurricane Center graphic below. When TS Ian does come ashore, likely as a hurricane, it would be the first Atlantic hurricane to strike the United States this season, and the first system to directly impact the East Coast since Tropical Storm Colin in July. UPDATED, Friday, Sept. 23, 2022: As expected, the tropics are finally popping. Tropical Depression 9,... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell So how was your summer? Yep, that season officially ended today with the start of Meteorological Fall, which runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Wait, you say. It's not sweater weather yet. You're not alone in still feeling the heat. First day of meteorological fall in USA doesn't look like fall at all in over 90% of the country,just the opposite: One of the hottest September weeks on records is starting with a flurry of 100F in Montana,North Dakota and Washington. Very hot also in Canadian Saskatchewan. pic.twitter.com/HXZXO2YpFL — Extreme Temperatures Around The World (@extremetemps)... Read more →


Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash Millions of people whose student loan debt will be wiped out now face another financial question. What to do with a bit more disposable income. Financial advisers suggest they pay off other debt, such as high-interest credit card balances. That's a smart move. So is the recommendation that folks put their newly available former debt payments into an emergency fund. I'd like to also toss out there the option of saving for retirement. As an added bonus, most retirement account options offer some sort of tax benefit. Here are some tax-favored retirement-saving possibilities that... Read more →


College can be fun. Paying for it, not so much, especially when you have to take out loans. Some student borrowers are getting loan relief from the White House, but also might end up owing state taxes on their forgiven student debt. (Photo by cottonbro) Around 20 million folks who borrowed money to attend college got good news last week when President Joe Biden canceled a chunk of their student loan debt. The Biden plan's major component says that individuals earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households) a year will be eligible for up... Read more →


Taxes and COVID-19 have been inextricably linked since the coronavirus reached the United States in 2020. Several federal relief packages were enacted, with the Internal Revenue Service given the task of distributing the payments. The agency had mixed success with this added responsibility. Then there was the backlog of filings that resulted from COVID-related IRS office closures. This was, by all accounts, an unmitigated disaster. The agency is still digging out of its coronavirus paperwork accumulation, and taxpayers are still dealing with problems created when automatic nonpayment penalty notices were issued. Now the IRS is trying to make that somewhat... Read more →


School is back, and that means homework. College students and their parents especially need to review some lessons on ways the Internal Revenue Code can help pay many higher education costs. The table below offers a look at two popular educational tax credits, the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC) and the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC). The AOTC is the one most undergraduate students (or their parents) will claim. The LLC is for additional educational costs beyond the first four years, including classes you take after getting out of school. Education Benefits Comparison Tax Year 2022 Criteria AOTC LLC Maximum benefit... Read more →


Coming back from an appointment today, I saw school buses roaming my neighborhood. Classes for my local school district start Wednesday, so I guess the drivers were just on reconnaissance runs. Students, their parents, and of course teachers are making preparations, too, not just here in the Austin, Texas, area, but nationwide. Much has been written (or, in my case, blogged) about state sales tax holidays (a few are still on the horizon) and the savings on school-related items. In most cases, we tend to think of students and their families taking advantage of the no-tax events. However, teachers also... Read more →


CT and NJ shoppers get sales tax relief on classroom clothing and, in the Garden State, more at the end of this month. And then there were five. That's how many states remain in the August back-to-school tax holiday list. Three of them — in Illinois, Maryland, and Massachusetts — are this weekend. The other two, in Connecticut and New Jersey, will close out this month. Since most of the 19 states offering tax holidays this year have by now held their no-tax shopping events, all y'all know the drill. The table below has specific dates and links with tax-free... 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 →