Tax Tip Feed

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels.com Ah, election years. They're always, uh, fun. Yeah, let's go with fun. Competing candidates with usually diametrically opposed policy positions go at each other, trying to convince voters that their proposals will better benefit them. That's why we tend to see, even in more usual presidential campaigns, a lot of ideas tossed out, including tax proposals. That's the case in the Trump Administration's suggestion this week to lower capital gains tax rates. Taxing investment timing payoffs: Capital gains are the profits made when you sell assets. We generally think of them in terms of financial... Read more →


The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has become a flash point in the coming election. On Capitol Hill, the constitutionally decreed national delivery service has been at the center of it's become a battle highlighting Republican claims of mail-in voter fraud (largely unsubstantiated) and Democratic concerns about Postal Service funding (not enough) and slowing down of services (too much). The mail also is a practical issue for the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers. Despite increasing efforts to shift to digital tax transactions, the federal tax agency still relies on old fashioned snail mail for many of its tasks and those that... 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 →


Millions of youngsters across the United States will start this school year in virtual classrooms. But the tax savings are real in 11 states holding sales tax holidays this weekend. Ten of the events kick off at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7. Most run through the full weekend. One doesn't start until Sunday, Aug. 9, but continues through the following Saturday, Aug. 15. Below are this weekend's back-to-school tax holidays listed alphabetically by participating states. The links, which include the state names, provide more details on what is and isn't tax-free. Florida: Friday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 9.... Read more →


Hello August! These annual hot and, here in Central Texas, sticky days of late summer usually are a transitional time. Families take one last summer vacation. Parents and kiddos (but mostly parents) get ready for the return of school. Not so in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic continues to keep much of our lives on hold, like those final holiday trips and school openings. Taxes, though, are more persistent. Yes, COVID-19 did delay Tax Day until last month. But as far as the rest of the tax realm is concerned, there still are some matters that must be considered. That means... Read more →


Congress is debating, sort of, the possibility of, among other pandemic-related issues, another round of COVID-19 economic relief payments (EIPs). That's good news for folks struggling to make ends meet in the wake of coronavirus-related economic troubles. But some folks haven't yet received the first stimulus checks created back in March under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Created to help, but…: Now there's some good news for some encountering relief payment problems. The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) now can help taxpayers in certain situations resolve their COVID-19 payment issues. "Previously, the IRS did not have a... Read more →


As the Senate grapples with its latest COVID-19 economic relief payment proposal, millions of Americans who lost their jobs in the pandemic are trying to figure out how they will pay their bills coming due in August. Those who had a workplace retirement plan, typically a 401(k), likely are deciding whether they should tap that account. It's always been possible to take what's known as a hardship distribution from tax-favored retirement plans. Pre-coronavirus tax law also allowed for loans from workplace retirement savings accounts. But COVID-19 also has added some new considerations to this financial route. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief,... Read more →


Classic television's Cleaver family, circa 1960. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons) Senate leaders and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin promise they'll release next week the Republican response to the Democratic House's already approved next round of COVID-19 relief payments. Until then, we're still speculating on what will be in the counter proposal. It's a safe bet, however, that it will contain a second round of direct payments. The first payments, created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that became law in late March. What's not clear, though, is who would qualify for this additional stimulus money. Halfway... Read more →


Photo courtesy National Taxpayer Advocate blog If you have a tax issue that you want to discuss with the Internal Revenue Service in person, there's good news. In late June, the IRS started reopening its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. By next week, all the facilities should be open. While the IRS encourages taxpayers to take advantage of its online problem solving and information gathering options, TAC employees still provide certain tax-related services. Specialized TAC services include assistance in: authenticating a taxpayer's identity and validating documents related to tax return filings or applications for an Individual Taxpayer Identification... 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 →


UPDATE, July 23, 2020: The White House has dropped its push for a payroll tax cut as part of the next round of COVID-19 relief. Although Donald Trump cited Democrats' objections to the payroll tax cut, top Senate Republicans also disliked the idea, seeing it as too expensive as they struggle to craft a relief version to counter the already-passed House bill. Federal lawmakers are working on the next COVID-19 relief package. Specifically, Republican Senators are working on a stimulus deal since House Democrats, who control that Congressional chamber, approved their proposal back in May. But in addition to dealing... Read more →


Image courtesy SimpsonsWorld via Giphy.com Do you remember your first phone number? I'm talking about the one when you were a kid. The one you parents made you memorize in case you needed to call home for any reason. For younger folks, that's not a problem. But when you reach a certain age, not that I'm confessing to any chronologically specific range, those early memories tend to fade. Despite that natural process, some of us still remember our childhood phone numbers. You'll have to trust me on my numerical recall. I'm leery enough of hackers, con artists and other assorted... Read more →


Shopping during a pandemic will be challenging, but Alabama retailers and customers hope the state's annual back-to-school sales tax holiday this weekend will make everyone as happy as this young shopper. It's on! It is Alabama's annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday weekend. It starts at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 17, and runs until the clock strikes midnight on Sunday, July 19. And yes, everyone knows that we're still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are increasing throughout the United States, with the South one of the hardest hit areas. Businesses and officials in Alabama, however, are going... Read more →


via GIPHY The long-delayed Tax Day 2020 came and went yesterday and you weren't part of it. Maybe you were distracted by COVID-19 worries or financial concerns brought about by the pandemic. I get it. Family crammed together for weeks, savings are running low and every ache sends you online to check coronavirus symptoms. Taxes just don't seem that important. But Uncle Sam and his tax folks are back at their jobs and they're doing them. To ensure that you don't run too afoul of the Internal Revenue Service, here are four steps you need to take as soon as... Read more →


Hello Tax Day 2020. We've been waiting for you for such a long time. In fact, a whole lot of folks have been waiting for July 15, according to research by from IPX 1031. Ultimate tax procrastinators: It's not unusual for millions to wait to file. Last year, Internal Revenue Service data showed almost 18 million filed during the last week of that tax season. That procrastination delay remained and even increased after COVID-19 pandemic precautions pushed 2020's Tax Day into the summer. IPX 1031's look at geo-targeted online search data showed that more than 22 million Americans have taken... Read more →


Meanwhile, the rest of us regular taxpayers say thanks for the offer and, as Tax Day 2020 looms, continue to look for ways to keep from paying so much on our nowhere-near-a-million earnings. If you're still working on your tax return instead of jetting off in your private plane to a luxury destination, then you might agree with the latest tax-the-rich plea. You also might need some of the tax-saving tips listed later in this post. With July 15, aka coronavirus Tax Day 2020, looming, millions of taxpayers are scouring their records and the tax laws looking for ways to... Read more →


When the extended and complicated 2020 tax filing season officially ends at mid-week, the IRS says it will resume many postponed normal actions. This means taxpayer payments — including to debt collectors — and other tax matters that have been on COVID-19 hold will go back to what we used to call normal. In this coronavirus era, we all just want things to be like the name of the central Illinois town of Normal, where the historic theater also shares that moniker. The IRS says it's heading that direction this week. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons) The 2020 extended main tax... Read more →


July truly is April this year, at least as far as my personal budget. Some of our insurance payments are quarterly. That means every April, we have to come up with that money, as well as cash to cover the first quarter of our estimated taxes. The Internal Revenue Service's calendar when it comes to its second quarter estimated tax payment doesn't strictly follow the Gregorian calendar. Uncle Sam's tax collector wants the tax year's second Form 1040-ES and payment in June. My main estimated tax explainer discusses the timing of these payments, but below is a quick look from... Read more →


Got enough coffee to get you through your taxes this final weekend before the July 15 due date? We're finally here. It's the last weekend before our 2019 tax returns are due on Wednesday, July 15. If you're one of the millions of filers who hasn't done your taxes yet, you've got three options: Panic, Get organized now, or Ask the IRS for more time. Your choice depends upon exactly where you are right now in the filing process. (Of course, panic could be a viable option for each of us at any time during tax season, especially if we... Read more →


Tax returns AND any tax owed are due next week. Wednesday, July 15, to be exact. (Painted window in Harlingen, Texas, 1939, by Lee Russell; New York Public Library image via Unsplash) We're into the home stretch of the coronavirus extended 2020 tax season. That means that millions of taxpayers (or their tax preparers) are working on 2019 returns or extensions to finish up those 1040s. While you can send the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get until Oct. 15 to submit your actual return, you still must pay any tax you owe by July 15. If you don't,... Read more →