Tax Tip Feed

One of our neighbors made sure we all knew they had a new, cool graduate. (Photo by Kay Bell) I swear, my nieces and nephews were just in kindergarten. And wasn't that neighbor kid trick-or-treating as a dinosaur a couple of years ago? So how am I getting high school and college graduation announcements for these young people? Most of them will get a nice, actual paper congratulations card. A few will find a gift card tucked inside. However, a couple of these newly minted young adults will get actual gifts. But they won't be items that have to wrapped.... Read more →


Billowing smoke from the wildfire ravaging norther New Mexico. (Screen shot of video posted on The Weather Channel, provided by Jackson Mathey via Storyful) The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have merged and been burning a large swath of northern New Mexico for weeks now has been designated as the largest in the state's history. The combined blazes, driven by straight-line winds, have engulfed nearly 300,000 acres, or around 469 square miles, of the Land of Enchantment as of this morning. Only around a quarter of the fire area has been contained, according to InciWeb, a U.S. government... 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 →


The Child Tax Credit (CTC), already a popular tax break, was enhanced for the 2021 tax year. In addition to being larger — up to $3,600 for each child younger 6 and up to $3,000 for each youngster age 6 through 17 instead up the usual $2,000 per qualifying child — it was available to more families. Most eligible households got half of their qualifying CTC amount last year as monthly advance payments. They were sent automatically to taxpayers who had filed returns in prior years. Families who didn't have to file, usually because they earned less than the amount... Read more →


For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. The theme for this year's week, which wraps up today, May 7, is Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship. As part of the May 1 through 7 recognition of small businesses, SBA Administrator Guzman visited nine cities across the United States to participate in, along with SBA local office personnel and local elected officials, celebrations of the country's 32.5 million small businesses. Since taxes are a critical component of small businesses, the... Read more →


Taxes don't typically prompt celebrations like that of these school children welcoming May with a traditional Maypole dance. But thinking about tax moves this month can help you avoid costly faux pas. (Photo by Paul Barnett via Wikimedia Commons) May is supposed to be the month full of flowers from the previous month's showers. Unfortunately, this year the month is starting off on a decidedly unmerry note. In the wake of the devastating Kansas tornadoes, forecasters are warning of multiple rounds this week of severe thunderstorms, including tornadoes, across the Plains, Midwest, and South. That's why heeding weather warnings and... Read more →


The inflation we're experiencing right now is truly a pain. Thank goodness most of my driving is my weekly trip to the grocery store, but those bills have almost doubled. However, the current inflation level does have one, tiny bright spot for folks who have a specific type of health care coverage. It's bumping up tax benefits for individuals who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and associated health savings account (HSA). HDHP coverage has grown in popularity as health care costs kept rising, even before this historic inflation increase. As the name indicates, these plan enrollees face more... Read more →


It didn't take much to convince the hubby and me to put on some going-out-in-public clothes today and head out to vote early. A couple of property tax reduction questions were on our local ballot. Sure, we would have done our civic duty anyway, but those proposals that would help reduce homeowners' real estate taxes definitely are a get-out-the-vote driver. More valuable homes, bigger tax bills: Here in Texas, as in many other places across the United States, home values have skyrocketed. We learned just how much when we got our latest notice a couple of weeks ago from the... Read more →


Photo by cottonbro from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2022. Those who submitted tax returns have been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe it's time to give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought. Here are 5 tax matters to consider so that you can completely clear your 2021 tax year decks. 1. Review your payroll withholding: The IRS reminds us every year that most taxpayers get refunds. That's because a lot of filers plan it that way. They overwithhold taxes from their paychecks as a forced savings account.... Read more →


The biggest nutritional problem the hubby and I have is deciding what to cook for dinner, and then who's going to cook it. Sometime we just opt for what we call foraging, with each of us finding something to eat that night on our own. We are lucky. Our meal hunts are easy, confined to our well-stocked kitchen. However, an estimated 800 million worldwide face food insecurity. That includes an estimated 38 million people, 12 million of whom are children, in the United States, according to 2019 data from the Department of Agriculture. As we celebrate today's 52nd Earth Day,... Read more →


via GIPHY So, you missed Tax Day. It happens. Don't panic. But don't dawdle. The Internal Revenue Service is serious about wanting your tax forms and, of course, any taxes you owe. If you miss the annual deadline, regardless of exactly when it falls, then you'll likely end up facing filing-related penalties, the harshest of which is for not filing at all. Below are four things you need to do now to get out of that penalty jam with as little damage as possible. Plus, there's a fifth tax move that could pay off for folks who aren't legally required... Read more →


Tax Day arrives even later for some major disaster area victims. Most U.S. taxpayers are chilling today. They either filed their annual tax return on Monday, April 18, the slight delay created by Emancipation Day 2022 falling on the usual April 15 Internal Revenue Service deadline. Or they sent the Internal Revenue Service Form 4868 to get an extra six months to file. But some tax procrastinating residents of Maine and Massachusetts are working on their federal (and state) returns today. That's because Monday was Patriots Day, a statewide holiday in those two New England states. The IRS pushed Tax... Read more →


Tax things are sort of back to normal. It's April, the traditional month in which our returns are due. And while today's Tax Day is a few a few days late thanks to the Emancipation Day holiday, it's here. So now what? Here are some things to do to take care of your 2021 tax return, and more, on Tax Day 2022. Ultimate tax procrastinators: It's not unusual for millions to wait to file. Last year, more than 21 percent of people who ultimately filed a return did so in the last week before Tax Day, which was delayed until... Read more →


Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service. Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot? If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single... Read more →


Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. via Pexels Filing status is one of those tax matters that seems so simple, but which often trips up taxpayers in real life. As noted (shameless plug warning) in my 5 filing status choices item for the April Tax Tips page, most folks' status stays the same from tax year to tax year. But a change (or two, or more) in your personal situation could mean you need to revisit how you file your return. The head of household (HoH) status is a frequent source of confusion. Here, an unmarried person takes care of the... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


The time left until Tax Day 2022 is tick, tick, ticking away. If you're feeling like silent movie legend Harold Lloyd, hanging on by your fingernails as you try to finish your Form 1040 by Monday, April 18, rescue yourself by filing instead for a six-month extension. Most of us are procrastinators at some point in our lives. This tendency to hold back tends to show up when we're facing particularly difficult decisions or tasks. Tax filing time is one of those times. But waiting until the last minute can be costly. If we get in a hurry to meet... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers are facing their first tax payment for 2022 on Monday, April 18. No, I'm not talking about any tax due you sent along with the 2021 return you filed or are frantically working on this last week before Tax Day. That money counted toward last year's taxes. I'm talking about the taxpayers who will be paying a separate amount to cover their earnings during the first quarter of 2022. Yep, it's estimated tax time again. And yep, the first payment of the current tax year coincides with any tax due for the previous one, making Tax Day... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


If you've put off your tax filing until this last week before Tax Day, don't panic. You've still got time to do the tax job right. Tax Day is one week away! Yeah, I know. Not really a reason for celebrating, especially if you're just now tackling your taxes. There's no way to make this final tax filing week festive. However, these 10 last-minute filing tips can help you get the job done by the April 18 deadline. 1. Determine whether you need to file. Most Americans who earn money, be it through full-time jobs or self-employment or investment income,... Read more →