Tax Tip Feed

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 →


June has arrived. But the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on our lives, including our tax lives, mean that in 2020 we likely won't be able to enjoy our usual summertime living is easy lifestyles. (Photo courtesy City of Clearwater, Florida) Hello weird, scary, frustrating June 2020. We're sort of glad you're here, even though the coronavirus means many of us aren't going to be taking a summer vacation and many more of us will still be messing with 2019 taxes until mid-July. Yep, as everyone knows by now, COVID-19 precautions by the Internal Revenue Service have pushed this year's... Read more →


Finally! That's what every taxpayer who's ever had to file an amended return is saying now that the Internal Revenue Service has announced that the process is going digital. As long as I've been blogging about taxes, I've included in every post about correcting previous tax filings some version of this instruction — An amended return cannot be filed electronically. You must use snail mail, using the appropriate address shown in the 1040X instructions. But in the summer of 2020, that changes. The Internal Revenue Service announced today that "later this summer" the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax... Read more →


Millions of folks — around 152 million of us, by the Internal Revenue Service's latest count — have received COVID-19 economic impact payments, or EIPs as they are called in the acronym crazy federal government (and tax) world. The payments of up to $1,200 per individual and $500 for each eligible child were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The IRS began sending out EIPs in April. But now, two months after the CARES Act became law on March 27, some EIP-eligible recipients are still waiting for direct deposit or a paper check or a... Read more →


Photo by Suzanne Walker from Pexels Memorial Day 2020 has an added poignancy. This solemn day to commemorate those who gave their lives in military service to the United States is overshadowed by the coronavirus. Almost 100,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded, with reporters often referring to military casualty numbers to put the pandemic's human cost in perspective. The Memorial Day events that we are used to seeing or participating in have been altered by COVID-19. Rather than community gatherings to share our sorrow and thanks, most now are limiting attendees or are being done virtually. There is so much,... Read more →


The COVID-19 crisis is global, so it's no surprise that actions by U.S. lawmakers to help taxpayers also have some decidedly global complications. And in some cases, it could work out well for U.S. taxpayers who are living and working in other countries. Worldwide earnings, U.S. taxes: Even though these folks no longer live in the United States, they still pay U.S. taxes. America's tax system for individuals is, for the most part, a worldwide one. That means that if you're an American living and working abroad, the Internal Revenue Service still gets a part of your income as U.S.... Read more →


Americans are plastic addicts. I'm not just talking packaging. We depend on plastic payments, aka credit and debit cards. That financial transaction method has made its way into the COVID-19 economic impact payment (EIP) distribution. This week, the Internal Revenue Service began sending debit cards loaded with coronavirus payment amounts to approximately 4 million Americans. As created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 payment amounts are up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child who is younger than 17 at of the end of... Read more →


We're less than two months from Tax Day 2020, which was pushed to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Or are we? There's been some talk and a few actual reports in the media that the White House is contemplating pushing the tax deadline back again, possibly to Sept. 15 or even mid-December. Just talk, so far: An NBC News report noted that talks of an even later Tax Day are preliminary. In that same article, Trump Administration officials stressed that no tax date change decision has been made. But some in the tax community are still a little... Read more →


If there's anything positive in this COVID-19 pandemic (yeah, I'm grasping), it's that folks have stocked up on necessities. That's good for those who live in potential hurricane targets. And it's especially fortuitous since, for sixth consecutive year, the Atlantic tropical storm season has started early. A tropical depression formed on Saturday, May 16, afternoon. By nightfall, it had strengthened enough to become Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of 2020. The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year, but as we all know, Mother Nature often ignores us humans. The best we can... 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 →


The child care workplace benefit, as well as medical ones, are enhanced under two just-issued Internal Revenue Service notices. If your job doesn't offer child care benefits, you might be able to get other tax help in taking care of your youngsters via a tax credit. This mom is representative of many parents, who are starting to feel the pressure of weeks of quarantining with and homeschooling their children during COVID-19 stay-home orders. Earlier this year as the coronavirus was surreptitiously infecting Americans, lots of parents were going about their usual business, which included making summer plans for their children.... Read more →


And what you might be able to do about it. But not until next year. The hubby and I recently got our COVID-19 economic impact payment, despite my grumblings last month about not being able to get into the Get My Payment online tracking tool. We knew that due to some financial moves we've made in recent years in preparation for retirement, we wouldn't get the full possible payment. In case it's slipped your mind, that's $1,200 per individual, twice that for married couples who file a joint return. If you have qualifying dependent children younger than age 17, you... Read more →


Photo by Mrs. Flinger via FlickrCC It's Mother's Day 2020. This holiday, first celebrated regionally in 1908 before going nationwide six years later, usually means that children spend the day with their moms. Such closeness, however, has been happening every day for weeks for many families. Moms and dads and children and sometimes extended family members have hunkered down together at home 24/7 as a COVID-19 precaution. But it is mom's special day, so I hope that all y'all came up with some change of pace this second Sunday in May to celebrate all that mothers do and all the... Read more →


GivingTuesday.org Hello Giving Tuesday. No, the world has not gone so thoroughly whack that we've jumped to the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Rather, because of the unprecedented, and unexpected, need caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the creators of Giving Tuesday are encouraging those who can afford to give to participate in Giving Tuesday Now. As in today. This new global day of giving is in addition to the fall event, which has been around since 2012 and is scheduled this year for Dec 1. Potential charities, philanthropic activities:"We believe that generosity has the power to unite and heal communities in good... Read more →


Click image to watch the Mos Eisley cantina scene, in which these musicians provide the catchy background tune, from the 1977 Star Wars movie that launched the acclaimed sci-fi film franchise. Welcome to the first week of May 2020. It's a decidedly weird month, in large part because of the coronavirus pandemic. When the deadly COVID-19 infection started spreading in force across the United States, most of the country shut down to some degree. Now many states are loosening their stay-home orders and things are starting to some degree to get back to normal, or what will pass as that... Read more →


You won't have to issue a mayday call if you don't fall for any of the many myths surrounding the COVID-19 relief payments. May 1 is celebrated as, obviously, May Day. Across much of the world, at least part of today is dedicated to acknowledging, usually festively, workers' contributions. However, it also can be a warning. Mayday as one word, mayday, often repeated, it is an internationally recognized distress signal. During the coronavirus pandemic, both etymologies apply. Scary, nonworking May Day: Workers globally have lost their job as businesses have closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We're still... Read more →


Some suddenly out-of-work people are taking a double hit. Not only must they deal with the loss of income, but also the loss of their workplace-provided medical coverage. This week's relatively good COVID-19 pandemic economic news is that the latest count of folks who filed for unemployment benefits was down. The bad news? The U.S. Department of Labor reported today that another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week. While that's a drop from the previous week's 4.4 million unemployment claims, overall more than 30.3 million have applied for state help to make ends meet now that... 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 →


If you had trouble earlier making the IRS' Get My Payment coronavirus tracking tool work for you, give it another shot. The agency has made some upgrades. (Image: Startup Stock Photos via Pexels) It's back and, for many, it's better than ever. It is the Internal Revenue Service's Get My Payment online search tool. And technically, it never went away. It just seemed nonexistent to those who weren't able to make it work. But now, says the IRS, it has improved its online tool designed to help individuals find out whether they would be getting a COVID-19 economic relief payment.... Read more →


Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor a global pandemic stays protectively-masked U.S. Postal Service carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. The COVID-19 economic relief payment checks really are in the mail. That means a whole new slew of coronavirus scams also are showing up via phone calls, as well as in people's mail boxes, both electronic and real-life curbside ones. Since millions of actual paper COVID-19 relief checks are being snail mailed, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is involved in the scam-fighting efforts. These law enforcement officers are joining other federal... Read more →