U.S. Holiday Feed

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms out there got everything they wanted today. Of course, we should be grateful for all that our parents do for us every day of the year. In additional to the emotional support, moms (and dads) literally pay for parenthood. A recent calculation of the average cost to raise a child to age 18 came to $312,202. That figure is for a middle-class family, and doesn’t include college expenses. Yikes! Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told WTOP News that the true price could be... Read more →


Updated Thursday, April 4, 2024 via GIPHY Tax Day is less than two weeks away, but some aren't sweating the April 15 filing deadline. They have more time to complete their tax paperwork and, in some cases, may any associated payments. Here's a look at the special situations where taxpayers have more time to file their federal tax returns. International, including military, taxpayers: When it comes to individual taxes, the tax code doesn't care where you live. If you're a U.S. citizen or resident alien, including those with dual citizenship, you must pay tax to Uncle Sam even if you're... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Meg Aghamyan First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes filing your taxes together in one package. 💘💕💗💕💘 Or not. OK, I pushed it trying to rhyme marriage and package. Now it's clear why I stick to prose instead of poetry And that "or not" stanza is a bit counterintuitive on Valentine's Day, a time when we traditionally celebrate love and inseparability. But we are talking taxes on this heart day, so there's always an exception. Married filing options: It's true that most of the time, it's better to file one return jointly. Not only is... Read more →


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the March on Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963. (Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash) With much of the United States in the grips of severe winter weather, many of today's celebrations of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and legacy have been postponed. If that's the case where you live, you can spend your extra time on this legal holiday reconnecting with King's works. A good starting place is Britannia's timeline of King's life, travails, and accomplishments. You'll also want to read some of his works. There is, of... Read more →


Updated Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, to include the just announced official start of the 2024 tax filing season. Not only is it the first week of a brand, spanking new year, it's the first week of the 2024 tax filing season. I know, the Internal Revenue Service isn't yet accepting 2023 tax returns. That won't happen until the official start of the 2024 filing season on Monday, Jan. 29. But lots of taxpayers already are getting their forms in order, so they can send them the minute the IRS officially opens its doors, and computer system, to process them. And... Read more →


Although hybrid work is still around, most companies returned mostly to pre-COVID-19 pandemic operations in 2023. That apparently includes bonuses for workers. These added employee payments came back in a big way this year, according to a survey last month by the national staffing firm Robert Half. The agency found that 96 percent of employers expect to award year-end bonuses, with 54 percent of those generous employers saying the amounts will be more than a year ago. If you're among those who got a little (or a lot of) extra cash from your boss, congratulations. Now let's talk taxes. Bonus... Read more →


No tax talk today. On this Dec. 25th, enjoy your traditions however and whatever way you celebrate, or even if you don't! My annual wish for you and yours is that on this day, and during the whole holiday season, you get whatever you want, or at least what you need. I'll be back here with a return to taxes tomorrow. Until then, I'll leave you with a few Christmas movie suggestions if you need a break from your regular festivities. The notable new ones this year are Eddie Murphy's Netflix streamer "Candy Cane Lane," and Alexander Payne's well-reviewed "The... Read more →


Photo by Jonathan Meyer on Unsplash My favorite Christmas carol is "We Three Kings." As most know, especially the youngsters who donned paper crowns to play Christmas pageant rulers traversing afar, the song tells the tale of the biblical Magi in Matthew 2:1-12. John H. Hopkins, Jr. wrote the song around 1857. It was part of the United Methodist Hymnal, which was part of my childhood. As a youngster, I was fascinated by these three travelers, often referred to (though not in the carol) as the Magi. It was the first time this West Texas desert dweller had heard of... Read more →


Cutting the Christmas tree is a family affair at this tree farm. (Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash) The first Christmas tree the hubby and I shared was a plastic one. A cheap plastic one. We were newlyweds on a budget, and we couldn't justify spending what even a small real fir cost back then. So we got the artificial tree, trimmed it with our few ornaments, watched the cat find creative ways to attack it (and the items hanging from it), and had a very merry first married Christmas. Our tradition was born. As both our finances and artificial... Read more →


Shopping with your true love can be fun, but you'll probably have to make a separate, solo trip so you can surprise your partner. And if you want to buy any or all of the true love gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, you also will want to make sure you have lots of cash or a large credit card limit. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Even though inflation has slowed this year, Americans are still grumbling about prices. But it hasn't slowed holiday shopping. More than 200 million people went in search of perfect... Read more →


Are you enjoying Thanksgiving? I hope so. And if your Turkey Day celebration extends, like it does for most of us, into Friday and the weekend, Happy Beyond Thanksgiving! But when you're ready (or forced) to get back to your regular routine, you might want to make time to consider the items in the box below: five tax turkeys and how to avoid them. A few relatively easy tax moves in these areas could help make your tax life easier. 2023's Tax Turkeys 🦃 🍗 🦃 to Avoid Not adjusting your incorrect withholding Not collecting your employer's maximum 401(k) match... Read more →


One of the advantages of traveling by car is you can stop and enjoy the scenery. Just be sure to budget enough to cover your fuel costs, which could be higher due to state gasoline taxes. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The hubby and I are Thanksgiving outliers. Our holiday spread is good ol' Texas smoked brisket and sausage and all the sides instead of turkey and all those sides. We do, however, add a pumpkin pie to the banana pudding dessert menu. We also don't go anywhere on this holiday. One of the great homebody benefits... Read more →


…and possibly get a sweet tax break for your gift. Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images There are two kinds of Halloween candy people. There are those who low-ball their trick-or-treater count and end up running out of goodies to give out early in the night's festivities. They turn off the porch and interior lights, and ignore the doorbell ringing by costume clad candy seekers who refuse to bypass any house. Then there are those who buy waaaaay too much candy. Even when they start doubling the handouts to the later goodie-seeking groups, they end up with a lot, a... Read more →


Photo by Anya Batalova on Unsplash We don't get many — OK, not any — kids dressed as ghosts on Halloween night. Our neighborhood's youngsters seem to prefer dressing as comic book icons turned movie characters. Heck, last week I even saw an adult, or a very tall teen, dressed as Spiderman, full-face mask included, during my last grocery store visit. But that's for another blog post. Or a call to the local authorities. Getting back to ghosts, notably those with tax connections. As I mentioned in an earlier post, ghost employees and ghost employers can wreak havoc when it... Read more →


Photo by Kay Bell Do you have your candy for Halloween's trick-or-treaters? Or are you going to have to make another grocery store run to replace the sweets that someone somehow munched early? No judging here. Been there, done that. This week. 😊 And we surreptitious candy snatchers are not alone. Halloween and all its accoutrements, edible and otherwise, is incredibly popular in the United States. This year is expected to be record-setting. Spooky expenses: Total spending for Halloween 2023 is expected to reach a record $12.2 billion, exceeding last year's record of $10.6 billion, according to the National Retail... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Allison Saeng Ghost sightings are common this time of year. Some companies, however, find that ghost employees haunt their businesses year-round. Ghoulish tax tricks are also played on workers by some ghost employers. In both cases, the actions are not just criminal, but also are costly to all, including Uncle Sam, who are victims of these scary tax evasion tactics. Haunted by ghost workers: A ghost employee is a fictitious employee set up in a company's human resource and/or payroll system that receives paychecks. Basically, ghost workers are a form of embezzlement, as the nonexistent employees... Read more →


Check out some October sweet tax treats below that could help make this month less scary, at least as far as your taxes are concerned. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) October is a scary month, and not just because of Halloween. Millions of uber procrastinators face a final mid-month deadline to file their annual tax return. It's also the beginning of the fourth quarter of the year. So, in addition to picking out your All Hallows Eve costume and hiding the holiday treats so your family won't eat them all before trick-or-treaters come knocking in a few... Read more →


Source: AmeriCorps Tomorrow, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day. It's not an official, formal federal holiday. But it was declared, by a joint resolution of Congress in 2009, as the day each year for remembering those who died or were injured during the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. On the annual National Day of Service and Remembrance on Monday, Americans across the country will follow the urging of President Joe Biden's in his proclamation to participate in community service in honor of those our nation lost. You can find opportunities to volunteer... Read more →


Labor Day isn't a holiday for all workers. (Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash) Labor Day is a day off for many workers. But entrepreneurs probably put in regular shifts this first Monday in September. When your small business depends primarily on you, you tend to work even on holidays. Since you're busy being the boss, I won't take up too much of your time. But whether you're a new business owner or have been the boss for years, it's always good to stay on top of your tax responsibilities. Here are some tax basics for all of us self-employed... Read more →


Washington, D.C, fireworks illuminate the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol dome. Happy Independence Day! My neighborhood kicked off today with our annual Fourth of July gathering. It included a parade around the flatter (our community is in a hilly area) of our two parks. Cars and golf carts and bicycles and baby strollers and individual walkers all decker out in red, white, and blue regalia made the nearly one-mile trek. There was a good turnout since my neighbors and I, like a lot of Americans, usually spend this holiday close to home. That's especially true in years when July 4... Read more →