U.S. Holiday Feed

Don't be an April Fool, or gullible person who's an easily caught fish when it comes to fakes floating around today. And never get caught in a tax myth net, on April 1 or any day. How's your April Fools' Day going? I hope you haven't been tricked into believing some outrageous claims. There even are a few April 1 tax pranks out there on social media. Don't fall for them. If you read or hear something tax-related that sounds a bit sketchy, take the time to check it out with reputable tax sources. To help in this area, here... Read more →


Today is the federal holiday celebrating George Washington's birthday. That's it. Just George. Not his Mount Rushmore colleagues Tom or Teddy or Abe. Not any other man who's been Commander in Chief. But most of us refer to this annual February celebration as Presidents Day. The unofficial public renaming actually happened somewhat organically. Evolution from one to all presidents: When Washington's Feb. 22nd birthday became the first federal holiday to honor an American president back in 1879 , it was celebrated on the actual date. But under the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it was shifted to the third Monday... Read more →


I know I said this last year, but once again, I have never been so ready for a fresh start! The last two years were full of chaos, COVID-19 and otherwise, that affected every part of our lives, taxes included. So, recoveries from a New Year's Eve of hearty partying notwithstanding, let's get right to 2022 taxes! April Tax Day, but not the 15th: This year, the Internal Revenue Service is aiming to get back on a more normal cycle. Tax Day 2022 is in April. OK, it's on Monday the 18th instead of the 15th, but still. The three-day... Read more →


Shutterstock If you're celebrating the end of 2021 and welcoming 2022 with an adult beverage at midnight, enjoy! When you bought your booze, you might have noticed it cost a bit more, especially if you go bubbly. Apparently, says Wine Searcher, "The much-vaunted Champagne drought of 2021 is real – and it's starting to show in the retail sector." Wine Enthusiast says here in the United States, we're in the early stages of a Champagne shortage that is expected to last several years. When things are hard to get, the ol' law of supply and demand means the price tag... Read more →


Merry Christmas! If you're checking out a tax blog post on Dec. 25, that can mean only one thing. You've managed to escape momentarily from a contentious family gathering. Been there, hated that. It's never fun tip-toeing around politics and, with COVID still raging, polarizing health topics. That tension goes double during the holidays. Maybe this will help. Here are some festive factoids you can use to redirect the conversations to a merrier destination. Plus, as an internet present for you, there are some tax links in this post's copy. Hey, you're the one who clicked over to the ol'... Read more →


Merry Christmas Eve! For the few of you checking in today, I hope that however and whatever you're celebrating this time of year, it's joyous. The hubby and I are pretty well set for tomorrow's big day. Decorating is done. Yes, that's an artsy shot below that I took of our tree. Plus, Christmas cards are long mailed and gifts bought. All that's left is the cooking. So today, I'm knocking off early to do some of that food stuff. And stuffing. Or, more accurately, make my Mam-ma's dressing. And pies, which actually are the hubby's job, one he does... Read more →


Photo by Dima D from Pexels It's Christmas week and you still have some shopping to do. Don't worry. Here are some financial gift ideas for those of all ages on your personal Santa list. A few even offer tax advantages. Christmas is the season that brings out the kid in everyone, but let's start with some gifts that would be great for hard-to-shop-for youths. Open a Roth IRA for a young worker. If you have a young friend or family member who worked this year, help him or her get started on those way down the road retirement. Open... Read more →


This lord a-leaping and his nine other colleagues will cost you a hefty sum this year if you give them and the 11 other gifts inspired by the "12 Days of Christmas" carol to your true love. (Photo by Yogendra Singh from Pexels) Did you survive Black Friday shopping? More to the point, did your bank account survive? The crowds this year apparently were smaller, but the freedom to shop in real life didn't offer as many savings. Plus, there was inflation. As everyone knows by now, prices have been rising. That definitely is true for the annual PNC Financial... Read more →


Photo: Satya Murthy Happy Thanksgiving! This holiday obviously is about acknowledging all we have to be thankful for in the past year and beyond. It's best when spent with family and friends. And, of course, it's about eating! Turkey and dressing. Green bean casserole. Double-stuffed baked potatoes. Celery stalks overflowing with pimento cheese. Fruit salad. Pies. Lots of pies. That was what I grew up eating. We lived in the same West Texas town as grandparents, so the fourth Thursday of November definitely was a beloved routine. My Mom always helped out my Mam-ma, her mom, and on most occasions... Read more →


This Thanksgiving for the first time in months (or years) families will be getting together to share and make new memories. (Photo by Photo by cottonbro from Pexels) This Thanksgiving week, many of us are seeing family for the first time in months, if not years. (Thanks, no thanks, COVID-19.) If your family members include aging parents, in addition to lots of long hugs and catching up and crying, you probably should spend some time making sure they're doing OK when you're not around. If you do find Mom and Dad could use a little, or even a lot of... Read more →


Elected officials come into office with grand plans. Then the reality of governing hits. Although President Joe Biden has a nominally Democratic House and Senate, the margin in both chambers, especially when we're talking about the perpetually infighting Dems, is razor thin. That means Biden is not going to get everything he proposed on the campaign trail. That's become obvious in the wrangling still going on over his scaled-back Build Back Better (BBB) budget bill. Estate tax/other benefits tradeoff: The Biden Administration had hoped to help pay for new and increased family-focused tax breaks in the BBB by upping another... Read more →


Shutterstock There's one terrifying ghoul who hangs around long after Halloween. In fact, he and his ilk have been busy all year. It's the tax scammer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just this week warned that scammers are sending yet another phony Internal Revenue Service email about COVID-19 relief payments. "There's a fake IRS email that keeps popping into people's inboxes. It says that you can get a third Economic Impact Payment (EIP) if you click a link that lets you 'access the form for your additional information' and 'get help' with the application," says Cristina Miranda of the FTC's... Read more →


Welcome to another Monday federal holiday. Today is Columbus Day. It's not necessarily manic, unless you're spending it finally finishing your 2020 tax return that you got extended until Oct. 15. In that case, this post for tax procrastinators might help. As with many — OK, all — retailers use these three-day federal holidays as reasons for sales. And usually tacky TV commercials. Got your mattress bargain yet? Then there are the associated celebrations. Parades. The coronavirus-delayed Boston Marathon this year. Myriad special events nationwide honoring special people associated with day or its origins or its namesake. Evolving views of... Read more →


Who hasn't felt this way at work from time to time? This year, after COVID-forced reassessment of their jobs, millions decided to quit. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels) The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things, including workplaces. Where offices stayed open or reopened, there are the coronavirus precautions, such as work station spacing and staff masking. Other offices are allowing or requiring their staff to work remotely. Hello home offices (that, sorry, likely aren't tax deductible) and Zoom glitches. COVID also gave us the worst-case scenario for too many workers. Reduced consumer demand meant some businesses needed... Read more →


With the financial situation of Uncle Sam's retirement benefits program getting more dire, a recurring suggestion — raise the Social Security payroll tax wage base — is getting some traction this year. Labor Day typically marks the end, at least unofficially, of summer. After the early September long weekend, most schools are back in session, albeit still in remote/real classroom combos due to the Delta COVID-19 variant. Workers, many also still in hybrid coronavirus cubicle/Zoom formats, tend to focus on their jobs. Those jobs are critical not just to the employees, but the economy as a whole and to two... Read more →


American artist John Trumbull's painting of the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence, which is the artwork's name, to Congress. (Image from Wikimedia Commons) Happy July 4th everybody! I hope all y'all are having great and save 245th birthday party for what became the United States. Relatively speaking, we're still a young country. And like most juveniles and young adults, we're still making mistakes. But we're learning (I hope) from them as push ahead to reach what our Constitution calls a more perfect union. To get there, we need to turn to another critical U.S. document, the... Read more →


Being a parent is tough when there are two adults to share the responsibilities. Child rearing sometimes is darn nigh impossible when there's just a single parent in charge. Most single-parent families are headed by mothers. But there's a substantial number of dads facing these challenges, too. U.S. Census Bureau data show that of the 35 million fathers of minor children, 1.7 million, or roughly 2 percent, are single fathers living with at least one child younger than 18. On Father's Day 2021, we salute all you nearly 2 million dads who are doing your best to take care on... Read more →


Juneteenth, which first began in Texas, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. But today's Juneteenth celebrations are especially notable. This commemoration of June 19, 1865, the day when slaves in Texas got the official word that they were free. It's been a state holiday here since 1980. Now it's a national holiday. Officially, it's now known as Juneteenth National Independence Day. That name change happened when President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and luminaries like 94-year-old Opal Lee, the Texan who had worked for decades to get to... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is a day of recreation for most of us. But we get to enjoy our time off in part because others served in the Armed Forces. The ultimate sacrifice of those military service personnel is the real reason for Memorial Day remembrances every May. And while losing a loved is an unthinkable, difficult situation, survivors of service members do get some special tax considerations. Tax-free benefits, forgiven tax claims: Survivors of deceased Armed Forces members are provided a $100,000 payment. This amount is not taxable. Military survivors also might qualify for tax forgiveness. This situation occurs, notes... Read more →


President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris, addresses the Department of Defense. (White House Facebook page photo) It's a new tax year, a new filing season belatedly underway and a new Administration with some ideas on tax changes. Every time a new president moves into the Oval Office, especially one of the opposite party, political wags try to make pithy observations. Personally, I bow to some esteemed wits of the past, like Will Rogers, who said, "The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." Rogers' sardonic comment came to mind because... Read more →