Weblogs Feed

Ice image by Scott Rodgerson via UNSPLASH No, not the slamming of Austin government and utility officials noted in the Tweet below, although the local newspaper did that. What happened was that the hubby and I were among the 170,000+/- Austin Energy customers who lost power. For almost four and a half days. In a rare front-page editorial, @statesman sharply criticizes the city and Austin Energy response to this week’s ice storm. “Public transparency during a massive power outage allows people to make potentially life-saving decisions.”https://t.co/thMtIN8rUW pic.twitter.com/IRySYh1F9o — Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) February 3, 2023 During the Texas grid collapse and... Read more →

Today's a pretty big day for me. On this day 10 years ago, I published my first post on Don't Mess With Taxes. It's now 6,306 posts later and I'm still going, strong on some days, struggling on others. Yep, blogging is like life. You just keep on keeping on. So while I'm not much for celebrating my personal birthday, today seemed somewhat noteworthy. And I get a kick out of looking at how the ol' blog has grown over this past decade. I make no promises or predictions about another 10 years, but I can guarantee I'll still be... Read more →

test CAPTCHA 100918

is this still prompting CAPTCHA? Tax return filing. The IRS has estimated that implementing all of the bill's changes will require creating or revising about 450 forms, publications and instructions. We've seen some of those suggested form changes already, like the technically shorter but realistically longer from many new Form 1040. And we've seen the IRS punt when it comes to one document, the proposed new W-4, that isn't needed file an annual tax return. In addition, Uncle Sam's tax collector also must modify around 140 information technology systems to ensure that it can handle all the newly revised tax... Read more →

Not only does my wedding anniversary sometimes slip past me, so does the ol' blog's birthday. That happened just last week. Eight years ago on Thursday, Nov. 14, I wrote my first post for Don't Mess With Taxes. How tax time has flown! Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting, elaborating, suggesting and generally being such great tax geeks. I'm up for eight more years if y'all are! You also might find these posts of interest: Lighting the first candle Blog birthday #2 Happy Blog Birthday to Me! Happy 4th Blog Birthday Read more →

This just in from the IRS' Worst Day-Week-Month-Year Ever Department: A group of tax professionals has officially lent its support to the legal effort to stop the Internal Revenue Service from testing and requiring continuing education of certain tax preparers. In January, a federal judge halted, at least for the time being, the IRS' Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP) program. The idea, formulated during the tenure of former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, was to set up a system that would help ensure that more tax returns are correctly completed. The RTRP rules do not apply to Enrolled Agents (EAs), attorneys... Read more →

I'm at a BlogathonATX today, a conference for bloggers here in my current home town of Austin. Last week, I was at a personal finance bloggers conference, FinCon12, in Denver. One thing both of these get-togethers has underscored is that blogging is a business. That's a hard lesson for many bloggers. It's also something that other more traditional business owners sometimes overlook, especially in the owners' initial enthusiam to get their ideas and products out to the public. The bottom line, literally, is that you need to run any business like a business; that is, to make money. Jim Yih,... Read more →

I am in the Mile High City for the next few days (that sound you hear is the hubby celebrating temporary bachelorhood) to attend the second annual Financial Bloggers Conference, aka FinCon12, this year in beautiful downtown Denver. Financial bloggers, professionals, companies, columnists, authors -- just about anyone with something to say about money -- have gathered at the Grand Hyatt for three-plus days of greeting long-time friends, making new ones, sharing our financial war stories and learning from each other. I'll wedge in a blog post or two while I'm here, but if you want to know exactly what... Read more →

Ownership of tax rates or tax cuts

Welcome to the continuation of a weekend Twitter conversation about the name "Bush tax cuts." On Saturday, some of us tax and word nerds exchanged semantics and policy views on what to call the tax rates and breaks that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. I soon realized that this topic just couldn't be addressed properly in 140 character bursts. So I offered to provide a platform for further discussion here on the ol' blog. Two of my Twitter pals took me up on that. Below is an analysis by Yoenis Cespedes. Presidential ownership of tax rates or... Read more →

What's Bush about today's tax cuts?

Over the weekend, some of us tax folks were talking via Twitter about the Bush tax cuts. Not the specifics, but the name "Bush tax cuts." Yes, we're word nerds as well as tax nerds and do we know how to spend our days off or what? As we exchanged semantics views on what to call the tax rates and breaks that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, I realized that this topic just couldn't be addressed properly in 140 character bursts. So I offered to provide a platform for further discussion here on the ol' blog. Two... Read more →

It's always a thrill to be recognized, but I'm especially honored that the ol' blog was named a 2012 Association for Women in Communications Clarion Award winner. I've been a writing my entire life and getting paid to scribble since I was studying journalism at Texas Tech University. It was there that I joined AWC and that membership moved with me from Texas to the Washington, D.C., area to Florida and back home to the Lone Star State. One of the first calls I made upon arriving in Austin seven years ago was to the city's AWC chapter. So getting... Read more →

Tax scams and tax avoidance are always noteworthy. And they were the topics last week at my other tax blog. It's usually the tax scam itself that gets attention, but this time it was the guys allegedly involved. Three former National Football League players, a couple of them first-round draft choices, were charged with identity theft and tax fraud. Some other folks took their own identities and officially moved them to other countries to avoid taxes. Yep, the number of tax expatriates who are dumping U.S. citizenship to avoid the Internal Revenue Service is increasing. You can check out new... Read more →

What a nice way to start a holiday weekend. The second annual Plutus Awards finalists have been announced and the ol' blog made the list again this year. Don't Mess With Taxes is tapped as one of four Best Tax Blogs. I'm thrilled to be on the ballot with CafeTax, JoeTaxpayer and TaxProf. We're part of the The Plutus Awards for financial blogs that aren't affiliated with mainstream media and commercial financial products. And as the word ballot indicates, there is a vote involved. If you're so inclined, click on open and pick your favorites, not only in the tax... Read more →

Everything right now is all about the deficit, including my posts last week at my other tax blog. The longer Congress and the President take to agree on where to trim the budget and who should pay more taxes, the closer some sacrosanct tax benefits get to entering the mix. Among the tax benefits generally thought to be untouchable, but which eventually might come under consideration are the many tax breaks connected to homeownership. A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts of the costs and benefits of housing tax subsidies. found that the top home-related tax breaks cost around... Read more →

Regular readers (and close inspectors of the ol' blog's right column) know that I also blog for Bankrate.com. Sometimes I cover the same topic here and at my Bankrate Taxes Blog, especially when there are multiple aspects to the same tax matter. But I've finally come to accept that even though Einstein postulated the possibility of time travel, nobody's found a way to actually accomplish the feat (or they aren't telling!), meaning I can't go back and pick up some extra hours. That means I have limited time to blog, write, eat, sleep, go birding, watch movies, visit with my... Read more →

Accounting blogs for the kids

I'm what's diplomatically described as being "of a certain age," so I feel free to use the term "kids" as I please. In this headline's instance, I'm not talking toddlers, but college kids. That's an audience, specifically students studying accounting, that apparently might find the ol' blog entertaining and informative, according to Jared Eutsler, a CPA (and a lot of other financial accreditations noted by his many suffixes!) and full-time faculty member of the School of Business at Rasmussen College. Don't Mess With Taxes is included in Eutsler's blog post 20 Blogs Accounting Students Will Love. "We've hand-picked 20 authoritative... Read more →

Tax geeks, wonks and me

No, that headline is not a description of my Halloween constume. I'm still deciding. Neither is it the title of a new tax-themed television series. By the way, what ever happened to that Ron Howard/David Krumholtz "Tax Man" program pitched to Fox? My headline refers to a list complied by CPA Trendlines of 64 Tax Blogs for Geeks and Wonks. The directory is divided into categories including tax policy blogs by American professors, by think tanks and blogs specializing in state and local taxes. The final grouping is what CPA Trendlines calls tax blogs that help American taxpayers make sense... Read more →

Happy Fourth Annual Blog Action Day. Oct. 15 is the day that thousands of bloggers worldwide focus on one topic in the hopes of sparking a global discussion and motivating readers to take action. For 2010, we're all blogging about water. Why water? Across the planet, one in eight of us doesn't have access to clean water. And too often, those of us who do have plenty of clean water waste this resource. But some tax laws encourage water conservation. Several states conduct sales tax holidays that offer savings to buyers of energy-efficient appliances. Earlier this month, for example, Virginia... Read more →

Weekend tax roundups

I meant to post this yesterday, but got distracted with some personal tasks and then spent the evening in the bathroom puking thanks to the Cowboys' horrific play. But my personal issues are in no way a reflection on the fine tax and financial compilations posted this past weekend by a couple of fellow bloggers. Joe Taxpayer Blog offers a nice collection of recent money notes in A Super Longevity Roundup. In addition to his website version, you can give Joe's post your support on Tip'd. And The Wandering Tax Pro's weekend version of What's the Buzz? has a lot... Read more →

Hobby or business? That's the costly tax question facing Philadelphia bloggers

In addition to cutting services, many cash-strapped cities are looking for new revenue sources. One local levy that's catching a lot of online flack right now is Philadelphia's tax on bloggers. The tax, which centers on whether bloggers are businesses or write online as a hobby, has gotten a lot of coverage, including at Mashable, Philadelphia City Paper, ComputerWorld, the Washington Examiner and Philly's NBC affiliate. Paying the taxman for your hobby/business: From a federal tax perspective, hobby income is taxable. It's reported on the "other" income line of Form 1040 and any expenses associated with the hobby can be... Read more →