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One of the biggest challenges for any business, whether new or established, small or larger, is hiring. It's also a challenge for the Internal Revenue Service, especially when companies don't understand or intentionally avoid employment taxes. Money lost from unpaid payroll taxes, both unreported or underreported, is huge, notes a recent Kiplinger's Tax Newsletter, accounting for a large portion of the overall federal Tax Gap. This is the amount of money the IRS is owed, but hasn't been able to collect. Kiplinger cites IRS data from 2019 that found $77 billion of payroll taxes fell through the cracks yearly from... Read more →


Only 80% of wrongly-claimed Employee Retention Credit amounts must be repaid. Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash We're all aware of the continuing medical issues from long COVID. The coronavirus' tax effects appear to be just as persistent. The Internal Revenue Service is still dealing with law changes enacted to provide pandemic relief. The Employee Retention Credit, or ERC, is one of them. This refundable business tax credit was designed for companies that continued paying employees during the COVID-19 pandemic despite financial hardship. To qualify, the businesses were either fully or partially suspended due to a government order, or had... Read more →


To ensure you have the type of retirement you want, you must do some calculations, including figuring how your required minimum distributions fit in, financially and tax-wise. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Retirement savings can make a big difference in how enjoyable your post-work years will be. If you have tax-deferred retirement accounts, those savings also present new tax responsibilities once you reach a certain age. Some money in a traditional IRA that's been out of the Internal Revenue Service's reach for years must be taken out as a required minimum distribution, or RMD. Uncle Sam also... Read more →


Photo by Xingchen Yan on Unsplash If your work involves driving, the Internal Revenue Service has some good news for your 2024 business trips. Today, the tax agency announced that on Jan. 1, 2024, the standard optional mileage rate you can use to claim those eligible miles will go to 67 cents per mile. That's a 1.5 cent increase over the 2023 mileage rate. However, the other two mileage rates that the IRS evaluates and adjusts each year are going down. Travel for medical and, in the case of qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, moving purposes will be... Read more →


My H-E-B helps me keep track of store purchases that might be eligible for FSA reimbursement. (Crumpled receipt photo by Kay Bell) After today's weekly grocery buying trip, I'm pulling out my stash of COVID-19 pandemic masks. Yes, I bought a lot. A whole lot! As before, the facial protection is to shield me from the sneezes and coughs of many of my uncovered fellow H-E-B shoppers. This time, though, I'm hoping the upper respiratory cacophony is due to the changing weather, dust stirred up by the firing up of furnaces, and, here in Central Texas, cedar fever. But you... Read more →


You have a lot to do, and which you'd rather be doing, this month. But also take some time to check out a few December tax moves. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) It's December! Are you ready for all the decorating and shopping and cooking and parties and tax moves to make? Me neither. Although I love the holidays and Christmas decorating, my time and patience get shorter this time of year as my seasonal to-do list gets longer. So I understand if you are rolling your eyes right now as I suggest adding some tax moves... 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 →


IRS also ups payment threshold trigger to $5,000 for the 2024 tax year. Thanksgiving is this week, but the Internal Revenue Service today skipped all the way to Christmas, giving an estimated 44 million taxpayers an early gift. Most of these individuals won't have to deal with 1099-K forms in 2024. They now have another year before they'll get this tax statement detailing their self-employment income. They also can make much more next year — up to $5,000 instead of $600 — before this third-party reporting document must be issued in January 2025. This latest delay decision, detailed in IRS... Read more →


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash This Thanksgiving week is a big travel week for millions of Americans. Most people are heading to friends' and/or relatives' where they'll share a Turkey Day spread. Others are using the time for other, non-holiday recreational pursuits. By this time next week, they'll be back home. In most cases, they'll return to homes are in the United States. However, thousands of U.S. citizens have relocated internationally. Despite the location distances, those Americans abroad share something with domestic residents other than celebrating a traditional U.S. holiday. They still owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless... Read more →


Before law changes, the now inflation-indexed Alternative Minimum Tax, known as the AMT, seemed to work like an ATM for the U.S. Treasury. The AMT was created 54 years ago to ensure the rich paid at least some tax, but since it originally wasn't indexed for inflation, it increasingly affected a lot of less-wealthy taxpayers. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) What's worse than figuring your tax bill? Having to figure a second, parallel amount you might owe. That's a situation that taxpayers who owe the Alternative Minimum Tax, or AMT, end up facing at filing time. The... Read more →


Taking advantage of these inflation-adjusted tax breaks could put more money in your pocket instead of Uncle Sam's bank account. (Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash) Each of our tax situations is unique. But every taxpayer can agree on one thing. We all want to pay the least amount of tax as possible. That universal goal can be reached by taking advantage of tax deductions, tax credits, and income exclusions. Deductions, like the standard amounts discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blogs annual tax inflation series, are a relatively easy, and popular, way to reduce a tax bill. Deductions... Read more →


Substitute a cat for the dog, and that's pretty much how the hubby and I envision retirement! (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) OK, boomer. When that catchphrase meme went viral a few years ago, it marked the end of friendly generational relations. It also could be seen as a wake-up call to retirement savers. With Social Security already facing financial challenges, many point to the added challenges that Uncle Sam's retirement program faces as even more of the Baby Boom generation retires. Congress has yet to address Social Security's future. Of course, the House and Senate seem to... Read more →


Getting your tax ducks in a row takes on a different meaning, and bird, in November. But whatever fowl you choose for the metaphor, make some time this month to complete tasks that will prevent tax turkeys. (Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni) Hello, November! We welcome cooler (but not cold!) temperatures, holiday feasts (yes, I love pumpkin pie), and seeing family and friends for the first time in, well, months. This penultimate month of the year is also a good time to tackle some tax tasks. I know, you already have a lot on your November to-do list. But check out... Read more →


Confused about your workplace benefits options during open enrollment? Your answers to the following questions could help. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash) Millions of U.S. workers are now deciding what workplace benefits they want in 2024. Many during this annual open enrollment period simply re-up the options they chose last year. I get it. It's easy. But you could be costing yourself, both in out-of-pocket cost and tax savings. So, before you make a final decision, ask yourself the following questions. 1. Will your company help your repay your student loan? College costs and the debt that... Read more →


Small businesses' many challenges were multiplied during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies and their workers make it through that lean time. But recently, unscrupulous promoters have pushed some owners to improperly claim the ERC, creating new problems. Now the IRS is offering a way to correct those bad filings. (Image via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped lots of small businesses and their staff make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. When properly claimed, the ERC is a refundable tax credit designed for businesses that continued paying employees while... Read more →


The coming wage base bump also means more FICA taxes for higher earners. It looks like this man got the good news that his Social Security benefit will be larger next year. However, the tax news for high earners who are still working isn't as welcome. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The Social Security Administration (SSA) gave 71 million benefits recipients good news today. Next year, they'll get a 3.2 percent increase in their Social Security retirement benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. The cost-of-living (COLA) bump means that retirees will, on average in 2024, see more than... Read more →


You have a lot of responsibilities when you're self-employed. One includes making contributions to your retirement plan, which in some cases can be done as late as your filing extension deadline. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Most IRA contributions must be made by Tax Day. For the majority of taxpayers this year, that deadline was April 18. But if you're self-employed and got an extension to file your 2022 tax return, you also got an extension to contribute to your entrepreneurial endeavor's retirement plan. That deadline, in case the days have slipped by you, is this coming Monday, Oct.... Read more →


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash After two years of decline, thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic, marriages in the United States have returned to pre-COVID levels, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's recently released 2022 American Community Survey (ACS). Even better for romantics, a major jewelry company is predicting a spike in engagements as more of us return to pre-pandemic lifestyles, including dating…and more. If you're planning nuptials, or already have said, "I do," congratulations. Now here are eight tax tasks you need to take care of, after the honeymoon, of course. 1. Make sure everyone knows your... Read more →


Your next "welcome to your new job" handshake could be at the Internal Revenue Service. (Photo: Unsplash+ in collaboration with Ahmet Kurt) A key part of the Internal Revenue Service's plan to increase taxpayer compliance is personnel. It takes people to track down and confirm they, or their businesses, owe taxes. So the IRS is looking to hire 3,700 employees nationwide. Specifically, the agency is seeking people, preferably experienced accountants, to serve as revenue agents. Revenue agent special skills: IRS revenue agents, known officially as Internal Revenue Agents, serve as technical experts in examinations of significant and complicated tax compliance... Read more →


Photo by Max Burchill on Unsplash To paraphrase a gazillion social media posts, exploitative people are why we can't have needed tax breaks. OK, Congress plays a big part. And the Internal Revenue Service too often steps on its own tax toes. But in many cases, unscrupulous people mess things up for the rest of us who are just trying to comply with tax laws and get a little bit of legitimate tax relief along the way. That's what happened with the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). This refundable tax credit was created by lawmakers to help businesses that were struggling... Read more →


The scheme involved false W-9 information, which meant the payor wasn't able to provide the owner of the artificial turf company, or the Internal Revenue Service, with the proper third-party report, allowing the man to evade nearly a million in federal tax. Until tax investigators caught up to him. Artificial grass has been dividing sports fans and players since its installation in Houston's iconic Astrodome in 1966. But fake grass is gaining ground among residential and smaller commercial customers. The market is forecast to reach $7 billion by 2025, as we deal with hotter temperatures, drought, and water sources literally... Read more →