It's been a crazy weekend, with much of Sunday spent with my mom, who's a major golf fan, and not a bad player herself when she was younger. She still has her hole-in-one trophy. Since I spent most of the day at my mother's, I didn't get around to blogging today. But because part of our conversation between lunch and pedicures and shopping (both for clothes and food) was about Brexit and the U.S. presidential election and, of course, how they converged at Donald Trump's renovated Turnberry, Scotland, golf course and resort, the following tax-related golf quip seemed an appropriate... Read more →


If you have substantial funds in foreign bank accounts or investments, you may need to file a Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. And you need to do so by next Wednesday, June 30. That's a firm deadline. No filing extension is allowed. Because of the no-give for this filing, the due date earns this week's By the Numbers honor. FBAR triggers: The filing is known as the FBAR, which is a sort-of scrambled acronym for the form's name. Although the Internal Revenue Service is intensely interested in tracking potentially taxable money wherever in the world it's... Read more →


Hackers continue to assault the Internal Revenue Service's online options, forcing the agency to shut down yet another website tool. Another automated bot hacking attempt by identity thieves has forced the IRS to stop issuing e-file PINs. On Thursday, June 23, the IRS announced that taxpayers can no longer obtain an electronic filing personal identification number, or e-file PIN, at either IRS.gov or even via phone. And due to growing identity theft and tax refund fraud threats, the shutdown of the e-file ID option might be permanent. Who needs an e-file PIN? Some taxpayers use an e-file PIN to verify... Read more →


Hillary Clinton says the U.S. tax code is "'riddled with scams and loopholes" that benefit the wealthy and corporations. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee says she'll address those inequities if elected. Donald Trump, her likely Republican opponent, is at the center of questions about tax code loopholes. Since he's yet to release his personal tax returns, there's much speculation that he's used some of them to zero out his recent tax bills, much like he apparently did back in the late 1970s. Don't email me! I'm not saying anything that The Donald might have done with his taxes was/is illegal.... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen probably was the happiest person in Washington, D.C., today. Only a handful of lawmakers remained in the Judiciary Committee hearing room by the time the latest session on impeaching the IRS commissioner wrapped up on Wednesday, June 22. Click image to watch full hearing on YouTube. On a day when the House Judiciary Committee's second hearing on his possible impeachment might otherwise have garnered much attention, the Capitol Hill session was upstaged by two other events. News overload: First, a newly and possibly just temporarily muzzled Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, gave... Read more →


We're still waiting for Donald J. Trump's federal tax returns, but we have received some clarification on his New York condo's property tax bill. This isn't The Donald's Big Apple home, but another apartment for sale with similar views in New York City's Trump Tower. Trump's attorney asked the New York City tax collector to remove a tax break the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had received that typically is awarded only to taxpayers making less than $500,000. The city complied, thereby increasing Trump's tax bill on his Trump Tower condo by $1,046.41, according to The Wall Street Journal. The removed... Read more →


As the U.S. Senate was preparing to debate tougher gun control proposals (they all failed, by the way, in votes held Monday, June 20), a government transparency group was issuing a report on the amount of armaments held by non-military U.S. agencies. In its publication "The Militarization of America," Open the Books also blasts the Internal Revenue Service for its inadequate inventory control in tracking weapons in its Criminal Investigation Unit. Open the Books, which is a project of the nonprofit organization American Transparency, says in its report that: Sixty-seven non-military federal agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and... Read more →


Summer officially arrives today. For most of us, that means a more relaxed schedule and time for some much needed fun. But don't forget about taxes for these next few months. There are some summer situations that lend themselves to particular tax consideration. Here are six. 1. Deal with the heat. Summer is hot. We know that. Folks in Arizona especially know that. The early season heat wave in the Grand Canyon State already has taken a tragic turn. So be careful, people. And if your home can't take the heat, there are things you can do. Replace your drafty... Read more →


Being a parent is tough. Being a single parent is even tougher. Beach-combing with dad. Photo by YoTuT via Flickr. So on this Father's Day 2016, here's a shout out to the millions of dads who are taking care of their kids on their own. There were almost 2 million single fathers across the country in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That, according to the nation's official people counters, represents 16 percent of the single parent population. In conjunction with the annual day to honor dads, those 1.9 million single fathers also earn this week's By the Numbers... Read more →


Watch out, West Coast. Michael Bloomberg has you in his anti-sugar sights. Classic and Cherry Cokes in our pantry. Photo by Kay Bell. The former New York City mayor was a major financial backer of Philadelphia's beverage tax, providing around $1.6 million in support of the measure. The Philly city council handily approved the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-added and artificially sweetened soft drinks on June 16 As I noted in my Bankrate Taxes Blog post on the day of the vote, the tax campaign was notable for the admission by Philadelphia lawmakers that revenue, not public health, was the prime... Read more →


It's National Flip Flop Day. Or flip-flop if you're into hyphenates. Or thong, which is what we called these sandals when I was a kid, way before the revealing and seemingly uncomfortable swimsuits of that name were invented, or at least known in my small West Texas hometown. Political flipping, flopping, flailing: Flip flopping also is associated with politicians, as in reversing positions on issues, either strategically or by mistake or …. A recent example is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Donald Trump seems to say something outrageous every day. But for purposes of the ol' blog on Flip Flop... Read more →


Early in my career of writing about taxes my shelves and desk and file cabinets and office floor were covered in tax-related magazines, books, brochures and Internal Revenue Service issued tax booklets and forms. Now it's my email box that's overflowing. The world, including the tax world, has gone more digital. Although, as that photo at left shows, I still have plenty of actual tax and finance books (including -- shameless plug alert -- my "Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and the "Future Millionaires' Guidebook" that some of my Bankrate colleagues and I wrote) in my office. One group, however,... Read more →


Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) takes another step today in his quest to have Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen removed from his job. This morning the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Chaffetz, is meeting met to vote on a resolution to censure Koskinen. UPDATE: No surprise here. The Oversight panel voted 23-15 along party lines to censure Koskinen. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet June 22 to consider Chaffetz's resolution to impeach Koskinen. However, the Republican leadership of the House has not indicated whether it will bring any measures against the IRS chief to the... Read more →


Donald J. Trump has had issues during his presidential campaign with charities. There was his fundraising event back in January for veterans' groups. That was followed up by questions about just how much money was made and to what military-focused nonprofit groups it eventually was distributed. The matter of The Donald's own personal charitable donations also has been discussed, particularly in light of his refusal so far to release any of his tax returns. Now a member of a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank says that he's advised the presumptive Republican nominee to consider taxing rich people more for their... Read more →


Americans, and particularly the families who suffered incomprehensible loss in the horrific mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, are still trying to cope with the tragedy. Forty-nine families are struggling emotionally with the loss of their loved ones at the hand of a crazed and heavily (and legally) armed gunman. Families of 53 more people who were wounded, some gravely, also are trying to cope with the effects of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Help for affected families: Not only must these people work through the personal loss and pain, many also will face practical challenges.... Read more →


"Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!" Everyone connected to "Hamilton" will be raising a glass and singing that Schuyler Sisters lyric later tonight after Broadway's annual awards ceremony is complete. The ground- and record-breaking musical is nominated for 16 Tony awards (yes, that's a new record, too). The show about the $10 Founding Father likely won't set a new record for wins, in part because many of its actors are competing against each other. But it should take home the statuette for top musical. And beyond the creative realm, Hamilton is already... Read more →


Even without the Triple Crown on the line, today is still a big one for thoroughbred race fans. Could Suddenbreakingnews, getting a workout back in March, spoil Exaggerator's quest for another trophy in today's Belmont Stakes? Exaggerator, who out raced rival and previously undefeated Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in Baltimore's muddy Preakness Stakes last month, is the favorite to win the Belmont Stakes later today. But the wide open field -- Nyquist's owners pulled the pony because it had been dealing with a fever and elevated white blood count -- has opened up the betting. A new horse in the... Read more →