Business Feed

NASCAR fans are gearing up for tonight's night race at Daytona International Speedway. Still referred to as the Firecracker 400 by veteran stock car fans, the corporately renamed Coke Zero 400 marks NBC's return to the sport after a 10 year hiatus. While some race fans are grumbling because the top-tier NASCAR race was bumped from its traditional first Saturday night in July to Sunday to capture a bigger TV audience, it still should be a good show. And it will give those at the track as well as those of us watching on television a chance to see what's... Read more →

Jeb Bush really did have 33 years of tax returns on hand and he opened them up for public inspection yesterday. When the former Florida governor announced that as part of his campaign to be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee that he was going to go to the extreme on personal tax transparency, I immediately wondered why he selected that particular number of years. I also wondered how come he had that many years of tax records on hand. I was not alone. CPA and Twitter pal Deanna Richardson also was intrigued by the massive amount of tax records. Most... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service hasn't always followed the law when it comes to making business deals. Uh oh. Specifically, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS has violated the federal law that prevents it from doing business with businesses that haven't paid their taxes. The IRS also ignored the other portion of that law, enacted in 2012, that prohibits agency contracts with companies that have been convicted of felonies. In total, during fiscal years 2012 and 2013 the IRS awarded 57 contracts to 17 corporations that weren't eligible because of their tax debts or prior... Read more →

Amazon has hit the halfway mark. Today, June 1, the online retailer begins collecting sales tax on products it delivers to shoppers in Ohio. The Buckeye State is the 25th state in which Amazon collects sales taxes. Photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr Creative Commons Officials estimate that Amazon's tax collection will help boost Ohio's sales tax revenue to between $150 million and $300 million annually. Before today, Ohio has had to rely on the state's online consumers to pay the tax. The new online sales tax collection system was announced late last week, after a year of Amazon and Ohio... Read more →

Despite the massive crazy that can be Texas -- we do like to do everything, good or bad, big! -- one thing I do love about the Lone Star State is its far-reaching history. Everyone knows that Texas once was an independent country. Texans like to make that clear to anyone who'll listen, and even those who've quit paying attention, all the time. But before that, we Texicans were part of Mexico. So it's no surprise that we latch onto that Mexican heritage on special days, such as Cinco de Mayo. Of course, May 5 is a minor holiday in... Read more →

You've got to hand it to New York. The Big Apple truly does have something for everyone and every, uh, predilection. There is, of course, a price. And a tax. The Museum of Sex found that out the hard way. Yes, I know, some of what I will type in this post will be, I swear, unintended double entendres. Please accept my apologies in advance, but I just don't have time to search through my thesaurus for synonyms. The New York Post reports that the New York state tax office slapped an $82,192 tax lien on the Museum of Sex... Read more →

It's one thing to make an innocent mistake on your taxes, or to overlook a tax break that could lower what you owe Uncle Sam. Those tax sins of omission are costly, but usually won't invoke the ire of the Internal Revenue Service. When you intentionally disregard tax law, however, such willful neglect will get you in real trouble. The IRS defines willfulness as a voluntary, intentional violation of a known legal duty, specifically your tax filing and payment responsibilities. Such intentional tax violations could lead to tough penalties on top of the unpaid tax and interest added to it.... Read more →

Alabama smokers now pay 42.5 cents in taxes on each pack of cigarettes they purchase. If the Yellowhammer State's governor gets his way, those taxes will almost triple. Gov. Robert Bentley is yet another Republican who has been forced by fiscal realities to consider and even support higher taxes. One of the easiest routes to higher taxes, regardless of party affiliation, generally comes by hiking taxes that already exist. And many times, such tax increases are in the so-called sin tax category, those habits that are bad for individuals and the states where they live. Bentley's current budget proposals include... Read more →

Answers like these are why I so love Jeopardy. The correct question is, of course, "What is self-employed?" I really wish Alex Trebek would have accepted the total tax response, "Who gets 1099 forms?" But I suspect contract killers and those who hire them don't want any paper trail. We sole proprietors and freelancers with less criminal leanings, however, have piles of 1099s. And with the tax-filing deadline less than two weeks away, it's a good time to offer my fellow small business owners some tax tips on that and other facts of independent contractor life. Not being one to... Read more →

Allgreens, a medical marijuana dispensary in Denver, has won its cash payment battle with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS demands electronic payroll tax deposits. Allgreens, however, began making its federal employee withholding tax payments in cash after its bank, leery of working with a business that Uncle Sam deems illegal, closed the dispensary's account. So although Allgreens was meeting its federal tax obligations in full and on time, it also was racking up penalty charges for not making them in the form the IRS wants. Allgreens headed to U.S. Tax Court. Now, however, the case is moot. The IRS... Read more →

One of the benefits of a do-nothing Congress, at least from lawmakers' perspective, is that all the uncompleted work offers easy starting points for "new" legislation. Look at tax reform. The current Senate Finance Committee essentially is using the tax code overhaul playbook established by members in the 113th Congress. Now we have the latest iteration of online sale tax legislation. This week a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2015. It's basically the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which was introduced two years ago by the same core group of sponsors. The earlier bill passed... Read more →

Call it Camp 2.0. Today the House Ways and Means Committee, now under the chairmanship of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), approved seven bills to permanently renew some provisions that traditionally have been part of the larger tax extenders package. This law-by-law approach was favored last Congress by then Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who retired at the end of the 113th Congress. Instead of pushing through one big tax bill of 50-plus tax breaks, Camp preferred separate consideration of each extender. He also wanted to make many of the laws permanent, instead of having them expire every year... Read more →

Attention Illinois online shoppers. You only have a few days left before Amazon starts tacking your state's 6.25 percent sales tax onto your purchases. This coming Sunday, Feb. 1, Illinois will become the 24th state in which the giant online retailer will collect sales tax. Photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr Creative Commons The Seattle-based company already is adding sales tax amounts to invoices for products sent to customers in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. On Jan.... Read more →

St. Louis pro football fans have no team in the current National Football League playoffs, but they are being treated to an exciting competition to house the Rams. Less than a week after Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build a new NFL stadium near Los Angeles, a task force created to keep the Rams (or another pro football team) in the Gateway City offered an architectural counter proposal. The good news for football fans in both cities is that the planned facilities will be built without any new taxpayer money. Yeah, right. Aerial view representation of proposed new... Read more →

In addition to updating tax forms and instructions and getting its computer systems ready for the Jan. 20 start of the 2015 tax filing season, the Internal Revenue Service has been touching base with tax preparers who've had some recurring problems with some returns. Rather than penalizing the tax pros who have filed questionable claims for clients, the IRS is, for now, opting for pre-season tax filing reminders encouraging more diligence and a little bit of homework. In November 2014, around 2,500 preparers (according to Kiplinger Tax Letter) received letters recommending the recipients, in the IRS' words, "consider taking continuing... Read more →

In case you missed it as the 113th Congress wrapped up its frantic lame duck days, it did manage to keep Internet access for most folks safe from taxation for another fiscal year. One of the provisions packed into the $1.1 trillion federal spending package passed in mid-December was an extension of the moratorium on local and state taxes for Internet access through October. A quick note for all y'all logging on in Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and alongside me here in Texas. We'll still see taxes on our Internet providers' bills because the taxes... Read more →

I grew up in West Texas, where the wind sweeping down the desert rivals any Oklahoma show tune boast. So it's no surprise to me that wind power is big in the Lone Star State. In fact, it took Texas wind energy producers just 11 months to break last year's record for generation. Electricity-generating giant turbines on the Desert Sky Wind Farm near the West Texas town of Iraan. (Photo by Pismo, own work licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons) The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reports that through November, wind power generated 33.2 million megawatt hours (MWh)... Read more →

Have you filled up your car lately? If so, you were probably like me. Very pleasantly surprised. Gas prices have been falling. Just last week when I snapped the price board at a nearby station, a gallon of regular was $2.45. That's 15 cents less than AAA's national average price of $2.60 on Dec. 12. And fuel industry experts expect the prices to drop even more. With pump prices the lowest they've been in four years, many say that now is the perfect time to raise the federal gasoline tax. That tax has been 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993.... Read more →

It's day three -- or more for some -- of the Thanksgiving holiday. Are you tired of your relatives yet? No judging here. The hubby and I tend to do our families and ourselves a favor and celebrate holidays on our own or show up for the big day only. Everyone can maintain for 24 hours or less at least a semblance (or façade) of patience and goodwill. If, however, you're still in the midst of a mass of relatives, it may be time for a movie break. A quick cinematic note. Most Thanksgiving movies tend to deal with crazy... Read more →

Do you factor taxes into your shopping budget? You should. If you live in a high sales tax state, it could make a big difference. The tax costs of shopping are of particular concern as the holiday shopping season has arrived. Many stores opened on Thanksgiving Thursday. A few waited until the traditional Black Friday. Then there's Small Business Saturday and, after a break for your bank account and some turkey dinner leftovers, comes Cyber Monday. So who should be putting aside a few extra bucks to cover shopping sales taxes? Tax software and information services company Wolters Kluwer CCH... Read more →