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I got in my car for the first time in 2017 today. It also was my first use of my new mileage log. Yep, that pretty little pink spiral notebook is this year's tracking device of all my potentially tax deductible miles. And yep, those of you who know me know that I'm not really a pink kind of gal. This notebook was tucked in bag I got at a conference. Over the years, I've attended a lot of conferences and gotten a whole lot of similar notebooks, so I use a new one each tax year. What miles to... Read more →


China has enacted a series of taxes on various types of industrial pollution. But to the dismay of even some of its own government researchers, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not included in the tax plan. Some specific emissions could mean tax bills for Chinese companies under a new pollution tax law just enacted by that country. (Photo by Graeme Maclean via Flickr CC) Still, for the first time ever, public institutions and companies that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment will face specific environmental protection taxes. Some air, water pollutants targeted: Under the law passed Dec.... Read more →


A couple of days ago when I blogged about Amazon's decision to start collecting sales tax amounts in 2017 on products it ships to Louisiana, I noted "…and counting" in the list of states where this already is happening. I didn't, however, expect to have to do some more sales tax math so soon. Online shoppers in Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah will see sales taxes added to their Amazon invoices beginning Jan. 1, 2017. (Photo by Keith Williamson via Flickr Creative Commons) But Jan. 1, 2017, is the day that the online retail giant also will add sales tax... Read more →


I love Christmas. I love it so much that I convinced the hubby to put our tree up the week after Halloween. . We -- OK the hubby, at my nagging request -- put our Christmas tree up the first week of November this year. The early decorating has made for a less hectic official holiday season. My main reason is, as I said, I love Christmas. And we have a big artificial tree that takes a while to decorate with all the ornaments we've collected over all our years together. Plus, we have lots of other holiday decorations spread... Read more →


Here's a special end-of-year tax move for Louisiana online shoppers. Make sure your purchase is delivered by Dec. 31. That's the last day Pelican State consumers can get anything from Amazon with no sales tax included on the invoice. On Jan. 1, 2017, the online retail giant will start adding the appropriate sales tax amounts, both state and city, to items shipped to Louisiana addresses. The new tax addition applies to all online sellers, not just Amazon. Use tax ignored: Technically, Louisiana buyers have always owed the state's sales tax, which currently is 5 percent, and any applicable local sales... Read more →


Working overseas can be a wonderful professional and personal opportunity. It also can present some tax problems. The United States has a worldwide tax system. That means that regardless of where you earn your money, if you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien, you owe taxes to Uncle Sam. The bad news is that the Internal Revenue Service is serious about getting this money. The good news is that there are some income tax benefits for U.S. workers abroad. Excluding income abroad: The most notable one is the foreign earned income exclusion, or FEIE. This allows workers abroad who... Read more →


The enactment of the 21st Century Cares Act this week means medical researchers will get more money for their efforts to develop a variety of treatments for persistent and devastating health problems. The new law also opens up a tax-favored medical plan option for folks who work for small companies. Vice President Joe Biden (center) is recognized during the ceremony in which the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. The bill is close to Biden's heart. He lost his son Beau to brain cancer. Following that personal tragedy, President Obama tapped his veep (and friend) to lead the... Read more →


Your business-related driving probably won't save you as much on your taxes in 2017. The reason? The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the optional standard mileage rate for business use of your vehicle is a half-cent less than in 2016. A trip to the vet likely won't count as a tax deductible medical expense, but other allowable miles in 2017 can be claimed at 17 cents apiece. It drops on Jan. 1, 2017, to 53.5 cents per mile. For the final few days of 2016, the business mileage rate is 54 cents per mile. Along with a smaller per-mile... Read more →


It's National Cookie Day. Guess what I had for breakfast? And probably for lunch and supper, too. Mmmmm! Mint Milanos, biscotti and ginger snaps. If you don't have any cookies in your pantry, click the image for info from Parade magazine on where you can get free cookies today. Not as my whole meal, at least not for the day's two later repasts. Today's gustatory observance reminded me of a DailyInfographic.com item that illustrated some money-making hobbies. Baking was on that list. That's the cooking excerpt below. Click image to see the full DailyInfographic on money-making hobbies. Hobbies' fun and... Read more →


The late Robin Williams said that cocaine is God's way of telling you that you are making too much money. I think you can add luxury autos to that list. The hubby and I spotted this McLaren MP4-12C in our local shopping center's parking lot. Note to self: get to know my obviously much wealthier neighbors! Here in Austin, I regularly see high-dollar cars. A lot of them. On just the roads I routinely travel I've spotted Teslas, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons, Maseratis, Lotuses and even that McLaren pictured above. Yes, I am jealous. While I am happy with my... Read more →


Was president-elect Donald Trump played by Carrier? The company, a division of United Technologies that makes heating and air conditioning units, agreed to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana rather than move them to Mexico. Donald Trump addressing supporters Dec. 1 in Cincinnati as part of his post-election "Thank You Tour." He also stopped in Indianapolis to celebrate Carrier's decision to keep 1,000 jobs at that plant rather than move them to Mexico. (Click image to watch the president-elect's full speech) But Carrier also got some nice tax incentives from Uncle Sam and Indiana for its apparent change of mind. Apparently,... Read more →


The addition of more state sales taxes to online purchases doesn't seem to be slowing Cyber Monday shoppers. Thanks for taking a break from your online shopping to visit the ol' blog this Cyber Monday. (Photo by Keith Williamson via Flickr Creative Commons) In fact, many of you e-commerce devotees got a head start on buying and remitting sales taxes on Black Friday. Record-breaking online purchases: Shoppers shelled out $5.27 billion in online purchases between Thanksgiving and the end of Black Friday, according to Adobe, which uses a proprietary predictive model to forecast online sales and trends. In fact, the... Read more →


Small business owners are hoping that their shops are filled with lots of paying customers this annual Small Business Saturday. The first Small Business Saturday was Nov. 27, 2010. That initial year, it was the creation of the financial company American Express. In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously made the day official. The day celebrates small businesses and encourages supporting them and how they impact communities. They also are hoping that by this time next year, their top tax rate will be just 15 percent. More business tax breaks ahead? That lower business tax rate, a 20 percentage point drop... Read more →


Come January, Republicans on Capitol Hill will officially start looking at ways to cut taxes. It's been the Grand Old Party's goal since President Obama was successful via the fiscal cliff deal of 2012-2013 in getting Congress to let the top level George W. Bush tax cuts lapse, pushing up the top individual tax rate to 39.6 percent. First focus on corporate taxes: While individual taxes will be part of the coming tax reform debate, it's likely that corporate taxes will get the most attention in the beginning. After all, ways to use the tax code to lure U.S. companies... Read more →


Donald J. Trump prefers to fight things out in court. Over the years as a businessman, the president-elect has filed and been named as a defendant in thousands of lawsuits. Even as he prepares to be sworn in on Jan. 20 as the United States' 45th president, he will facing, as of today, more than 70 lawsuits filed against him. Click certificate image for video report on settlement via KABC-TV Los Angeles. But he's no longer worrying about Trump University allegations. Friday, Nov. 18, afternoon, Trump and his attorneys agreed to pay $25 million to settle three lawsuits that claimed... Read more →


Attention Alabama online shoppers. If you're planning to buy from Amazon, you'd better hit the shopping cart enter button soon. On Nov. 1, an 8 percent tax will be added to your purchases from the digital retail giant. Online sales tax collection is the Holy Grail for state revenue offices. As e-commerce transactions have increased every year, states have struggled with ways to collect the billions they say they've lost to untaxed purchases that their residents make online. Nexus via legislation, courts: Some state lawmakers have chosen to redefine nexus, the legal standard of physical presence that determines when an... Read more →


Sweeping western vistas don't get much grander than those found in Wyoming. Wyoming has lots of space for wildlife, like these horses spotted along the Flaming Gorge Green River Basin scenic byway, and businesses looking for a friendly tax climate. (Photo courtesy Wyoming Travel) But the Cowboy State also is pretty expansive when it comes to taxes. Once again, Wyoming has been found by Tax Foundation analysts to have the best business tax climate. The state has earned that top ranking since at least 2012. In coming up with its annual State Business Tax Climate Index standings, the Washington, D.C.-based... Read more →


I'm a bit slow today. I got up at O'dark-thirty to catch a flight home from San Diego, California, where I had spent four fantastic days at FinCon, an annual conference of fellow financial bloggers and other money and media folks. View from my San Diego FinCon hotel room last week. I almost -- almost -- didn't come home! It's a great opportunity to learn best practices, pick up tips (for stories, blog posts and growing your business), meet people you've only known heretofore online, make new friends and reconnect with old ones. And, almost best of all, the business... Read more →


Place your Amazon orders soon D.C. residents. On Oct. 1, the Seattle-based giant e-commerce operation will begin tacking the District of Columbia's 5.75 percent sales tax onto most purchases delivered to District buyers. Amazon box photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr That will bring to 29 the number of jurisdictions across the United States in which Amazon will collect sales tax. Amazon's further incursion into nation's capital: "Amazon will be required to collect sales tax in Washington, D.C. beginning on October 1," according to a statement Amazon emailed to D.C.'s news radio station WTOP. The company would not elaborate further. Neither... Read more →


Whether Donald J. Trump's admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is simply a one-sided man crush on Trump's part or a full-fledged bromance between the two is debatable. Click screenshot to watch the full Jimmy Fallon piece on YouTube. But one thing is certain. It's great fodder for late-night television comedy skits. On last night's The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon looked at the pros and cons of the relationship between the Republican presidential nominee and the divisive Russian autocrat. Of course, The Donald's taxes were part of the presentation. As Trump might phrase it, some people say that one... Read more →