Business Feed

When we think about tax-related inflation adjustments, we typically expect amounts to bump up, at least a little. But, as the Federal Reserve made clear yesterday when it finally hiked interest rates for the first time in almost a decade, inflation has not been a big deal for a while. So it's not such a big surprise that the Internal Revenue Service's annual inflation adjustments for the rates used to figure tax deductible driving looked like some earlier Fed moves: they will drop in 2016. A young driver knows what it takes to keep his vehicle on the road. The... Read more →


In the largest ever gathering of world leaders, the global representatives of 196 nations on Dec. 12 signed a historic climate change pact. The consensus of great global powers and some of the planet's poorest nations alike was that the landmark agreement is necessary to make changes in human behavior that will slow and limit the earth's increasing temperature. A new study, however, suggests that people worldwide need to make a change in their eating habits. And one way to accomplish such a dietary change might be a meat tax. Would a tax on your steak and other meat cause... Read more →


One of the year-end tax tips that I've been talking about in recent days is to defer income, such as a workplace bonus, into the next year. That will give you 12 months to figure out how to handle the taxes on the added income. However, I don't think the employees of Hilcorp Energy Co. will be deferring the $100,000 each received this year. Big reward for goals met: The privately held oil and gas exploration and production company gave every one of its 1,399 workers the hefty cash thank you for helping the company achieve its five-year goals earlier... Read more →


No business sector is off limits when it comes to taxes. That's the message from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which last week announced formation of an adult entertainment task force. The special investigative unit of Great Britain's version of the Internal Revenue Service will target strip clubs and online escort agencies that it suspects are covering up thousands of pounds a day in profits, thereby evading value added tax (VAT), income tax and national insurance payments. Billions in unreported earnings: HMRC says the adult entertainment industry, including but not limited to strippers, escort agencies and lap dancing clubs,... Read more →


It's officially Cyber Monday, but it looks like a lot of shoppers this year have already headed to their keyboards instead of stores. More than 103 million people reported that they had shopped online or planned to do so starting on Thanksgiving and through Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation's consumer sentiment survey. That bests the nearly 102 million people who shopped in stores during the four-day period holiday period. The main reason folks shop via Internet instead of heading to stores is convenience. No traffic. No crowds. And in some cases, no sales tax. But that last reason... Read more →


Mom and Pop shops across the United States are hoping that today's Small Business Saturday will boost their bottom lines. The day was created by American Express five years ago as a way to encourage shoppers who frequent major chains on Black Friday to also spend some of their holiday budgets the next day at locally-owned firms. The added income definitely will help, especially if Small Business Saturday 2015 comes close to 2014's numbers. Last year, 88 million people got out to, as the marketing phrase says, shop small. But regardless of the take today, small businesses already had something... Read more →


Does your Thanksgiving Day menu include a turkey, yams and those fancy stuffed potatoes that grandma used to make every time the family gathered at her house? Thanksgiving meal photo courtesy Satya Murthy via Flickr CC Then there are two things you need to do. First, send me your address and set another plate at the table. Then second, when Congress returns to Washington, D.C., after its holiday break, contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to finish up the tax extenders. If the 50+ tax breaks that expired on Dec. 31, 2014, aren't reinstated, then many of the... Read more →


Alaska is notable for many things, especially when it comes to taxes. The Last Frontier is the only state that does not have an individual income tax or collect a state-levied sales tax. Instead, Alaska relies primarily on oil money to keep its coffers full. Oil rig drilling in Alaska's deep snow (circa 1940–1970). Photo courtesy Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, University of Alaska Fairbanks That personal petroleum reserve, however, is dropping. And that means the 49th state is considering some potentially painful tax changes. Alaska's costly oil subsidies: There's already talk about scaling back the subsidies the state offers oil... Read more →


To many, Donald Trump is a blowhard. But it turns out he has a legitimate connection to wind beyond his personal constant stream of hot air. The Republican presidential hopeful told a group of Iowa voters at a town hall meeting this week that he supports the federal tax credit for wind power producers. That's a pretty big surprise. Not just because Trump is actually talking about a piece of tax policy, but also given his hairdo you'd think he wouldn't be a big fan of wind. Yeah, I know, cheap and easy joke, but when someone walks into it,... Read more →


Last week's jobs report for October was surprisingly good. The unemployment rate fell to 5 percent, its lowest level since 2008 and half of the 10 percent rate in the wake of the financial crisis. If predictions are correct for seasonal hires this year, even more workers could be having a merrier than usual Christmas. Businesses in San Antonio are following the national trend in hiring for the holiday season. Click image to see KSAT-ABC's report. But that holiday joy could be dashed at tax filing time if you don't pay attention to how you are classified by your temporary... Read more →


Michael Myers, the masked slasher who terrorizes towns and teens on Halloween, obviously loves Oct. 31. Michael Myers of "Halloween" film infamy is thrilled that Oct. 31 is finally here. Click image to see his happy dance. Since the original "Halloween" movie debuted at the end of October 1978 (I was in one of those packed theaters in Lubbock, Texas), 10 sequels have followed, most of them involving franchise creator John Carpenter. It cost Carpenter and crew around $300,000 almost four decades ago to bring the terror of Michael Myers to the big screen. The trademark mask the character wears... Read more →


Business tax filers are catching up with individual taxpayers when it comes to electronically submitting returns. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that in 2015 around 77 percent of all corporate and partnership returns were filed electronically, based on filing data as of Sept. 20. That's 625,000 more such business filings than last year, or percentage-wise, a 9 percent increase. On the individual tax side, slightly more that 86 percent of U.S. taxpayers had e-filed their 1040s through Sept. 25. That's a 2.2 percent increase over the same period in 2014. And remember that we have a few more e-filing days... Read more →


Computers and taxes are inseparable. Most of us use our computers to file our taxes every year. The Internal Revenue Service relies on its computers, which it keeps telling Congress it needs money to upgrade, to process those millions of electronically completed and filed returns. Now some computer scientists are working on an algorithm that could help catch some tax cheats. Partnership tax shelter troubles: Specifically, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the nonprofit technology research and development organization Mitre Corporation, are focusing on a certain type of tax shelter used by partnerships. "We see the tax code... Read more →


When Donald Trump finally released his tax plan on Sept. 28, he included a provision he says would encourage U.S. based-companies to companies to bring their overseas earnings -- and jobs and tax payments -- home. Companies nowadays operate, and pay taxes, well beyond the boundaries of the county in which they are headquartered. Image by Effervescent Me via Flickr. Trump's proposal for a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held abroad at a discounted 10 percent tax rate is nothing new. One of his GOP presidential nominee competitors, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, previously released his tax plan that calls... Read more →


Online sales tax collection is about to cross the halfway mark. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Michigan will become the 26th state in which Amazon will collect sales tax. Amazon box photo by MikeBlogs via Flickr The Seattle-based online retail giant, however, isn't the only company affected. Michigan operations, taxes: Michigan's new Main Street Fairness Act that takes effect tomorrow applies to all Internet retailers with a presence in the Great Lakes State. The affected businesses will be required to collect and remit to the Michigan Department of the Treasury the state's 6 percent sales tax on all purchases made by... Read more →


Greece, despite another bailout from Eurozone lenders, is still struggling to get its economy together. Now it faces another internal threat: bartering. The New York Times reports that as the Mediterranean country "grapples with a continued downturn, bartering is gaining traction at the margins of the economy" because money is just not readily available. Liz Alderman writes: "Graphic artists are exchanging designs for olive oil. Accountants swap advice for office supplies. In the agricultural heartland and on the Greek islands, informal bartering, which has historically helped communities survive, has intensified as more people exchange fruits, vegetables, other crops, equipment, clothing... Read more →


The House Ways and Means Committee plans to mark up seven bills this morning (Thursday, Sept. 17), most of which usually are considered as part of a comprehensive tax extenders package. More than 50 temporary tax laws expired at the end of 2014. Congress is slowly working on getting them back in the tax code for at least a couple more years. Passage of the extenders, so named because they are temporary tax laws that must be renewed (aka extended) periodically by Congress, have become an end-of-the-year pain in the a… a legislative ritual. Such a delay, however, means that... Read more →


You've got to give it to Alabama lawmakers. They don't mess around when they talk about sin taxes. Oh sure, the Alabama House Ways and Means Committee OK'ed a 25-cent-per-pack cigarette tax hike. But nicotine addiction is just a minor sin. And that tax was just a preview. The state's tax-writing committee last week also approved a 40 percent excise tax on pornographic materials. Alabama isn't censoring adult material, but some lawmaker do want to tax it heavily to help close the state's budget shortfall. You read right. Forty. 4-0. The size of the proposed tax and its titillating target... Read more →


Next week, Colorado's recreational marijuana users are in for a tax treat. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, the state's two marijuana related taxes, which come to a combined 25 percent, will be waived. Sweet Leaf marijuana retail shop in Denver, Colorado. Photo courtesy Colorado Pot Guide. For folks who enjoy taking time for a little toking, this is way better than any of the back-to-school sales tax holidays that 18 states held earlier this summer. Day off for sales and excise taxes: Thanks to the intricacies Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requirements, the state's 10 percent retail marijuana sales tax... Read more →


Donald J. Trump, the leader for the Republican nomination for president, is still finalizing his plan to reform the country's tax system. Meanwhile, however, he still has to worry about his own taxes. Case in point, the real estate tax bill his Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York, is facing. Donald Trump's New York City area golf club is fighting its property tax assessment, seeking a lower value on the luxury property so it will get a nearly 90 percent cut in its latest property tax bill. Trump seeks less huge tax bill: The 140-acre property in... Read more →