Dependents Feed

Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your family members, even -- or for many of us, especially -- the furry ones. My mom and her furry child having an important pre-Thanksgiving dinner conversation. As we gather today to say thanks for all we have, many of us will include our pets among our blessings. I know my mother would be lost without her constant companion. She is not alone. Almost every pet owner will tell you that their animal is a member of the family. The IRS, though, tends to disagree. That's why the taxman won't let you claim your... Read more →

The annual arrival of Father's Day emphasizes just how much being a dad has changed. When I was a kid, a father's main role was being the breadwinner. And dads back then weren't all that emotional, or at least mine wasn't. But that was OK. I didn't need dad around all the time telling me he loved me. My brother and I both knew it and we cherished the time we spent with Dad, either on our own or in family gatherings. Today, however, a lot of fathers take a more hands-on approach to raising kids. Good for them and... Read more →

Life. It just keeps keeping on (if we're lucky!). For most of us, our day-to-day activities fall into a predictable routine. Sometimes, though, the daily route detours. That's what happened yesterday, as the hubby had an unexpected day off. So I took time off, too, to enjoy the down time with him ... not, as he jokingly -- I'm pretty sure he was joking! -- said, to make sure he didn't have too much fun! Click image to watch a video of Ferris Bueller's sage advice about enjoying a day off. And that meant that I didn't get around to... Read more →

It's a dual Groundhog Day this year. There's the traditional meteorological news, which, by the way, is bad. Punxsutawney Phil says we're looking at more winter. An apparently sleepy Punxsutawney Phil prepares to make his weather prediction. The final word: Phil saw his shadow, so we're in for six more weeks of winter. Full story and video at Weather Underground. This year, we also get the federal fiscal replay on official Groundhog Day. This is the one where the president issues his annual budget and the members of the opposing political party declare it dead on arrival. Political process replay:... Read more →

A lot is going on in the next eight weeks. The holidays are almost here. Got your turkey yet? Made your Santa wish list? Meantime, you're also checking out the year-end tax moves you need to make to ensure you pay Uncle Sam the lowest possible 2014 tax bill. And you need to do some 2015 tax planning. Sorry, but it's true. So this week's By the Numbers figure is 2015 in recognition of the many inflation adjustments that will affect next year's tax bill and tax plans. Back on Oct. 30, I posted next year's ordinary tax rates and... Read more →

Taxes and politics are inextricably linked. Raising them, or even saying you might think about doing so, generally dooms campaigns. Lowering them, of course, is seen as a political plus. And actually giving people real tax money back goes a long way toward a ballot box win. At least that's what some New York incumbents no doubt are hoping happens this election year. Family tax credit rebates: Millions of Empire State residents soon will be $350 richer. Tax rebate checks for that amount are going out this week to New Yorkers who, among other things, had a child younger than... Read more →

Our beloved cat Zeke was part of our family for 19 years. He's been gone for 15 now and we still think about him every day. Zeke chilling out in a box at our Maryland condo back in 1984. Our human family and friends are stunned we never adopted another cat. When I've broached the subject of a new kitty over the years, the hubby's reaction has remained consistent and firm: "Do people get another kid when they lose one?" Sometimes, but that's a topic and blog post for another time. Today's focus is on our collective devotion to our... Read more →

Today I'm spending the day with my mother. It's a rare weekday visit, which allows us to take care of some things that must be done during regular business hours, not on weekends. My mother turned 80 this year. You wouldn't know it. For the most part, she's still very vital and active. In fact, her social life is much more vibrant than one the hubby and I have! She can't, however, drive. So part of each visit is devoted to errands that are hard for her to accomplish using the limited public transit options where she lives. I'm thankful... Read more →

It's summer, so that means kids are everywhere. Heck, they're even in our yard -- OK, our driveway, since we don't have much of a front yard. Obviously inspired by the X Games held earlier this month in Austin, the neighborhood skateboarders and cyclists have taken over our block. And they've deemed our sloped, circular driveway a perfect practice area. (The hubby thinks its for competition, not just practice.) This is not a surprise. When we moved here nine years ago (Yikes! Where did the time go?), we soon learned that opening our garage doors in the summer would send... Read more →

A Father's Day gift for single dads: 5 tax breaks

Dad deserves as much rest as he can get. So on this Father's Day, a good and easy gift is to let your father sleep a little longer. "There should be a children's song: 'If you're happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep.'" -- comedian and father of five Jim Gaffigan A bit more shut-eye is especially welcome by fathers who are raising families on their own. There were 2 million single fathers in the United States last year, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. These solo pops, who accounted for... Read more →

Are child-related tax breaks appropriate, fair?

It's another Mother's Day and for the last few years, my mom and I have lived close enough so that we've been able to spend it together. I'm about to head over to her place for the day. My mother has taught me many things, including that being a mom is a tough job. That's one of the reasons I opted out. She definitely raised a smart daughter! Not that mom complained. She desperately wanted kids and my brother and I were always very aware of the depth of her love. Child-related costs: But it takes more than parental devotion... Read more →

The recent harsh winter weather has been tough on everyone. But parents are feeling special heat. Sorry. I mean special pressure. Schools have been closed an inordinate number of days across the country. That's meant working moms and dads have had to stay home with the youngsters, take the kids to work with them or hustle to find day care. Even in the best weather and circumstances, finding reliable child care is difficult and costly. There is, however, a tax break that can help, the child and dependent care tax credit. While this credit can be claimed by eligible taxpayers... Read more →

Despite my best intentions, my posting lately of the Daily Tax Tip has been, let's be honest, crappy. I won't bore your with my excuses explanations reasons. But as way of apology, I am pleased to report that I have finally updated February's running tax tip list. In doing so, I noticed that last week four of the five tax tips dealt with family tax issues. Was your last family reunion as well attended as the Miller gathering in 1951? Photo shared by Hilary Kanupp Perez via Flickr CC. Most families today, be they as large as the Miller clan... Read more →

Personal exemptions are one way for taxpayers to reduce their adjusted gross income to a lower taxable income amount. Remember, the less money that the Internal Revenue Service can tax, the smaller your eventual tax bill. Personal tax exemptions also are today's Daily Tax Tip. Each of the three individual returns allows each filer to claim a personal exemption for him- or herself, as well as one for a spouse and eligible dependents. Don't be confused by the lack of specific mention of exemptions on the 1040EZ. It's there, but the exemption amount is included in the form's combined standard... Read more →

Lorraine Yaleni Begazo and her younger brother Brandon Ferdinando Begazo have no idea of the tax benefits they've provided their parents. The twins just want their next meal and clean diapers. That's to be expected, they're just a few days old. But because they were born in two different years, the New Year's Eve/New Year's Day babies give their mom and dad an immediate tax benefit when the folks file their 2013 tax return. Then they get double the benefits with their 2014 filing next year. New mom Yaleni Santos Tohalino (pictured with her babies) delivered Lorraine, who weighed in... Read more →

What child tax breaks are these?

The birth of Jesus is one of the most well-known stories. For Christians, it is, as the saying goes, the reason for the season. But even many non-believers are moved by the tale of the birth of a child in stable, with a manger serving as his crib. One of the most beautiful renditions of those humble circumstances is in What Child is This? It was a tough call, but that song barely beat out Away in a Manger for the final spot on the 2013 Christmas Tax Tip Tunes play list. Both songs celebrate the birth of a child.... Read more →

Today, Nov. 12, 2013, is a big day for all sorts of gamblers. For traditional gamblers, it's MegaMillions drawing day. The jackpot is $132 million (a $71 million lump sum payout option). It's also lottery day for many state games of chance. And let's not forget folks who are in Nevada, Atlantic City or casinos across the country. They are sure to include today's numerical representation of 11-12-13 in their bets. Gamblers tend to be superstitious and anything, and I mean anything, that might help produce a win is embraced. "Dates are significant to a lot of players," Danielle Frizzi-Babb,... Read more →

What with the continuing debate over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and the recent easing of the medical flexible spending account (FSA) use-or-lose rule, most of the attention during this fall's workplace benefits enrollment season has been on the health-care options. If you have kids, however, you also should check out your company's child care FSA. In most cases, businesses that offer workers the medical FSA option also provide a similar plan to help them cover child care costs. And like its medical companion, a child care FSA saves you tax money because you put money into the account... Read more →

The hubby and I have been filing joint federal returns for 31 years. Yes, I was a child bride; that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Now that the Internal Revenue Service is accepting 1040s from same-sex married couples nationwide, I thought it a good time to review the process of filing federal taxes as married taxpayers. This also is something that all newlyweds, regardless of gender, need to know. And it's not a bad refresher for those of us who've been filling in joint 1040s for a very long time. So take your spouse's hand and let's look... Read more →

Congratulations to the new royal parents on the arrival of the future king of England. Kate Middleton, officially known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, delivered an 8 pound, 6 ounce son at 4:24 p.m. today local time, 11:24 a.m. Eastern time here across the pond. The proud father, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, was in the delivery room. As for the royal heir's name, Buckingham Palace issued a statement that it would be announced "in due course." Even though we Americans vehemently rejected the monarchy 237 years ago, we remain fascinated by the modern royal family. And I suspect... Read more →