Bankrate Taxes Blog Feed

"An American has no sense of privacy. He does not know what it means. There is no such thing in the country." That observation on the American penchant for (over)sharing was made by the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw long before reality TV shows and social media. It's taken on new significance this election year as we have a major party candidate who, years before he launched his White House quest, was introduced to the electorate as star of his own television program. Donald Trump's former accountant, in an interview with CNN, refutes the Republican presidential candidate's claim of his... 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 →

On lazy Sunday afternoons, my thoughts -- after I'm through cursing the idiotic plays my Dallas Cowboys make -- often turn to retirement. Retired couple enjoying a lazy day outdoors. (Photo by Pug50 courtesy Flickr CC) The hubby and I have been saving for a long time with the goal of making all our days like Sundays, without, of course, the 'Boys' frustrations. The tax code offers many ways to help us save for what we hope will be our golden years. Sen. Ron Wyden, however, thinks Uncle Sam needs to revise some of the retirement related tax provisions. The... Read more →

This presidential election year, the candidates' tax focus is, as usual, on how to lower income tax rates for at least some Americans. But, notes the Tax Policy Center (TPC), most U.S. workers hand over more in payroll taxes than income taxes. Payroll tax parts: Payroll taxes are the amounts designated for Federal Insurance Contribution Act, or FICA, funded programs. You know them as Social Security and Medicare. The total FICA rate is 15.3 percent. Workers and their bosses each pay half. The bulk of the tax, 12.4 percent, goes toward the Social Security component. Taxes at a 6.2 percent... Read more →

Parents want the best schools possible for their kids. Heck, even child-free folks like the hubby and I want good schools. We're counting on the kids roaming our neighborhood getting good educations, then good jobs where they pay into the Social Security that we're planning on collecting in the ever-nearer future. School is back in session, supported in large part by the property taxes that homeowners pay. (Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks via Flickr) But homeowners also hate property taxes. By some measures, it's the most hated tax. So when we get our property tax bills, the largest portion of which tends... Read more →

Music is important to me. I took piano lessons as a kid and even survived some formal recitals and special performances in elementary school. In junior high (that's what we called middle school in my day) and high school, I played the clarinet in school bands. A couple of friends (shout out to Sabrina and Rebecca) and I even won a 2nd place medal for our reed trio's performance at a Texas UIL competition. I long ago put my instruments away, but nowadays I am a polished listener of tunes, all sorts of tunes. Music plays a role in my... Read more →

It was an incredibly successful 2016 Summer Olympics for U.S. athletes. Ashton Eaton won one of Team USA's 46 gold medals in Rio, winning the 2016 Olympic Decathlon and again earning the title of world's best all-around athlete. He first won decathlon gold in London in 2012. (Click image to watch NBC coverage of Eaton's medal ceremony.) Overall, American competitors won 121 medals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gold medallions were bestowed on U.S. Olympians in 46 events. The country won another 37 silver medals and 38 bronze. The next closest medal-winning country was China, with 70. Right now, those... Read more →

While you and I have been enjoying our summer break, tax criminals have stayed on their nefarious jobs. In some cases, they are coming up with new identity theft schemes to steal our personal information and file for fraudulent tax refunds. In others, they are ramping up criminal efforts that are oldies but, from the crooks' perspectives, goodies. Fake IRS calls still coming: In fact, noted the Internal Revenue Service earlier this month, there's been increase this summer of impersonation scams where people get automated calls purported to be from the IRS. It's the largest tax scam ever and it... Read more →

Today marks the heart of the annual back-to-school state sales tax holiday season. Texas shoppers can pick up school supplies, like these that take up a whole special row at my local H.E.B. grocery store, tax-free this weekend. (Photo by Kay Bell) Twelve of the 17 tax-free events are this weekend, or part of it. Iowa's tax-free and Louisiana's tax-reduced holidays run from Friday, Aug. 5, through Saturday, Aug. 6. Tax holidays take place starting today through Sunday, Aug 7, in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Savvy shoppers can save a few... Read more →

Warren Buffett is the third richest man in the world. He's also like a lot of us who are a whole lot poorer. Buffett wants to know what's on Donald J. Trump's tax returns. Warren Buffett challenges Donald Trump to a tax return face-off during a rally for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in Omaha, Nebraska, on Aug. 1, Click image to watch the full CNN Money video. He's the third billionaire within a week to call on Trump to release his returns. Former New York City mayor and media mogul Michael Bloomberg and Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's... Read more →

The back-to-back Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions are more than just must-see TV for political wonks. They also are two extra weeks that Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen doesn't have to worry about possible impeachment. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen making one of his many Capitol Hill appearances. When the Senate and House decamped from D.C. on July 15, the scheduling change added two extra weeks to Congress' annual official August vacation. Sorry, I mean Congress' annual district work session. It also pushed until September the latest effort, this time by the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), to push Koskinen... Read more →

The political version of The Apprentice is in high-gear today as Donald Trump prepares to name his vice presidential pick. Donald J. Trump will soon have help on the campaign trail from his vice presidential pick, whom he's scheduled to name on Friday, July 15. UPDATE, Friday, July 15: It's official. Trump taps Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for GOP veep spot. UPDATE, Thursday, July 14: Trump has postponed announcement of his running mate in light of the attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day. However, if Indiana Gov. Michael Pence is the pick, we should get some indication by noon... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers should use any legitimate tax break to which they're entitled to help reduce their tax bills. Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., however, seems to be pushing that recommendation. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fighting Juan Manuel Márquez on Sept. 19, 2009, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas. (Photo by Ian McWilliams via Flickr CC) Mayweather, who counts Money among his nicknames (and shows why in his Instagram account), reportedly sent a Las Vegas strip club a 1099 tax form in an apparent attempt to write off a visit... Read more →

The United States of America tomorrow will celebrate 240 years since independence was declared. Here's wishing all my fellow Americans a safe and fun July 4, especially since our break from Britain was based in large part on the battle cry that "Taxation without representation is tyranny." But another important date arrived just a few days earlier. On July 1, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 70½. Judging by this cake's flames, this guy looks to be a bit older than 70½. That half birthday date is crucial because it means owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts like traditional IRAs... Read more →

As the Internal Revenue Service explores a future that will make more of its customer services digital, it is getting support from an advisory committee. The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) issued its annual report last week, recommending that the IRS expand its electronic filing efforts and digital strategy. ETAAC also suggests the IRS expand expanded electronic filing of more tax returns, particularly employment taxes. That business tax segment is dramatically lagging in electronic filing participation. The report points out that in 2016 the IRS exceeded, for the fifth straight year, its 80 percent electronic filing goal for individual... 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 →

Work-related moving expenses are tax deductible. You don't even have to itemize. The claim is made as one of the adjustments to income, generally referred to as an above-the-line deduction, right on the long Form 1040. Vintage moving van | Alden Jewell via Flickr But don't think just because this is a relative easy tax write-off that the Internal Revenue Service will just give the claim a cursory glance. IRS examiners will be looking. Just as Giliard Schwartz. A really big move: The San Antonio, Texas, woman claimed $330,000 in moving expenses on her 2012 tax return. Instead of that... Read more →

Tax scams that invoke the Internal Revenue Service get a lot of attention. That's understandable. The tax code is complicated and the IRS is a source of fear for most Americans. That combination makes it easy for crooks pretending to be with the federal tax agency to scare us into paying them to resolve a purported tax bill. But there are 43 other official government tax collectors out there, and crooks know that they also can use state taxes to scare us into sending them our money. Multitasking small business owners make good targets for state tax focused con artists.... Read more →

Federal drug officials are considering removing marijuana's Schedule 1 classification, reports USA Today. A DEA agent carries confiscated marijuana plants to be destroyed. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) decision, which is expected this summer, would make it easier for researchers to work with the plant. Currently, weed is in the same legal category as heroin, LSD and bath salts. As a Schedule 1 drug, marijuana is deemed to have "no currently accepted medical treatment use." Residents and lawmakers in 24 states and the District of Columbia disagree; they permit some form of medical marijuana use. Recreational weed and taxes: Colorado,... Read more →