State/Local Feed

Social media sites are overrun with folks bemoaning the terrible things that happened during this year. I've even aired my grievances about 2016 before and after Festivus, so far be it from me to be pity party pooper. But here's some perspective for all of us. Military vehicles make their way down a flooded North Carolina following October's devastating Hurricane Matthew. (Photo courtesy Federal Emergency Management Agency) For millions of people worldwide, 2016 literally was a disastrous year. In the United States alone, Mother Nature pummeled the country throughout the year, with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, issuing... 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 →


Today is officially winter. You know what that means. Taxes. For folks in Michigan, at least. Much of the United States has been in the grips of the Weather Channel named winter storm Decima this month. The Arctic air even dropped down to the Austin area earlier this week, producing a bit of a freeze in our back yard waterfall/stream. (Click image to watch my YouTube video.) OK. Tax collection in the Great Lakes State isn't limited to the coldest months, which are pretty plentiful there. And it's not even limited to one state. Property tax bills, which actually are... Read more →


America's 538 electors are meeting today in their state capitals to cast votes that will make the Nov. 8 presidential election official. Although a handful of electors vowed not to vote for Donald J. Trump despite their states' election results, The Donald is expected to garner received more than the 270 Electoral College votes needed to ensure he will become the 45th U.S. president next month. Click screen shot to view the ABC News/Good Morning America preview report on today's Electoral College vote. Crazy election cycle continues: The controversy surrounding the penultimate step -- the vote won't be final until... Read more →


Are you looking for a new ride? Buying a car at the end of the year often means you'll pay less, as dealerships are ready to bargain in order to clear their lots for the new year and new models. Unless you're looking for a vintage car, you'll find your transportation choices are quite different from these! Driving away in new wheels by Dec. 31 also could give you a bigger sales tax deduction when you file your taxes next year. Itemized sales tax savings: If you itemize, you can claim either the state and local income tax or the... Read more →


Get out your calendars! The IRS has some tax-related dates for us. The biggie is the start of the upcoming tax-filing season. That will happen on Jan. 23, 2017. That Monday, the Internal Revenue Service says it will start processing our 2016 tax year returns. Here are some details on that day, as well as three other important tax days/deadlines in 2017. Jan. 23, 2017: In announcing the official start of the 2017 tax filing season, the IRS acknowledged that eager filers expecting refunds are likely to get their 1040s filled out well before next Jan. 23. Many software companies... 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 →


It's December 1. December. The last month of the year. How the heck did that happen!?! It hasn't even gotten good and cold yet here in Central Texas. We -- OK the hubby, at my nagging request -- put our Christmas tree up the first week of November this year. That means I have all of December to focus on taxes! OK. I've got my calendar and weather rant under control. But my urgency about how quickly 2016 is passing remains. That means we're rapidly running out of time -- check the countdown clock there in the right hand column... 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 →


Do you live in Lafayette, Tennessee? Or maybe you know someone who lives in this town of about 5,000 just 60 miles or so northeast of Nashville. Or perhaps you know someone who just happened to pass through there and purchased a Powerball lottery ticket. Don't get too excited if you had 32 and 16 on your Powerball ticket. This Giphy image is from an earlier drawing, not the almost $421 million jackpot won by a Tennessee ticket buyer this weekend. That lucky person bought THE Powerball lottery ticket, which last night (Saturday, Nov. 26) matched all six of the... Read more →


It's early Christmas for 89 Maryland cities. They will be getting some unexpected money from the state's comptroller. Unfortunately, it's not new money. It's cash the municipalities should have received over the past five years. And there's also a Grinch, I mean glitch, in the Maryland revenue office that will require another other 83 cities to pay back state funds they received in error over the years. All told, according to The Baltimore Sun, the Maryland comptroller misdirected more than $21 million in tax money since 2010. "I'd love to blame this on our predecessors, but this is our problem,"... Read more →


Taxes are about dollar amounts and dates. April 15 obviously is the biggie. But Dec. 31 is almost as important. The end of a tax year is, for the most part, the last time you can make tax moves that could help lower your coming tax bill. While we all wish we could have Homer Simpson's to-do list, when it comes to taxes, most of us need to take care of some potentially money saving tax tasks by Dec. 31. With the days rapidly dwindling (the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column is tracking them), here... Read more →


Did you catch the supermoon? 2016 is a great year for lunar gazing. The full moons of October, November and December all take place when the moon is at its closest point of approach in its orbit around Earth, creating the so-called supermoon. Click image to watch a NASA video about the phenomenon. (Photo courtesy NASA) The hubby and I were driving back earlier this evening from visiting my mom and we were treated to the supermoon peeking in and out of clouds. Luckily for us, by the time we got home the clouds had moved on, giving us a... Read more →


Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approved recreational marijuana use, and taxing those personal pot amounts, on Nov. 8. The votes are in, for the most part, not only for the U.S. president, but also for myriad ballot initiatives. Only Arizona voters on Tuesday rejected personal marijuana legalization. The lone consolation for many disappointed Grand Canyon State supporters is that travel is easy to the neighboring, and pot-approving, states of Nevada, California and Colorado. While the weed votes -- medical marijuana also was on ballots, and approved, in North Dakota, Arkansas, Florida and Montana -- got most mass media... Read more →


Nov. 8. Election Day 2016. Blessed relief, at least from one of the most divisive campaigns for the White House in modern memory. N.H. earliest votes: Three small communities in rural New Hampshire, as is tradition every four years, cast the first 2016 presidential ballots of the day just after midnight Eastern Time. Under state law, towns with fewer than 100 voters can open voting locations at midnight and close them as soon as all registered voters have cast their ballots. Dixville Notch voters opted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 4-2. Libertarian Gary Johnson got one vote. Clinton also... Read more →


Americans vote tomorrow for our 45th president. Finally! Do you know where your polling place tomorrow is? If not, HeadCount can help. While that's the biggest decision, millions of folks across the country also will have a voice Nov. 8 on a variety of consequential issues via ballot initiatives. Ballotpedia reports that this Election Day, there are 162 statewide ballot measures in 35 states. Eight measures were decided in pre-November elections, leaving 154 measures to be decided tomorrow. Politicking for pot, other smoking taxes: Marijuana always gets a lot of attention at election time. (I still blame "Reefer Madness" for... Read more →


Halloween is a big deal for a lot of folks. I like the holiday, but don't go as crazy as some of my neighbors. Houses are decorated and adults dress up more elaborately than their trick or treating kids. I'm not sure I'd go to this house seeking treats! The hubby and I simply sit on our porch and hand out candy, particularly enjoying the youngest ghouls and goblins for whom this is the first Oct. 31 where they realize they're getting way more candy than they've ever seen before. Candy calculations: I try to estimate the optimal amount of... Read more →


Alec Baldwin has been having a field day portraying Donald Trump, the presidential candidate with, among other things, some tax issues. Click image to watch the Saturday Night Live skit from which this Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump GIF is taken. Now from the life imitates art files, Baldwin is facing his own allegations of tax avoidance. New York City art dealer Mary Boone filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court last week accusing the actor of "failing to pay sales tax." She alleges that in order to avoid New York taxes, Baldwin had the painting shipped to... Read more →