State/Local Feed

Federal tax reform is still a ways off, but the prospect of an Internal Revenue Code rewrite already has prompted Oklahoma to change one of its tax laws. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin on May 12 signed legislation that will decouple the Sooner State's standard deduction from the current federal standard deduction. The reason for the change? If the Trump Administration's proposal to double the federal standard deduction eventually becomes part of the tax law of the land, Oklahoma stands to lose a lot of tax revenue. Federal, state tax ties: Oklahoma's tax system, like that of many states with income... Read more →


Based on how much Mom is enjoying her homemade card, I'm sure she'll absolutely love the creatively wrapped Mother's Day gift. (Photo by Loren Kerns via Flickr CC) Moms usually embrace the adage that it's the thought that counts when it comes to Mother's Day gifts. They love those macaroni picture frames we made as kids as much as the store-bought gifts we started giving them as soon as we were making our own money. But state treasurers don't agree. In the 45 states and District of Columbia that collect sales tax, they are hoping we spend a lot on... Read more →


What's a weight watching person to do? Artificially sweetened soft drinks, a staple of dieters' menus for decades, recently have come under fire as a health, both mental and physical, risk. Now the no-calorie drinks could be a threat to some Seattle soda drinkers' bank accounts. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has revised his original soda tax, reducing the per-ounce amount a bit and adding diet drinks the list of beverages to be taxed. Sugary drinks tax target: In his State of the City address in February, Murray called for a 2 cents per ounce tax on sugary drinks with the... Read more →


If you're like me, you're probably spending your Sunday perusing the possibilities for tax code change under the Trump Administration's recently announced plan. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, left, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announce the new administration's tax plan on April 26. Click image for full CNN video report. The document — officially titled "2017 Tax Reform for Economic Growth and American Jobs" and officially subtitled "The Biggest Individual And Business Tax Cut in American History" — really is more of an outline. Deleting deductions: Under the proposal's simplification bullet point, the first item is eliminate targeted tax... Read more →


Donald Trump met with truckers outside the White House and got an up-close-and-personal look at their vehicles before the drivers and industry executives went inside to share their transportation policy thoughts with the president on March 23, 2017. Click screen shot to view the full meeting on YouTube. The long Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer vacations in the United States and most of those are family road trips. For the last few years, gasoline prices haven't been that bad. But Donald J. Trump says he's amenable to adding a few more pennies to our gasoline gallons... Read more →


McMullen County is the sixth least-populous county of the 254 such jurisdictions in Texas. An estimated 820 people live there. McMullen County also was the richest county in 2015, not only in the Lone Star State, but also in the entire country. You wouldn't think it by looking at the basic square courthouse on Tilden, Texas' town square, but that McMullen County home of county governance sits in the wealthiest county, at least according to 2015 tax data, in the United States. (Photo by Larry D. Moore via Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0) That ranking is per Internal Revenue Service filing data... Read more →


The federal deduction for local property tax payments could be eliminated as part of the Trump Administration's tax reform proposal. I'm trying not to get too worked up about the Trump Administration's recently released tax cut plan. In a past career I worked on Capitol Hill and watched first-hand how tax proposals morphed from concept to actual law. But I still get a little knot in my stomach when I think about losing my state and local tax write-offs when I fill out my federal Form 1040. Wait, you say. You're in Texas. There's no state or local income tax... Read more →


At midnight on Donald J. Trump's 99th day in the Oval Office, the federal government could shut down. That would be a public relations disaster for the 45th president, who's struggling to show that he and his administration can get things done as he promised in his 100-day contract with voters. "Saw this at my school's accounting career fair," wrote LittleNuclearReactor in a Reddit post during the last government shutdown Oct. 1-16, 2013. But it could be a bigger disaster for folks waiting on their federal tax refunds. Millions left waiting for tax cash: The Center for American Progress (CAP)... Read more →


Happy Tax Freedom Day! Today is the day, according to Tax Foundation calculations, when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year. via Giphy.com Critics of the tax-related designation, most notably the Center on the Budget and Policy Priorities, argue that Tax Freedom Day's average tax rate across the United States is misleading and doesn't accurately reflect typical U.S. households' tax burdens. In answer to those concerns, the Tax Foundation acknowledges that its estimates reflect the average tax burden for the overall economy, rather than for specific subgroups of taxpayers.... Read more →


Happy Earth Day 2017! Maybe you're spending this Saturday simply out enjoying the beauty of Mother Earth. Or perhaps you're participating in the March for Science (the main event in D.C. or satellite marches across the country) to support scientific efforts, including the study of climatology and climate change. Regardless of how you acknowledge Earth Day, thank you for thinking of our planet. In recognition of your commitment to protect and preserve the only place we humans and other creatures have (so far) to live, here are 7 tax saving options that reward energy and environmentally friendly efforts. Let's start... Read more →


When the clock ticked past midnight today (Saturday, April 22), Texans welcomed their first sales tax holiday of 2017. During the three-day event, which runs until midnight Monday, April 24, no state or local sales tax will be collected on certain emergency preparation supplies. Portable generators like this sure come in handy when natural disasters disrupt regular power sources. Tax-free purchases these next three days include: batteries, fuel containers and flashlights priced at less than $75; hurricane shutters and emergency ladders priced at less than $300; and portable generators priced at less than $3,000. There's no limit on the number... Read more →


Some folks didn't file their federal taxes on April 18. Judging from social media, much of the deadline busting was the fault of cats. "Can't claim my cats as dependents? Well I can't file then," Tweeted @deedles420. Sorry, Dee, but while a dependent doesn't have to be a blood relative, your fur babies don't pass tax muster. Dee was not alone. The Twitter hashtag #ExcusesForNotFilingTaxes underscored the internet's reputation as cat loving and apparently tax hating. "Still waiting for cats' social security numbers," Tweeted @growingupZee. Good point, Zee, since those nine official digits from the Social Security Administration are key... Read more →


Remember those frantic times when your classroom assignment was due and you were running out of time to finish it? Millions of U.S. taxpayers are flashing back to those school days as they scramble to complete their 2016 tax returns by tomorrow, April 18. We all face deadlines. And at some point, we all procrastinate. If that's you now as the April 18 tax filing deadline looms, don't panic. You've still got time to do the tax job right. But the tax stakes are definitely higher than that what you faced with that looming senior essay you put off too... Read more →


If you've waited until now to finish your taxes (or are going to delay until the very last minute on April 18), then your best filing, and paying if you owe, bet is to go electronic. As the Internal Revenue Service has been saying for years, filing and paying your taxes is easier and more accurate than going the old fashioned paper route. In case you haven't made your e-filing and, if needed, e-payment choices yet, here are your options. E-filing choices: Tax e-filing actually covers two things, using software to prepare your 1040 and associated schedules and forms and... Read more →


People who live in storm ravaged areas of Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi have enough to worry about, so the Internal Revenue Service says they don't have to worry about filing their taxes next Tuesday. Neither do U.S. military personnel who are in combat zones. A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worker assesses damage in Georgia from late January 2017 storms and tornadoes. (Photo courtesy FEMA Facebook) Major natural disaster victims: Taxpayers in several areas deemed major disasters — the IRS keeps a running list of tax-affected disaster areas —qualify for more time to file their tax returns and pay any... Read more →


You have a mortgage. That home's property taxes are waaaay too big. (Note to self: Protest the appraisal.) And you were really generous. All those expenses probably mean that you itemize instead of taking the standard deduction when you file your taxes. Yes, it's more work, but if you take full advantage of all Schedule A has to offer, it can really pay off. Schedule A (Form 1040) Here's a closer look at what you can claim where when you itemize. Medical and Dental Expenses Being sick sucks. Having to pay a lot of out-of-pocket medical expenses is a pain,... Read more →


Californians who just can't kick their nicotine habit are now paying substantially more for their addiction. Effective April 1, the Golden State's tobacco tax went up by $2 per a pack of cigarettes. The state's tax on smoking now is $2.87 per pack. And while that is indeed a massive jump, it's just catching up on years of a low tax rate. It's been 20 years since California increased its cigarette tax. The tax increase, the final tax amount and the years it's taken for California to get here each were in the running for this week's By the Numbers... Read more →


When Amazon starts collecting sales tax from internet buyers in Hawaii, Idaho, Maine and New Mexico on April 1, it will mean the online retailer will be a tax collector for all 45 states and the District of Columbia that have the levies. No, it's not a bad April Fools' joke targeting online shoppers. On this April 1, Amazon really will start collecting state sales taxes nationwide. The Seattle-based internet retailer already was adding the tax line to invoices in most of the 45 states and District of Columbia that have sales (or similar) taxes. Now, final deals have been... Read more →


On April 1, Idaho residents will join the almost nationwide list of places where Amazon collects sales tax. No kidding. That day the Gem State will become the 42nd state — and 43rd taxing jurisdiction overall thanks to Washington, D.C., being part of the group — where buyers will have to pay sales tax on purchases delivered by the world's largest online retailer. Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, in a statement issued to the Boise television station KTVB, called Amazon's tax collection decision "a matter of fairness." In addition to helping the state collect more revenue, Otter said the Seattle-based... Read more →


Today, March 8, is International Woman Day. In addition to recognizing women's contributions, some people in the United States also are participating in "A Day Without A Woman," asking women to stay home from work. Men and women shoppers often pay different prices for essentially similar products. And yes, the higher prices, known as the Pink Tax, are on items aimed at women. If that's not possible, which is the case for lots of folks regardless of gender, then supporters of today's added commemoration ask that women not shop to underscore our contributions to the economy. Women's $$$ contributions: And... Read more →