State/Local Feed

We're still waiting for Donald J. Trump's federal tax returns, but we have received some clarification on his New York condo's property tax bill. This isn't The Donald's Big Apple home, but another apartment for sale with similar views in New York City's Trump Tower. Trump's attorney asked the New York City tax collector to remove a tax break the presumptive Republican presidential nominee had received that typically is awarded only to taxpayers making less than $500,000. The city complied, thereby increasing Trump's tax bill on his Trump Tower condo by $1,046.41, according to The Wall Street Journal. The removed... 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 →


Which government agency do people hate more, the tax collector or the Department of Motor Vehicles? Depending on the day you ask, they probably swap the most-detested title. Vehicle property tax collectors love it when folks in their jurisdictions own expensive autos like this Ferrari. For around 50,000 Connecticut drivers, the anger right now is being equally shared. Computer tax error: The Nutmeg's State's DMV says that's how many incorrect car tax bills will be mailed to Connecticut drivers as a result of the department's continuing computer problems. The DMV has admitted it sent faulty information on those 50,000 autos... Read more →


When Crain's New York Business reported in March that self-proclaimed brilliant businessman Donald J. Trump got a tax break available only to folks making $500,000 or less, the ostensible billionaire's people said it was a mistake. If that's true, it's an error that's being repeated. Crain's June 6 online article says that Trump once again received a middle-class tax break on the property tax bill for his luxurious apartment in Trump Tower (pictured at left) on Fifth Avenue. The initial report that Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was poor enough to get a special Big Apple property tax break... 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 →


If you're staying home this Memorial Day long weekend and home is Texas or a town near the Lone Star State border, you could save some tax dollars on energy efficient appliances. Texas' annual Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 a.m. today, Saturday, May 28. It runs until midnight Memorial Day Monday, May 30. Energy and tax savings: During these three days, shoppers won't owe state or local sales tax on certain energy-efficient products with the Energy Star logo. The state sales tax in Texas is 6.25 percent. Local jurisdictions -- cities, counties, special purpose districts, and transit... 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 →


If you're reading this post, thanks. You could be out there on the road, getting a head start on the long Memorial Day weekend. Click image for 20 things you probably didn't know about "National Lampoon's Vacation" The annual three-day weekend at the end of every May is the traditional, although unofficial, start of the summer vacation season. And most of still take our mid-year trips in our autos. Near record on the road: AAA expects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That's about 700,000 more motorists this May 26-30 compared to the holiday weekend... Read more →


It's Wednesday. Fans of the fourth hour of NBC's Today show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford also know it as Winesday. In addition to regular Winesday on their own show, Kathie Lee and Hoda shared their vino love with Anderson Cooper on his program. And lucky for Hoda and Kathie Lee (and apparently Anderson, too), today also is National Wine Day. It's no secret that the two morning show hosts are big wine fans. So are federal and state tax collectors. Uncle Sam's wine taxes: The federal excise tax on table wine is $1.07 per gallon. That works... 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 →


My thoughts and prayers go out to Oklahomans who today are literally digging out from the deadly May 9 tornado outbreak that savaged their state. This photo by University of Oklahoma meteorologist JR Hehnly, shared on his @stormchasing Twitter feed, freaks me out. It's not just the massive twister outside Wynnewood, Oklahoma, the afternoon of May 9. It's also the line of cars there at the bottom right speeding away from the danger. What must be going through those folks' minds? I am grateful that the friends I have north of the Red River border are safe. But sadly, such... Read more →


Given all we see on social media, it seems that many people nowadays have no shame. Some government officials, however, think that this pervasive "so what, no big deal, look at me anyway" attitude doesn't extend to unpaid taxes. They are publishing the names of delinquent taxpayers in the belief hope that it will humiliate the public tax debtors to pay up. It's not a new tactic. Almost as soon as tax departments created a website, these lists started showing up online. But now more places are making sure that folks don't just stumble across the tax delinquents. In addition... Read more →


It's a wonderful day. In preparation for the 2016 National Football League draft that starts tonight at 8 p.m./7 Central, we step back from the drama of the presidential campaign and get ready for the drama of which young men will become instant millionaires. I'm a Dallas Cowboys fan, so the draft fascination for me is what crazy move owner Jerry Jones might make. (Photo by Kay Bell; Cowboys vs. Lions, Nov. 21, 2010, at Jerry World) As ESPN senior writer Mike Sando notes, "Like its predecessors, the 2016 NFL draft has proved to be unpredictable and, come Thursday night,... Read more →


The estate planning world is stunned by the news that Prince passed away without a will. Prince performing at Coachella in 2008. Photo by Scott Penner CC BY-SA 3.0 via Flickr and Wikimedia Commons While lots of folks delay officially putting their final wishes on paper, the wealthiest among us, which definitely included The Purple One, tend to have a phalanx of advisers to take care of their money, including how it will be dealt with once they're gone. Such professional financial and tax advice is critical, especially if you have a lot of money and/or live in a state... Read more →


It's official. Much of greater Houston that flooded last week is now a presidentially declared disaster area. Austin didn't sustain the kind of damage from mid-April rains that Houston, about 170 miles southeast, did. But we got enough to fill Lake Travis to the brim, necessitating the opening of a Mansfield Dam floodgate. My video of the released lake water is posted on YouTube. That means that the Internal Revenue Service, which already told taxpayers in H Town not to worry about making the April 18 filing deadline, is providing additional special tax relief for affected individuals and businesses in... Read more →


Tom Brady could be sitting out the start of the 2016 National Football League season. Tom Brady taking the field in Denver Colorado, on Dec. 18, 2011, as the Patriots and Broncos were about to play. Photo by Jeffrey Beall (Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons. If the star quarterback does miss the first four games of the 2015 NFL season in connection with Deflategate, he won't be alone in paying the price. Tax collectors in Arizona and Massachusetts also will be out some money. Commissioner vindicated: This morning, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit... Read more →


Happy Earth Day 2016. April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth in 1970 of the modern environmental movement. For farmers, however, every day is earth day, says Naomi Starkman, founder and editor in chief of Civil Eats, a news outlet that focuses on sustainable agriculture. "Farmers work every day to care for the Earth and steward the land that sustains us," writes Starkman in an opinion piece for MSNBC. Farmers like Donald J. Trump. Donald J. Trump's goat farm helps him get tax breaks on two New Jersey golf properties. Photo courtesy Columbia Economic Development Corporation, Columbia County, New... Read more →


Timing is everything. Just ask all the Texans coping with the aftermath of recent spring storms and the unfortunate timing of the state's first storm-related tax holiday. Hail and its damage in Wylie, Texas, earlier in April. (Photos by Mary Ann Olson, left, and Wes Stephens, right, via The Weather Channel) On April 11, the Dallas-Ft. Worth areas was pummeled by storms, some of which produced softball size hail. Law enforcement agencies, media outlets and insurance companies were inundated with reports of shattered car windshields, broken windows in buildings and even holes in roofs. The next night, hailstones larger than... Read more →


There are many nicknames for marijuana. Weed. Pot. Mary Jane. Cash cow. OK, that last one isn't an official moniker for pot. But it is how many state legislators see the mood altering herb. And it could be a reason why 4/20 could one day be celebrated nationwide. Photo by GoToVan via Flickr CC Pot's tax payoff: Nearly $700 million of medical and recreational marijuana was sold in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational use of pot, in 2014. Data through last November shows that the 2015 numbers have already passed the 2014 mark, with nearly $895... Read more →


While millions of Americans on Monday, April 18, were worrying about getting their taxes to Uncle Sam on time, folks in Houston had bigger problems. Tax Day 2016 coincided with deadly flooding in Texas' largest city. Rescuers head out in boats, rafts to help motorists stranded on flooded Houston streets. Click image to watch CBSN video. The Internal Revenue Service on April 18 announced that taxpayers affected by the severe weather in the Houston area, as well as in other hard-hit parts of Texas, may qualify for relief from the usual late-filing penalties. Penalty relief for flooded late filers: If... Read more →