State/Local Feed

Short-term residential rentals are seen by most state and local lawmakers as a great tax revenue source, but not in the United States' island paradise. Rather than stay at a resort like Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, some visitors to Hawaii prefer untaxed home share rentals available through Airbnb and other online accommodations brokers. (Photo by Darren Thompson via Flickr CC) Hawaii Gov. David Ige this week vetoed a bill that would have made collection of taxes on Airbnb rentals easier. The veto puts the 50th U.S. state, arguably one of the world's most visited spots, in... Read more →


Alaska is one of seven states that doesn't tax any workers' earnings. Lawmakers in The Final Frontier plan to keep it that way. Mt. Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the highest point in North America and is located in Denali National Park in Alaska. America's largest state has lots of spectacular views, but not enough revenue, so lawmakers are considering possible new taxes in a special session. (Photo by Albert Herring courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Flickr) The latest question is whether they now will also fend off attempts to have Alaska collect a state sales tax. While not as momentous... Read more →


It's been a good few days for lottery players. The Mega Millions $540 million jackpot was won last night, Friday, July 8, by a ticket buyer in Cambridge City, Indiana. Yokasta Boyer holding her big check from the New Jersey Lottery. (Photo courtesy N.J. Lottery Commission) And just the day before, Thursday, July 7, the New Jersey Lottery announced that a woman discovered a $472,271 winning ticket for one of that state's lottery games as she was going through some papers in order to file her tax return. Mega mystery: We don't know yet who bought the Indiana winning ticket.... Read more →


New York City handed out more than $59 million in residential tax breaks to thousands of deceased individuals and corporations between fiscal years 2011 and 2017. The improper tax benefits were supposed to go as property tax exemptions for senior citizens, according to an audit by the New York City comptroller's office. Around $36 million in tax revenue was lost when the city granted more than 3,000 Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemptions (SCHE) to older property owners who had died, according to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. The same properties, Stringer said during a July 7 press conference announcing the audit findings,... Read more →


Do you work in one state but live in another? Lots of folks do. In addition to some interesting commutes, they also face some special tax issues. Many states make it a bit easier for border-crossing employees. They have income tax reciprocity agreements. These arrangements allow residents of one state to request exemption from tax withholding in the other reciprocal state where they work. The practical implication is that they then don't have to go to the trouble of filing multiple state returns. What Reciprocity Means to Taxpayers Federation of Tax Administrators 2013 Report With reciprocity, the taxpayer files a... Read more →


It's July 4th, a day of family gatherings, fireworks and grilled goodies. For most of us, that's hot dogs and hamburgers. And for most of us, our home-grilled meats and toasted buns are tax-free. That's fitting, since Independence Day was sparked by the belief that taxation without representation is tyranny. Only a handful of states tax groceries. However, if you opt to buy your hot dogs or hamburgers ready-made, you'll likely pay sales tax on those eats. States that collect sales tax on consumer purchases -- that's 45 out of 50, plus the District of Columbia; plus, 38 of those... Read more →


If you're reading this, thank you. You could be one of the 43 million Americans who've already headed out this long Independence Day holiday. I appreciate you delaying your trip, or at least checking this post, fittingly, on your mobile device. More states are exploring mileage taxes to replace gas taxes. Maybe they should look at taxing dangerous drivers like this guy! AAA's travel prediction this year represents the biggest July 4th travel volume on record and includes 5 million more travelers than we saw during the Memorial Day break, generally seen as the unofficial start of the summer vacation... Read more →


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 →