State/Local Feed

Ezekiel Elliott's visit to a Seattle marijuana retailer was the big weed news this week, and yes, pot has received lots of headlines lately (more on this a little later). Apparently amazed visitors to the cannabis display at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, the first time pot plants have been open for public viewing at any U.S. state fair. This is just one piece of pot news so far this month. Click image to view the AP video via USA Today. I admit that as a Dallas Cowboys fan, I spent an inordinate amount of time following the first-round... Read more →

Torrential rains have produced deadly flooding across central Louisiana. In response to the historic downpours, the Internal Revenue Service today announced that storm victims will have until Jan. 17, 2017, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments. Folks who are affiliated with recognized government or philanthropic organizations and helping in the Louisiana relief effort also qualify for the special IRS tax treatment. Official disaster areas: The IRS move comes after President Barack Obama declared rain-soaked parts of the Pelican State major disaster areas. These include East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena and Tangipahoa parishes.... Read more →

Maryland hosts the penultimate summer 2016 sales tax holiday this coming week. Maryland's sales tax holiday is this week, offering some savings on clothing and shoe purchases. The event in the Old Line State actually started today, Sunday, Aug. 14, at 12:01 a.m. It runs through midnight, Saturday, Aug. 20. Back-to-school in name only: These late summer events held annually in more than a dozen states -- there are/were 16 tax-free holidays and one tax-reduced period on the 2016 calendar -- typically are promoted as back-to-school shopping periods. In Maryland, however, school supplies bought this week are still taxable. Only... Read more →

Sports and betting, much to the chagrin of athletic purists and most league officials (except NBA Commissioner Adam Silver), are inextricably linked. Billions of dollars, from ubiquitous office pools to professional gamblers, are wagered, legally and illegally, on sporting events every year. Gamblers at a Las Vegas casino's sportsbook area place their bets, keep up with the many games on which they can wager. And this summer, the 2016 Olympics officially add to the U.S. wagering tally. Betting on the world's best athletes: Nevada Gaming Control last year revised state regulations to allow Silver State sportsbooks to offer wagering on... Read more →

Donald Trump's revised tax plan, which many economists and tax experts have decried as the latest version of Republican supply-side economics, is still getting a lot of attention. The biggest criticism is that the tweaked tax proposal, despite Trump's populist spin, still gives ways too much to the wealthy. Just who would win and exactly how much in the Trump vs. Hillary Clinton tax battle will continue to be debated (though perhaps not formally…) until Nov. 8. Delaware, considered by many to be America's top domestic tax haven, welcomes drivers and taxpayers looking to keep money out of tax collector... Read more →

State sales tax holidays are wrapping up in 10 states today (Sunday, Aug. 7), but some shoppers could find they owe taxes anyway. The tax-due buyers are the out-of-state folks who cross borders to pick up some ostensibly tax-free products. And while the traveling shoppers don't hand over taxes at the time of purchase in the tax holiday locale, when they take the goods back to their home states, they likely owe a use tax on the items. Ah yes, the use, or as I like to call it, useless tax. Use tax usually ignored: As its name indicates, a... 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 →

Today is Thursday, but it's seemed like a Monday all day. I think it's time to take a break and, fittingly on this National IPA Day, chill with a cold brew or two. Oops! Not a good way to celebrate IPA Day. It's been such a crazy IPA Day, I'm even willing to swallow the alcohol taxes that are added to adult beverages. So what is National IPA Day? More to the point, what is IPA? A brew's birth: Let's start with the second question. IPA is the acronym for India Pale Ale, a style of beer that is heavy... Read more →

The winning Powerball ticket last night, July 30, was sold in New Hampshire. If the person who bought it is indeed a resident of the Granite State and not just a visitor passing through, he or she also is very tax lucky. A single New Hampshire lottery ticket had the winning numbers of 11, 17, 21, 23, and 32, with the Powerball of 5. New Hampshire only taxes dividend and interest income, so the state won't get any immediate cut of the winner's jackpot of $330.6 million as a lump sum or, if the winner chooses 30 annual annuity payments,... Read more →

Summer is winding down. That means school soon will be back in session. And that means several states are holding sales tax holidays. A young man double checks and checks off school supplies from his back-to-school shopping list. That's a great way to make the most of your state's sales tax holiday. (Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr Creative Commons) Seventeen states have scheduled these annual tax-free shopping days in 2016, ranging from a couple of days to a full week. You can check out the complete list of the events on the ol' blog's new, dedicated State Sales... Read more →

One thing you can say for California is that its impressive diversity also extends to disasters. San Francisco houses built on loose ground sustain damage in the massive 1906 earthquake. Compared to other damage from the 7.8 magnitude temblor, this was minor. (Photo courtesy National Archives) The only good thing about such widespread destruction is that affected residents might be able to claim some disaster losses on their taxes. And in a recent decision, the Internal Revenue Service has offered some additional tax relief for Californians who got private relief in connection with an historic natural gas leak. Earthquakes, fires... Read more →

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Yep, it's a real holiday, celebrated each year on the third Sunday in July as part of National Ice Cream Month. So many ways to enjoy ice cream on National Ice Cream Day and any/every day. The yummy dairy product day and month were so designated in 1984 by a proclamation from then President Ronald Reagan. Like we, or me anyway, need an official sanction to dive into a pint or half-gallon or gallon of our favorite frozen treat. For most of us, when we buy our ice cream at our local grocery store, we... Read more →

Attention Pennsylvania digital aficionados, your electronic addictions are about to cost you a bit more. Gov. Tom Wolf on July 13 signed into law his state's fiscal 2017 revenue package. Among its provisions is an extension of the Keystone State's 6 percent sales and use tax to digital downloads of books, music, satellite radio and video and audio streaming. The new tax collection will take effect Aug. 1. It's expected to bring in nearly $47 million in its first year. Those millions of dollars in extra revenue are tempting targets for this week's By the Numbers honor. So is the... Read more →

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 →