State/Local Feed

Finally! Tax Day 2016 has arrived for folks in Maine and Massachusetts. While procrastinators in the other 48 states and District of Columbia were working to finish their 1040s yesterday and get them on their way to the Internal Revenue Service, folks in Maine and Massachusetts had a literal and tax holiday. Monday, April 18, was Patriots’ Day in those two New England states. The annual state holiday commemorates the 1775 Revolutionary War battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. That celebration of the start of America's birth, as well as the running of the Boston Marathon and a day game... Read more →


One way to survive working on your tax return with a deadline looming -- April 18 this year -- is to make sure you don't make any easily avoidable filing mistakes. Similarly, you don't want to overlook any tax breaks. I guess that technically omitting a tax claim could be considered a mistake, but for the sake of keeping things clear -- and for providing an added blog post topic! -- I've separated them. Searching for tax breaks? Below are 18. (James Corden GIF via CBS.com/Corden) And to save you time in your search for ways to cut your tax... Read more →


Tax Day 2016 is a week away. That's seven days to take care of your annual tax duty. It also means you have seven days to complete some other tax-related tasks that have an April 18 deadline, too. Here are eight tax tasks to take care of in this final filing week. The Beatles' most famous tax-related song is Tax Man, but for this post, Eight Days a Week works, too. Click image to watch the YouTube video of the more-than-a-week-long song. 1. File your 2015 tax year federal tax return. If you miss this deadline by more than 60... Read more →


"Millions flee Georgia for the safety of North Carolina's bathrooms," quipped New Yorker columnist Andy Borowitz after the Tar Heel State's governor signed into a law a measure that, among other things, revokes local protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The part of the bill that's gotten most attention is, as Borowitz notes, the one that requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender they were born with rather than the one they identify with. North Carolina is the first state to require this. Last year, Houston, Texas, passed a similar law for facilities... Read more →


The eggs in your Easter basket are probably tax-free. Only a handful of states tax groceries. But you had to pay tax on the dye kit you dropped in your shopping cart, along with the chocolate rabbits and crème-filled eggs. Sweets and other snacks, seasonal and year-round, tend to be subject to sales tax. Successful Easter egg hunt by Andrew McDowell via Flickr And if, like the parents of the youngster pictured above, you went with reusable plastic eggs, you had to pay tax on them. Ditto the basket itself, along with that green stuff that doesn't look at all... Read more →


The 2016 federal tax filing season so far is, for the most part, statistically identical to 2015. Through March 11, around 74.456 million taxpayers have submitted returns. At this time last year, the count was 74.455 million. The Internal Revenue Service is running a tad slower this year in its processing of those millions of 1040 forms. However, the pace is less than 1 percentage point behind last year's return handling rate. Still waiting for your tax refund? Federal refunds seem to be on pace, but things are slow in many states. As for the most important issue, refunds, the... Read more →


Are you celebrating St. Patrick's Day? Probably at least in some fashion. Everybody and their dogs love celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Photo by Michael Shehan Obeysek via Flickr. The National Retail Federation's annual St. Patrick's Day Spending Survey finds that more than 125 million Americans are planning to party this March 17th. The poll, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics for NRF, says the St. Paddy's celebrants are expected to spend an average of $35.37 per person on green garb, festive food and more. And most of those expenditures will include some tax costs. No toasts for beverage taxes: Let's... Read more →


Nope, that headline date is not wrong. If you didn't file a federal tax return three years ago for the 2012 tax year and were due a refund, you must file that old paperwork by this year's April filing due date to get your money. For most of us, that's April 18, but it's a day later in Maine and Massachusetts thanks to Patriots Day celebrations in those two New England States. If you don't, then Uncle Sam gets to keep your refund. And that could be a sizable amount. Almost $1 billion unclaimed refunds: The Internal Revenue Service Federal... Read more →


This was supposed to be the year that the Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners clamped down on tax identity thieves. So much for the best-laid plans to fight tax fraud. The 2016 filing season has seen a series of tax security concerns, both among private tax service providers and the IRS. Identity protection site targeted:The latest trouble is a possible security problem with the IRS' Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN, online retrieval tool. An IP PIN is used by folks who've had their tax filing data stolen. They use their IRS-issued six-digit IP PIN... Read more →


Crain's New York Business may have shed some light on why Donald J. Trump doesn't want us to see his tax returns. The magazine reports that the billionaire real estate developer got a property tax break designed for New Yorkers making less than $500,000 a year. Michigan voters apparently weren't concerned about Trump's tax returns, giving him that state's GOP primary win on March 8. Numerous publications, as well as The Donald himself, say that the Republican presidential nominee front-runner is worth billions, although the exact dollar amounts vary. Trump makes it simple for us, noting that he's "really rich."... Read more →


If you drive you've got to be thrilled with the price of gas right now. Every time I've filled up my car over the past six months, I've snapped a shot of just how cheap it is. That $1.419 a gallon photo to the left was from last weekend. As I drove past my local gas station yesterday, I saw that it had dropped two more cents. Low pump prices, however, could mean more taxes for motorists in nine states where, says the Tax Justice Blog, lawmakers are seriously considering gas tax hikes. So which drivers should be worried? Those... Read more →


One easy -- and scary -- way to know that we're at the peak of tax filing season is to look at the number of questionable emails, text messages and phone calls you're getting from folks seeking details about your taxes. Just this month, I've received two calls from the ubiquitous fake Internal Revenue Service agents threatening me with legal action. The first one, which was left as a message on my office answering machine, was obviously a poorly done mechanical scare tactic. The second call came a few days later, also from a bot, but better quality. I answered... Read more →


What's one way to get state lawmakers to consider tax legislation? Threaten to effectively shut down one of its top college football programs. That's exactly what new Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards did. The Louisiana governor's budget warning has hit the state like a bolt of lightning. He says that without tax increases, there could be no LSU football this fall. Click image to view the SI Wire video report via Campus Rush. Edwards, a Democrat who succeeded Republican Bobby Jindal, took to the airwaves last week to outline the state's economic woes before the Louisiana legislature convened Feb. 14... Read more →


If you live in Maryland and your significant other isn't particularly romantic, you might be able to pick up a useful Valentine's Day gift and save on some taxes. The Old Line State this long holiday weekend is waiving its 6 percent sales tax -- which is this week's By the Numbers figure -- on purchases of qualifying energy efficient items. The sales tax holiday began at 12:01 a.m. today, Saturday, Feb. 13 (sorry for the late notice; I had a busy day!) and continues until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15. The Comptroller of Maryland special Web page says the... Read more →


Super Bowl winners get it all. More fan adoration. Parades. A flashy piece of jewelry. Trips to Disney World. More taxes. Around a million Denver Broncos fans, including 24,000+ truant schoolchildren, thronged the Colorado capital on Feb. 9 to welcome home their NFL Champions. Photo by Enrico C. Meyer via Twitter. For many of the players in the NFL championship game, that last "benefit" is more than they bargained for. In fact, note a couple of tax attorneys, some of the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers players actually lost money by playing in Super Bowl 50. Wait. What? How is... Read more →


The legislative merging of international manufacturing and the Internet is complete. The Senate this afternoon finally approved H.R. 644, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, which the House handily passed last December. Part of the bill permanently prohibits any tax -- and even removes the few existing levies -- on Internet access. Internet access vs. Internet sales taxes: Senate action on the measure, which primarily streamlines the U.S. Customs system and eases the border clearance process for much shipping and international commerce, had been slowed by lawmakers who also wanted to consider Internet sales taxes as part... Read more →


Even before the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers players step onto the field at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, we'll already have one big winner. Click screenshot to view full NFL Super Bowl 50 trailer on YouTube. The National Football League will pocket millions thanks to the Super Bowl host city's agreement to hand over all its big game-related sales tax revenue to the league. Yep, the NFL, which made $12 billion over the 2014-15 season, demands that cities awarded the Super Bowl waive or reimburse sales tax on ticket sales and parking passes. What Super Bowl cities lose:... Read more →


North Pole officials have decided to tax pot. No, not that North Pole, although that would explain why Santa eats so many cookies in a single night. Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska. (Photo by Nicole Bizinski/Santa Claus House) We're talking North Pole, Alaska, a community of around 2,200 just southeast of Fairbanks. The treasury of the town with the official motto "where the spirit of Christmas lives year 'round" got an early gift on Feb. 1 when city council members decided to tax both wholesale and retail marijuana transactions. The 6 percent sales tax will apply to pot... Read more →


What do hearts and flowers, leaping amphibians and taxes have in common? February! The shortest month of the year is upon us. In 2016, however, it's a day longer because it's Leap Year, hence the frog allusion, adding a 29th day to our calendars. Then, of course, there's Feb. 14, Valentine's Day. And February also is a traditionally busy time for taxes. This is the month that most of us finally get all the tax statements we need to file our returns. And folks who filed early are anxiously awaiting their refunds. Whether you're working on your 2015 taxes or... Read more →


Many state and local governments have taken to taxes as a way to discourage gun ownership, or at least make some money on it. In Arizona, however, one lawmaker wants to give some gun owners a tax break. Rep. Steve Montenegro, Republican from Litchfield Park and House Majority Leader, wants to give a state tax credit to gun owners who take classes to learn how to handle their weapons. Yours truly holding a rifle under Lubbock Police Department supervision. This was when I was the police reporter for the local newspaper, working on a feature on the department's SWAT team... Read more →