Tax Tip Feed

It's been a good couple of years for Philadelphia tourism officials and for folks who rented out their homes to the city's visitors. Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Founding Fathers debated and adopted both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Click image for a montage of other notable Philly sites. (Photo by J. Leon via Wikipedia) Last September, Pope Francis included the City of Brotherly Love in his U.S. visit itinerary. This week, the Democratic National Convention has taken over Philly. Making money-making space: When big events like these are held, many full-time residents decide to literally... Read more →


I've reached a milestone age where doctors seem to think a person suddenly needs every test medical science has so far devised. Routine blood tests were the least of my worries after my last doctor visit. I am pushing back on some of my physician's suggestions for several reasons. They range from "I feel fine" and "I have no family history of that particular ailment/disease/condition" to "Ewwwww!" to "I don't have time" and "Wow, that costs an awful lot." As for the expense argument, even though I have medical insurance, it has a deductible. A sizeable one. My medical approach... Read more →


The Fourth of July is over, but if your neighborhood is anything like mine, you'll be hearing fireworks for another week or so. Yes, my neighbors are pyrotechnic scofflaws. Even if you don't participate in the literal lighting of firecrackers or bottle rockets post-July-4, there are still plenty of metaphorical tax fireworks that you can take advantage of as we head into the heart of summer. Here are five easy tax moves to consider in July. 1. Get storm ready. We've had four named tropical systems so far this Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season. So far, thank goodness, there's been... Read more →


Were you a June bride or groom? Congratulations and best wishes! "We did it!" The happy couple and friends celebrate. (Photo by Lindsey Child via Flickr CC) You have some tax tasks to take care of once you're back from your honeymoon excursion and the thank-you notes have been sent. Marriage is just one of the big life events that has tax implications. Today's Weekly Tax Tip has details on 7 such milestones, starting with your birth and continuing through retirement. And since your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life -- remember it when you... Read more →


Even without the Triple Crown on the line, today is still a big one for thoroughbred race fans. Could Suddenbreakingnews, getting a workout back in March, spoil Exaggerator's quest for another trophy in today's Belmont Stakes? Exaggerator, who out raced rival and previously undefeated Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist in Baltimore's muddy Preakness Stakes last month, is the favorite to win the Belmont Stakes later today. But the wide open field -- Nyquist's owners pulled the pony because it had been dealing with a fever and elevated white blood count -- has opened up the betting. A new horse in the... Read more →


June is jam-packed with special days. It kicks off with the official start of the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, which seems a bit late since we've already seen two storms form this year. Then there's Flag Day, Father's Day and the arrival, here in the Northern Hemisphere, of summer. And I'm not even counting things like today's National Doughnut Day and all the June weddings that will be special calendar dates for those happy couples. And yes, there are some tax connections to all those days. They are duly noted over in the ol' blog's right column, just under... Read more →


Mother Nature got a jump on the 2016 storm calendar, creating Hurricane Alex back in January and Tropical Storm Bonnie four days before today's official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. Seasonal forecast for the Atlantic Hurricane Season from Colorado State University (CSU), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Weather Channel. The forecast from CSU includes Hurricane Alex and Tropical Storm Bonnie. The Weather Channel and the NOAA forecasts include Hurricane Alex. Does that mean we'll have more storms this year than the dozen or so that are predicted? Maybe. Maybe not. Weather prognostications from a variety... 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 →


Getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service can be scary, whether it arrives on Friday the 13th or any other day. Most IRS notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. And the IRS has lots of questions in these areas. It sends out millions every year. And while there's no official clinical name for a tax notice phobia (unlike the various Friday the 13th fears of paraskevidekatriaphobia, triskaidekaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia) the truth is that there's usually nothing to be afraid of as long as you don't ignore the letter. To help you over your tax notice fear,... Read more →


Hey, May. You're supposed to be all about the flowers from last month's April showers. You can stop the rain and more any time now. Bluebonnets and more in a Central Texas field along the Willow City Loop. Photo by Kay Bell; art direction by the hubby. Yep, that old climatological adage is not quite accurate. May also brings plenty of showers. And hail. And tornadoes. That trend seems to be on track this year. Just two days into the month, and severe weather has moved from Central and flooded East Texas, where Houston was declared a major disaster area,... Read more →


Even with three extra days to complete taxes this year, some folks missed the April 18 (or 19) tax filing deadline. Did you just give up on tax filing this year? You need to get a return to the IRS ASAP or you'll pay the price. Maybe a personal emergency took precedence. Perhaps you meant to get the job done, but it took longer than you planned and exasperated, you just said, "Later!" Or you discovered you owe, but don't have the money and thought, "What's the point?" The point, regardless of why you didn't get your Form 1040 (or... Read more →


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 →


Finally! Tax Day 2016 has arrived. Here are three things to do to make sure you and the Internal Revenue Service are happy today. Don't worry. You don't have to do all of them! 1. File your 1040 (or 1040A or 1040EZ) If you can finish your taxes -- and do them correctly, not making mistakes or missing out on some tax breaks -- then get your return on its way to the IRS. If you're e-filing, you can hit the send button by midnight your local time, although I don't recommend waiting that late in case you have technical... Read more →


The 2016 filing (or extending, but not tax paying!) deadline is tomorrow. I know many of you are working diligently on your 2015 return. But it never hurts to take a break. So I thought you might enjoy this brief tax facts video. Click image to watch the Plante Moran video on YouTube. That beard tax tidbit might terrify today's hipsters, but it's also a good example of how so-called Pigovian taxes have always been used to modify, or at least try to shape, our behavior. Nowadays we have sin taxes on cigarettes and alcohol in part to discourage those... 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 →


If you started off today freaking out because you haven't finished -- or even started -- your 2015 tax return, chill. The federal (and most state) tax-filing deadline this year is April 18. That means you have the whole weekend to work on taxes. Sorry. Taking tax steps: You can, of course, file for an extension. That will let you procrastinate until Oct. 17 (yes, that Oct. 15 deadline is later this year, too, since the 15th falls on a Saturday). But if you think you'll owe Uncle Sam, you'll need to at least do a down-and-dirty tax filing run... Read more →


Tax Day is almost here. If you're one of the millions still to file, I understand. No judging here. I'm part of the last-minute tax crew, too. The key as April 18 nears is not to panic. If you freak out while doing your taxes, you'll likely make a mistake (or two or …) that could be costly. Source: Reddit.com So that you don't end up writing a check like the one above, here are 10 common tax-filing mistakes to avoid. 1. Math miscalculations -- This is the most common tax mistake every filing season. It includes addition, subtraction, percentage... 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 →


We're now into the single digit countdown (you are watching the clock in the right column, right?) to the April 18 tax return (and due tax payment!) deadline. That means millions of us are starting to get a little frantic. And that can be really, really bad when it comes to taxes. If we tackle our returns in the same state as this faux Grumpy Cat, we'll make the same costly mistakes he's bragging about to his neighborhood bar buddies. So take a breath. Put down the Cosmo (or whatever adult beverage you prefer) and cigarette. Tax tips time: And... Read more →


Uncle Sam's favorite month has arrived. By the middle of every April every year, the Internal Revenue Service has heard from most U.S. taxpayers. Sure, it's not friendly hellos. Millions of us are contacting him to get refunds. Some of us, though, are sending him a few more dollars Either way, Uncle Sam is thrilled. Not so thrilled are those of us who put off our annual tax task. A few more days: This year, we get a few extra days to fulfill our tax responsibilities. Since Emancipation Day, a federal holiday in Washington, D.C., falls on Friday, April 15,... Read more →