Yes, that a 20-something me in that photo, lighting up a cigarette. I was a smoker for way too many years when I was a young adult. I finally quit cold turkey as a birthday gift to my husband during our first year of marriage. And despite nicotine's addictive properties and a 2½-pack-a-day habit, I never suffered any withdrawal symptoms. I smoked back then not because my body or brain demanded it, but because I enjoyed it. That and, as I revealed in a social media conversation with some #TaxTwitter pals that started as a discussion about coffee, it was... Read more →


Video conferencing is becoming more acceptable, even in IRS communications with some taxpayers. It's possible that a few good things might come from COVID-19. We might be able to adapt our infection precautions to post-pandemic processes that are more worker friendly and business efficient. Yes, I am talking about expanded use of technology. And yes, I mean beyond subscribing to every streaming service to fill your days while you were (or are) in isolation mode. The latest example comes from the Internal Revenue Service. Uncle Sam's tax collector has for years been urging us taxpayers to file our returns electronically... Read more →


Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrating his team's victory. (Image via GIPHY) The Kansas City Chiefs are champions again, this time coming out victorious in a courtroom tax match-up. Exactly four months after the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, the Missouri Supreme Court delivered the National Football League franchise a decisive victory in its effort to avoid paying sales taxes. It ends the tax fight that began in 2014 when the Chiefs appealed a Missouri Department of Revenue panel's decision that the team owes more than $1 million in back taxes related to the refurbishment of Arrowhead Stadium. Sales... Read more →


We're heading, finally, into the heart of tax return filing season 2020. Even if you fill out and submit your Form 1040 electronically, as most of us do, you still need the documents that provide the figures you transfer to your return. One area of interest to millions every filing season is interest. In some cases, the interest you pay on certain loans can provide a tax break. In another, it could mean you owe Uncle Sam a bit more. This week's Tax Form Tuesday looks at three common interest-related tax documents. (Quick note: the forms' names below are linked... Read more →


June has arrived. But the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on our lives, including our tax lives, mean that in 2020 we likely won't be able to enjoy our usual summertime living is easy lifestyles. (Photo courtesy City of Clearwater, Florida) Hello weird, scary, frustrating June 2020. We're sort of glad you're here, even though the coronavirus means many of us aren't going to be taking a summer vacation and many more of us will still be messing with 2019 taxes until mid-July. Yep, as everyone knows by now, COVID-19 precautions by the Internal Revenue Service have pushed this year's... Read more →


Many employees have not been at their workplace cubicles for weeks. Now some, including IRS staff, are starting to return, but under dramatically different arrangements. Most taxpayers deal with the Internal Revenue Service electronically. That's the method that the agency has been encouraging for years. But some things still are handled the old-fashioned way. These are paper documents that are mailed by the IRS to taxpayers — like notices you get as an initial contact, not the money-demanding calls from con artists pretending to be IRS employees — and vice versa. Those paper communications, especially those from us to Uncle... Read more →


Can't sleep? You're not alone in these trying, tax and otherwise, times. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels) 2020 has been, at best, a difficult year and we're not even halfway through. For these first five months, millions of us have been facing each day a barrage of concerns that are producing a continual level of extraordinary stress. In addition to our normal day-to-day anxieties, we've been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, its unemployment and financial fallout, the recent deaths African Americans at the hands of individuals and while in law enforcement custody, heated and escalating political messaging in a... Read more →


It's the last weekend of May. You know what that means. Hurricane season is about to officially start. Of course, Mother Nature doesn't follow the calendars of mere humans. She does what she wants when she wants. And so far this late spring, early summer of 2020, she's thrown a couple of tropical tantrums. We've already had two named tropical storms, Arthur and Bertha. Arthur threatened the North Carolina coast before heading out to sea. Bertha is now washing out as a tropical depression, dropping heavy rain over South Carolina. Plan ahead for storms: But the Atlantic hurricane season, which... Read more →


Finally! That's what every taxpayer who's ever had to file an amended return is saying now that the Internal Revenue Service has announced that the process is going digital. As long as I've been blogging about taxes, I've included in every post about correcting previous tax filings some version of this instruction — An amended return cannot be filed electronically. You must use snail mail, using the appropriate address shown in the 1040X instructions. But in the summer of 2020, that changes. The Internal Revenue Service announced today that "later this summer" the Form 1040-X, Amended U.S Individual Income Tax... Read more →


Millions of folks — around 152 million of us, by the Internal Revenue Service's latest count — have received COVID-19 economic impact payments, or EIPs as they are called in the acronym crazy federal government (and tax) world. The payments of up to $1,200 per individual and $500 for each eligible child were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The IRS began sending out EIPs in April. But now, two months after the CARES Act became law on March 27, some EIP-eligible recipients are still waiting for direct deposit or a paper check or a... Read more →


I've been rearranging some upcoming doctors' appoints that I made months ago, well before anyone had heard of COVID-19, much less watched as it overtook our lives. A couple were able to be conducted as teleconferences with my physicians. Some, however, require actual in-office visits. Like getting jabbed for blood work. I'm also rescheduling some appointments originally set for June. These are being changed not because of the coronavirus pandemic, but because of new medical insurance. The dates are now late instead of mid-summer in the hopes that the new policy transition goes smoothly and I won't have to hassle... Read more →


Photo by Suzanne Walker from Pexels Memorial Day 2020 has an added poignancy. This solemn day to commemorate those who gave their lives in military service to the United States is overshadowed by the coronavirus. Almost 100,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded, with reporters often referring to military casualty numbers to put the pandemic's human cost in perspective. The Memorial Day events that we are used to seeing or participating in have been altered by COVID-19. Rather than community gatherings to share our sorrow and thanks, most now are limiting attendees or are being done virtually. There is so much,... Read more →


There are a lot of footprints on many U.S. beaches this Memorial Day weekend as folks seek seashores after weeks of staying home due to the coronavirus. (Photo by Wendy Wei via Pexels) This Memorial Day long weekend is a big one for numbers. As most states have relaxed at least some COVID-19 stay home orders, Americans are taking advantage of more openings to celebrate this unofficial start of summer. They are, naturally, heading to spots that offer traditional seasonal activities. There's no official counts of how many folks have flocked to U.S. beaches and lakes and parks, but the... Read more →


The COVID-19 crisis is global, so it's no surprise that actions by U.S. lawmakers to help taxpayers also have some decidedly global complications. And in some cases, it could work out well for U.S. taxpayers who are living and working in other countries. Worldwide earnings, U.S. taxes: Even though these folks no longer live in the United States, they still pay U.S. taxes. America's tax system for individuals is, for the most part, a worldwide one. That means that if you're an American living and working abroad, the Internal Revenue Service still gets a part of your income as U.S.... Read more →


Americans are plastic addicts. I'm not just talking packaging. We depend on plastic payments, aka credit and debit cards. That financial transaction method has made its way into the COVID-19 economic impact payment (EIP) distribution. This week, the Internal Revenue Service began sending debit cards loaded with coronavirus payment amounts to approximately 4 million Americans. As created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the COVID-19 payment amounts are up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child who is younger than 17 at of the end of... Read more →


The delay this year of Tax Day until mid-July also means you have time to make the most of the 2019 health savings account (HSA) limits. One of the distressing health-related side effects of COVID-19 is that many of the millions who have lost jobs due to the pandemic also lost their medical coverage. A new analysis says that here in Texas alone more than hat 1.6 million Texans could become uninsured following job losses. Many who are able to replace employer-provided coverage will turn to a high deductible health plan (HDHP). As the HDHP name indicates, these policies require... Read more →


Forty-three states and the District of Columbia rely to some degree on income taxes from their residents. The good news for most who live in these locations is that the COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIP), which the Internal Revenue Service notes won't be taxed by Uncle Sam, also are tax-free at state levels. But things are a little different in a handful of states. Taxpayers in Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Oregon, Missouri and Montana are allowed at least a partial deduction for federal taxes they pay. And that could affect the tax treatment of the coronavirus payments. Flipping tax code effects:... Read more →


We're less than two months from Tax Day 2020, which was pushed to July 15 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Or are we? There's been some talk and a few actual reports in the media that the White House is contemplating pushing the tax deadline back again, possibly to Sept. 15 or even mid-December. Just talk, so far: An NBC News report noted that talks of an even later Tax Day are preliminary. In that same article, Trump Administration officials stressed that no tax date change decision has been made. But some in the tax community are still a little... Read more →


All tax eyes nowadays are on coronavirus relief measures, both the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that became law in late March and The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act that passed that passed House on Friday (May 15), but isn't expected move, at least not quickly, through the Senate. That's understandable. Businesses are still struggling, despite some partial re-openings across the country, and most people who got laid off are still out of jobs. They are growing more desperate each day for the financial help that CARES offers and the HEROES promises. But... Read more →


If there's anything positive in this COVID-19 pandemic (yeah, I'm grasping), it's that folks have stocked up on necessities. That's good for those who live in potential hurricane targets. And it's especially fortuitous since, for sixth consecutive year, the Atlantic tropical storm season has started early. A tropical depression formed on Saturday, May 16, afternoon. By nightfall, it had strengthened enough to become Tropical Storm Arthur, the first named storm of 2020. The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 each year, but as we all know, Mother Nature often ignores us humans. The best we can... Read more →