Some of the March 14 tornado damage in Indian Lake, Logan County, Ohio. (Photo credit: Indian Lake Chamber via Facebook) During the evening of March 14, supercell thunderstorms dropped numerous strong tornadoes across western and central Ohio. By the time things cleared, the deadly twisters also had left trails of destruction across the Buckeye State. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed three EF1 twisters, two reaching EF2, and an EF3 across Ohio. The NWS office in Wilmington, just north of Cincinnati, reported a total of 145 miles of combined tornado tracks across the state. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) investigation... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with George Dagerotip President Joe Biden last week endorsed the Department of Justice's (DoJ) move to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug. Biden said in social media posts — X (aka Twitter) and YouTube — that the move would reverse “long-standing inequities” under the current criminalization of cannabis. "Look folks, no one should be in jail merely for using or possessing marijuana," the president said in his video statement. Not legalization, but lowering federal interest: The Justice Department move would not legalize marijuana outright for recreational use, which currently is the... Read more →


This is the Internal Revenue Service’s fourth and final Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) Saturday opening in 2024. IRS reps will be accepting walk-in help requests at 59 TACs in 30 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. Photo by Tim Douglas The Internal Revenue Service is offering taxpayers in 32 jurisdictions one more chance this year to get help at a Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) without having to make an appointment. The agency’s final Saturday walk-in is tomorrow, May 18. At the select TACs — 59 total — across the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, you can... Read more →


Photo by Aidan Howe on Unsplash U.S. commercial gambling revenue hit a quarterly record of $17.67 billion in first three months of 2024. It marks the gaming industry’s 13th consecutive quarter of growth, according to the American Gaming Association. And Caitlin Clark hadn’t even played a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) game yet. Clark’s WNBA May 14 debut with her Indiana Fever facing the Connecticut Sun drew an average television audience of 2.13 million viewers, making it the most watched WNBA game in almost 23 years. I’m willing to bet, pun intended, that is also was the most bet on... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images Tornadoes storms across the United States this year are striking at a record breaking pace. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center today shows 790 preliminary tornado reports. The historical average at this point in the year is around 550. Here in Texas, more than a million acres in the Panhandle were consumed by the Smokehouse Creek Fire that erupted in February. As spring arrived, the eastern part of the Lone Star State endured devastating floods. And hurricane season doesn’t even officially start until June. All this meteorological anger means that millions of people... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service is holding refunds sought by thousands of filers it suspects inflated those amounts by improperly claiming some tax credits. While the IRS sorts through these questionable claims, those taxpayers aren’t going to see any refund money. Not even that amount unconnected to the questionable credit claims. The dubious claims delaying the refunds involve the Fuel Tax Credit, Sick and Family Leave Credit, and household employment taxes. “Scam artists and social media posts have perpetuated a number of false and misleading claims that have tricked well-meaning taxpayers into believing they’re entitled to big, windfall tax refunds. These... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska The Internal Revenue Service is about to turn out the lights on the 2020 tax refund party. The chance to get your part of more than $1 billion in unclaimed tax money ends on Friday, May 17. The eligible refund recipients are an estimated 938,800 folks nationwide who didn’t, for a variety of reasons, file a 2020 tax return during the 2021 filing season. Tax law says nonfilers have three years to file and collect their refund money. So why didn’t their deadline come and go on this past April 15? You might recall that three... Read more →


Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms out there got everything they wanted today. Of course, we should be grateful for all that our parents do for us every day of the year. In additional to the emotional support, moms (and dads) literally pay for parenthood. A recent calculation of the average cost to raise a child to age 18 came to $312,202. That figure is for a middle-class family, and doesn’t include college expenses. Yikes! Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told WTOP News that the true price could be... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service, like almost every other entity in our lives, continues to expand its digital reach. Taxpayers have for decades been encouraged to electronically file and pay taxes. This year, the IRS tested Direct File that let a limited number of taxpayers prepare online and then e-file directly with the agency instead of using a commercial tax software program. We also can access our taxpayer accounts online. In certain situations, we can contact the IRS via email. And the IRS looking to expand paperless operations in the near future. Uncle Sam’s digital tax collector got another boost in... Read more →


Shortly after MLB superstar Shohei Ohtani joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, a federal sports gambling scandal involving his now-former translator Ippei Mizuhara broke. This week, Mizuhara (below left), agreed to a plea deal. (Mizuhara photo by Moto "Club4AG" Miwa from USA - Angels vs Mariners 2019-6-8 Anaheim Stadium, CC BY 2.0. Ohtani photo by All-Pro Reels from District of Columbia, USA - Dodgers at Nationals, CC BY-SA 2.0.) Sports and courts too often coincide outside the usual tennis venues. Leagues are sued by competitors. Broadcasting rights battles are litigated. Players’ union grievances are heard by various judges. Individual players sometimes... Read more →


A health savings account, or HSA, helps high deductible health plan, or HDHP, enrollees cover their larger out-of-pocket medical costs. The plan limits and HSA contribution amounts are adjusted annually for inflation. Here are the 2025 numbers. Photo by Kay Bell The cost of health care keeps rising. That’s why many individuals and families who are basically healthy, but want medical coverage in case of an emergencies, often turn to high deductible health plans, or HDHPs. HDHP policies’ associated health savings accounts, or HSAs, help offset the plans larger out-of-pocket costs. HSAs also offer triple tax savings. If you’re interested... Read more →


To paraphrase the oft-covered pop song, you fought the Internal Revenue Service law, and the IRS won. But that’s not necessarily the end of the process. You have the right to appeal the IRS’ decision. The agency itself says so in its Taxpayer Bill of Rights. And the IRS has a separate appeals office created to deal with these taxpayer-auditor disputes. There are around 1,500 appeals office employees, most of whom were auditors themselves, and generally have legal or accounting experience. I know. You saw that phrase “were auditors themselves,” and are having second thoughts about appealing your tax finding.... Read more →


The bulk of tax season wrapped up on April 15. Many taxpayers will be getting the refunds those filings showed. But some individuals will get a less welcome letter from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS sends notices and letters when it needs has ask a question about a taxpayer’s federal tax return. The correspondence also could be to let filers know about a change the agency made to their account. Or it could be notification that the taxpayers owes Uncle Sam and needs to make a payment. Regardless of the reason for the IRS mail, there are some general... Read more →


Our annual property tax protest has been filed. Not by us. We finally hired a company to take care of it. But the hubby and I and our neighbors are not the only ones concerned about property taxes. So are the government officials in charge of levying and collecting them, albeit for different reasons. Property tax problems: Real estate taxes are the primary financing source for city, county, and other local governments. Tax Foundation analysts found that in fiscal year 2020, property taxes comprised 32.2 percent of total state and local tax collections in the United States, more than any... Read more →


Among the nearly 141.4 million tax returns that the Internal Revenue Service had received by the week ending April 26, were 140,803 Form 1040s that arrived via the tax agency's Direct File pilot program. The IRS and Treasury Department in separate releases said these Direct File taxpayers claimed more than $90 million in refunds, and saved an estimated $5.6 million in tax preparation fees on their federal returns alone. OK, those Direct File returns were a minuscule part — 0.09960386 percent — of the more than 141 million 1040s filed as of last month. But it’s a start. And it... Read more →


Those who enter the New York Criminal Courts building are greeted by Thomas Jefferson's words engraved on the façade. The third U.S. president cited "equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion" as one of the essential principles of American democracy. (Photo by Carl Mikoy, Flickr Creative Commons) In September 2019, Donald J. Trump changed his official residence from New York to Florida. The then-president gave no official reason for the paperwork move. However, one reason likely was the Sunshine State’s lack of a personal income tax. Though Trump refused to release his federal or state... Read more →


Almost a year ago, the man dubbed Bitcoin Jesus because he made a fortune as an early advocate of the digital currency, was indicted on mail fraud, tax evasion, and filing false tax return charges. We found out about the $48 million tax evasion and other charges this week when the Department of Justice (DoJ) unsealed the June 2023 indictment naming Roger Keith Ver. He was arrested in Spain based on the criminal charges, and U.S. law enforcement officials are seeking Ver’s extradition. The indictment, announced by DoJ on April 30, alleges that Ver formerly of Santa Clara, California, owned... Read more →


Drone composite image of the significant damage to structures in downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma. A large part of the small town in south-central Oklahoma was struck by an EF3+ tornado on April 27, 2024. (Photo by Wikiwillz via Wikipedia Commons) The United States’ tornado season used to be in the spring, with most of them occurring in the middle of the country known as Tornado Alley. But things have changed. Or maybe data collection improved. Whatever the reason, tornado-spawning storms are showing up almost year-round, and they’re showing up well beyond the original Tornado Alley boundaries. This year could be one... Read more →