The only thing worse than getting a notice from the Internal Revenue Service, is getting a wrong one. And the absolutely worst IRS communication scenario is getting a mailing that says you owe Uncle Sam when you are sure you paid your tax bill on time. That happened recently to some taxpayers. Now the IRS is trying to ease these individuals’ concerns. Wrong automatically issued notices: “The IRS is aware that some taxpayers are receiving CP14 (Balance Due, No Math Error) notices indicating a balance due even though payments were made with their 2023 tax return,” said the agency in... Read more →

Childcare is a must for working parents, but the costs keep rising. A couple of tax credits could help both businesses and parents. (Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Youngsters are school-free for the next few months. That means working parents are searching for ways to keep their children occupied. And supervised. Many teenagers get summer jobs. Parents of pre-teens often turn to day camps to fill a few hours each workday. But when it comes to preschoolers, childcare is a year-round concern, and an increasingly expensive one. Rising childcare costs: A recent report from Child Care Aware of America... Read more →

It’s not even officially summer yet, and already taxes are intruding on seasonal fun for taxpayers across the United States. Specifically, June 17 is Tax Day for individuals who are in one of three special categories. Since that’s less than a week away, they need to get to work now so they meet the fast approaching deadline. In most cases, missing it will mean owing even more to Uncle Sam thanks to tax penalties and inters that will be added to any tax due next Monday. Estimated taxes: Millions of taxpayers make estimated tax payments every year on income that’s... Read more →

Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images School’s out for the summer. That means many young people are working summer jobs. If it’s your first time in the workplace, congratulations on your earnings effort. And good luck with the tax lessons you’re about to learn. Here’s a quick CliffsNotes on paychecks and taxes. Income Tax Withholding: Getting your first paycheck is reason for celebration. That joy, however, tends to be offset a bit when you realize that Uncle Sam, and probably your state tax collector, too, took some off the top. That’s the income tax withholding that all wage-earning workers face.... Read more →

There’s good news for the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to get rid of as much paper as possible. The agency’s Document Upload Tool, or DUT, recently received its 1 millionth taxpayer submission. The online option lets taxpayers and tax professionals respond digitally to a wide range of tax issues. One of those issues is potentially underreported income, which prompts the IRS to issue Notice CP2000. With the DUT, taxpayers or their preparers can easily scan the material that answers the notice’s questions and electronically submit it to the agency, said the IRS. DUT growth: The upload tool was launched in... Read more →

CNN/Max In case political news has slipped by you, I’m jealous and sorry to break your bubble. But it’s an extremely consequential election year, so here goes. The first debate between the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential candidates is set for June 27. Social media is abuzz — and aghast and, too often, appalling — with political scoops, insights, and just plain wrong info 24/7. And for all the old-school voters, campaign TV spots are already airing. Meanwhile, both President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump continue to raise money to pay for, among other things, those pricey television ads.... Read more →

Scenic Georgetown is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. It’s where the D.C. Office of the Attorney General (OAG) alleged a bitcoin billionaire lived for years, but did not pay District income taxes. (Photo courtesy Where you live affects your taxes, says the woman who’s spent most of her life in two states, Texas and Florida, without a personal income tax. For a while, though, I did live in two tax collecting jurisdictions, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. Fortunately for the hubby and me, when we resided in the national capital, we weren’t on the District of... Read more →

U.S. troops landing on Normandy Beach, D-Day 1944. (U.S. Coast Guard archives) Today, June 6, is not an official holiday. But it is a day worth commemorating, especially as there are so few people left who were part of D-Day 80 years ago today. More than 160,000 Allied troops were part of the largest seaborne invasion in history on June 6, 1944, launching the beginning of the invasion of German-occupied western Europe. It led to the freeing of France from Nazi occupation and was a key to the Allied victory in World War II. “The price of unchecked tyranny is... Read more →

Florida residents are getting some tax breaks on items to help them prepare for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which started this week and forecast to be the most active ever. The Sunshine State’s first of two disaster preparedness sales tax holidays began on June 1, the official start of the annual hurricane season. It runs through Friday, June 14. Florida’s second emergency preparation sales tax event will be Aug. 24 through Sept. 6, aligning with the time of year when the tropical season tends to increase. Long history of strong storms: Florida individuals and businesses don’t need a reminder... Read more →

The outcome of November’s elections could determine the fate of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill. Key provisions of that Republican tax code overhaul are set to expire Dec. 31, 2025. Potentially expiring tax laws include the individual income tax rates, estate taxes, the cap on deducting state and local taxes (SALT), the section 199A deduction for passthrough income, and bonus depreciation. In anticipation of the impeding end of some popular tax provisions (and what that might mean to voters this year), Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Missouri) and Tax Subcommittee Chairman Mike (R-Pennsylvania) set up teams... Read more →

June is here! Summer officially arrives in a few weeks. And many of us already are making vacation plans. Great! Have fun. But also make some time this month to deal with tax tasks. Really. Taxes definitely aren’t a day at the beach, but some summer tax moves can help make next year’s filing easier, and potentially less costly. Here are five tax moves to make, or at least consider, this June. 1. Pay your estimated taxes. Millions of us must make these extra tax payments each year. The payments cover income we get that’s not subject to withholding, such... Read more →

The 2024 hurricane season has just begun, but some people are still dealing with disasters from last and earlier this year. Some of them now are facing a June 17 tax filing and payment deadline. Mother Nature has been Mommy Dearest across much of the United States so far this year. Way too many federal announcements and media reports have included the phrase “A historic severe weather outbreak occurred” in 2024, meaning that millions of Americans have found themselves in major disaster areas. And the current hurricane season has just begun! Unfortunately, the disastrous start to this year was a... Read more →

Photo by Chris on Unsplash The tax code is complicated. Even for the most basic situations, there are income levels that determine whether you must file, and if so, what your tax rate is. As your life and finances get more complicated, so do your taxes. That’s why most of us depend on tax software to meet our annual filing needs. Even the tax professionals we turn to for added support go electronic, mostly at the Internal Revenue Service’s insistence. But it never hurts to have a least a rudimentary understanding of our tax system. It is our money that’s... Read more →

No, not that guy. However, this month's federal tax trial in a North Texas courtroom does have a connection to Donald J. Trump and some interesting similarities to his falsification of business records trial just concluded in New York City state court. In the Texas trial, John Anthony Castro, who briefly sought nomination as the GOP’s 2024 presidential candidate and pestered the Party's presumptive nominee with lawsuits, was convicted on May 24 on 33 counts of federal tax fraud. Federal prosecutors said Castro’s scheme resulted in more than $15.5 million in tax losses to Uncle Sam. Global marketer of tax... Read more →

The Internal Revenue Service recommended, and the U.S. Treasury agreed, that the free tax software program created and operated directly by the IRS will be a permanent tax preparation and electronic filing option. Federal tax officials are encouraging all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to join the expanded Direct File program in filing season 2025. All U.S. taxpayers next year could have another no-cost option to prepare and e-file their federal tax returns. The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service today announced they found this tax season’s Direct File pilot program successful enough to expand to taxpayers across the... Read more →

Students, and their families, have a lot to worry about. 529 plan savings can help ease some of the financial concerns. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Andy Quezada) Happy 529 Day! OK, it’s not an official holiday. It was started in 2021 by National Day Calendar and College Savings Foundation (CSF), and is one of the many commemorations that fill up the 365 days, 366 in Leap Years, of each year. Some of the special days are, to my thinking, downright goofy, although I do believe ice cream deserves to be celebrated every single day. But some merit serious... Read more →

Aug. 29, 2023, Hurricane Idalia targeted the cloud-obscured western coast of Florida, while Hurricane Franklin churned not far behind in the Atlantic Ocean. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration GOES-16 satellite image Thousands are dealing this week with the aftermath of deadly, destructive tornadoes. Others are hunkering down as I type this afternoon in advance of more forecast severe storms. And the 2024 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which also includes storms that form in or head into the Gulf of Mexico, hasn’t even started. The official start of the annual tropical storm season is Saturday, June 1, and the National Oceanic and... Read more →

“Veterans,” acrylic on canvas, by Jesse T. Hummingbird (Cherokee, b. 1952) celebrates the generations of Native Americans who have, and still do, serve in the various branches of the U.S. military. The painting is on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Indian. This Memorial Day many of us are incorporating honoring fallen U.S. military men and women into our more recreational activities. That’s easy to do if you live in or visit the national capital area. Washington, D.C., is full of monuments and museums, many of which have special military-themed exhibits, either as permanent displays or shown on... Read more →

It seems the Internal Revenue Service, or at least its Direct File program, has a new public relations agency. It’s a group of Capitol Hill Democrats and Independents. The U.S. Senators and Representatives signed a May 15 letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel lauding the IRS free online tax preparation and e-filing option. The Direct File pilot program, created and run by the IRS, was rolled out this filing season in 12 states. When it wrapped on April 15, almost 141,000 taxpayers had used it. Direct File users received more than $90 million in refunds.... Read more →