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A Kentucky National Guardsman views flood damage in the southeastern part of the state on July 29 from a Blackhawk helicopter as the Bluegrass State unit flies in to provide help. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Sgt. Jesse Elbouab via Flickr) Historic flooding ravaged southeastern Kentucky last week, destroying homes and killing at least 37 people. Tens of thousands who were spared the worst of the overwhelming water damage are coping with power losses. Now some of those folks are getting from help from the federal government. President Joe Biden declared the most severely hit parts of the Bluegrass... Read more →


Photo by Amol Mande We're into the second month of the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season, but it's other disaster outbursts that have prompted action by Uncle Sam. In early May, parts of Oklahoma were hit by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. A month later, Montanan faced severe storms and flooding. After Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) review, the White House issued major disaster area declarations in both states. Now the Internal Revenue Service, as is usually the case, is providing affected taxpayers some relief. Sept. 1 deadline for Oklahomans: Individual and business taxpayers in Oklahoma who were hit... Read more →


One of these things is different from the rest: IRS Warns Donors about Charity Scams Following Recent Tragedies in Boston and Texas (2013) Fake charities make 2018 'Dirty Dozen list (2018) IRS cautions taxpayers about fake charities and scammers targeting immigrants (2021) IRS "Dirty Dozen" list warns people to watch out for tax-related scams involving fake charities, ghost preparers and other schemes (2021) Be aware of scammers who use fake charities to get sensitive information (2021) Bogus charities are always a problem. (2022) 76 Fake Charities Shared a Mailbox. The I.R.S. Approved Them All. (2022) The first six items above... Read more →


Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay The 2022 calendar aligned this year so that July 4th provided many of us with an extra-long holiday weekend. But the fireworks are over and, sadly, we'll never be independent of taxes. So it's back to work this first week of July, and back to making tax moves that can at least keep a few more dollars out of Uncle Sam's clutches. Here are five to consider this July. 1. Note the taxable driving change. If you use your vehicle for business or medical travel, that tax benefit got a bit better on July 1.... Read more →


A constant and continual message from the Internal Revenue Service is that more of us should electronically file our returns. But, says the National Taxpayer Advocate, the agency isn't making e-filing easy enough. The Internal Revenue Service IRS offers more electronic amended filings, just day after Taxpayer Advocate says agency's e-filing options are lacking Among the many issues National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins cited in her latest report to Congress is limited e-filing options, for both annual returns and amended ones, The IRS answered that charge at least a little today, announcing that it has expanded e-filing options for... Read more →


You thought you'd get a break from taxes when summer arrived, didn't you? Sorry. June, the first month of summer, also includes tax deadlines for some taxpayers. If you're a U.S. taxpayer who is living and working abroad, including members of the Armed Forces posted overseas, June 15 is your Tax Day. You must file your 2021 tax return by then. June 15 also is the due date for the second estimated tax payment of 2022. This applies to folks who make money that isn't subject to withholding tax. And some folks in Puerto Rico who suffered through major flooding... Read more →


Was this you on Tax Day, struggling with your return? If you just decided to chuck it and you owe, you need to file by June 14 or face an added tax penalty. (Photo by Mikhail Nilov) Did you totally miss Tax Day? If so, and you owe the Internal Revenue Service a now overdue payment, the agency says it's not too late. In fact, if you pay up soon, specifically by next Tuesday, June 14, you'll avoid a larger noncompliance charge. Normal tax penalties: Under normal non-filing and non-payment calculations, the IRS assess two penalties. The late-filing penalty is... Read more →


If you're a young person with a summer job, be aware of the tax implications. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio) Your teenager has a summer job lined up, and you're thrilled. So is your youngster. But before the young worker heads off for the first day of gainful employment, it's a good idea to consider the tax implications. Here are five common tax issues that young workers, and their parents, face. 1. The teen likely will have to file some sort of tax return. The U.S. tax code is wonderfully egalitarian when it comes to filing. Anyone who makes a certain... Read more →


Unemployment benefits can help relieve some of the sting of losing your job. But there are downsides. The monthly amounts again are fully taxable. And during the COVID pandemic, criminals have had a field day getting fraudulent payments, and causing tax troubles for those individuals whose identities they stole. The COVID-19 pandemic and employment still are inextricably linked. When the coronavirus hit the United States in 2020, the concern was for the companies that had to shut down, and their employees who suddenly were without paychecks. Congress passed a series of COVID relief bills that provided relief options for companies... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Interest payments are a part of almost every person's life. If you carry a credit card balance, you pay interest on it. If you have a mortgage, interest is probably the largest (but, for now, still tax-deductible) part of your monthly payment. And if you don't pay all the federal tax you owe on time, interest adds to you total U.S. Treasury bill. But with taxes, the reverse also is true. When the Internal Revenue Service is slow in getting your overpayment processed, your refund will include interest payments to you. And right now, due to... Read more →


Yeah, this image is (sadly) amusing, but a quick, real tax payment note. Make your check or money order, as long as it's not for an astronomical amount, payable to U.S. Treasury, not the Internal Revenue Service. Are you going to have to pay Uncle Sam tomorrow? Is your due tax a lot? A whole lot? If your tax bill is very — and I mean VERY — big, you won't be able to send the U.S. Treasury a check. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Service warns those who are extraordinarily deep in tax debt that it can't take a single... Read more →


The time left until Tax Day 2022 is tick, tick, ticking away. If you're feeling like silent movie legend Harold Lloyd, hanging on by your fingernails as you try to finish your Form 1040 by Monday, April 18, rescue yourself by filing instead for a six-month extension. Most of us are procrastinators at some point in our lives. This tendency to hold back tends to show up when we're facing particularly difficult decisions or tasks. Tax filing time is one of those times. But waiting until the last minute can be costly. If we get in a hurry to meet... Read more →


Millions of taxpayers are facing their first tax payment for 2022 on Monday, April 18. No, I'm not talking about any tax due you sent along with the 2021 return you filed or are frantically working on this last week before Tax Day. That money counted toward last year's taxes. I'm talking about the taxpayers who will be paying a separate amount to cover their earnings during the first quarter of 2022. Yep, it's estimated tax time again. And yep, the first payment of the current tax year coincides with any tax due for the previous one, making Tax Day... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


If you are a U.S. taxpayer living outside the country and frantically working to meet this year's April 18 tax-filing deadline, take a breath. Then mark your calendar for June 15. The Internal Revenue Service grants taxpayers who are overseas, including members of the armed forces stationed abroad, and automatic two-month extension to file. You don't have to send in Form 4868 to get it the extra filing time. Note, however, that this automatic extension to file is just that, an extension to file. If you owe tax for the 2021 tax year, you must pay it by this year's... Read more →


In 2016, a law change moved the due date for the required filing of Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or FBAR, to coincide with the annual April individual federal tax return deadline. FBAR information is the federal government's way of tracking foreign bank and financial accounts owned by U.S. taxpayers. Since Tax Day gets a lot of attention every year, the date change was seen as a way to make sure more people were aware of FBAR filing requirements. So FBAR filings this year are due on April 18, a few days later than usual due to the... Read more →


I understand not filing until the absolutely latest minute. Been there, done that. I also get why some people delay the inevitable: they owe taxes. Been there, done that, too. Sometimes, that amount due the U.S. Treasury seems impossible to pay. Thankfully, I've never quite been at this stage, but it happens to many filers. The first thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to not panic. Then look at your options. The Internal Revenue Service offers taxpayers a variety of ways to pay their unexpectedly large tax debts. Pay something — and file — to... Read more →


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work. Millions who lost earnings when the coronavirus cut their workplace hours filled the fiscal gap with gig jobs. Others left their wage-paying work entirely, opting to start their own businesses. That's meant these entrepreneurs are facing self-employment tax tasks for the first time. It also means many of them are claiming their first home office tax deduction. And that tax-saving break itself means one more tax decision. Are you going to use the regular home office deduction, or go with the simplified method? As with most things tax,... Read more →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


No-cost help fulfilling our annual tax-filing obligations has always been a better slogan than a reality. We are just about three weeks away from Tax Day 2022. This is our third consecutive coronavirus-tinge tax filing season, but things seem (fingers crossed!) to be going relatively well. As of March 18, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 72 million returns. Almost 70 million of those 1040s arrived electronically. The IRS doesn't break out in its regular filing season statistics how many of the e-filings were submitted by users of its Free File option. That number, however, is likely to... Read more →