The Trump Administration plans in the next few weeks to announce a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, according to Bloomberg and Financial Times. The proposed spending on roads and bridges is seen as a way to further jump start the COVID-19 hobbled U.S. economy. The money reportedly would be spent over 10 years, but those familiar with the White House thinking say the plan is still "fluid and could take time." It also would go head-to-head with not only a sizable Democratic highway bill now before a House subcommittee, but also a GOP version that cleared the Senate last summer. Mapping... Read more →


Rhode Island's flag offers hope. Its individual tax return offers other emotional indicators. It's less than a month until federal Tax Day 2020, which everyone knows was moved to July 15 to accommodate the disruptions, tax and otherwise, of COVID-19 to our lives. That date also is when most folks who also must pay state income tax also have to get those forms to their state tax officials. Like federal filings, most states allow — nay, encourage — their taxpayers to submit their taxes electronically. And most of those states also have given their taxpayers until July 15 to file... Read more →


One of the reasons the Internal Revenue Service has called more of its staff back to their offices is so they can deal with the backlog of tax notices. When the agency sent most personnel home earlier this year as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, some previously-printed balance due notices didn't get mailed. Now with some IRS operations restarting across the county, these notices will be delivered to taxpayers by the U.S. Postal Service in the next few weeks. Original notices, old dates: These notices, however, won't be updated versions produced by staffers who now are back at their desks. They... Read more →


Thousands more Internal Revenue Service employees are will be back in their offices this month, starting Monday, June 15. They're the second wave of IRS staff to return to work after the agency in mid-March sent more than half of its 81,000 staff home as a way to help slow the spread of COVID-19. More than 10,000 IRS workers in Kentucky, Texas and Utah were called back on June 1, primarily to deal with the million-plus pieces of U.S. Postal Service mail that had piled up in their absence. Those returning to their offices tomorrow are IRS personnel in Georgia,... Read more →


As the United States struggles to recover from COVID-19 closures, there's talk of a new tax credit for individual taxpayers to encourage them to eat out or travel. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) How stir crazy are you after months of COVID-19 quarantine, either self- or government-imposed? For millions of folks, the answer is pretty freakin' fed up with being stuck at home. I feel your closed-in pain. The hubby and I aren't big socializers, but even we are reaching our limit. This morning we went for a drive beyond just our local grocery and drug stores. Our face masks... Read more →


Looking for some weekend or beyond tax reading? Then check out the latest Internal Revenue Service Research Bulletin. Notice that I didn't say light tax reading. This collection of papers presented last June at the 9th Annual Joint Research Conference on Tax Administration, an event cosponsored by the IRS and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, is 252 pages. And some of the topics can be dense. The presenters and attendees at the 2019 conference, both in persona and online, included researchers from many areas of the IRS, officials from other government agencies and academic and private sector experts on tax... Read more →


Free File is under fire again. The annual tax season program, in which some tax software programs participate via a special Internal Revenue Service website, was created 17 years ago to offer no-cost tax filing to low-to-middle income taxpayers. The current agreement private/public tax filing deal is in place through Oct. 31, 2021. This year, eligible taxpayers — that's those with adjusted gross incomes of $69,000 or less, regardless of filing status — can use Free File to meet the coronavirus-delay July 15 tax filing and payment deadline. Those who decided to get an extension can use Free File until... Read more →


It's official. School is out for the summer. And some day camps could soon offer families a break from coronavirus close quarters and a tax break. For millions of families across the United States, the official end of the school year doesn't really mean much. The kids already have been home for weeks instead of in classrooms because of COVID-19 closures. But things may be about to change. Some day camps are starting to open, albeit tentatively and with lots of new rules and limitations. For some, the option to send the kiddos to another supervised situation is a welcome... Read more →


You're following all the recommended pandemic precautions. You stay home. You have your groceries and meals delivered. If you must go out, it's for drive-through or curbside pickup of necessary items. You always wear a mask when you leave your home. But you still might not be safe from the latest iteration of the coronavirus outbreak. This time, though, it's not medical, but financial. Scammers are coming to us via emails and phone calls, using a variety of tricks to get their hands on our COVID-19 economic impact payments (EIPs) and other funds. The Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation (CI)... Read more →


Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall Sunday evening in Louisiana. Even though it quickly weakened to a tropical depression, it still is dumping copious amounts of rain across the Pelican State. The potential for flooding was part of the reason that the White House on Sunday, June 7, issued a federal disaster declaration for Louisiana. That decision allows the federal government to help pick up some of the state's disaster response costs. It also will give those who sustained Cristobal-related damages a chance to claim those losses on their taxes. Major disasters only need apply: Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs... Read more →


Photo by fauxels from Pexels Working from home is a major lifestyle change wrought by COVID-19 and efforts to stem its spread. That's produced good, bad, ugly and tax results. The good is no commuting. The bad is family members who think since you're home, you still can do everything else, too. The ugly is the attire most of us wear as we work from home, except for the times we put on a clean shirt for Zoom meetings. Then there's the matter of taxes. Workers' locations, new tax nexus? Since shutdown orders went into place in mid-March, businesses have... Read more →


Former Vice President Joe Biden meeting supporters in Iowa last year in the early days of his campaign. Now he's the Democratic presidential nominee. His and opponent Donald Trump's tax plans will be a part of the election discussions. (Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr) It's a done deal. Former Vice President Joe Biden will be the Democrat challenging Donald J. Trump this November for the White House. Biden secured enough delegates last week to formally become the Democratic nominee on the first ballot at the party's convention. That official imprimatur will come in August at the Democrats' combined in-person... Read more →


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 →