Memorial Day weekend is a day of recreation for most of us. But we get to enjoy our time off in part because others served in the Armed Forces. The ultimate sacrifice of those military service personnel is the real reason for Memorial Day remembrances every May. And while losing a loved is an unthinkable, difficult situation, survivors of service members do get some special tax considerations. Tax-free benefits, forgiven tax claims: Survivors of deceased Armed Forces members are provided a $100,000 payment. This amount is not taxable. Military survivors also might qualify for tax forgiveness. This situation occurs, notes... Read more →


Joe Biden's campaign slogan "Build Back Better" now is part of his presidency's agenda. Many promises he made in 2020 now are part of the Biden Administration's first federal budget proposal. President Joe Biden's first federal budget proposal, which is for the 2022 fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, comes in at $6 trillion, detailed in more than 1,700 pages. The White House projects its changes will bring $3.6 trillion to the Treasury over the next decade. It also projects a $1.84 trillion deficit. That's a substantial number, up from 2019's $984 billion deficit, but a sharp decrease from the... Read more →


Happy College Savings Day! Or to be more tax specific, Happy National 529 Day! May 29, or 5/29 if you go the numerical route, is the day to celebrate 529 plans, even though the tax-favored educational savings plans get their name from the Internal Revenue Code section under which they were created, not the calendar. Provenance aside, these educational savings accounts grow tax-free as long as you eventually use the money to pay for qualifying school-related expenses. In addition to the usual classroom fees, books, supplies and equipment, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 expanded 529 funds usage.... Read more →


During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, airline health protocols got most of the attention. That's not surprising, since when flying, we're all trapped for hours with strangers in a metal tube with recycle air. Now, with more of us vaccinated and ready to get out again and see sights beyond our homes, the travel focus has shifted. It's Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer and a major road-tripping holiday. Highway bound: AAA expects Memorial Day 2021 travel to rebound substantially. The national motoring membership organization predicts 60 percent more travelers this long holiday weekend than last year's... Read more →


Even though Tax Day 2021 has come and gone, the Internal Revenue Service has decided to give some storm-struck West Virginians in the western part of the state more time to file their 2020 tax returns. Even after skies clear, flood waters remain. (Photo courtesy FEMA Facebook page) Sometimes even the Internal Revenue Service runs a bit late. That's the case with its announcement today, May 27, that some West Virginians now have a little more than a month to file their 2020 taxes. Until June 30, to be precise. Yes, Tax Day this year was May 17, almost two... Read more →


Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer across the United States. It's also a time for sales tax free shopping in two states. Here in Texas, my neighbors and I get the long weekend to pick up some water and energy efficient appliances without owing the state's 6 percent and local sales taxes, which could afford up to another 2 percent in tax savings. My friends and former neighbors in Florida also get a sales tax holiday this coming holiday weekend and longer. Last week, the Sunshine State's governor signed into law the state's 10-day-long 2021 Disaster Preparedness... Read more →


When it comes to funding a comfortable retirement, most of us look at every possible revenue stream. For some, however, the searching is more difficult. They are the owners of unclaimed retirement savings accounts. When enough time passes, the accounts essentially are lost. And it's a substantial amount that's sitting around waiting to be claimed. Recent studies published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for Financial Security found that in 2016, there were an estimated 70,000 unclaimed retirement accounts across the United States. These accounts totaled $38 million. Those numbers jibe with other analyses of lost retirement accounts. Investment manager... Read more →


Including some amended filing considerations that are affected this year by COVID-19 law changes. Photo by Ann H from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2021. Those of us who submitted our tax returns have just been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe we should give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought before we finally wrap up this tax season. Here are 5 tax matters you need to consider so that you can completely clear your 2020 tax year decks. 1. Check your refund status: This is the biggie... Read more →


You just finished filing your taxes last week. That included, for most Americans, state tax returns, too. And for some, the news was not good, especially on the state tax front. Residents of 42 states and Washington, D.C., face state and local taxes on at least some of the income, either earned (usually from jobs) or unearned (usually investment income). For some, the dollars handed over to their state and local tax collectors are more troubling than their federal tax amounts. High state taxes, both corporate and individual, usually is cited as a key reason lower-tax states like my native... Read more →


2021 already has brought us tornadoes, floods, fires and more. Now the annual Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season has arrived early, again, meaning it's time to get ready for that and whatever disaster is common where you live. The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't start until June 1, but we already (again!) have an early forming storm. Subtropical Storm Ana developed today, May 22, near Bermuda. (Screen shot of The Weather Channel video.) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 2021 Atlantic hurricane season forecast calls for another active six (or more) months. So far, that prediction looks spot on. The... Read more →


While most of us dealt with our 2020 taxes this past Monday, May 17, taxpayers in six states have several more weeks, and in some cases, months to file their returns. The same is true for state filings due in those states with new federal filing deadlines. Plus, a couple of states acted independently of the Internal Revenue Service to give their residents more time to deal with state and local filings. Here's a quick look at this year's remaining tax calendars when it comes to dealing with 2020 returns. 6 states get federal disaster filing delays: Six states endured... Read more →


The rest of us waiting for less, but just as eagerly anticipated, refunds should use IRS online options to track down their money. One of the biggest taxpayer frustrations every year is having to wait on the Internal Revenue Service to issue refunds. That's been exacerbated during taxes in the time of COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has meant delayed filing deadlines, new tax laws and more jobs for IRS personnel. And that's meant that what used to be considered routine IRS work and customer service has suffered. I wish I could tell you this post was a welcome revelation that... Read more →


President Joe Biden this week reinstated a long-standing White House tax tradition. Biden and the First Lady, as well as the Vice Presidential couple, made public their annual tax return filings on Tax Day, May 17 this year. (White House Facebook image) Monday was Tax Day 2021. Yes, it was just more than a month later than usual. But one tax thing did return to normal this year. The President and Vice President of the United States released their tax returns to the public. Tax sharing by Biden: The 2020 tax year joint filing by President Joe and First Lady... Read more →


P.S. — The IRS commish says thanks to those who did file on May 17. Wow. Those extra 32 days to get your taxes done sure went fast. So quickly, in fact, that you flat-out missed the May 17 tax filing deadline. Don't panic, but don't procrastinate any longer. The Internal Revenue Service is serious about wanting your tax forms and, of course, any taxes you owe. If you miss the annual deadline, regardless of exactly when it falls, then you'll likely end up facing three main filing-related penalties, the harshest of which is for not filing at all. Below... Read more →


It's finally here! Tax Day 2021! Yeah, I know most of y'all aren't that excited. Either you're done with your 2020 return (good for you) or you're struggling to finish it (you can do it!) or, for a variety of reasons (including disaster declarations; so sorry you had to deal with that), you have more time to file. Today, though, is still a critical deadline for millions of taxpayers, especially those who taxes. Facing the prospect of having to write the U.S. Treasury a check (or send Uncle Sam an electronic payment) is one of the main reasons folks procrastinate... Read more →


The time left until tomorrow's Tax Day 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, take a break by filing for an extension instead. In a survey earlier this tax filing season by Credello, more than three-quarters of respondents said they know what they're doing when it comes to filing their taxes. Oh, really? Not that I'm questioning the poll participants' honesty, but taxes are not really the area where you want to fake it 'til you make it. If you... Read more →


Tax Day 2021 has moved to Aug. 2 for Tennessee taxpayers in 23 counties that were hard hit by tornadoes, other storms, and flooding. Satellite view from GOES-16 showing the storm system responsible for the tornado outbreak across much of the southern United States on March 25, 2021. (Image courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikipedia Commons) As we enter the final weekend of the regular tax-filing season, millions of taxpayers have yet to file their returns. Some are simply uber-procrastinators. Others, however, don't have to worry about meeting Monday's May 17 deadline thanks to extra time granted by... Read more →


Still trying to put your 2020 tax return puzzle together? The following 10 tips could help you find any missing pieces. If you're spending your weekend working on your 2020 tax return, you are not alone. Millions of people every year put off this annual tax task until the very last minute. Tax procrastination happens even in years like this one when the deadline is later than usual. It also happens even when people are going to get a refund. I know! Go figure. Whatever your reason for waiting, I'm not judging. But I do want to offer some tips... Read more →


The 2020 tax return filing deadline for most U.S. taxpayers literally is just days away. If you're scrambling to meet the May 17 due date, don't be in such a hurry that you cheat yourself out of some tax savings. You can claim deductions, either by itemizing if that gives you more than your standard deduction amount or by claiming some income adjustments, most of which are still referred to (by me, at least!) as above-the-line deductions, that reduce the amount of income that's taxed. There also are tax credits, which are even better because they directly reduce what you... Read more →


Enjoying a comfortable retirement later means planning for and contributing to nest eggs now. For some, the Saver's Credit offers an added tax incentive. Some lawmakers want to make the credit even better. I'm a big believer in saving for retirement because, well, I'm a big believer in retiring. Specifically, in retiring when and how I want. And that takes money. Uncle Sam apparently shares my pro-nest-egg point of view. In addition to the tax breaks available for those who take advantage of myriad retirement saving options, the Internal Revenue Code also offers a double reward for some with the... Read more →