State/Local Feed

Panoramic view of Los Angeles, California (Photo by Anthony Brown) There's been a boom this year in the price of houses. Now some Californians are hoping that the money sellers are making also can help the homeless. Los Angeles voters will decide in November on a higher tax rate on sales of high-value homes. The proposed 4 percent tax on the sale of homes valued $5 to $10 million and 5.5 percent on homes valued at more than $10 million would go toward affordable housing and homelessness prevention efforts. In addition to applying to residential sales, commercial property sellers would... Read more →


18 states are holding sales tax holidays this summer, most focusing on back-to-school shopping. But some states are offering tax savings on other items and have multiple events planned, led by Florida with 9 tax holidays on the way for a wide variety of shoppers. Many school supplies, like these at my local grocery store, will be sales-tax-free in Texas later this summer. (Photo by Kay Bell) Florida's official nickname is the Sunshine State, but this year it qualifies for another title. It's king of the state sales tax holiday season. Florida, along with 17 other states, is offering the... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio I'm later than usual posting today because the hubby and I finally cleaned a room that we've ignored for way too long. That meant it took longer than if we'd just dusted a bit more regularly. That's why I'm thinking of hiring a cleaning person. OK, I probably won't. I do think about it every time we do some major cleaning job, since I find housekeeping a total drag. Just ask the hubby. But I'm not really one for people I don't really know being in my house. Plus, if we do hire cleaning help, we... Read more →


Gasoline prices continue to drop a bit in suburban Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kay Bell) President Joe Biden today asked Congress to suspend federal fuel taxes for three months. He's also urging states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief. The White House's time frame, outlined in a fact sheet, calls for the 18.4 cents per gallon (cpg) and 24.4 cpg non-collection period to start in July and run through September. In announcing temporary excise tax holiday proposal, Biden said it was designed to help motorists during the busy summer travel season. House and Senate gas tax... Read more →


Nowadays, you might have to empty your wallet to fill up your car's tank. However, federal gas tax relief or other help might be available as soon as this week. (Photo by Jen R via Flickr CC) On my way to an appointment today, I passed two gas stations. Both advertised regular at $4.69 a gallon. Yes, my area of Austin, Texas, has escaped (so far) the $5 per gallon average that recently was recorded across the United States. Nationally, the per gallon price for regular has since dropped to $4.981. Yay? And yes, I stopped at one station and... Read more →


Juneteenth is officially on the day that gives it its contraction name, June 19th. But since that was on Sunday, federal offices, the stock market, and some states observance Juneteenth on Monday, June 20. It's the second year of Juneteenth being celebrated as a federal holiday. Since today is Sunday, federal offices will observe it on Monday, June 20. As a native Texan, I was aware of the date. It's was the day in 1865 when recalcitrant (insert your own R word if you wish) early Lone Star Staters were forced to acknowledge — and let enslaved Texans know —... Read more →


A group working to repeal Washington state's recently enacted capital gains tax has abandoned its effort. It's not that the anti-tax group has changed its collective mind. It's still firmly against the tax. Rather, it has decided to rely on the courts to continue to rule that the levy is unconstitutional. Income tax issues: Washington, which is one of the nine states without an income tax, enacted a capital gains tax in 2021. That, said opponents, is an income tax, which is against the state's constitution. It took the matter to Evergreen State voters in a nonbinding ballot initiative last... Read more →


If you live in one of them, the state tax break is a nice add-on to the federal Child Tax Credit, which this year reverted to its lower, pre-COVID amounts. Child tax credits, at the federal level and in 10 states, can have the parents of these youngsters jumping for joy, too. (Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav) The expanded federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) helped millions of households cope with finances stretched thin due to COVID-19 layoffs and even total business closures. During the height of the pandemic, the already popular CTC of $2,000 per qualifying child was increased. The... Read more →


A group of Kentucky homeowners switched to a different, higher-rate tax district so their increased taxes would pay for things like street cleaning. A transcription error meant they got it and other services for free for eight years. (Photo by Kay Bell) Property tax bills are a major expense for homeowners. They also can be confusing. Here in Texas, most property tax money goes to the homeowners' local school districts. But there's usually more. Our real estate bill, for example, has collections for our independent school district, as well as five other taxing jurisdictions. That's why every tax bill recipient... Read more →


Gasoline prices at a suburban Austin, Texas, gas station just before the Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Kay Bell) Shortly before the Memorial Day holiday, gasoline prices surpassed $4 per gallon in every U.S. state for the first time. Transportation experts predict gas soon will exceed $5 per gallon nationally. Higher fuel prices didn't stop people from hitting the road during the Memorial Day break. But that was a special travel event. It was a three-day holiday after years of COVID pandemic suppressed transportation. Just a week later, people's lives are back to what passes for normal. More offices are... Read more →


Photo by Mateusz Dach Every new year starts with optimism about what can be accomplished, even (or perhaps especially) in the tax world. Then comes summer, and expectations dim. That's especially true on the federal law-making level in an election year. Democrats have adjusted their hoped-for pre-Memorial Day deadline to move a slimmed-down budget reconciliation bill that would implement higher taxes on the wealthy, combat climate change, and lower the cost of prescription drugs. The same stop sign has been flashed internationally, with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen's global tax plan meeting resistance abroad and at home. But there is some... Read more →


This coming Memorial Day long weekend is the first in more than two years that millions of Americans are treating as more-or-less normal. (Remember that?) And people's pent-up travel wishes are pushing aside COVID-19 pandemic worries in a big way. AAA Memorial Day 2022 forecast AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day three-day holiday. This is an increase of 8.3 percent over 2021, and brings travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. But another year also comes to mind. Back in 2012, gasoline was $3.64 per gallon. When adjusted... Read more →


The 16-year tax fight between a former pizza franchise mogul and the state of Kansas is over. The Sunflower State owes Gene Bicknell $63 million. At least that's the amount that Bicknell, who at one time owned the most Pizza Huts in the world, says he's due from the Kansas Department of Revenue (KDOR) after it erroneously taxed him as a Kansas resident when he lived in Florida. Kansas vs. Florida tax residence status: Bicknell's legal tax residency was at the heart of the multimillion-dollar tax matter. The KDOR said Bicknell was a Kansas resident. Bicknell, however, argued that his... Read more →


The Small Business Administration's annual Small Business Week events ended earlier this month, but another federal agency now is doing its part to support companies. The U.S. Treasury Department this week announced five states will receive the first round of newly-reauthorized State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) money. SSBCI was first established in 2010. The program was reauthorized and expanded in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). It now has nearly $10 billion that will go to states for programs that promote entrepreneurship nationwide. Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, and West Virginia are the first states... Read more →


Billowing smoke from the wildfire ravaging norther New Mexico. (Screen shot of video posted on The Weather Channel, provided by Jackson Mathey via Storyful) The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfires that have merged and been burning a large swath of northern New Mexico for weeks now has been designated as the largest in the state's history. The combined blazes, driven by straight-line winds, have engulfed nearly 300,000 acres, or around 469 square miles, of the Land of Enchantment as of this morning. Only around a quarter of the fire area has been contained, according to InciWeb, a U.S. government... 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 →


Here are this weekend's full Flower Moon eclipse stages. The moon moves right to left, passing through the penumbra and umbra, leaving in its wake an eclipse diagram with the times (Eastern time zone) at various stages of the eclipse. Visualizations by Ernie Wright, NASA Scientific Visualization Studio. Click here for the video version. And if it's cloudy where you live, you can livestream the eclipse. It's Friday the 13th, the only one in 2022. A total lunar eclipse will turn the full Flower Moon red Sunday night. The only thing that could amp up our combined superstitions and natural... Read more →


Electric vehicle charging in a workplace garage. (Photo by Kay Bell) One of our errands this week was getting the hubby's vehicle inspected. It's required to renew the auto's annual state registration. We get to repeat the process in six months for my car. But when it comes to my Chevy sedan, I soon might be writing the state of Texas a larger check. I drive a hybrid and there's renewed interest in adding an annual surcharge to vehicles that don't rely solely on fossil fuel. Welcome, but pay, please: Sure, Lone Star State officials were thrilled when Elon Musk... Read more →


Not in the Lone Star State? IRS also looking to add personnel in Ogden, Utah; Kansas City, Missouri; and Puerto Rico. Looking for a job with the Internal Revenue Service? Good news. The tax agency, which earlier announced plans to fill 10,000 staff positions, is hiring. And it's starting in my backyard. The IRS has more than 900 open slots at its Austin, Texas, processing center. To get folks at these jobs as soon as possible, the agency is holding an In-Person Direct Hiring Event, its version of a job fair, on Wednesday, May 11, and Thursday, May 12. Specifically,... Read more →


Photo by Jess Bailey Designs The only thing worse than getting a surprising high property tax appraisal — which, as one of April's tax tips advises, you definitely should protest for venting, as well as potential lower tax, purposes — is having your local tax collector tell you that your tax payment is overdue. That happened to 2,400 homeowners in upstate New York, according to LocalSYR.com. Tax rebate endangered: Technically, the property owners in Onondaga County didn't get a past due bill. Instead, they incorrectly received notice from the Empire State's Department of Taxation and Finance that they could lose... Read more →