State/Local Feed

Juneteenth, which first began in Texas, is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. But today's Juneteenth celebrations are especially notable. This commemoration of June 19, 1865, the day when slaves in Texas got the official word that they were free. It's been a state holiday here since 1980. Now it's a national holiday. Officially, it's now known as Juneteenth National Independence Day. That name change happened when President Joe Biden, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and luminaries like 94-year-old Opal Lee, the Texan who had worked for decades to get to... Read more →


Photo courtesy Zutobi Could it be? Is Infrastructure Week finally happening? Maybe. There are bills and revisions to bills and working groups and bipartisan agreements and partisan criticisms of agreements. The only thing that the, at last rough count, eight transportation-plus proposals floating around on Capitol Hill have in common is that none has the votes right now in either chamber to pass. But things are fluid and could change, for better or worse (depending on your political and fiscal position), at any time. The only certainty is that something must be done by the end of this 2021 fiscal... Read more →


June 15 — yep, this coming Tuesday — is Tax Day for all Louisianans (and Texans and Oklahomans) who endured mid-February's historic freeze. But some Pelican State taxpayers now get even longer to finish up their 2020 tax year returns. The Internal Revenue Service says victims of severe storms and flooding in parts of Louisiana that began May 17 now have until Aug. 16 to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. The affected filers live in or have businesses in Ascension, Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, and Lafayette Parishes. These parishes were designated as disaster... Read more →


Photo by Roberto Nickson via Pexels On May 26, sky watchers across much of the world were awed by the Blood Moon lunar eclipse. It coincided with the moon's closest approach to Earth, meaning the so-called supermoon took on a reddish hue during the event, giving it the dramatic name. Then just last week, some of us were treated to an annular solar eclipse that appeared as a ring of fire when the moon blocked out only the middle of the sun, leaving its glow around the edges. Most, however, saw the June 10 astronomical phenomenon as the moon taking... Read more →


Overhead view of flooding. (Image by Pok Rie via Pexels) It's already been a literally disastrous year for millions of Americans. When Mother Nature does her worst, major disaster areas are declared, meaning affected residents get access to federal assistance. However, the process for providing disaster-related tax relief can take time and be confusing. Sometimes it can be frustratingly close to, or even after, impending tax deadlines. The Internal Revenue Service can't make any decisions to give disaster-struck individual and business taxpayers any filing and payment relief until the president declares a major disaster and the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more →


Photo by Min An from Pexels Among the many welcome events that are returning as we continue to move beyond complete COVID-19 lockdown are weddings. Congratulations and best wishes to all the brides and grooms out there who finally are enjoying their long-planned celebrations. My gift to all y'all newlyweds is a few words of marital tax advice. With apologies for the spare gift wrapping, here are some tax tasks you need to take care of now, or at least as soon as you get back from your honeymoon. 1. Make sure everyone knows your new name. After marriage, some... Read more →


Are you ready for Tax Day take two? It's June 15 and it's almost here. That mid-June day is the annual deadline for millions of U.S. taxpayers who are living outside the country. That includes members of the armed forces stationed abroad. It's also the due date for the current year's second estimated tax payment. And this year, even more taxpayers will participate. June 15, 2021, is the first Tax Day for millions who literally endured disastrous situations earlier this year. Here's the scoop for all these folks now facing impending June tax obligations. U.S. taxpayers living abroad: Every year,... Read more →


No diet drinks in our pantry! (Photo by Kay Bell) Today we celebrate the sweet, iced or glazed, and often decorated treat we know as doughnuts. The first Friday of June each year is National Doughnut Day. On the other 364 days, though, many of us try to avoid calorie-heavy foods and beverages. And many lawmakers want to help us resist our collective sweet tooth by making such items more expensive. Specifically, they want to tack on new or additional taxes to the belt-busting products. In some cases, the so-called sin tax is on high-fat foods. But the main target... Read more →


More older Americans are going into debt. For many, it seriously undermines their ability to save for a comfortable retirement. (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels) It's no secret why personal finance folks urge us to save early and often. It takes a lot to live like you want when you retire. If you don't have enough stashed after you're done with the 9-to-5 grind, it could be because you are like the individuals in a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study. They went into more debt as they aged. The government auditing agency's analysis found that older Americans held... Read more →


June's arrival, especially now that many coronavirus limits are being lifted, means the start of summertime fun. But it's also a good month to make some key tax moves before heading off to your favorite recreational pursuits. We did it! Survived Tax Day 2021 … unless you're among the millions who got an extension to file or live in a state where the deadline to submit 2020 tax returns was even further delayed. In that case, one of the things you need to take care of this month is filing your taxes. Here more on that and four other tax... 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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


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 →


Washington's capital gains tax proposals have people talking. On both coasts. In Washington, D.C., President Joe Biden's call for those earning more than $1 million to pay a 43.4 percent tax on their investment earnings instead of the current 20 percent tax rate has anti-tax lawmakers and lobbyists working overtime to stop it before it gets going. That total comes from a return to the pre-George W. Bush tax cuts ordinary income tax rate of 39.6 percent plus the 3.8 percent Affordable Care Act investment income surcharge. Meanwhile, around 2,350 miles to the west, a new capital gains tax on... Read more →


Feeling adrift as the May 17 tax filing deadline approaches? Here are some tax moves to make this month that could serve as lifelines. May Day arrived over the weekend, but millions of taxpayers today are sending out filing mayday distress signals. The delayed May 17 Tax Day is just two weeks away. Two weeks, however, is plenty of time to get your taxes done. Or postpone them — at least the form filing part — for five more months. Those are the top two tasks on the following list of seven tax moves to make this month. Since time... Read more →


The Biden Administration's proposal to up the Internal Revenue Service budget so it could go after more rich tax cheats got a lot of attention. But the White House also wants to cut down on some audits. That, according to the president's American Families Plan, can be accomplished by giving the IRS more oversight of unregulated tax preparers. The audit/tax pro regulation connection is noted in a White House fact sheet hyping the proposal: These Tax returns prepared by certain types of preparers have high error rates. These preparers charge taxpayers large fees while exposing them to costly audits. As... Read more →


Severe storms in late February produced flooding in Franklin County, Kentucky, shown here, as well as other parts of the Bluegrass State. That led to a major disaster declaration and associated tax relief. (Photo by National Weather Service) We Texans, especially here in the usually more temperate central-to-southern part of the state, learned a hard lesson in February from Mother Nature. She can be as bad as she wants, whenever and wherever she wants. We Lone Star Staters are not alone in dealing with the weather truth. Since our devastating winter storm, severe weather has raged across much of the... Read more →


I know tax season still has a little more than three weeks until this year's May 17 filing deadline. But everyone, even tax geeks, need a break now and then. And although I'm not a gamer, I've found a diversion in that area. Turnip Boy Commits Tax Evasion. Game offshoot of a real issue: The game from Snoozy Kazoo was released yesterday, April 22. It is, per one tagline, where vegetables get serious about tax evasion because, as Mayor Onion of Veggieville informs Turnip Boy, it is real. From a player's perspective, according to the reviews like Joey Ferris' for... Read more →