Tax Tip Feed

Merry Christmas Eve! For the few of you checking in today, I hope that however and whatever you're celebrating this time of year, it's joyous. The hubby and I are pretty well set for tomorrow's big day. Decorating is done. Yes, that's an artsy shot below that I took of our tree. Plus, Christmas cards are long mailed and gifts bought. All that's left is the cooking. So today, I'm knocking off early to do some of that food stuff. And stuffing. Or, more accurately, make my Mam-ma's dressing. And pies, which actually are the hubby's job, one he does... Read more →


The deadly and destructive effects of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that was the second-most damaging and intense ever to make landfall in Louisiana, weren't limited to the Pelican State. Ida's remnants also caused widespread tornadic destruction and catastrophic flooding across the northeastern United States. You can see Ida's complete path and intensity levels at Fleur DeOdile's WikiProject tropical cyclones tracker. Apparently, the Internal Revenue Service also is feeling the Christmas/New Year crunch. The tax agency is giving taxpayers (and its staff) some end-of-year breathing room by further extending some Hurricane Ida tax deadlines beyond early 2022. Victims of... Read more →


Tornado damage caused Dec. 10-11 to an Amazon warehouse building and high-tension power lines between Pontoon Beach and Edwardsville, Illinois. (National Weather Service-St. Louis/Wikipedia Commons photo) While most of us are rushing this week to complete Christmas plan, some are trying to salvage what, if anything, they still have after a deadly line of tornadoes struck earlier this month. As part of this recovery process, the Internal Revenue Service has announced tax relief for residents in parts of Tennessee and Illinois. This includes a new deadline of May 16, 2022, for filing 2021 federal tax returns. Specific counties designated: The... Read more →


Photo by Dima D from Pexels It's Christmas week and you still have some shopping to do. Don't worry. Here are some financial gift ideas for those of all ages on your personal Santa list. A few even offer tax advantages. Christmas is the season that brings out the kid in everyone, but let's start with some gifts that would be great for hard-to-shop-for youths. Open a Roth IRA for a young worker. If you have a young friend or family member who worked this year, help him or her get started on those way down the road retirement. Open... Read more →


Photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels For the last couple of COVID years, more of us have been getting more home deliveries. So we're already used to tipping the folks who bring us our groceries and prepared meals and prescriptions and books and just about everything else. But with the holidays here — Christmas is just a week away! How in the heck did that happen? — we also should consider tipping other people who help make our lives more pleasant. These include our garbage and recycling workers, hairdressers, childcare help, and more. Rather than list all the possible tip... Read more →


via GIPHY Did you do more driving to conduct business in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic seemed to abate a bit? Are you planning, Delta and Omicron variants notwithstanding, to hit the road for more business travel in 2022? If so, the Internal Revenue Service has some good tax deduction news for you. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (or van, pickup or panel truck) will be a bit more. Next year, according to the notice the IRS issued today (Friday, Dec. 17), you can write off business travel at 58.5... Read more →


Running the retirement, and IRA, numbers. The Biden White House's Build Back Better (BBB) plan and its tax changes are, at best, in limbo right now. UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. EST, Dec. 16, 2021: BBB will not be taken up by the Senate this year. But there's one tax move some might want to consider by year's end regardless of what eventually happens to BBB — converting a traditional IRA to a Roth account. Roth conversion changes ahead…maybe: As Congress continues to explore ways to pay for myriad programs, owners of large retirement funds are a popular target. The BBB act... Read more →


This holiday season, some families are getting an added gift: their final Advance Child Tax Credit payment for 2021. An estimated 36 million families will see their final Advance Child Tax Credit arrive in their bank accounts today, Dec. 15. The bank deposit will be labeled CHILDCTC. Those getting the early 2021 tax year payments by mailed paper Treasury checks should have their money soon. Then what? Today's end of the pre-payments is the start of another process. When filing season starts next year, eligible families will claim the remaining Child Tax Credit (CTC) amounts for this year on their... Read more →


An aerial view of Mayfield, Kentucky, one of the hardest hit communities during the Dec. 10-11 tornado outbreak in the western half of the state, shows the devastation of the community. (Photo by State Farm via Flickr CC 2.0 and Wikimedia) Kentucky residents who were in the path of last weekend's deadly tornadoes have a later 2022 federal tax filing deadline. The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Kentucky taxpayers in, so far, eight counties will have until May 16, 2022, to file various individual and business tax returns and make tax payments. UPDATE, Dec. 16, 2021: The Kentucky Department... Read more →


If you use the standard deduction, this tax break can help cut your tax bill, but only if you make your donations by Dec. 31. And if charitable organizations get their wish, the tax break will be extended past 2021, and worth as much as $4,000 ($8,000 for couples). During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, more Americans needed help than ever before to pay bills, feed their families, and generally just try to retain their pre-pandemic lives. To do that, many turned to nonprofits for help. Unfortunately, charitable organizations found themselves in similar straits. "2020 should have been... Read more →


Roller coaster photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels The markets have been gyrating a bit of late. We can blame new COVID-19 variants, fluctuating jobs numbers, worker shortages, inflation, and supply chain problems for the nerve-wracking ups and downs. The chaos, economic and otherwise, is enough to prompt some investors to make moves, which also add to the market roller coaster. Before reacting to one or a few days' ups and downs, take time this month to more carefully review your overall portfolio. Then decide whether it's a good time to sell or buy. Either option could be a wise... Read more →


To keep yourself and Uncle Sam happy, don't ignore the annual required minimum distribution from your tax-deferred retirement accounts. Retirement accounts, such as traditional IRAs and workplace 401(k) plans, are great ways for many to save for their post-work years. These tax-deferred plans offer a variety of benefits, ranging from reduced taxes on work earnings to a potential tax deduction for some IRA owners to the added Saver's Tax credit for eligible filers. But these tax-deferred retirement accounts also come with a big drawback. At some point the Internal Revenue Service demands you take out at least some of the... Read more →


Here in Central Texas, we're experiencing a mild December. We finally got a light freeze in outlying areas last night, but temperatures in the immediate Austin area are expected, at least for a couple of days this week, to climb into the mid-to-upper-80s. Human residents aren't the only ones enjoying the moderate spell. Plants are taking advantage of the warmth, too, like the Gerber daisy trio to the left that decided to make an appearance on our backyard patio. While the late-year flowers are lovely to look at, accompanying pollen is wreaking havoc with my allergies. I am not alone.... Read more →


Photo by Charlotte May from Pexels Schooling has changed a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote learning is more common. Where students have returned to classrooms, they and their teachers must deal with physical re-arrangements. One thing, though, remains the same. Education costs continue to climb. That's particularly true for college expenses. But there is a popular way to save for your youngsters' secondly educations and get a potential tax break, too. As long as you act quickly. When you contribute to a child's 529 plan, many states allow you to claim a state tax deduction. And in many states,... Read more →


If you think online crooks are just going after big businesses, think again. Smaller firms are prime cyberattack targets. Go big or go home, unless you're a cybercriminal targeting businesses. More than 70 percent of cyberattacks are aimed at companies with 100 or fewer employees. That revelation is from the Internal Revenue Service and its Security Summit partners as this year's National Tax Security Awareness Week was winding down. It's also this weekend's By the Numbers figure. In going after smaller business, con artists target credit card or payment information, the business identity information, or data on employees. "Thieves may... Read more →


The United States has a voluntary compliance tax system. Uncle Sam trusts all of us to follow the tax laws and file and pay any amounts that are due the U.S. Treasury. But Uncle Sam is no fool when it comes to taxes. He also has a system of penalties to encourage or, if we refuse, punish us for not fulfilling our tax responsibilities on our own. The most severe are criminal prosecutions. The Internal Revenue Service also employs civil actions to get taxes due. Most of us, though, are more familiar with the fines and fees that are assessed... Read more →


Gift cards make great presents for family and friends, but they cannot be used to pay taxes. (Gift card wreath via Pinterest) We all have people on our holiday gift lists who are hard — OK, impossible — to shop for. When I struggle to find the perfect gift, I follow my personal credo: Say it with cash. Or, more often, with plastic. Yes, I give gift cards. And if family and friends are reading this, I am happy to get them. But one place where gift cards aren't welcome is the Internal Revenue Service. This IRS is making a... Read more →


A close-up of some of our Christmas tree ornaments, including the newest one showcasing Austin icon El Arroyo's sign wisdom. (Photo by Kay Bell) Ho, Ho, Ho! The jolly month of December is here, bringing the official start of winter, Christmas and other holidays, and taxes. Yeah, that last December item might harsh your holidays. But the tax moves you make over the next 31 days could make your 2021 and 2022 tax situations happy and bright. Here's a look at 6 December tax moves you at least want to consider. 1. Keep an eye on Congress. Yeah, too often... Read more →


Photo: JHL via Flickr The last couple of years have been challenging for U.S. citizens living and working abroad. The COVID-19 era for expatriates has meant they've had to deal with changing demands from their American-based employers along with the health rules of the nation where they live. One thing, however, has remained the same. Most Americans who go abroad for work still must deal with the Internal Revenue Service. They owe U.S. taxes on their income, regardless of where it's earned, because Uncle Sam still relies on a worldwide tax system at the individual level. There are, however, some... Read more →


Single parenting can be challenging, especially at tax time and you and your ex-spouse are vying for the same child-related tax breaks. (Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels) For some, this Thanksgiving was quieter than normal. Their youngsters spent Turkey Day with their parent as part of the alternating holidays agreement reached in the divorce decree. Breaking up is always hard. It's also complicated when it involves lawyers, court hearings and the Internal Revenue Service. It's can get even more complex when children are involved. I'm not a lawyer. I don't play one on the ol' blog. And I don't... Read more →