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Thursday, July 6, 2020
What's your state's top combined state/local sales tax rate? (12 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 6, 2020 at 5:21 pm ET
Do your summer plans include doing a little shopping, either at home or while on vacation? Then you need to know the maximum sales tax tax rate you might face, especially if you're trying to stick to a budget. Some states and municipalities operate on a fiscal year that kicks in on July 1. That means tax changes ?? including levies on sales ?? often take effect as summer is rolling around. The Tax Foundation has taken a look at the plethora of state and local sales taxes effective at the start of this month and produced the map shown... ... (more)

Wednesday, July 5, 2020
6 mid-year tax moves to make this July (19 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 5, 2020 at 7:17 am ET
It's officially summer. Time for fun at the beach. And fun making mid-year tax moves. Happy July 5th, the start of midyear tax planning. With six months left in the tax year, it's the perfect time to make some tax moves that could reduce your 2017 tax bill. Here are six easy ones to take care of in July. 1. Adjust your payroll withholding. Did you get a big tax refund this year? Or did you owe Uncle Sam more than you expected? Either situation means that you need to reassess your payroll withholding. It's easy to do. Just give... ... (more)

Tuesday, July 4, 2020
America's Yankee Doodle Boy gives us a tax deduction rule (16 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 4, 2020 at 12:58 pm ET
Happy Birthday, America! July 4 is special to all of us Americans, the day we declared our independence from Great Britain. Taxes, as everyone knows thanks to James Otis' famous announcement that "Taxation without representation is tyranny," were among the reasons we sought to govern ourselves. And taxes, even after we gained control, continue to play a key part in our lives, politics and popular culture. James Cagney, before he became the prototypical movie gangster, was as song-and-dance man. He showed off those talents in "Yankee Doodle Dandy," the biopic of a man who not only gave us great musicals,... ... (more)

Monday, July 3, 2020
Net gains in UK from Wimbledon bets; SCOTUS decision could make sports gambling legal in more of US, too (13 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 3, 2020 at 2:05 pm ET
One of Wimbledon's famed grass courts, which are the focus of the tennis ?? and betting ?? worlds as tournament matches started July 3. (Photo by Nic Gould via Flickr) Wimbledon, one of the crown jewels of professional tennis, begins today. You know what that means. Bookies across the United Kingdom are taking bets. Yes, sports betting is legal in Great Britain. It's also legal in much of Europe. In England, it's no problem to find the latest Wimbledon betting odds, along with tips on which players to stake your discretionary cash. Big global bucks: Sports betting across the pond... ... (more)

Sunday, July 2, 2020
Soda taxes will up holiday cookout costs in a few cities (14 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 2, 2020 at 3:37 pm ET
Millions of Americans will be enjoying picnics and cookouts in advance of July 4 fireworks. In a few places, though, the sodas in those outings' coolers will cost a bit more. So-called soda taxes took effect in Oakland, California, and Boulder, Colorado, on July 1. A similar levy was scheduled in the Chicago area, but the day before a judge put Cook County's penny-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages on hold at least until July 12. Bay Area beverage battle: Oakland voters approved the tax, which applies to more than soda pop, in November 2016. The added tax, say supporters, should... ... (more)

Saturday, July 1, 2020
7 states celebrate the July 1 arrival of fiscal year 2018 with higher fuel taxes (53 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
July 1, 2020 at 1:37 pm ET
Filling up our cars nowadays is a far cry from the full-service days of yore. Yes, some of us are old enough to remember those types of stations, if not this particular one. We also are paying much more per gallon, thanks in part to gas taxes, some of which increased on July 1. (Pete's Route 66 Gas Station Museum photo by Loco Steve via Flickr) July 1 not only marks the start of the second half of the calendar year, but it's also a new fiscal operating year for many state governments. And that means some new taxes take... ... (more)

Friday, June 30, 2020
Georgia cancels its 2017 back-to-school sales tax holiday (7 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 30, 2020 at 12:45 pm ET
Georgians who usually delay their back-to-school shopping until the end of July when the state's annual tax-free shopping weekend rolls around can go ahead and buy on their own timetable this year. Georgia has canceled its 2017 late summer sales tax holiday. Every summer, shoppers in around a dozen states can buy sales tax free school supplies thanks to tax holidays. That's not the case this year in Georgia, which has canceled its 2017 tax-free weekend event. (Photo by Kay Bell) The event had been penciled in for the weekend of July 29-30. Get out your taxable erasers, Georgia shoppers,... ... (more)

Thursday, June 29, 2020
Deducting your cell phone as a business expense (16 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 29, 2020 at 3:59 pm ET
Since the iPhone debuted a decade ago, it's become an indispensable personal and business tool, with accompanying tax issues to consider. Steve Jobs introduced the Apple iPhone at MacWorld in January 2007. iPhone mania was in full swing six months later when, on June 29, 2007, with crowds camping out at Apple stores to be the first to own the 1st Gen/2G telecommunications device. (Click screenshot to view full presentation on YouTube) What were you doing 10 years ago today? If you're an extreme tech geek, you were among the thousands waiting to get your hands on the first ever... ... (more)

Wednesday, June 28, 2020
Private bill collectors going after lower-earners' tax debts tops National Taxpayer Advocate's list of 13 concerns (17 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 28, 2020 at 4:31 pm ET
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson makes a point about private tax debt collection during a May 23 House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. (Click image to watch the official video.) National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson has long been an opponent of turning over taxpayer accounts to collection agencies. That's still the case, according to her mid-year report presented today to Congress. The latest private tax debt collection effort tops the list of 13 priorities that the Taxpayer Advocate's Service will focus on during the coming 2018 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Specifically, Olson says she and her staff are... ... (more)

Tuesday, June 27, 2020
Senators introduce bill to punish prescription price gouging (44 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 27, 2020 at 3:08 pm ET
Drug prices are one of the major concerns of all Americans. A group of Senators is calling for a new excise tax to penalize drug makers who dramatically increase their products' prices. Leaders of the Republican-controlled Senate today gave up on holding full vote this week on their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Supporters of the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), as well as similar Obamacare repeal efforts in the House, say their bills are part of the answer to, among other things, stopping the escalating price of medical care. Whether the GOP proposals will... ... (more)

Monday, June 26, 2020
IRS warns of four hot summer tax scams (53 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 26, 2020 at 3:12 pm ET
Feeling left out because tax scammers have been focusing lately on tax preparers? Don't. Crooks likely will be calling or sending you an email soon enough. The Internal Revenue Service says that everyone, individual taxpayers and tax pros alike, are potential victims of identity theft schemes as we head into what used to be a slower time for taxes. "We continue to urge people to watch out for new and evolving schemes this summer," IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an alert issued today, June 26. "Many of these are variations of a theme, involving fictitious tax bills and demands... ... (more)

Sunday, June 25, 2020
Tax professionals are target of yet another ID theft scam (13 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 25, 2020 at 2:27 pm ET
Based on the fast and furious pace of tax scams this month, you'd think it was high tax season instead of summer. For the second time in just more than a week, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a new tax scam alert. (In case you missed it, the pervasive tax telephone scam was recently tweaked.) This latest scam warning is for tax professionals, who are receiving phishing emails purportedly from a tax software education provider. The fake communication asks for the tax preparers' help in repairing a failure in the message sender's sham database. To that fake end, the... ... (more)

Saturday, June 24, 2020
Bill collectors accused of using financially dubious tactics to collect unpaid IRS debts (11 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 24, 2020 at 4:12 pm ET
Private bill collectors are, according to four U.S. Senators, making calls about overdue federal taxes that could put taxpayers in financially compromised situations that are scarier than those faced by the terrified Cindy Campbell character (played by Anna Faris, pictured above), in the "Scary Movie" films. During a recent U.S. House hearing, Internal Revenue Service watchdogs told Representatives that, less than two months on the job, private tax bill collectors were already breaking collection and consumer protection rules. Now four Democratic Senators have raised additional concerns about one of the private collection agencies' tactics, which could put owing taxpayers' homes... ... (more)

Friday, June 23, 2020
Fee-free PTINs are available again at IRS website (15 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 23, 2020 at 2:49 pm ET
After a brief hiatus, the Internal Revenue Service has reinstated its online tool where professional tax preparers can obtain the official identification numbers required to file returns. On June 1, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a mixed ruling in a class action lawsuit against the IRS, Adam Steele, et al. v. United States of America (Case No. 1:14-cv-01523-RCL). The federal judges said that while ruled that while the IRS has the authority to require tax pros to get Preparer Tax Identification Numbers, or PTINs, the tax agency cannot charge for the ID numbers. The... ... (more)

Thursday, June 22, 2020
Senate mostly follows House plans to kill Obamacare taxes (31 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 22, 2020 at 5:48 pm ET
Here's a look at eight Affordable Care Act taxes that Republicans in both the House and Senate agree on eliminating. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), joined by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) and a mostly hidden Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) held a press conference today to denounce as "meaner" their GOP Senate colleagues' version of health care reform to replace Obamacare. (Photo courtesy Sen. Schumer's Twitter account) The Senate today finally revealed its version of Obamacare repeal and replace, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 or BCRA. The 142-page document, which Senate leadership is describing as... ... (more)

Wednesday, June 21, 2020
tax tips for newlyweds (10 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 21, 2020 at 7:48 am ET
Regardless of which month you marry, there are and will be tax matters to consider. Relaxing after the ceremony. (Photo by Barney Moss via Flickr) Ever wonder why June is "the" wedding month? Me, too. So I looked it up. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, which I didn't even know was a go-to wedding planning resource, says that June is the most popular month to marry thanks to some ancient traditions. The Roman goddess Juno, for whom the sixth month was named, was the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing. So,... ... (more)

Tuesday, June 20, 2020
Catastrophe savings accounts could help AL, MS & SC homeowners weather hurricane damages & save taxes (57 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 20, 2020 at 4:33 pm ET
Tropical Storm Storm Cindy is now officially churning in the Gulf of Mexico, with a predicted landfall in a few days along the Texas-Louisiana border. That track could, of course change. And as meteorologists on the Weather Channel note, "it's not the name, but the rain." Tropical system precipitation typically reaches beyond the actual low pressure system, often well inland of coastal properties, and produces dangerous flooding. Such reports have come in from as far north as Atlanta today, with Cindy's expanded rain bands causing highway flooding in that city. Federal and state tax help for recovery efforts: As noted... ... (more)

Monday, June 19, 2020
Tropical storm season 2017 heats up. It's time to get ready physically, fiscally and tax wise (38 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 19, 2020 at 10:03 pm ET
That colorful glob pictured above is Tropical Storm Bret. It formed this afternoon, kicking the 2017 Atlantic-Gulf of Mexico hurricane season into a higher gear. While images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can give us ?? and by us, I mean professional meteorologists ?? an indication of a storm's strength, what you and I really want to know is where the heck is this mess? Tropical Storm Bret is born: The purple map lines in the image are a bit hard to see, but my U.S. readers can breathe easy, at least for now. Bret is off the... ... (more)

Tax telephone scam script rewritten to include mentions of fake IRS certified letters, EFTPS payment option (16 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm ET
Identity thieves are once again targeting taxpayers, this time with a twist on the pervasive telephone tax scam. In its original version, which the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies have dubbed the biggest tax scam ever, crooks pretend to be IRS employees and demand immediate payment by prepaid debit card or wire transfer of a purported tax owed by the victims. 3 tweaks to telephone scam: The ID thieves are still impersonating IRS agent and they still want our money ASAP via a debit card. But this time they've refined their fake story in three ways regarding the... ... (more)

Sunday, June 18, 2020
Thanking dad on Father's Day for all of his support (34 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 18, 2020 at 3:59 pm ET
Dancing with Daddy (Courtesy Wifflegif.com via Giphy) Those of us lucky enough to have (or have had) great dads are well aware of all the support they provide. There are the traditional demonstrations, like teaching us to dance (like the dad above, sort of) or ride a bicycle and later to drive a car. And of course, there is Dad's perpetually open wallet, especially for us daughters who will always be our fathers' little girls. But families have changed over the years. More single fathers: Of the 72.2 million fathers in the United States, just more than a third (34... ... (more)

Saturday, June 17, 2020
Disney: Unhappiest property tax place on Earth (35 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 17, 2020 at 1:34 pm ET
Walt Disney attorneys contend that the values of its properties are as inflated as these Disney World balloons and have gone to court to get new assessments. (Photo by Davidlohr Bueso via Flickr) Walt Disney's namesake recreational areas have built their vacation reputations on being the happiest places on Earth. But the company's tax lawyers are in decidedly bad moods after getting what they say are excessive tax year 2016 property value assessments of their Sunshine State parks. So Disney is taking the Orange Country, Florida, property appraiser to court. Dozens Disney tax suits: Disney Parks and Resorts have filed... ... (more)

Friday, June 16, 2020
DREAMers, other undocumented workers make major tax contributions to Uncle Sam, state treasuries (11 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 16, 2020 at 2:39 pm ET
Donald J. Trump's got a lot of campaign promise policy issue irons in the fire. This week, he pulled one out a bit by deciding to let undocumented residents known as DREAMers stay in the United States. The decision was announced as part of a fact sheet released by Homeland Security late June 15. That document's next-to-last line notes: "The June 15, 2020 memorandum that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will remain in effect." A group of DREAMers, the undocumented youths who hope to remain in the United States, make their point during a 2016 presidential... ... (more)

Thursday, June 15, 2020
IRS expands info available via Taxpayer Online Account tool (28 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm ET
Lots of taxpayers today, June 15, are making their second estimated tax payment electronically. That makes the Internal Revenue Service very happy, as it works to get the majority of taxpayers dealing with tax matters online. Ultimately, the IRS is looking to fully implement its Future State with its mostly electronic tax transactions. To that increasingly electronic end, the IRS this week announced expansions to its online taxpayer account tool. This e-option debuted last December and lets taxpayers have online access to their IRS accounts. Expanded account options: Initially, the Taxpayer Online Account online tool let those who registered for... ... (more)

Wednesday, June 14, 2020
Flag sales tax savings on Flag Day (12 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 14, 2020 at 12:09 pm ET
The Stars and Stripes. Old Glory. The Red, White and Blue. The Star Spangled Banner. Whatever name you use, today is the annual national celebration of the United States of America's flag, one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. U.S. Navy vessels commemorate Flag Day. (Photo courtesy U.S. Navy via Twitter) Flag, Flag Day history: The U.S. flag was adopted 240 years ago on June 14, 1777. From its beginnings at Betsy Ross' hands during the American Revolution to today when many residents of Puerto Rico are seeking to have another star added, Old Glory has changed with... ... (more)

Tuesday, June 13, 2020
Don't miss June 15 tax deadlines (6 clicks)
From Don't Mess With Taxes - view blog entries - visit this blog
June 13, 2020 at 11:33 am ET
It may be summer, but for some folks, Tax Day is coming up again on Thursday, June 15. That day is the deadline that millions of Americans face to pay their second estimated tax amount for the 2017 tax year. It's also the due day for U.S. taxpayers living abroad to file their 2016 tax returns. Estimated tax time again: The U.S. tax system is based on the premise that the U.S. Treasury gets its portion of individual taxes as we earn our money. For most of us, that happens via payroll withholding from our checks that we get from... ... (more)

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