March 13, 2014 |
Since tax season is upon us, we highlight some free tax-filing resources, in particular Free File, the IRS's online tax-preparation and e-filing program, available at the website IRS.gov/freefile. The free forms - made possible by the Free File Alliance, a coalition of industry tax companies - offer step-by-step preparation and e-filing of federal tax returns for all Americans with a 2013 annual gross income of $58,000 or less. There are also other free online tax forms with no income restrictions.
January 18, 2013
IT'S NOT NICE to tell people, "I told you so. " But if anybody has the right to say that, it's Nina E. Olson, the national taxpayer advocate. Olson recently submitted her annual report to Congress, and tops on her list of things to be fixed is the complexity of the tax code, which she calls the most serious problem facing taxpayers. Let's look at the most recent evidence of complexity run amok. The IRS had to delay the tax-filing season so that it could update forms and its programming to accommodate recent changes made under the American Taxpayer Relief Act. The IRS won't start processing individual income-tax returns until Jan. 30. Yet one thing remains unchanged - the April 15 tax deadline.
January 3, 2013 |
No one should be applauding Congress' bipartisan deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. True, it does fix a few problems that Congress itself created, including a scheduled unemployment-insurance cutoff, a reduction of Medicare payments to doctors, the Alternative Minimum Tax, and a threatened increase in milk prices. But it's mostly bad news for Americans. Congress did not deal with the approaching debt ceiling or automatic spending cuts, ensuring further standoffs within a few months.
December 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - While much of Washington is consumed by the debate over tax increases scheduled to take effect next year, big tax hikes have already gone into effect for millions of families and businesses this year. More than 70 tax breaks enjoyed by individuals and businesses expired at the end of 2011. If Congress doesn't extend them retroactively back to the beginning of this year, a typical middle-class family could face a $4,000 tax increase when it files its 2012 return in the spring, according to an analysis by H&R Block, the tax-preparing giant.
December 18, 2012
By Scott Blackburn Imagine if Congress and the White House had done their job for the last two years - if, instead of diligently avoiding every major policy decision, they had already carved out a deal to avoid massive tax hikes and spending cuts to prevent us from tumbling off the "fiscal cliff. " Economic disaster would be averted, and Congress could fly home early for a well-deserved Christmas break. Right? Probably not. While the impending income-tax increases and, to a lesser extent, spending cuts get most of the coverage, House Republicans and Obama have to agree on a slew of other legislative fixes and extensions to maintain a functioning government.
December 2, 2012 |
President Obama , at the K'Nex toy factory in Hatfield, and House Republican leader John Boehner , in Washington, said Friday they were far from agreeing how to boost taxes, cut spending, or prevent more extreme fiscal cliff government cuts and tax hikes. Less spending? More taxes? Those will slow the U.S. economy, not speed it up. Is this all we have to hope for from Washington next year? "Victory for the middle class is more jobs and higher wages," writes veteran stock-watcher James M. Meyer , of $1 billion-asset Tower Bridge Advisors , West Conshohocken, in a report for clients of Boenning & Scattergood . Too bad, he writes of the fiscal cliff debate, that "there is absolutely nothing that will come out of this" to help the middle class.
November 28, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - In case anyone missed it, President Obama and his allies had a reminder for lawmakers returning to work Monday: the fiscal cliff is coming, and it will take a massive bite out of the middle class unless a deal is reached by Dec. 31. The message was delivered anew by a White House report showing that looming tax hikes could cost middle-income families $2,200 and take a $200 billion chunk out of consumer spending, slowing economic growth....
November 26, 2012 |
President Obama's reelection started the countdown for lawmakers to address the fiscal cliff and the statutory debt limit. Unless the president and House Republicans can agree on changes to current law, the U.S. economy will be in recession by spring. Concern about Washington's ability to manage the crisis already appears to be taking a toll. Nervous businesses have pulled back on investment and advertising in recent months. Firms' staffing decisions haven't been affected, but this may not last if uncertainty continues to mount.
November 12, 2012
Now that the election is over, it is time to get back to reality. Unfortunately, that means Congress and President Obama need to address the biggest threat to growth, the "fiscal cliff. " This is a loaded pistol pointed at the head of the economy, and if it goes off, we could be facing another recession. So, what is the fiscal cliff? In order to get Congress to agree to a simple increase in the debt ceiling in the summer of 2011, a bill was passed that mandated the formation of a congressional "super committee" to come up with a proposal to cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
October 8, 2012 |
Nothing in the world is certain except death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin suggested more than 220 years ago. What Franklin didn't say, but probably knew, is that political dogfights over taxes are almost as predictable, a point illustrated yet again at last week's presidential debate. President Obama repeatedly said GOP nominee Mitt Romney has proposed $5 trillion in tax cuts "skewed toward the wealthy" on top of extending the Bush-era tax cuts, which the president wants to end for upper-income families.