Star Power

On January 23, the IRS began accepting 2016 tax returns, and that means refund season is officially here. For 2017, the IRS expects 70% of Americans will get refunds, and those refunds will average around $2,840. Yes, if you’re among that 70%, it means you paid in too much over the course of the year and gave the IRS an …

“Step Away From That Soda, Sir…”

Last year, the Philadelphia City Council slapped a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on soda and artificially-sweetened drinks. The new tax, which became effective on January 1, sounds like something intended to fight obesity, diabetes, and other public health threats. Council actually designed it to finance universal pre-kindergarten for Philadelphia schoolchildren and pay for local development projects. However, like many taxes — …

“Step Away From That Soda, Sir…”

Last year, the Philadelphia City Council slapped a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on soda and artificially-sweetened drinks. The new tax, which became effective on January 1, sounds like something intended to fight obesity, diabetes, and other public health threats. Council actually designed it to finance universal pre-kindergarten for Philadelphia schoolchildren and pay for local development projects. However, like many taxes — …

Tax Apprentice

Back in 2004, Donald Trump was just another overextended real-estate developer with two divorces and four bankruptcies under his belt. That all changed with the debut of The Apprentice, the show that made “you’re fired!” a national catchphrase. It’s safe to say that without the popularity of The Apprentice, Trump wouldn’t have just taken the oath of office to become …

Politicians Behaving Badly

(Hard to believe, right?) Last week, we presented three stories from the IRS Criminal Investigation unit’s most recent annual report outlining their work to protect the Treasury’s revenue from grifters, cheats, and cons. It’s a “true crime” fan’s favorite IRS report that puts TV cop dramas to shame. Most public servants are as honest and dedicated as we could want …

Happy

The IRS publishes hundreds of reports every year, covering all sorts of topics. You’ll find routine statistical summaries, like the always-popular “Number of Individual Income Tax Returns, Income, Exemptions and Deductions, Tax, and Average Tax.” You’ll find page-turners worthy of a Tom Clancy thriller, like last summer’s “Actions Can Be Taken to Better Address Potential Noncompliance for Roth Individual Retirement …

Tax Thoughts for the New Year

2017 is likely to be a big year for taxes. House Speaker Paul Ryan and President-elect Donald Trump haven’t been shy about their New Year’s resolutions to rewrite the tax code, and we could be in for quite a ride. So here are some thoughts to start exercising your 2017 tax-planning muscles: “If you get up early, work late, and …