Fact checkers got a head start last night when Donald J. Trump's speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination was leaked to the media. Click image to see NBC News' fact check highlights of Donald J. Trump's Republican presidential nominee acceptance speech. Of course, folks still had to watch the full 76 minutes that Trump talked in case he decided to deviate from the teleprompter. So few tax remarks: As a tax geek, I was disappointed that Trump had so few words about taxes. The word "tax" or "taxes" only showed up eight times, and not until well into (about the... Read more →


Victims of tax identity theft must use a special tax number when they file since their Social Security number has been appropriated by crooks. This new six-digit tax ID is known as the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN. Others who aren't ID theft victims, but who want to use that number instead of their nine-digit Social Security ID for added security when they file, also can opt in to the program. But that option has been on hold for months because, you got it, concerns about tax identity thieves hacking into Internal Revenue Service systems. Now the... Read more →


The back-to-back Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions are more than just must-see TV for political wonks. They also are two extra weeks that Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen doesn't have to worry about possible impeachment. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen making one of his many Capitol Hill appearances. When the Senate and House decamped from D.C. on July 15, the scheduling change added two extra weeks to Congress' annual official August vacation. Sorry, I mean Congress' annual district work session. It also pushed until September the latest effort, this time by the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), to push Koskinen... Read more →


Dog lovers in Greece beware. That pooch you're petting could be working for the tax collector. Greece, which by some estimates is losing up to 16 billion euros ($17.62 billion U.S.) each year to tax evasion, is now looking for four-legged help. Dogs are assigned many tasks, like the ones the canines in this U.S. Army video are being trained to complete. Click image to watch what these Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois going through their military paces. Greek tax officials are recruiting dogs to sniff out potential tax dodgers who are hiding untaxed money, reports Reuters. Intertwined... Read more →


The 2016 Republican National Convention started today. So did the latest round of stories about what the GOP must do to make Donald J. Trump, its expected presidential nominee, more electable. Richard Hatch (far right, front row), winner of the first "Survivor" show in 2000, makes his case as a contestant in 2011 on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." Hatch was fired by The Donald, but some suggest Hatch's "Survivor" strategy could help Trump win the presidency. There's the typical approach of moving toward the political center. That the path that's been taken over the years by both Democratic and Republican... Read more →


Happy National Ice Cream Day! Yep, it's a real holiday, celebrated each year on the third Sunday in July as part of National Ice Cream Month. So many ways to enjoy ice cream on National Ice Cream Day and any/every day. The yummy dairy product day and month were so designated in 1984 by a proclamation from then President Ronald Reagan. Like we, or me anyway, need an official sanction to dive into a pint or half-gallon or gallon of our favorite frozen treat. For most of us, when we buy our ice cream at our local grocery store, we... Read more →


Attention Pennsylvania digital aficionados, your electronic addictions are about to cost you a bit more. Gov. Tom Wolf on July 13 signed into law his state's fiscal 2017 revenue package. Among its provisions is an extension of the Keystone State's 6 percent sales and use tax to digital downloads of books, music, satellite radio and video and audio streaming. The new tax collection will take effect Aug. 1. It's expected to bring in nearly $47 million in its first year. Those millions of dollars in extra revenue are tempting targets for this week's By the Numbers honor. So is the... Read more →


Short-term residential rentals are seen by most state and local lawmakers as a great tax revenue source, but not in the United States' island paradise. Rather than stay at a resort like Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu, some visitors to Hawaii prefer untaxed home share rentals available through Airbnb and other online accommodations brokers. (Photo by Darren Thompson via Flickr CC) Hawaii Gov. David Ige this week vetoed a bill that would have made collection of taxes on Airbnb rentals easier. The veto puts the 50th U.S. state, arguably one of the world's most visited spots, in... Read more →


The political version of The Apprentice is in high-gear today as Donald Trump prepares to name his vice presidential pick. Donald J. Trump will soon have help on the campaign trail from his vice presidential pick, whom he's scheduled to name on Friday, July 15. UPDATE, Friday, July 15: It's official. Trump taps Indiana Gov. Mike Pence for GOP veep spot. UPDATE, Thursday, July 14: Trump has postponed announcement of his running mate in light of the attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day. However, if Indiana Gov. Michael Pence is the pick, we should get some indication by noon... Read more →


I've reached a milestone age where doctors seem to think a person suddenly needs every test medical science has so far devised. Routine blood tests were the least of my worries after my last doctor visit. I am pushing back on some of my physician's suggestions for several reasons. They range from "I feel fine" and "I have no family history of that particular ailment/disease/condition" to "Ewwwww!" to "I don't have time" and "Wow, that costs an awful lot." As for the expense argument, even though I have medical insurance, it has a deductible. A sizeable one. My medical approach... Read more →


Alaska is one of seven states that doesn't tax any workers' earnings. Lawmakers in The Final Frontier plan to keep it that way. Mt. Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the highest point in North America and is located in Denali National Park in Alaska. America's largest state has lots of spectacular views, but not enough revenue, so lawmakers are considering possible new taxes in a special session. (Photo by Albert Herring courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Flickr) The latest question is whether they now will also fend off attempts to have Alaska collect a state sales tax. While not as momentous... Read more →


Sports fans tend to be, well, fanatic. To many, it's what a player does during the game, not his or her off-field antics that matter. Moment of the Champions League final with FC Barcelona's Leo Messi, left, going against Patrice Evra of Juventus at Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6, 2015. (Photo by Biser Todorov via Wikimedia Commons) That kind of no-questions-asked support was what the Barcelona football -- or soccer, as most Americans call the sport -- team was counting on in the wake of its star player's tax evasion conviction. Public outreach, tax backlash: Last week after Lionel... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers should use any legitimate tax break to which they're entitled to help reduce their tax bills. Professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., however, seems to be pushing that recommendation. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fighting Juan Manuel Márquez on Sept. 19, 2009, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada, just south of Las Vegas. (Photo by Ian McWilliams via Flickr CC) Mayweather, who counts Money among his nicknames (and shows why in his Instagram account), reportedly sent a Las Vegas strip club a 1099 tax form in an apparent attempt to write off a visit... Read more →


It's been a good few days for lottery players. The Mega Millions $540 million jackpot was won last night, Friday, July 8, by a ticket buyer in Cambridge City, Indiana. Yokasta Boyer holding her big check from the New Jersey Lottery. (Photo courtesy N.J. Lottery Commission) And just the day before, Thursday, July 7, the New Jersey Lottery announced that a woman discovered a $472,271 winning ticket for one of that state's lottery games as she was going through some papers in order to file her tax return. Mega mystery: We don't know yet who bought the Indiana winning ticket.... Read more →


New York City handed out more than $59 million in residential tax breaks to thousands of deceased individuals and corporations between fiscal years 2011 and 2017. The improper tax benefits were supposed to go as property tax exemptions for senior citizens, according to an audit by the New York City comptroller's office. Around $36 million in tax revenue was lost when the city granted more than 3,000 Senior Citizen Homeowners' Exemptions (SCHE) to older property owners who had died, according to NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer. The same properties, Stringer said during a July 7 press conference announcing the audit findings,... Read more →


Do you work in one state but live in another? Lots of folks do. In addition to some interesting commutes, they also face some special tax issues. Many states make it a bit easier for border-crossing employees. They have income tax reciprocity agreements. These arrangements allow residents of one state to request exemption from tax withholding in the other reciprocal state where they work. The practical implication is that they then don't have to go to the trouble of filing multiple state returns. What Reciprocity Means to Taxpayers Federation of Tax Administrators 2013 Report With reciprocity, the taxpayer files a... Read more →


If you thumb through Internal Revenue Service instructions -- since we all want to make sure we get our taxes right, who doesn't? -- you're likely to run across photos of missing children. Man answering phone at a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children call center. Click image for info on how you can help. This is a public service provided since 1999 by the IRS through its partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The photos, selected by the Center, are placed on tax document pages that otherwise be blank. As the text accompanying the... Read more →