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Taxes

Payroll Tax Cut Extended for Two Months

by Luke Landes

After political bickering, the House of Representatives agreed to make a deal with the Senate to extend the payroll tax holiday. This tax cut reduced the payroll tax — a tax separate from but often associated with federal income tax — from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of the first $110,100 of wages. The tax benefits Social ... Continue reading this article…

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Year End Reminder: Donate to Charity

by Luke Landes
Charity Box

The year is quickly coming to a close, and the first priority for many people right now is getting through the holidays with as little stress as possible. Focusing solely on the holidays at the expense of your household’s financial needs can only add to stress later, so it might help to get a few ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Deduction for Time Spent Volunteering

by Luke Landes
Volunteer

I recently received reader feedback from a conscious saver who is planning to move his money from Wells Fargo to a credit union. She won’t make the Bank Transfer Day November 5 goal, because the credit union’s branch is planned to open November 7. This reader plans to be one of the new branch’s first ... Continue reading this article…

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Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Tax Plan

by Luke Landes
Herman Cain

In the latest CNN poll, Republican Party hopeful Herman Cain is statistically tied with Mitt Romney with support of 25 percent to 26 percent of Republicans asked, but two thirds of the respondents haven’t made up their minds. Likely a big contributor to Cain’s surge from from 9 percent to 25 percent is his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. This ... Continue reading this article…

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The Jersey Shore Film and Television Tax Credit

by Luke Landes
Jersey Shore

New Jersey has been gaining a worldwide reputation thanks to the plethora of newer television programs featuring the state. It may have started with The Sopranos, but Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Jersey Couture have continued. The state government has been providing a tax credit encouraging filmmakers to bring their ... Continue reading this article…

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2012 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

by Luke Landes

The IRS has finalized the 2012 federal income tax brackets, but most people aren’t concerned with these numbers until next year. In April 2012, you’ll need to be concerned with the 2011 tax brackets to file your 2011 income tax returns. Most taxpayers won’t need to deal with the 2012 rates until early 2013. While ... Continue reading this article…

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Do Millionaires Pay Less Tax Than Their Secretaries?

by Luke Landes

Warren Buffett has frequently claimed that he pays less tax as a percentage of his income that his secretary. President Obama has jumped on this as a basis for the Buffett Rule, a new proposed tax code that ensures that millionaires pay their fair share of income tax. According to Buffett, his effective tax rate ... Continue reading this article…

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The Buffett Rule: Tax for Millionaires

by Luke Landes
Warren Buffett

As a continuation of President Obama’s jobs proposal (economic stimulus) for curbing spending and increasing federal government revenue, the administration is taking a cue from famous investor, Warren Buffett. On many occasions, Buffett has claimed that wealthy Americans do not pay a fair share of the tax burden relative to their means to do so. ... Continue reading this article…

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Appeal Your House’s Assessment to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

by Luke Landes

The comparison of owning a home in New Jersey or Long Island with owning a home in New York City shows that the city has one financial advantage: property taxes. In New Jersey, it’s hard to discuss the cost of owning a home without talking about property taxes. With high property tax rates, it’s worthwhile ... Continue reading this article…

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Warren Buffett Doesn’t Want to Be Coddled

by Luke Landes
Warren Buffett Coddle

Update: The concepts implied by Warren Buffett have formed the basis of President Obama’s Buffett Rule proposal. Warren Buffett is staying in the news. I wrote recently about his desire to continue investing in stocks during market volatility, and today he published an opinion piece in the New York Times. He laid out the facts ... Continue reading this article…

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The End of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

by Luke Landes

The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is one section of the tax code everyone, regardless of political party affiliation, seems to hate. Originally designed to ensure the wealthiest Americans wouldn’t be able to avoid paying a fair share of tax, the AMT isn’t adjusted for inflation, so an increasing number of not-as-wealthy Americans are subject to ... Continue reading this article…

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Man Gives Derek Jeter’s Baseball to Team, Criticized for Everything

by Luke Landes
Baseball

The other day, Derek Jeter achieved his 3,000th hit, a major baseball milestone. The hit happened to be a home run, and the fan who recovered the ball, Christian Lopez, has been in the news — well, the sports news, anyway. Players like to be able to claim milestone baseballs for their own collection, so ... Continue reading this article…

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Are You Still Waiting for the Homebuyer Tax Credit?

by Luke Landes
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The first-time homebuyer tax credit was a major incentive that the government, in collaboration with the real estate industry, initiated to stimulate the economy. It’s understood that the tax incentive worked in the short-term, encouraging more home purchases for a period of time that continued to be expanded by Congress. Nevertheless, the housing market continues ... Continue reading this article…

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Government Blocks Merger of H&R Block and TaxACT

by Luke Landes

The Department of Justice filed an anti-trust lawsuit against H&R Block. This second-largest income tax preparation service intended to acquire the company that owns third-largest income tax preparation service, TaxACT. Based on the number of customers who used these companies’ services to self-file 2010 tax returns, the combined company would still be a distant second ... Continue reading this article…

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Last Minute Tax Filing Tips

by Luke Landes
Tax

With one week before the deadline, many people are just starting to think about filing their tax return. The problem I’ve often encountered with waiting to the last minute is it’s easy to miss important items. Many years ago, I filed in the manual style: my only tools were a calculator and pencil. Although my ... Continue reading this article…

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The Adoption Tax Credit

by Luke Landes

For the first time ever, the adoption tax credit is refundable. This is a great change for parents who have adopted children in the past few years, because it means they could file their 2010 taxes and receive a bigger-than-expected refund. Keep in mind that refundable is a good thing when it comes to taxes; ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Get Audited By the IRS

by Luke Landes

If you have an adventurous, thrill-seeking personality, your life may never be complete until you’ve solicited an income tax audit from the Internal Revenue Service. There is good news and bad news for you. The good news is that audits have been more frequent in past years, so the chance of being audited has increased. ... Continue reading this article…

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H&R Block Online Tax Filing Review

by Luke Landes
hrblocka

This is a relatively long review of H&R Block’s online tax preparation and filing service. H&R Block has provided Consumerism Commentary with six coupon codes for H&R Block Premium Edition, the most complete service offered by the company. If you haven’t filed your household’s tax return yet, chances are taxes are on your mind. If ... Continue reading this article…

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Federal Taxes on Bonus Pay

by Luke Landes

With the holidays approaching, many companies are preparing their bonus checks, and employees who are looking forward to their bonuses are concerned about tax consequences. I gave up this “extra” part of my corporate pay for the benefit of working for myself when I left my day job last year. If this year were anything ... Continue reading this article…

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Tax Tips When Looking for Work is Your Job

by Leigh Mutert

About the author: This is a guest article written by Leigh Mutert, CPA. Leigh is the manager of the H&R Block Get it Right Community, a blog that focuses on breaking down complex topics for taxpayers, and the manager of social media, corporate relations for H&R Block. Leigh was a recent guest on the Consumerism ... Continue reading this article…

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