Taxes and the State of the Union 2013

Last night, the President delivered his annual State of the Union speech to members of Congress and to the nation. Each year, this is the President’s opportunity to address Congress and the nation about how we’re doing as a country and what his particular agenda will be for the coming year. You can read the speech here (there are even little breaks throughout marked as “applause” in case you want to pretend like you were actually there). As with every year, here’s the fun stuff first: The State of the Union speech, as delivered, was just under 7,000 words (by …

IRS Releases Proposed Regs for Health Care Law: Who’s Covered, Who’s Exempt and What Happens If You Don’t Pay?

The IRS has finally released proposed Regulations relating to the requirement to maintain minimum health care insurance coverage under the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, as amended (“ACA”). Under the terms of ACA, there is a “shared responsibility to reform and improve the availability, quality, and affordability of health insurance coverage in the United States.” That is government speak for the idea that pretty much everyone is affected, in some way, by the health care act, from states to employees to individuals. When it comes to …

Boehner, Obama Talks Heat Up But Still No Deal On Taxes, Spending

With 19 days left on the calendar until the end of the year, Congress is pretending like they want to make a deal on the budget. But if you think that means we’ll see significant reform between now and then, don’t hold your breath. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and President Barack Obama held another meeting of the minds – this one by phone – to discuss a potential solution to the self-imposed budget crisis. Just like last time, details of the conversation remain spotty. What we do know is that the White House proposed new revenue (read: taxes) …

9 Tax-Related Myths About Selling Your Home

I am moving. It feels weird to finally say that out loud (er, yes, the blog counts as out loud). I have lived in my current home in Philadelphia for fourteen years: my entire adult life, more or less. In that time, I’ve stored up a whole houseful of memories. I have hosted Thanksgiving dinners in my dining room and cocktail parties on my porch. I brought my children home from the hospital to banners and balloons stretched across my front door. My kids learned to walk in this house and ride their bikes on the sidewalk out front. I …

Romney, Ryan and Reagan: The Winning Team?

“Mitt’s Choice for VP is Paul Ryan.” That’s the message that Mitt Romney supporters received this weekend via his smartphone app. And with that, many prospective voters went scurrying to figure out: Who is Paul Ryan? Here’s the quick scoop on Ryan: He’s Rep. Paul Ryan. He’s represented the 1st congressional district for Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. That means he’s in his seventh term. He was born and raised in the midwest and attended college at Miami University in Ohio. He’s married and has three children. His religious affiliation is Roman Catholic. He’s a former …

Cheney’s Million Dollar Heart Stirs Health Care Debate: Who Lives and Who Dies?

Over the weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney received a new heart at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va. The news raised eyebrows and questions about whether he was too old for the procedure. At age 71, Cheney was older than the average heart transplant patient; while there is no firm age limit for a heart transplant, most transplant surgeries are done on patients younger than 70 years old. About 3,000 people in the United States are the heart transplant waiting list on any given day, although only about 2,000 donor hearts are available each year. Time spent on the …

Taxes from A to Z: M Is For Making Work Pay Credit

M is for Making Work Pay Credit. Doh! This is kind of a trick post. There is no Making Work Pay Credit for 2011. That also means no Schedule M. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act which was signed into law on December 17, 2010, did not renew the Making Work Pay Credit. That means that there is no Making Work Pay Credit available for 2011 or 2012. The credit was still applicable for the 2010 calendar and tax year for tax returns filed in 2011. However, for the current calendar and tax year (2011), and …

Paying For Getting Better: What’s Deductible?

I’m back in North Carolina for the second time in two weeks, this time with Nurse Kate (my daughter) in tow. My mom had heart valve replacement surgery last week and it wasn’t without her complications: her lung collapsed the day after the surgery and the resulting 24 hours was quite stressful. Mom is back at home now. She has a health care aide that checks in on her (thanks to Medicare) but otherwise requires a lot of home care. She needs someone to help her navigate around the house, cook her meals and sort out her meds. It’s a …

Deal or No Deal? Congress May Have Agreement on Payroll Tax Cuts

Congressional leaders are reporting that they’ve reached a deal to extend the payroll tax cut. Two Representatives in the “closed door” committee negotiations, Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Fred Upton (R-MI), seemed upbeat and optimistic about the agreement. Reportedly, a vote will come before the full House on Friday. Under the compromise, the payroll tax cuts would also be extended for the rest of 2012. If not approved, the cuts are scheduled to end in just 14 days. Unemployment benefits would be extended though for how long is anyone’s guess. The extension will most likely land somewhere between a maximum …

9 Things to Know About the Making Work Pay Credit and Payroll Tax Cuts

My inbox continues to be chock full of questions about the Making Work Pay Credit for 2011. Taxpayers, it seems, are still confused about whether the credit was extended and how it relates to the payroll tax cuts. So let me see if I can set the record straight for you: The Making Work Pay Credit was not extended into 2011. The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act which was signed into law on December 17, 2010, did not renew the credit. The credit ended in the calendar year 2010. If you qualified for the credit, you …