Saturday, April 6, 2013
Should the state forge ahead with Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to invest now? Or should it follow the Legislature leadership's proposal to address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives?
Massachusetts legislators this week answered Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious plan to raise $1.9 billion for transportation and education with a $500 million plan of their own, which says the governor is asking for too much, too soon as the Bay State shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. Who's right? Should the state forge ahead in a bold plan to invest now? Or should it cautiously address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives? While Patrick's plan includes funding for both the state transportation system and increased education funding from preschool through college, House and Senate lawmakers eschew new revenue for education, focusing solely on closing the transportation budget gap over the next five years. The …
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
The Dirty Dozen list highlights scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year, but which often peak during tax time.
The following is from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): The Internal Revenue Service has issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud. The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns. "This tax season, the IRS has stepped up its efforts to protect taxpayers from a wide range of schemes, including moving aggressively to combat identity theft and refund fraud," said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T…
Thursday, February 14, 2013
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is set to help residents at the Senior Center.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The plan focuses on investments in transportation and education while calling for an income tax increase coupled with a lower sales tax.
In submitting his $34.8 billion budget to the Legislature on Wednesday, Patrick said the proposed income tax hike is part of a comprehensive package aimed at investing in the state's infrastructure and in driving growth. The proposal asks for an increase in the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent coupled with a reduction in the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. It also doubles personal exemptions. Despite the proposed income tax hike, Patrick says that low and modest-income workers will pay less in taxes under his proposal, and only the "more fortunate see a larger increase." "I do not submit this proposal lightly. I understand that many households in Massachusetts continue to struggle from the impact of the Great …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
The IRS has announced a delayed start to the 2012 tax filing season.
You'll have to wait a bit if you are used to filing your annual tax return at the earliest possible date. The Internal Revenue Service has revised its opening date for tax season—pushing it eight days to Jan. 30, 2013. The tax filing deadline is Monday, April 15. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on Jan. 30, 2013. Most taxpayers should be able to file on that date though some revised forms may not be immediately available. You can blame the delay on the federal "fiscal cliff" crisis and the new tax bill Congress passed just after Dec. 31. You can find more information in this Forbes article. Electronic filing season was originally set to start on Jan. 22 this year. As a result of the delay, nobody will get a refund in January, an H&…
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Standard deductions go up, but the ceiling for itemized deductions go down in 2013, plus other changes that will affect your taxes this year.
The Internal Revenue Service announced on Friday annual inflation adjustments for tax year 2013, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes from the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The tax items for 2013 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following changes. Details on these inflation adjustments and others are contained in Revenue Procedure 2013-15, which will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-5 on Jan.28, 2013. Other inflation adjusted items were published in October 2012 in Revenue Procedure 2012-41. -News release from the Internal Revenue Service
Monday, January 14, 2013
The average Stoneham single family home tax bill leans below the average for the coming year compared to other towns and cities surveyed.
Stoneham Patch recently published a chart listing the 2013 residential tax rate for 27 communities in the area, and some readers suggested that because home values differ from town to town, it'd be better to compare the average home tax bill between communities. Fair point. To that end, below is a new chart listing the average single family tax bill for each community, along with the average value of a single family home in each city or town and that municipality's residential tax rate. (Note that five communities included on the previous chart—Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Malden and Somerville—did not have their average single family tax bill available on the state Division of Local Services website.) Stoneham's residential tax rate for …
Thursday, December 27, 2012
The President and Congress have just a few days to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts. A number of Massachusetts Congressmen suggest cutting nuclear programs instead.
Starbucks baristas are writing "come together" on all cups in the Washington, DC, area to encourage Congress and the President to come together to fix the fiscal cliff issue. For more information about this initiative, go to www.patch.com/fixthedebt. Congress and President Obama are racing against the clock this week as they make one last attempt to hammer out a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” the U.S. government is set to go over on New Year’s Day. Without a compromise deal to lower the deficit, the government will face a self-imposed deadline that triggers both spending cuts and higher taxes. Congress itself set the Jan. 1 deadline after failing to come to a budget compromise earlier this year. On Jan. 1, the George W. Bush-…
Friday, November 30, 2012
Massachusetts Democrats in Congress want to avoid cuts in benefits as part of any deal, but proposals such as raising the eligibility age for Medicare are still on the table. What would you do?
As Congress negotiates a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" on Jan. 1, Massachusetts' congressional representatives have voiced their opposition to any cuts in benefits such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the Boston Globe reports. However, there are proposals still on the table that would change those benefit programs, including linking Social Security benefits to a more conservative inflation index that would slightly reduce annual increases, or raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. The Globe reported that while the Bay State's legislators were united against changes to Social Security, there's some wiggle room on Medicare. Rep. Ed Markey opposes raising the Medicare eligibility age; Rep. Michael …
Friday, November 23, 2012
Gov. Deval Patrick plans to ask lawmakers to raises taxes to make up for the shortfall in Massachusetts' transportation system. What options should they consider and what's off the table?
Would you be willing to pay more at the pump, have a tracking system on your car that taxes you by the mile, or see tolls on state highways? Those are just some of the possibilities looming as Massachusetts looks to erase the state's transportation system's deficit. The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Deval Patrick will ask lawmakers to raise taxes in order to pay for a transportation system—from the MBTA to roads and bridges—that continues to operate in the red. The administration will present a specific proposal by Jan. 7. One option is raising the gas tax, a route Patrick sought in 2009 only to be rebuffed by the legislature. Patrick sought a 19 cent increase while business groups endorsed a 25 cent increase. Ultimately, the state …