Saturday, May 11, 2013
Results from a recent executive survey ranked Massachusetts 47th for business.
A CEO magazine ranks Massachusetts as one of the worst states in the nation for business. Chief Executive Magazine ranked Massachusetts 47th based on a survey of corporate leaders. Survey respondents reported the Bay State is one of the worst for taxation and regulation. The state Republican Party is pointing to the survey and saying that Gov. Deval Patrick and the Democratic-led Legislature are bad for the economy and business. What do you think about Massachusetts’ business climate? Is this a good state in which to do business?
Thursday, April 11, 2013
The Dirty Dozen list highlights scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year, but which often peak during tax time.
From the 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. Miller. "The Dirty Dozen list shows that …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The vote on the House transportation finance plan is not veto proof, however.
State Rep. Lori Ehrlich says she voted for a transportation finance plan that is moderate and mindful of middle class and small business needs. The representative voted with the majority in the House — 97-55 — after lengthy debate Monday to approve its transportation bill. It would boost by $152,000, Chapter 90 money Swampscott receives for road projects. The town received $302,863 for roads in Fiscal Year '13; the House plan would provide $454,295 in Fiscal Year '14 The House plan would raise $500 million from new taxes. They would include increases to the gas tax, by 3 cents, and the tobacco tax. The revenue would end costly borrowing to pay transportation employee salaries, provide an additional $100 million for roads and shore up the…
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 …
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Massachusetts is chock full of defense contractors, federal employees and federal program beneficiaries. Are you worried the U.S. budget sequester will hurt your family's finances?
The U.S. government has a week before its self-imposed sequestration deadline. If enacted, the across-the-board cuts to the federal budget could mean layoffs, decreased aid and lower government spending. That could mean trouble for some popular government programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. Defense contractors are also preparing for lost and reduced contracts with the government. Locally, it could also doom smaller programs that have a big impact. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps families in need pay for home heating oil and other energy costs. Massachusetts stands to lose over $11 million in assistance under this one program alone. Representatives Ed Markey and Jim McGovern are trying to shield the program…
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The governor's budget proposal for fiscal 2014 would raise $1.9 billion in new revenues through a combination of tax increases and eliminating some tax breaks. Is the state's economy ready for this?
After years of treading water in the state budget, Gov. Deval Patrick has put forth an ambitious $34.8 billion proposal for the coming fiscal year that would make significant investments in education and transportation by raising $1.9 billion in revenue, through a combination of tax hikes and eliminating some tax breaks. The question: Is the state's economy ready for this? To raise that funding, Patrick's proposal would increase the income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent, while doubling personal exemptions. It'd also lower the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent. Several tax breaks for both personal income and businesses would be eliminated. The gas tax would be indexed to inflation, ensuring gradual increases in what people …
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The IRS has announced a delayed start to the 2012 tax filing season.
You'll have to wait 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 January 30, 2013. The tax filing deadline is Monday, April 15 The IRS will begin accepting tax returns on January 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 …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Tell us: do you think we need to increase taxes to strengthen education and transportation?
In his State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night, Gov. Deval Patrick proposed raising the state's income tax by 1 percentage point and lowering the sales tax to pay for $2 billion in transportation improvements and early childhood education programs. "There is no good time to raise taxes," Patrick said. "I know how tough the times have been on the people and families of the Commonwealth. And though the worst of the recession is over, many, many families still face tough decisions and have deep anxiety about the future. I would not ask if I did not believe in my heart that investing meaningfully today in education and transportation will significantly improve our economic tomorrows." Income tax hiked to 6.25 percent Patrick said…
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.
Tuesday, January 15
On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service announced 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: 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. [Editor's note: The information above derived from a press statement from the Internal Revenue Service.]
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Selectmen will host a public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on tax-related items including the percentage of the tax levy to be paid by those who own residences and businesses.
Selectmen will hold a public hearing tonight on 2013 taxes. Each year the town classifies local property under categories including residential and commercial. And selectmen decide the percentage of the tax levy to be paid by those who own residences or businesses. The 2012 property tax-rate burden was set the same as 2011's — at 175 percent for businesses and 100 percent for residences. Residents can weigh in on the tax discussion at the public hearing. The fiscal 2012 rate was set at $17.99 per $1,000 property valuation for residential properties, and $33.41 per $1,000 property valuation for commercial properties. The residential rate rose about 8 percent over the 2011 rate of $16.60 per $1,000 property valuation. When factoring …