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Memorial Day marks the official start of summer, a time for relaxation and fun. But it’s important to remember the true meaning of the day—to honor those who died in service of our country. General John Alexander Logan is credited with the idea of Memorial Day, inspired by the Southern practice of decorating military graves. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1888 but was not observed uniformly until 1971. Today, it is always the last Monday in May, designated as a day of remembrance and honor.

In December 2000, President Clinton signed The National Moment of Remembrance Act, encouraging Americans to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. Many organizations, including Major League Baseball, participate in this tradition. In recent news, the Department of Justice unsealed court documents charging defendants in a scheme tied to North Korea. The scheme involved skilled IT workers from North Korea infiltrating U.S. companies’ networks with stolen identities to raise money for the North Korean weapons program.

Internationally, some G20 members have proposed a global billionaires’ tax, with the U.S initially indicating it would not support the idea. This proposal would require the world’s billionaires to pay a 2% tax on their wealth annually to fight poverty and economic inequality. Secretary Yellen clarified the U.S. position, expressing support for imposing reasonable taxes on high-income individuals domestically but not through an international negotiation redistributing proceeds based on climate damage.

Domestically, the White House imposed new tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and solar panels, raising concerns about price increases for imported goods and domestic competitors. While electric vehicles and related tax credits continue to attract consumers, there is an opportunity for savings on qualified used electric vehicles eligible for a federal tax credit. Additionally, concerns about fast fashion and import duties have led to proposed legislative measures to prevent tax avoidance on low-value shipments from certain countries.

The IRS faces challenges with unprocessed tax refund claims, particularly Employee Retention Credit claims. Businesses should be aware that confidential legal settlements for sexual harassment or abuse are no longer tax-deductible, and hush money payments could have tax implications. Retirees should take care with required minimum distributions to avoid penalties for missteps. Additionally, married couples face unique tax considerations, with joint filings potentially leading to joint and several liability for taxes owed.

In tax news, the IRS extended the Free File program, offering online tax filing options to eligible taxpayers through public-private partnerships. Spouses filing joint tax returns should consider innocent spouse relief provisions to avoid joint and several liability for taxes owed. Foreign financial assets jointly owned by married couples can introduce additional reporting obligations, especially when one spouse is not a U.S. citizen. It’s essential for couples to navigate these tax implications effectively, even after the passing of a spouse, to minimize tax liabilities.

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