Mesa Money Minute

Business & Economics Podcasts

We're local financial professionals who produce this daily feature at the studios of KAFM Community Radio in Grand Junction, Colorado. We offer up short, 1- to 2- minute segments on tax, finance, economy, markets and other financials topics.Image credit: President Washington by Laakso for


United States


We're local financial professionals who produce this daily feature at the studios of KAFM Community Radio in Grand Junction, Colorado. We offer up short, 1- to 2- minute segments on tax, finance, economy, markets and other financials topics.Image credit: President Washington by Laakso for








Understanding Tax Brackets

A common misconception regarding taxes is that a 40% tax rate means that you will pay 40% of your taxable income in taxes. In fact, the United States has a graduated income tax system, which means that your top, or marginal, tax rate only applies to the income in that bracket. For example, many people believe that a 24% tax rate on $100,000 of taxable income would equal $24,000 in taxes. In fact, the 24% would only apply to the last $5,000 of income. The first $11,000 of income would be...


Standard vs. Itemized Deductions

Do you know the difference between taking the standard deduction and itemized deductions? It can be helpful in understanding your tax return and planning for taxes to know when you would itemize deductions instead of taking the standard deduction. The standard deduction is a dollar amount, adjusted for inflation each year, by which every American taxpayer gets to reduce their income to calculate their tax liability. The idea of the standard deduction was introduced in the 40's to simplify...


Tax Season is Almost Here

The IRS has not yet announced when it will begin accepting e-filed returns for the 2023 tax season, but it will likely be towards the end of January or beginning of February. That doesn't mean you can't start getting ready now! Most tax forms are due to be postmarked to the recipients by January 31, so keep a keen eye on the mail in the next few weeks. Also take note if any of your forms are selected for electronic delivery - watch your email inbox and junk folder for notifications that...


IRS Corrects 14 million 2020 Returns

The IRS announced last week that it finished processing corrections on 14 million 2020 tax returns for taxpayers who overpaid their taxes on unemployment compensation they received that year. The American Rescue Plan Act which became law in March of 2021 excluded up to $10,200 in 2020 unemployment compensation from taxable income for individuals and married couples whose gross income was less than $150,000. Many people had already filed their tax returns when the law became effective, so IRS...


Student Loan Forgiveness Update

Courts have issued decisions which have halted the Biden administration's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student debt for more than 40 million Americans. The Biden administration has appealed the decisions and is attempting to reinstate the program; however, in the meantime, the stay on student loan repayments has been extended until June 30, 2023, though you can continue to make payments on your loans if you wish. More than half of eligible borrowers had applied for the program...


FAMLI Deductions Begin Next Month

Beginning on January 1, 2023, Colorado employers will be required to start withholding .45% of their employees' wages to contribute to the new Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. Employers with more than 10 employees will also contribute .45% of wages to the program. The funds will be used, beginning in 2024, to pay employees for leave taken for the birth or adoption of a child or for caring for a family member with an illness, or other approved uses. The employer portal is...


Colorado SECURE Savings Begins Next Month

Beginning in early 2023, most employers without a retirement plan offering will be required to enroll in the Colorado SecureSavings program and automatically sign up their employees for a 5% payroll deduction to contribute to their savings accounts. The funds will be contributed to a Roth IRA for the employee. Employees will be able to opt out or change their savings rate if they wish. Employers will receive an official registration notice in early 2023 which they will use to set up their...


National Tax Security Awareness Week

This week is the 7th annual National Tax Security Awareness Week which is a joint effort by the IRS, state tax agencies, and the tax industry to urge increased security measures as fraudsters exploit COVID-19 concerns. The IRS is warning people to be on the lookout for scammers using fake charities during the holiday season when folks are expressing their generosity as well as year round. Some tips to avoid fake charity scams include, don't give in to pressure. Scammers often use the...


Beware Employee Retention Credit Schemes

If you own a small business, or even if you don't, you may be getting a lot of solicitations advising you that you may qualify for the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). Be wary of these "ERC Shops" that may advise you to claim the credit when you may not qualify. These third parties often charge large upfront fees or a fee that is contingent on the amount of the refund and may not inform taxpayers that wage deductions claimed on the business' federal income tax return must be reduced by...


Tax Planning

Now that tax season 2021 is finally in the books, it's time to start thinking about next year! The last couple of months of the year are an excellent time to revisit your tax plan and make any last-minute adjustments. It's a good time to estimate your 2022 tax liability based on how you've done in the year so far, to be prepared for any extra payments that may be needed. There are online tools to do this such as the one on, or get with your CPA. Review your charitable goals and...


Energy Credits in the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by the President on August 16, provides significant expansion of individual tax credits for green energy. Consumers may receive tax credits on new and used clean vehicle purchases. The federal credit for up to $7,500 for new vehicles and $4,000 for used vehicles. The solar credit increases the credit amount from 26% to 30% for solar panel installation costs. There is also a 30% credit for installing efficient exterior windows, skylights, doors,...


SALT Parity Act

The 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the TCJA) went into effect on January 1, 2018. Among other things the TCJA capped the amount of state and local taxes (or SALT) that an individual could deduct to $10,000. This cap extends to individual owners of pass-through entities because business income generated from pass-through entities like LLC's, partnerships, and S-Corps, is assessed at the individual owner level rather than at the business level. This limitation does not apply to...


Worker classification

Federal and state departments of labor and other taxing authorities are cracking down on the misclassification of workers. Workers in your business can be classified as either independent contractors or employees. Properly classifying workers is important because misclassifying a worker as an independent contractor can open you up to back payroll taxes, penalties, and interest; whereas misclassifying a worker as an employee can cost you in payroll taxes and benefits. Determining whether a...



Colorado voters approved Proposition 118 in November of 2020, creating a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program. FAMLI will start providing benefits to employees beginning January 1, 2024. Eligible employees will receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave in order to take care of themselves or their family during life changes such as the birth or adoption of a child or taking care of a family member with a serious health condition. Both employers and employees will pay a...


What is a conservatorship?

A conservatorship is a court-ordered guardianship over an individual's financial life. These are set up when an individual lacks the capacity to manage one or more areas of their own finances. An interested party such as the adult child of an elderly person will bring the case to the court, and a judge will determine whether a conservatorship is necessary, and will appoint a conservator. Conservatorships can be limited, which applies to only specific matters, or full, which grants a...


IRS Notices

Correspondence from tax agencies are on the rise. What should you do if you receive a letter or a notice from the IRS or a state tax agency? First of all, don't panic, but don't ignore it. Many of these issues are relatively easily resolved. Don't assume the notice, including any balance due, is correct. If you prepared your own return, carefully review the notice against your records to ensure that you understand what the agency is changing or what they are requesting of you. If you do not...


Losses on Crypto

The cryptocurrency market, just like the stock market, has been on a rout recently. You may be wondering if you sell or dispose of your crypto at a loss, how does that affect your taxes. The IRS has deemed cryptocurrency as property, so gains and losses on it are generally considered capital, similar to holding a stock or a bond. Capital gains and losses are taxed differently than other types of income. Long term capital gains are generally taxed at 15% for most taxpayers. Capital losses can...


Fed Interest Rate Hike

The Fed raised interest rates this month again, from 3% to 3.5%. How might this impact you? You will likely see higher interest rates on borrowing, such as home mortgages and car loans. Rates are expected to continue to increase, though, so if you're considering taking out a loan do so sooner rather than later. HIgher interest rates will also likely put some additional downward pressue on certain types of investments. However, you will likely be able to eek out a bit more interest on your...


Tax Loss Harvesting

Watching the market tank can be anxiety-inducing. However, there can be a tax silver lining to the market downturn. Tax loss harvesting is selling positions within your portfolio at a loss in order to capture or harvest that loss for use against a capital gain. You shouldn't sell losing positions solely for the tax benefits, however you can use this strategy to reduce your capital gains from sales of other positions or real estate, or even reduce your ordinary income by up to $3,000....


Economic Nexus

The Supreme Court decision in Wayfair vs. South Dakota brought to the forefront a concept known as Economic Nexus. What this concept is referring to is essentially, where are you for tax purposes. With the explosion of remote work as well as the continued growth of ecommerce, this concept is more challenging than it once was. For example, if your company is based in Colorado but you have an employee working remotely from their home in Michigan, where is that employee considered to be?...