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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Take advantage of Tax Day freebies

http://www.bankrate.com/financing/taxes/take-advantage-of-tax-day-freebies/



Take advantage of Tax Day freebies

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, April 15
Posted: 10 am ET
Did filing your tax return leave a bad taste?  Then check out the many national restaurant chains that are offering some much more appetizing goodies today in celebration of the end of our annual tax ritual.
P.F. Chang's customers will get 15 percent off dine-in or take-out food purchases. The discount does not apply, however, to Happy Hour items or alcoholic beverages.
McDonald's is offering a "Buy one, get one more for just 1 cent" on its Quarter Pounder with cheese and Big Mac sandwiches.
McCormick & Schmick's is cutting the prices of its usual $15 to $20 entrees to $10.40. To round out your meal, you can order tax-themed drinks, such as a pint of Samuel Adams Deduction Draft.
Cinnabon has temporarily rechristened its miniature cupcakes Tax Day Bites and will be handing out the snacks from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at its 700 outlets.
T.G.I. Friday's will give customers $5 Bonus Bites gift cards for food and beverage purchases of $15 to $25 and $10 cards for those who spend more than $25.
Starbucks is giving away free brewed coffee all day April 15 to patrons who bring in their own travel mugs.
Dairy Queen will hand out free samples of its new Mini Blizzards from their Blizzardmobile from noon to 1 p.m. outside the main IRS office in Washington, D.C.
IHOP is commemorating the child tax credit by offering free meals for kids 12 years old and younger with each adult meal purchased from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day throughout April.
It's not just big businesses that are tying their products to tax day. A furniture store here in Austin is advertising a tax break sale, a discount equal to the amount of sales tax on qualifying purchases.
And yes, a couple of business have actual tax filing promotions under way. You can make free copies of your tax returns at Staples and Office Max stores.
A marketing professor calls the April 15 specials a "masterful strategy" in these tough economic times.
"They're trying to tie in their particular product or the function of their product with this day and they'll probably keep doing it because it produces a good result," says Bill Rice who teaches at Fresno State.
As with anything even tangentially connected with taxes, there are qualifiers. Note the special times for some of the offerings. And it's also a good idea to double-check the specials at your local franchise.
And if you know of any other tax day goodies, please let us know by leaving a comment.
Related posts:
  1. American Express adds perk to ‘Blue’ credit cards
  2. Credit bureaus duck free credit report rules
  3. Bank of America small-biz cards get CARD Act protections

U.S. Consumption Tax Is Tempting VAT of Poison: Caroline Baum

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-04-15/u-s-consumption-tax-is-tempting-vat-of-poison-caroline-baum.html


U.S. Consumption Tax Is Tempting VAT of Poison: Caroline Baum

April 15, 2010, 5:00 AM EDT Commentary by Caroline Baum
April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Congratulations! You’ve just finished working for the government. April 9 was Tax Freedom Day, the day on which Americans have earned enough to pay their federal, state and local taxes, as calculated by the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan tax research group in Washington.
Enjoy it while it lasts. As Americans awake to the 2009 tax-filing deadline today, they can look forward to working longer and harder for the government in the future -- at least the dwindling share that pays individual income taxes.
Enter the VAT, or value-added tax, a whole new source of revenue for the government. The VAT, a fixture in Europe for decades, is a broad-based consumption tax levied at each stage of production on the “value added,” as the name implies.
Because government starts with a wish-list of new spending and entitlements and works backward to find a way to pay for them (when it’s trying to look responsible), raising more revenue without sinking the economy is an issue right now.
“There is no way to finance all this new spending without an additional broad-based tax,” says Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the Libertarian Cato Institute in Washington.
Which is exactly why a VAT should be avoided, he says. “It’s akin to giving the keys to the liquor store to a bunch of alcoholics.”
Ultimate in Efficiency
Most economists agree the VAT is efficient: it raises lots of revenue. There are 140 countries with “successful VATs,” says Robert Goulder, a tax attorney at Tax Analysts, a publisher in Falls Church, Virginia. Success is defined as “an ATM machine for the public sector,” he says. “You have to cut spending as well.”
The VAT is efficient for several reasons: It’s well camouflaged in the price of the product; it’s self-enforcing, with a built-in incentive for each cog in the supply chain to charge the tax in order to claim a credit on the tax paid; and it removes the double taxation of income. If the goal is to encourage saving and discourage consumption (except at times such as now, when spending is viewed as the route out of recession), the solution is for the U.S. to tax consumption.      Somehow I doubt the Obama administration or Congress would propose substituting a VAT for the income tax or lowering individual or corporate tax rates as an offset. The VAT would be an add-on. Marginal tax rates on the highest earners are set to rise next year when the Bush tax cuts expire. Congress is working to extend the cuts for families earning less than $250,000 a year.
Regressive Tax
The main criticism of the VAT is that it’s regressive. The poor spend a greater share of their income, so the burden of the tax falls on those least able to afford it.
In the age of Obama, a VAT would certainly have exemptions to address its regressive nature.
“A lobbyist’s dream,” says Tom Wright, former executive director of FairTax.org, a grassroots organization advocating the replacement of the income tax with a national sales tax. “They can lobby in singular exemptions and John Q. Consumer will never know.”
The president promised not to raise taxes on individuals earning less than $200,000 a year, and he’s old enough to remember what happened to Poppy Bush for going back on his “no new taxes” pledge.
Some economists on the right have embraced the VAT as the least bad alternative in view of the gaping hole between government expenditures and revenue. Without it, marginal tax rates would have to double, according to the Tax Foundation, to address a deficit increasingly driven by spending to care for an aging population.
Perfect Poison
Before you conclude that a VAT is the answer to all our fiscal problems, consider some facts. “Greece collapsed in spite of a 19 percent VAT adopted in 2005,” says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. The additional revenue from the VAT did nothing to address Greece’s indebtedness.
Does anyone think an out-of-control U.S. Congress would devote increased tax revenue to deficit reduction? (If you raised your hand, go back and reread this column from the beginning.)
Besides, “our problem is not a revenue problem,” de Rugy says. “Our problem is a spending problem. There isn’t enough (potential) tax revenue to address the spending coming our way.”
If the administration were serious about reducing the deficit, you’d see credible proposals for spending cuts teed up along with the VAT, which is “not as toxic an idea” as it once was, according to White House economic adviser Paul Volcker.
Not in theory. As an either/or proposition, a VAT is preferable to an income tax.
In practice, a VAT is a perfect poison. It would give lawmakers the means to spend in ways they can only dream about.
Click on “Send Comment” in sidebar display to send a letter to the editor.
--Editors: Steve Dickson, James Greiff

DEAD AND TAXES

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Tax Day or Payday? How the Tax Code Is Expanding Government and Dependency

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/04/tax%20day%20or%20payday%20how%20the%20tax%20code%20is%20expanding%20government%20and%20dependency


Tax Day or Payday? How the Tax Code Is Expanding Government and Dependency

Published on April 13, 2010 by Curtis Dubay
Abstract: Nearly half of Americans who file federal income tax returns do not pay any federal income taxes because they receive certain tax credits. Many of these nonpayers actually receive a cash payment from the IRS because of refundable tax credits. Refundable credits are increasing the level of dependency, and nonpayers will soon reach the tipping point where a majority of tax filers pay no taxes and can vote increasing government benefits at no cost to themselves. That is a deadly recipe for never-ending increases in government spending, inevitably leading to a fiscal implosion when there are no longer enough taxpayers to pay for the expanding welfare state. Congress can begin to address this problem by refusing to create new credits or expand existing credits.
April 15, better known as Tax Day, is here once again. Tax Day used to be a painful day for most Americans because of the large amounts of money they were required to send to the Internal Revenue Service. However, for almost a majority of tax filers, Tax Day is no longer a day to dread because they pay no income tax. Many of these nonpayers[1] actually receive a sizeable amount of income redistributed to them through the tax code.
This income redistribution is making Tax Day into payday and increasing the size of government and people's dependence on the government. Tax policies pursued by Congress and President Barack Obama will only worsen the problem. Because the income tax is the main revenue raiser for the federal government, Congress should reform the tax code in a revenue-neutral way so that most Americans pay some income taxes and therefore have a stake in controlling the size of government.
The 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts Benefited All Tax Filers
Despite the incessant protestations to the contrary, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were not just tax cuts for the rich. They reduced taxes for all tax filers, including all middle-income and low-income tax filers, because they lowered all tax rates, created a new 10 percent rate for income under $16,750 (married filers), and increased the standard deduction. For example, as Table 1 shows, a lower-middle-income married couple with two children making $45,000 per year will pay $2,085 less in income taxes in 2010 because of the tax cuts. That is almost 5 percent of this hypothetical family's income, which they can spend or save as they choose instead of handing it over to Washington.
The Increasing Number of Nonpayers
The tax cuts were undoubtedly a big help for low-income and middle-income families, but the reduction in tax rates also means that low-income and middle-income families are now more likely to be removed from the tax rolls entirely. This means that they have no federal income tax liability, so they are actually nonpayers. In 2000, before the Bush tax cuts, there were 33 million nonpayers. By 2008, there were 52 million nonpayers--an increase of almost 20 million with absolutely no income tax liability.[2]
The Bush tax cuts substantially lowered tax rates for all tax filers--which benefited the economy by increasing the incentives to work, save, invest, and take new economic risks--but lower tax rates were not responsible for the growth in nonpayers. Lower tax rates cannot make a tax filer a nonpayer. Tax filers are falling off the tax rolls at an increased rate because of tax credits. Both political parties like tax credits because they allow politicians to claim credit for tax cuts directed at certain favored groups of tax filers. In contrast, lowering all marginal tax rates benefits all tax filers, but this makes it more difficult for politicians to claim that they are helping certain politically advantageous groups.
Credits also allow politicians to encourage people to engage in behaviors that politicians deem beneficial. For instance, tax filers who purchase certain types of environmentally friendly cars, such as certain hybrid models, receive a tax credit for which other tax filers are not eligible.[3] Similarly, tax filers who make energy-saving improvements to their homes are eligible for another tax credit.[4] Congress has created numerous other credits that reward tax filers for doing what Washington wants them to do.
A tax credit removes tax filers off the tax rolls when the worth of the credit (or credits) exceeds the amount of income tax that a tax filer owes. As shown in Table 1, the reduction in tax rates and higher standard deduction substantially lowered the taxes on the family of four, but doubling the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000 per child almost made them nonpayers.
2001 and 2003 Tax  Cuts Helped the Middle Class
If the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts had not been enacted, the family would have owed $3,098 in taxes before claiming any tax credits. The 2001 and 2003 cuts reduced their taxes to $2,013 before taking any credits. This $1,085 tax reduction was due solely to the family's lower tax rate and the increased standard deduction.
However, the family can still take the child tax credit for each of their two eligible children. The $2,000 child tax credit--an increase of $1,000-- also lowered the family's final tax liability. Therefore, the higher child tax credit lowered the family's tax bill by almost as much as the lower marginal tax rates and higher standard deduction lowered it. It almost made the family nonpayers, reducing their total income tax liability to $13. As shown in Table 2, the family would have moved into the nonpayers' column if it earned slightly less income.
From Low Tax Bill to Cash Recipient
However, the child tax credit is not the only tax credit that is moving tax filers off the tax rolls. The earned income tax credit (EITC); the American Opportunity, Hope and Lifetime Learning education credits; the Making Work Pay[5] credit; the qualified adoption expenses credit; residential energy credits; the first-time homebuyer credit; and numerous other credits have the same effect for many tax filers. The multitude of credits increases the likelihood that tax filers who claim them will become nonpayers because tax filers can claim several of these credits at once.
At a Dangerous Tipping Point
The rapid increase in the number of nonpaying tax filers caused by tax credits is leading the country to a dangerous tipping point. According to the IRS, the bottom 50 percent of tax filers pay less than 3 percent of all taxes.[6] That share is decreasing every year, and the trend shows no signs of reversing. In fact, the new and expanded credits passed as part of the stimulus package will further reduce the share of income taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent. This could very well mean that the bottom 50 percent, perhaps even more, will pay no income taxes in 2010. Even if they still owe something for this year, the point is quickly approaching when they will pay no income tax.
Passing the point at which less than half of all tax filers pay income taxes is dangerous because beyond that threshold a majority of tax filers--and therefore approximately a majority of voters--could vote themselves an increasing share of government benefits at no cost to themselves. In fact, when the U.S. passes that point, a shrinking minority of tax filers will be financing almost all government spending. In this situation, politicians have even less incentive to restrain government spending because more votes could be won by increasing spending than lost by increasing the burden on the remaining taxpayers. That is a deadly recipe for never-ending increases in government spending that will inevitably lead to a fiscal implosion when there are no longer enough productive taxpayers to pay the bill for the expanding welfare state.
Refundable Credits Increase Dependency
Tax credits are also expanding the number of families dependent on the government. Not only does the bottom 50 percent of tax filers pay almost no taxes, but many actually receive income through the tax code because of refundable credits. A refundable credit can not only cancel all of a tax filer's tax liability, but also give the tax filer a check for the difference if the value of the credit exceeds the tax filer's income tax liability. Thus, for families that receive refundable credits, Tax Day has become payday.
For instance, after the Bush tax cuts, the hypothetical family of four has a tax liability of $13, but if they reduced their income by just $85 to $44,915, they would become nonpayers and receive a cash payment from the federal government because of the refundable child tax credit. (See Table 2.)
The child tax credit is not the only refundable credit. Other well-known refundable credits include the EITC and the Making Work Pay tax credit. In 2010, these three refundable credits will redistribute more than $114 billion to the families that claim them: $52 billion through the ETIC, $32 billion through Making Work Pay, and $30 billion through the child tax credit.[7]
Combined with a few other smaller refundable credits, these refundable tax credits cause the bottom 40 percent of tax filers to have negative effective federal income tax rates. This means that these families earning up to $64,000 per year not only pay no income taxes, but on average receive a cash payment from the IRS because of the refundable credits.[8]
Refundable credits are growing each year and are making more and more families increasingly dependent on the tax code, and therefore on the government, for a substantial portion of their income. For those that receive the cash payments, growing dependence on the tax code for their income will reduce their individual initiative to achieve because they will be able to sustain a satisfactory standard of living without exerting any additional effort. Growing dependence also reduces the incentive for top performers to work harder and earn more because they will need to pay increasingly higher tax rates to fund the growing dependency of those that earn less. If these conditions continue, the effects will stifle the economy, slow growth, and ultimately lead to a lower standard of living.
The Obama Agenda: Making the Problem Worse
The credits that are removing millions from the income tax rolls and redistributing income through the tax code have been on the books for years, but President Obama's agenda doubles down on these provisions, making an already bad problem worse.
President Obama has already pushed more tax filers off the rolls and redistributed more income to middle-income and low-income earners through refundable tax credits that were added and expanded as part of the stimulus package signed into law by President Obama soon after he took office.
The stimulus created the Making Work Pay refundable tax credit. This refundable credit is worth up to $800 for families ($400 for single filers) and is available to all tax filers earning less than $190,000 per year ($95,000 for single filers). The Making Work Pay will push millions more people off the tax rolls and redistribute billions of dollars more this year. In fact, the hypothetical family of four would now be a nonpayer and receive a nearly $800 cash payment because of the Make Work Pay credit.
The stimulus also expanded the Hope Scholarship credit (renamed the American Opportunity Education credit) and made it refundable. This will remove even more tax filers from the rolls and, because it is now refundable, send direct cash payments to many of them. The stimulus also expanded the child tax credit and the EITC, which will send more and larger cash payments to qualifying families.[9]
Increased payments through the tax code were only the first act in President Obama's plan to use the tax code to increase dependence on the government. He campaigned on a plan to raise the top two income tax rates for those earning more than $250,000 per year ($200,000 for single filers) to their levels before the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. This would increase the highest income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent and the next highest rate from 33 percent to 36 percent. This will increase the already lopsided income tax burden paid by top earners and further reduce the portion paid by the bottom 50 percent of tax filers. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire at the end of 2010, so these income tax rates will increase unless Congress acts to extend the tax cuts for all tax filers.
Slowing the Growth of Dependency
Reversing the rapid expansion of dependency that is being facilitated by the tax code will not be easy. Many tax filers have grown accustomed to not paying taxes and receiving cash payments through the tax code. Bringing them back onto the tax rolls and taking away their subsidies will be politically difficult.
Yet Congress needs to address this problem. If current trends continue, this growing dependence on the government will threaten the vitality of the U.S. economy, and government spending will grow even faster, hastening the march to fiscal bankruptcy.
At little political cost, Congress can immediately do three things to slow these long-term trends:
  • Stop creating new tax credits or expanding existing tax credits, especially refundable credits. Congress should stop creating new tax credits not only because they remove tax filers from the tax rolls, but also because Congress too often uses credits to influence the behavior of tax filers and to curry favor with particular sectors of the electorate. The tax code should not be used to alter behavior or to favor certain groups with targeted tax cuts. Such practices only increase the alienation that many feel toward Congress, which seems to respond only to those with strong lobbying power in Washington.[10]
  • Allow the Making Work Pay credit to expire. Under current law, the Making Work Pay credit expires in 2013. Congress should let it expire because it removes many more tax filers from the tax rolls and makes more families dependent on the tax code for income. To ensure that eliminating the credit will not become a tax hike, Congress should lower marginal tax rates commensurately.
  • Extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all tax filers. Congress should also extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for all tax filers and reject President Obama's plan to raise taxes on high-income tax filers. As Table 1 showed, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts did not only help the rich. They substantially reduced taxes for low-income and middle-income tax filers. Permanently extending the tax cuts for all tax filers would keep these families' taxes low and, as an added benefit, avoid shifting even more of the tax burden to top earners.
These three measures will not stop the long-term trends that threaten to make a majority of tax filers nonpayers, but they will buy time for Congress to reform the tax code so that all tax filers except the neediest pay some income taxes. It is vital that most tax filers pay some income taxes so that they have a stake in controlling the size of government.
Fundamental Reform Needed
Fundamental tax reform is the only way to ensure that most tax filers pay some income tax because powerful constituencies protect the credits that have moved millions of people off the tax rolls. Eliminating all credits that are not justified by sound economic principles will require circumventing powerful lobbies and returning millions of nonpayers to the tax rolls. To ensure that this does not increase taxes overall, tax reform should be made revenue neutral, ideally by reducing marginal income tax rates.
Fundamental reform should also correct the numerous other flaws in the current tax system. For example, it should reduce the heavy tax burden on capital and simplify the tax code to make compliance easier. If Congress takes these necessary steps, the economy would benefit and Tax Day will cease to be payday for millions of nonpayers.
Curtis S. Dubay is a Senior Analyst in Tax Policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.








[1]For the purposes of this paper, a "nonpayer" is a person who files a federal income tax form, but pays no federal income taxes.
[2]Scott A. Hodge, "Record Numbers of People Paying No Income Tax; Over 50 Million 'Nonpayers' Include Families Making over $50,000," Tax Foundation Fiscal Fact No. 214, March 10, 2010, at http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/ 25962.html (April 6, 2010).
[3]Internal Revenue Service, "Form 8910: Alternative Motor Vehicle Credit," 2009, at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8910.pdf (April 8, 2010).
[4]Internal Revenue Service, "Form 5695: Residential Energy Credits," 2009, at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f5695.pdf (April 8, 2010).
[5]Curtis S. Dubay, "'Making Work Pay' Credit Will Not Stimulate the Economy," Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2240, January 26, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/01/Making-Work-Pay-Credit-Will-Not-Stimulate-the-Economy.
[6]Adrian Dungan and Kyle Mudry, "Individual Income Tax Rates and Shares, 2007," Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Bulletin, Winter 2010, pp. 18-74, at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/10winbulinincome.pdf (April 6, 2010).
[7]U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Analytical Perspectives, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2011 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2010), p. 213, at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/ spec.pdf (April 6, 2010).
[8]Curtis S. Dubay, "Income Tax Will Become More Progressive Under Obama Tax Plan," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2280, June 1, 2009, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/06/Income-Tax-Will-Become-More-Progressive-Under-Obama-Tax-Plan.
[9]Curtis S. Dubay, "Obama's Stimulus Has 'Spread the Wealth Around': Are Tax Hikes Next?" Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2354, March 23, 2009, athttp://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/03/Obamas-Stimulus-Has-Spread-the-Wealth-Around-Are-Tax-Hikes-Next.
[10]One acceptable exception to this rule would be the creation of a refundable credit for the purchase of health insurance to replace the large subsidies provided by Obamacare because it would cause less economic harm than the Obamacare subsidies.










 

Tea Party Supporters Richer, More Educated Than Most, Poll Finds

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/15/tea-party-supporters-richer-educated-poll-finds/



Tea Party Supporters Richer, More Educated Than Most, Poll Finds

FOXNews.com
Tea Partiers make more money and are better educated than most Americans, a new poll out Thursday found.
Tea Partiers make more money and are better educated than most Americans, a new poll out Thursday found.
The New York Times/CBS News poll took the temperature of Tea Party supporters on a number of topics, and turned up some results that might seem apparent -- Tea Partiers mostly describe themselves as "very conservative," they say President Obama's policies favor the poor and they describe the president as "very liberal."
But in a number of areas, their responses mirrored the general public's. And, according to the poll, their incomes and education levels are well above average.
Of the Tea Party supporters who responded, 20 percent make more than $100,000, versus 14 percent for the general pool of people polled. Fourteen percent of Tea Party supporters have a post-graduate education, compared with 10 percent for the general public. Twenty-three percent of Tea Party supporters have a college degree, compared with 15 percent for the general public, according to the poll.
The 18 percent of people who counted themselves among the Tea Party crowd are also mostly white, male and older than 45 years old.
The poll of 1,580 adults was conducted April 5-12. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.
Click here to read The New York Times/CBS News poll.









Massive fireball reported across Midwestern sky

http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/15/midwest.fireball/


Massive fireball reported across Midwestern sky

By the CNN Wire Staff
April 15, 2010 10:06 a.m. EDT
Click to play
Mysterious fireball lights up sky
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Huge fireball spotted Wednesday night in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri
  • National Weather Service got reports of sonic boom, houses and trees shaking
  • No official cause determined, NWS says, but meteor shower was at its peak
RELATED TOPICS
(CNN) -- Authorities in several Midwestern states were flooded Wednesday night with reports of a gigantic fireball lighting up the sky, the National Weather Service said.
The fireball was visible for about 15 minutes beginning about 10 p.m., said the National Weather Service in Sullivan, Wisconsin, just west of Milwaukee.
"The fireball was seen over the northern sky, moving from west to east," said the NWS in the Quad Cities area, which includes parts of Iowa and Illinois.
"Well before it reached the horizon, it broke up into smaller pieces and was lost from sight," the service said. "Several reports of a prolonged sonic boom were received from areas north of Highway 20, along with shaking of homes, trees and various other objects including wind chimes," it said.
It said the fireball was seen across parts of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. CNN affiliate WISN-TV said that people in Ohio also saw it.
Video from WISN showed a massive ball of light exploding across the sky. The Doppler Radar from the Quad Cities weather service appeared to capture a portion of the smoke trail from the fireball at just after 10 p.m., the NWS said. It appears as a thin line extending across portions of Grant and Iowa Counties in Wisconsin.
There has been no official determination as to what caused the fireball, the NWS in Sullivan said.
However, it said there is a meteor shower called Gamma Virginids that occurs from April 4 to April 21, with peak activity expected on Wednesday and Thursday.
"A large meteorite could have caused the brilliant fireball that has been reported," the National Weather Service said.
The NWS in Quad Cities said that it was unknown if any part of a meteorite hit the ground.
According to NASA, a meteor appears when a meteoroid -- a particle, chunk of metal or stony matter -- enters the Earth's atmosphere from outer space.
"Air friction heats the meteoroid so that it glows and creates a shining trail of gases and melted meteoroid particles," it said. "People sometimes call the brightest meteors fireballs."

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