Showing posts from March, 2021

The IRS and its Massive Backlog

          A report that was released this month confirmed what many had long suspected, the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) is very, very behind in processing Tax Returns. This is a situation that will not quickly resolve itself. The Treasury Inspector General said that the backlog was at about 12 million paper returns in December 2020. Even though this report focuses on paper Tax Returns, it’s reasonable to apply this to any paper correspondence as well. How did this happen? The IRS was put into an unknown situation in 2020 just like every other organization. They moved to remote work as much as possible and closed many distribution centers. However, what is sent to them on paper requires a physical presence. While the mail continued to be delivered, few would enter the offices and do the manual data entry. This is why many are waiting for acknowledgment of payments, or Tax Refunds. The different rounds of Economic Impact Payments ( EIP ) have also caused them to change focus at

Personal Protective Equipment is Tax Deductible

     The Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) has announced that any Personal Protective Equipment ( PPE ) that was bought to stop the spread of COVID-19 is tax deductible. This means that masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, gloves, and other tools used to fight the spread of Coronavirus and keep safe can be deducted from your Tax Return.      These items must have been purchased in 2020. You do not qualify for the deduction if you were reimbursed by insurance or other health savings account. If you have not yet filed your Tax Return, this is another reason to keep good records. You never know when you might need them and a new deduction might become possible. Take action to have all your information ready for your Qualified Tax Professional before the May 17 deadline.

Automatic Unemployment Refunds Will Be Processed

          One feature of the recently passed 2021 American Rescue Plan ( ARP ) is the ability to have up to $10,200 of Unemployment Income from 2020 be exempted from tax. This is certainly something that many Taxpayer’s would want to make use of. However, this was enacted after Tax Season had begun. Tax returns were already being filed and tax refunds issued without this credit being applied. The Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) was very clear in saying that they did not want amended returns to be filed.           It has now become clear why they did not want this to happen. The IRS will automatically issue refunds for the tax paid on the Unemployment Income, if you qualify. They are also updating their software and sending out new worksheets for those who have not filed. This is might be one of the reasons why the tax filing deadline for individuals has moved to May 17 . As we have stated in a previous post , there are many productive things you can do with this extra time before fi

Progress Being Made With Economic Impact Payments

          The 2021 American Rescue Plan ( ARP ) Act created a third round of Economic Impact Payments ( EIP ). An earlier post had discussed the changed eligibility requirements. Within the first 5 days of enactment, the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) has made 90 million payments. This was made possible by the use of Direct Deposit, and this will be the primary method of payment. In time, more checks and debit cards will be mailed.           These payments are made automatically, and since we are in the third round, no action is required by most Taxpayers. Please remember that this payment is coming from the Treasury Department and the IRS . There is a new scam that has come to light where someone contacts a Taxpayer claiming to be from the Federal Trade Commission ( FTC ). That person will claim that a fee or tax needs to be collected to receive the EIP , or they may want some personal information from you. This is a complete lie. You do not need to pay to qualify for this. The IR

The 2021 Tax Deadline Will Be Delayed

          Just like last year, the Tax Deadline for 2021 will be pushed back. This year it will now fall on Monday, May 17 . There have been calls for this action for some time. The reasons the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) took this action are many, but here are a few.           The Tax Season this year started two weeks later than normal. This was to accommodate law changes that were passed in December 2020 and make sure that IRS computers were updated. The newly enacted 2021 American Rescue Plan Act also makes some significant changes to existing tax law, including allowing a certain amount of unemployment benefits from 2020 to be untaxed. With this recent news, some may take additional time to file, but the IRS does not want anyone to file an amended Tax Return at this time. If you look at this time last year, there have been about 18% fewer Tax Returns filed . It’s clear that people needed more time. What can you do with this extra time?           This time can certainly

The American Rescue Plan and Unemployment Income

          Many parts of the 2021 American Rescue Plan ( ARP ) Act touch almost every aspect of our lives. A previous post discussed the third round of Economic Impact Payments. This is something that many have talked about and are looking forward to. One aspect that many are not talking about is a new tax exclusion for unemployment benefits.           With the enactment of ARP , it may be possible to exclude $10,200 of unemployment income. This means that Federal income tax would not have to be paid on that amount. State taxes would still apply. There are also overall income requirements that determine eligibility. To find out if you qualify, please talk to your Qualified Tax Professional .

The American Rescue Plan and the Third Economic Impact Payment

         The 2021 American Rescue Plan ( ARP ) Act and its $1.9 trillion budget has been discussed since it was passed and enacted last week. One of the most talked about parts has been the third round of Economic Impact Payments ( EIP ) that it allows for many who received the previous two. The Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) immediately went to work on sending out the payments, which for many would amount to $1,400. However, the criteria for who qualifies is now different.           Individuals making over $75,000 will receive smaller payments, and those who make over $80,000 will have no payment at all. This is based off of their 2019 or 2020 Tax Return. This means that some who were a part of the last two payments may not qualify for this one. Unlike the last two payments, dependents under 17 will be included. Those with Direct Deposit may already have the payment. If you got a debit card before, a new one will be sent. If you are unsure if you qualify for this or the past two

What the American Rescue Plan Act Means for You!

          The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan ( ARP ) has many parts to it. The ARP was enacted on March 11, 2021 and some aspects have already gone into action. With something this large, it is difficult to truly understand what it will do unless you look at its different components.           That is what we will do. Over the next few posts, we will discuss how the ARP changes things. It was designed to essentially touch some aspect of our lives, from COVID vaccines to unemployment payments, and increases to different tax credits. Some have been talked about at length, others are less well known and the effects may only be seen in the near future. Our next post will discuss how the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) will be impacted by the ARP .

Check Your Unemployment Withholding

            Many filed for Unemployment Benefits for the first time last year and received those payments during a very difficult time. Now as we file our taxes, it is thought that less than half of those who had Unemployment income had their taxes withheld. This can lead to a great shock when those Federal Tax Returns are filed. All of that income is taxable, including the enhanced federal payments that were available most of the year. This can lead to tens of thousands of dollars in taxes owed this year.           If you are still collecting Unemployment Benefits, check your withholding. There should be a simple option that allows you to voluntarily withhold the necessary amount to avoid any unwanted surprises next year. If you are unsure of what your status is, you can always check with your Qualified Tax Professional .

The IRS Sheds New Light on the Use of COVID-19 Relief Programs

          One of the lifelines for Small Businesses last year was the Paycheck Protection Program ( PPP ). There was also the Employee Retention Credit ( ERC ). Both were a part of the CARES Act in March 2020. Until the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of December 2020, they were essentially treated as separate. A business would have had to choose between one or the other. Now they can participate in both and the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) has released guidance on this subject.           Getting involved in both forms of relief is certainly an attractive option to most businesses. However, there is no “one size fits all” path to COVID-19 relief. PPP funds are still very difficult to acquire and this guidance allowing for ERC use is still new. Keeping good records and talking to your Qualified Tax Professional is essential at this point. This is a situation that is constantly changing, with more IRS guidance likely to come soon.

Worried About an Audit?

          This year looks like it will be a more difficult Tax Season than last year. For one reason, determining COIVD-19 relief has made things a bit more complicated for some Taxpayers. Chances are there will probably be more mistakes made because of that. Will that lead to more audits?           That is very unlikely. The percentage of audits has actually gone down in recent years, but the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) has the right to audit up to 3 years after a Tax Return in question has been filed. If a mistake is made, an income discrepancy notice will probably be sent. This might be because the income reported in a Tax Return and documents the IRS has on file do not match. For those with a Small Business, they may want a closer look at your business deductions. You may be claiming a tax credit that you now qualify for, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit ( EITC ). Due to past abuse by many Taxpayers, those who claim this credit are always scrutinized closely and their