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June 2020

The tax agency has made it clear that the July 15 filing deadline is firm. But you still can get an extension to file, giving you until Oct. 15 to submit your Form 1040. Just ask for it by July 15. Plus, there other filing extension options (and forms on this Tax Form Tuesday!) for other tax circumstances. If you were hoping the Internal Revenue Service would push Tax Day 2020 beyond July 15, sorry. The agency says the already-delayed filing and tax paying deadline for 2019 returns is firm. When the IRS announced that decision late Monday afternoon (or... Read more →


Erin M. Collins took over as National Taxpayer Advocate on March 30, just as the United States was coming to grips with the coronavirus, so it's no surprise that the pandemic and its effects on taxes are part of her first official report to Congress. "Starting in the midst of a pandemic and witnessing IRS offices closing one by one was not the way I envisioned my role when I accepted the position," wrote Collins in the report's preface. But, added Collins, there's been a silver lining. In conference calls with her leadership team, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) employees and... Read more →


A recent government survey found most people are spending their COVID stimulus money on necessities, like food. (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels) What did you do with your COVID-19 economic impact payment (EIP)? If you're like most of the folks who responded to a U.S. Census Bureau survey, you used it to pay household bills. Many in the White House and on Capitol Hill had hoped the funds would help jump-start the stalled economy and then keep it going as businesses started to reopen. Looks like that's a big sorry on both counts. Instead, it appears, at least in... Read more →


A new study says young people looking for summer jobs should see more of these signs, just later in the season. Summer is so different this year. That's especially true for young people, who, depending on their ages, look forward to just messing around, going to camp or getting a job. Most kiddos already have been messing around for months. Hey, parents who are trying to telecommute (or really commute if they have essential jobs) and also home school during a global pandemic can only do so much! On the camp front, many overnight camps are still closed, but some... Read more →


If you're still waiting for your federal tax refund, the Internal Revenue Service has a bit of good news for you. When you finally get the amount that you overpaid on your 2019 taxes, Uncle Sam will tack on a bit on interest to make up for your wait. Actually, it's more than a bit if you compare it to current interest rates for most accounts. The IRS this week announced this week that it will be paying a 5 percent annual interest rate on refunds issued between April 15 and June 30. Since the IRS adjusts its interest earning... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service has offices nationwide, like this one in New York City. They were closed, at least partially, earlier this year as the agency took steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Now the IRS is calling back more of its workers to deal with the impending July 15 Tax Day. (Photo by Matthew Bisanz via Wikipedia Commons) As Tax Day 2020 nears, the Internal Revenue Service is bringing back more staff — thousands are expected back at their desks on Monday, June 29 — to deal with the added tasks that have been given the agency in... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels The last few months have been interesting for older individuals exploring ways to make the most of their retirement money. This demographic got some more, and mostly good, news again this week. The Internal Revenue Service has decided they now have more time to return required retirement account withdrawals they made earlier this year. Retirement savers' law changes: The tax-related retirement news started in December 2019 with the enactment of the wide-ranging retirement reform measure. The so-called SECURE Act, as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act is called, moved the age... Read more →


Did you get your COVID-19 stimulus money, either as direct deposit, debit card or a check like this? If so, you also should have received a letter discussing the payment and amount. The IRS says you need to keep that letter in your tax files. Congress might be working on another round of COVID-19 economic relief payment (EIPs). I say might because although the House in mid-May approved the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act and its provisions for even more stimulus money, the Senate and White House are dragging their heels. Not quite the max: Democrats,... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service announced in late May that it had sent out more than 152 COVID-19 economic relief payments totaling almost $258 billion Some coronavirus cash, however, went to folks that weren't supposed to get it. This includes relief payments to deceased taxpayers, some foreign-based workers and incarcerated individuals, as well as those married to someone who is in prison. Request, not demand: The IRS wants these folks to send back their stimulus money, although there's no indication, either legislatively or regulatorily, that the agency has any authority to require it. There's also the question of how it would... Read more →


Reviewed and updated June 21, 2021, with special attention on new Advance Child Tax Credit payments There are an estimated 72 million fathers in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's latest complete data, which is for 2014. Last year, say the country's official statisticians, around 24 million of these men were in married relationships where they and their spouses were raising children younger than age 18. Another 2 million men in 2019 were single fathers. On Father's Day 2020, these men doing the critical child care job alone earn this week's By the Numbers honors. (Check out... Read more →


Tax professionals have always played an important role in the lives of taxpayers. Their value has been underscored during coronavirus tax time, with the many new COVID-19 tax laws. (Yes, I'm looking at you Paycheck Protection Program.) But, as with just about every aspect of life, tax preparers aren't perfect. Specifically, some let their own tax tasks slide, according to a recently released Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) review. In reviewing Internal Revenue Service data, TIGTA uncovered 10,495 preparers who prepared more than 2 million 2016 tax year returns for clients, but who but did not file their... Read more →


Photo by Chris F from Pexels Are you taking dad out for a Father's Day brunch, in a properly-precautioned restaurant of course, complete with toasts to what a great pop he's been? Or maybe giving him a bottle of his favorite whiskey? Here's a present for you, the potent potables purchaser. A new study says alcohol taxes are at historic lows. No, it's not because alcohol excise taxes have been statutorily reduced. Fan of single malts can thank inflation. Or rather the lack of it. The new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) just published in the... Read more →


The House-passed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act called for more a second round of COVID-19 stimulus checks. The Senate is starting to come around to the idea. But some folks are still waiting for their original coronavirus economic impact payments (EIPs), which were authorized in late March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those initial COVID-19 payments could be as much as $1,200 for qualifying individuals or $2,400 for eligible married couples. Parents also could get $500 for each qualifying child who's younger than 17 at the end of this... Read more →


The Trump Administration plans in the next few weeks to announce a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, according to Bloomberg and Financial Times. The proposed spending on roads and bridges is seen as a way to further jump start the COVID-19 hobbled U.S. economy. The money reportedly would be spent over 10 years, but those familiar with the White House thinking say the plan is still "fluid and could take time." It also would go head-to-head with not only a sizable Democratic highway bill now before a House subcommittee, but also a GOP version that cleared the Senate last summer. Mapping... Read more →


Rhode Island's flag offers hope. Its individual tax return offers other emotional indicators. It's less than a month until federal Tax Day 2020, which everyone knows was moved to July 15 to accommodate the disruptions, tax and otherwise, of COVID-19 to our lives. That date also is when most folks who also must pay state income tax also have to get those forms to their state tax officials. Like federal filings, most states allow — nay, encourage — their taxpayers to submit their taxes electronically. And most of those states also have given their taxpayers until July 15 to file... Read more →


One of the reasons the Internal Revenue Service has called more of its staff back to their offices is so they can deal with the backlog of tax notices. When the agency sent most personnel home earlier this year as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, some previously-printed balance due notices didn't get mailed. Now with some IRS operations restarting across the county, these notices will be delivered to taxpayers by the U.S. Postal Service in the next few weeks. Original notices, old dates: These notices, however, won't be updated versions produced by staffers who now are back at their desks. They... Read more →


Thousands more Internal Revenue Service employees are will be back in their offices this month, starting Monday, June 15. They're the second wave of IRS staff to return to work after the agency in mid-March sent more than half of its 81,000 staff home as a way to help slow the spread of COVID-19. More than 10,000 IRS workers in Kentucky, Texas and Utah were called back on June 1, primarily to deal with the million-plus pieces of U.S. Postal Service mail that had piled up in their absence. Those returning to their offices tomorrow are IRS personnel in Georgia,... Read more →


As the United States struggles to recover from COVID-19 closures, there's talk of a new tax credit for individual taxpayers to encourage them to eat out or travel. (Photo by Adrienn via Pexels) How stir crazy are you after months of COVID-19 quarantine, either self- or government-imposed? For millions of folks, the answer is pretty freakin' fed up with being stuck at home. I feel your closed-in pain. The hubby and I aren't big socializers, but even we are reaching our limit. This morning we went for a drive beyond just our local grocery and drug stores. Our face masks... Read more →


Looking for some weekend or beyond tax reading? Then check out the latest Internal Revenue Service Research Bulletin. Notice that I didn't say light tax reading. This collection of papers presented last June at the 9th Annual Joint Research Conference on Tax Administration, an event cosponsored by the IRS and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, is 252 pages. And some of the topics can be dense. The presenters and attendees at the 2019 conference, both in persona and online, included researchers from many areas of the IRS, officials from other government agencies and academic and private sector experts on tax... Read more →


Free File is under fire again. The annual tax season program, in which some tax software programs participate via a special Internal Revenue Service website, was created 17 years ago to offer no-cost tax filing to low-to-middle income taxpayers. The current agreement private/public tax filing deal is in place through Oct. 31, 2021. This year, eligible taxpayers — that's those with adjusted gross incomes of $69,000 or less, regardless of filing status — can use Free File to meet the coronavirus-delay July 15 tax filing and payment deadline. Those who decided to get an extension can use Free File until... Read more →