2020: The year April 15 didn't matter.
The coronavirus exploded exponentially across the United States in March, prompting, among other actions, myriad tax changes. The biggest, at least as far as affecting the broadest swath of taxpayers, is the decision by the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service to push April 15 Tax Day to July 15.
Yay! An extra 90 days to file our 2019 tax returns. That means we can direct all our usual April tax panic energy toward our social distancing and remote efforts.
But even amid your/our new COVID-19 routine, we still need to work on our taxes so that July 15 doesn't sneak up on us. Or to make whatever moves we can to make our 2020 taxes less painful.
So here goes, with the ol' blog's first ever full month of April tax filing season tips. As with its predecessors, these April pieces of tax advice are highlighted in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
After their newly extended time in the spotlight, the April tips then will be permanently ensconced on this page. But that collection journey has to start with a first step, so here goes!
- 5 tax moves to make this abnormal April — It's April, but it's no longer the month in which our taxes are due. The coronavirus and our efforts to slow its spread have disrupted our tax and regular lives. But in an effort to try to hold onto some semblance of normalcy, here are five tax moves for these decidedly abnormal times. (April 1, 2020)
- Retirees will get COVID-19 payments directly — After first saying senior citizens would have to file a special tax return to get COVID-19 payments, Treasury reversed course. The Internal Revenue Service now will send the money automatically to eligible Social Security recipients. (April 2, 2020)
- Beware COVID-19 tax scams — The coronavirus economic relief payments are about to go out. The IRS warns that scammers already are looking at ways they can steal them. Don't fall for any of these COVID-19 cons. (April 3, 2020)
- Don't overlook 'normal' tax tips — Tax season 2020 definitely is not normal, but we still need to pay attention to some long-standing tax tips when we file our returns this year. Here are a dozen that haven't been changed by coronavirus considerations. (April 4, 2020)
- Innocent/injured spouse filings for at-odds filing couples — Do you and your spouse have differences that extend to your taxes? In some cases, spouses that find they come out short in questionable joint filing situations can apply for innocent or injured spouse relief. (April 7, 2020)
- July 15 tax deadline expanded — More taxpayers get to mark July 15 on their calendars. That's the official new Tax Day for even more tax actions after the Internal Revenue Service officially expands the 2020 tax filing season due date. (April 11, 2020)
- IRS online tool helps nonfilers get COVID-19 payments — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the Internal Revenue Service is expected to directly deposit COVID-19 economic relief payments to 80 million accounts by April 15. If yours isn't among that group because you didn't file a 2018 or 2019 return, use the IRS' new online tool to file a simplified return and get in the payment line. (April 13, 2020)
- July 15 also is Tax Day in most states — Most Americans file state tax returns in addition to their federal Form 1040. The good news is that most of the 43 states and District of Columbia with individual income taxes are following the Internal Revenue Service decision in coronavirus tax time to push their state Tax Day deadlines to July 15, too. (April 14, 2020)
- Track your COVID-19 payment…if you can — The Internal Revenue Service's online tool to track COVID-19 economic relief payments is live. The IRS says it is working as planned, but some filers (including me!) are still reporting access issues. Give it a try. And good luck! (April 15, 2020)
- Audit, collection and EITC actions on COVID-19 hold — In addition to pushing back Tax Day 2020 to July 15, the Internal Revenue Service has established a People First initiative. Part of the program delays some collection and audit actions throughout the extension period. The same leniency is being afforded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) claims under IRS review. But once things go back to whatever is the new world, life and tax normal, every taxpayer needs to be ready to answer IRS examiner questions. (April 17, 2020)
- Estimated tax calculation options — The first two estimated tax payments for 2020 aren't due until July 15 thanks to Internal Revenue Service coronavirus precautions. But you still need to look now at how much you owe and what method you use to calculate all your 1040-ES amounts. (April 20, 2020)
- FSA OTC Rx rule axed — The COVID-19 law that created the economic relief payments also included an expansion to and key change in the reimbursement process of tax-favored medical accounts, such as flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). Allowable reimbursable items from these plans now include menstrual products. And for all account holders, over-the-counter (OTC) medications no longer need a doctor's prescription. (April 22, 2020)
- Make sure your COVID-19 check is real — Some coronavirus economic relief payments will be sent as paper checks from the U.S. Treasury. These 6 tips can help you make sure your COVID-19 check is real. (April 25, 2020)
- Beware COVID-19 paper check scams — Coronavirus economic relief payment Treasury checks are in the mail. That means that scams related to them also are escalating. Since the U.S. Postal Service is delivering these paper checks, its Postal Inspectors are warning of common COVID-19 economic relief payment check scams and how to avoid becoming a victim. (April 26, 2020)
- Get My Payment tracking tool updated — Did you (like me) run into problems getting info from the Internal Revenue Service's original version of its Get My Payment COVID-19 economic relief tracking tool? Try it again. The IRS has made some upgrades and it's now working for more people. (April 27, 2020)
- Inventory your property before disaster strikes — Spring storms are wreaking havoc across much of the United States. Hurricane season is on the way. Wildfires and earthquakes strike year-round. Don't wait for a disaster. Prepare now, including taking a pre-disaster inventory that can help when you file insurance and/or potential tax deduction claims. (April 28, 2020)
- Tax help for the unemployed and uninsured — Losing a job is a double hit for many. In addition to dealing with no income, they also lose their company-provided healthcare coverage. The premium tax credit might help pay for a replacement medical policy. (April 30, 2020)
Just getting started on your taxes? No problem. You can find the previous months' collected tax wisdom by clicking the links below.
And yes, you can click on May, June and June, too, but you'll just find a guy telling you to whoa up. We're not there yet. Rest assured, those tips will be added as those months arrive.
|Coronavirus Caveat & More Information
In 2020, we're all dealing with extraordinary circumstances,
both in our daily lives and when it comes to our taxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its transmission
and protect ourselves and our families means that,
for the most part, we're focusing on just getting through these trying days.
But life as we knew it before the coronavirus will return,
along with our mundane tax matters.
Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime, you can find more on the virus and its effects on our taxes
by clicking Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes.