Coronavirus COVID-19 Feed

An aerial view of planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. (Photo by Miguel Ángel Sanz on Unsplash) It will be a while before we get a final accounting of the COVID-19 pandemic costs, but last week we some good and bad tax-related figures connected to the health crisis. On the negative side of the ledger, there are the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. This program that helped businesses keep workers on payroll in 2020 and 2021, but a rash of post-pandemic claims has cost the U.S. Treasury, at last count, $230 billion. There is, however,... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) was created to help businesses stay afloat and keep staff on the payroll during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Basically, this tax credit’s benefits — thousands of dollars per employee that eligible companies kept paying — were for the 2020 and 2021 tax years. It has turned into a major tax headache, for both businesses and the Internal Revenue Service. But, says the IRS, it has made progress on evaluating the plethora of claims filed after the pandemic’s peak. And it has some good news for small businesses... Read more →


There’s good news for the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to get rid of as much paper as possible. The agency’s Document Upload Tool, or DUT, recently received its 1 millionth taxpayer submission. The online option lets taxpayers and tax professionals respond digitally to a wide range of tax issues. One of those issues is potentially underreported income, which prompts the IRS to issue Notice CP2000. With the DUT, taxpayers or their preparers can easily scan the material that answers the notice’s questions and electronically submit it to the agency, said the IRS. DUT growth: The upload tool was launched in... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska The Internal Revenue Service is about to turn out the lights on the 2020 tax refund party. The chance to get your part of more than $1 billion in unclaimed tax money ends on Friday, May 17. The eligible refund recipients are an estimated 938,800 folks nationwide who didn’t, for a variety of reasons, file a 2020 tax return during the 2021 filing season. Tax law says nonfilers have three years to file and collect their refund money. So why didn’t their deadline come and go on this past April 15? You might recall that three... Read more →


Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all the moms out there got everything they wanted today. Of course, we should be grateful for all that our parents do for us every day of the year. In additional to the emotional support, moms (and dads) literally pay for parenthood. A recent calculation of the average cost to raise a child to age 18 came to $312,202. That figure is for a middle-class family, and doesn’t include college expenses. Yikes! Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow emeritus in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, told WTOP News that the true price could be... Read more →


Photo by Karolina Grabowska Millions of U.S. taxpayers are concentrating right now on their current tax return filing. But another sizeable group who didn't older returns also have some tax work to do. Almost 940,000 people across the nation have unclaimed refunds for tax year 2020. They missed out on that money because they didn't file a Form 1040 back in May 2021. They still have time to collect their part of the just more than $1 billion in old unclaimed refunds, but it's running out. The Internal Revenue Service says the median old, unclaimed refund amount from three years... Read more →


The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) helped many companies keep workers during the difficult COVID-19 pandemic days. But some ERC claims wrong, and the IRS is successfully recouping some of those incorrectly claimed and/or issued funds. The Internal Revenue Service closed out its Employee Retention Credit (ERC) Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) on Friday, March 22, on a high note. Going into the day, the VDP, which allowed those who got improper ERC payments to pay back most of the money, had produced more than $225 million from 500+ taxpayers. Another 800 submissions were still being processed, and even more being filed... Read more →


Are you having second thoughts about an ERC claim your company made? It so, it's time to review your records, and if you find you received an incorrect tax credit amount, let the IRS know by this Friday, March 22. (Photo by Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent) With the deadline to let the Internal Revenue Service know you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) fast approaching — it's this Friday, March 22 — business owners who are concerned need to act fast. Recipients of wrong payments can apply for the IRS' ERC Voluntary Disclosure Program by that deadline. If accepted, the businesses... Read more →


Did you discover you got an improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) payment? You still have time to get out of the tax jam by applying for the ERC voluntary disclosure program. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) ERC voluntary disclosure deadline is March 22 Last December, the Internal Revenue Service announced that businesses that received improper Employee Retention Credit (ERC) amounts could let the agency know about the error. In these cases, many of which were created when companies got bad tax advice from aggressive ERC promoters, the companies would have to repay only 80 percent of the... Read more →


The Recovery Rebate Credit also is available until April 15, 2025, for unclaimed 2021 tax year amounts. Economic impact payments, or EIPs, issued in 2020 and 2021 helped millions deal with the financial damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some people didn't get the coronavirus stimulus money to which they were entitled. These eligible individuals still have a chance to collect the cash by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit. But time is running out. The Internal Revenue Service is alerting those who didn't file a 2020 tax return need to complete that form and claim the COVID funds by... Read more →


Tax laws are full of unintended consequences. That became painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, when a variety of tax relief provisions were created to help individuals and businesses deal with the virus' economic effects. Such was the case with the Employee Retention Credit, or ERC. "The ERC provided a financial lifeline to millions of businesses and exempt organizations during the pandemic," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in his prepared testimony for the Feb. 15 hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. "The IRS has worked hard to implement this credit, and we have processed about 3.6 million ERC... Read more →


Unsplash+ in collaboration with Planet Volumes In July 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had charged 22 individuals in connection with an allegedly fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan scheme that sought to defraud the federal government of $11.1 million. On Thursday, Feb. 15, two Georgians who were charged three years ago were convicted for their roles in the scheme. A 42-year-old Decatur man was convicted by a federal jury of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, making false statements to a federally insured financial institution, and money laundering in connection with 14... Read more →


Only 80% of wrongly-claimed Employee Retention Credit amounts must be repaid. Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash We're all aware of the continuing medical issues from long COVID. The coronavirus' tax effects appear to be just as persistent. The Internal Revenue Service is still dealing with law changes enacted to provide pandemic relief. The Employee Retention Credit, or ERC, is one of them. This refundable business tax credit was designed for companies that continued paying employees during the COVID-19 pandemic despite financial hardship. To qualify, the businesses were either fully or partially suspended due to a government order, or had... Read more →


To ensure you have the type of retirement you want, you must do some calculations, including figuring how your required minimum distributions fit in, financially and tax-wise. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Retirement savings can make a big difference in how enjoyable your post-work years will be. If you have tax-deferred retirement accounts, those savings also present new tax responsibilities once you reach a certain age. Some money in a traditional IRA that's been out of the Internal Revenue Service's reach for years must be taken out as a required minimum distribution, or RMD. Uncle Sam also... Read more →


This pup looks like he's asking it it's time to open gifts. (Photo by Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Next Monday morning, Dec. 25, many families will welcome a new member. I'm talking, of course, about a pet. A puppy, kitten, or other pet of any type of age can be a wonderful addition to a home. Pros and cons of pets as presents: But many animal groups and veterinarians warn against giving a pet, especially as a surprise, during the holidays. This already is a stressful time for many, and if everyone who will be involved in the... Read more →


Most of us are wrapping up year-end tax tasks (in between wrapping presents!). Others, and there is some overlap, are getting ready for the New Year and the start of the 2024 tax filing season. And some of us are still dealing with 2020 and 2021 tax issues. In many of these years-old cases, the issue is tax penalties assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic chaos that affected normal tax filing and processing. Today, the Internal Revenue Service announced it is providing $1 billion in penalty relief to those taxpayers, who number around 4.7 million. The relief receiving taxpayers include individuals,... Read more →


Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash 🌟 Billions of dollars in fraud. 🌟 Victims across the globe. 🌟 🌟 Criminals who are all about personal gain. 🌟 No, that's not the opening voiceover in a trailer for a new Netflix true crime series, although I'd watch it if it were. It's from IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee's comments on his unit's top 10 cases of 2023. Those three opening elements, said Lee, are the crux of CI's biggest busts last year. "When I say our team at CI is the best at following the money trail, I mean it,"... Read more →


Shopping with your true love can be fun, but you'll probably have to make a separate, solo trip so you can surprise your partner. And if you want to buy any or all of the true love gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas" carol, you also will want to make sure you have lots of cash or a large credit card limit. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) Even though inflation has slowed this year, Americans are still grumbling about prices. But it hasn't slowed holiday shopping. More than 200 million people went in search of perfect... Read more →


The only thing worse than being sick is not having health insurance that will cover your medical costs to get well. (Photo via Unsplash+ in collaboration with Getty Images) The current frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination surprised his party and most of the country last month when he declared he would again try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if he gets back into the White House . Even if Donald J. Trump's swipe at Obamacare, as the health care program still is known, is more than just campaign rhetoric, the reality of repeal is difficult.... Read more →


More than 20,000 businesses are about to learn how serious the Internal Revenue Service is about stopping questionable Employee Retention Credit (ERC) claims. The tax agency has sent them a letter notifying them that they won't be getting the COVID-19 pandemic tax relief. Many of the claims were filed by ERC mills that have aggressively promoted the tax relief, often to businesses that did not qualify. The amount of such questionable claims prompted the IRS in September to stop processing all new claims. This first round of IRS letters to some of those who did file for the ERC is... Read more →