Coronavirus COVID-19 Feed

Unemployment benefits can help relieve some of the sting of losing your job. But there are downsides. The monthly amounts again are fully taxable. And during the COVID pandemic, criminals have had a field day getting fraudulent payments, and causing tax troubles for those individuals whose identities they stole. The COVID-19 pandemic and employment still are inextricably linked. When the coronavirus hit the United States in 2020, the concern was for the companies that had to shut down, and their employees who suddenly were without paychecks. Congress passed a series of COVID relief bills that provided relief options for companies... Read more →


The Child Tax Credit (CTC), already a popular tax break, was enhanced for the 2021 tax year. In addition to being larger — up to $3,600 for each child younger 6 and up to $3,000 for each youngster age 6 through 17 instead up the usual $2,000 per qualifying child — it was available to more families. Most eligible households got half of their qualifying CTC amount last year as monthly advance payments. They were sent automatically to taxpayers who had filed returns in prior years. Families who didn't have to file, usually because they earned less than the amount... Read more →


With Tax Day over, most U.S. taxpayers are done with their annual Internal Revenue Service interaction. Some, however, are dealing with non-filing issues. For those who need help resolving those tax matters, the IRS is opening some Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) doors across the United States for one more Saturday. This coming one. May 14. TACs in 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, will be open and offering face-to-face help from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (local time) on Saturday. Unlike other TAC sessions that require weekday appointments, there's no need for such scheduling on May 14... Read more →


For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. The theme for this year's week, which wraps up today, May 7, is Building a Better America Through Entrepreneurship. As part of the May 1 through 7 recognition of small businesses, SBA Administrator Guzman visited nine cities across the United States to participate in, along with SBA local office personnel and local elected officials, celebrations of the country's 32.5 million small businesses. Since taxes are a critical component of small businesses, the... Read more →


Back in the classroom. (Photo by Max Fischer) Today, Tuesday, May 3, 2022, is annual National Teacher Appreciation Day. It's actually part of a full week focusing on saying thanks to the men and women who are dedicated to educating young (and older) people. And it got President Joe Biden's official acknowledgement, which isn't a surprise since First Lady Dr. Jill Biden is a community college educator. The teaching profession has always been challenging. I personally saw how much time, effort, and love my grandmother put into being a first-grade teacher. She did that labor of love for almost six... Read more →


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio These last 2+ years of lingering coronavirus pandemic have prompted some folks to become more adventurous. They've done isolation 180s, now opting to hit the road. Some have even gone as far as to move far, far away from their homes. When U.S. residents make international moves for work, there's one part of the country they keep. They still must file tax returns and pay tax to Treasury on their overseas earnings. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the memento from home you wanted to take on your travels. The good news, though, is that Uncle Sam... Read more →


The inflation we're experiencing right now is truly a pain. Thank goodness most of my driving is my weekly trip to the grocery store, but those bills have almost doubled. However, the current inflation level does have one, tiny bright spot for folks who have a specific type of health care coverage. It's bumping up tax benefits for individuals who have a high deductible health plan (HDHP) and associated health savings account (HSA). HDHP coverage has grown in popularity as health care costs kept rising, even before this historic inflation increase. As the name indicates, these plan enrollees face more... Read more →


It's likely to be a long road getting to free filing offered directly by the IRS. (Photo by Christopher Paquette via Flickr CC) With the bulk of the annual tax-filing season over, it's time for the regular autopsies of how things went. Much attention is rightfully focused on the Internal Revenue Service's continuing problems in digging out of the 2020 and 2021 backlogs exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic protocols. But this year, the ways we taxpayers get our returns to the overloaded IRS also is getting a lot of attention. The chorus calling for the IRS to cut out the tax... Read more →


Photo by cottonbro from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2022. Those who submitted tax returns have been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe it's time to give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought. Here are 5 tax matters to consider so that you can completely clear your 2021 tax year decks. 1. Review your payroll withholding: The IRS reminds us every year that most taxpayers get refunds. That's because a lot of filers plan it that way. They overwithhold taxes from their paychecks as a forced savings account.... Read more →


Most U.S. taxpayers made it through Tax Day 2022. They either filed their 1040 forms, or they got an extension to submit their returns by Oct. 17. The Internal Revenue Service reported that by April 15, which usually is the annual filing deadline, but was pushed to the next business day by Washington, D.C.'s Emancipation Day holiday, it had received more than 122.5 million returns. That's around 73 percent of the people who filed in 2020 and 2021, when filings exceeded historical averages. The count was higher those years because people who normally weren't required to send in a return... Read more →


Every Tax Day, millions of Americans complain about how much money they hand over to the U.S. government and how Uncle Sam spends it. OK, that's every day. But seeing the actual personal numbers on Form 1040 tends get people to focus. That's why the National Priorities Project (NPP), a Northampton, Massachusetts-based nonprofit that for almost 40 years has analyzed federal revenue and spending data, issues an annual receipt of where our tax dollars, primarily from individual income taxes, go. Source: NPP and White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Coronavirus shift: The military usually commands a major portion... Read more →


via GIPHY So, you missed Tax Day. It happens. Don't panic. But don't dawdle. The Internal Revenue Service is serious about wanting your tax forms and, of course, any taxes you owe. If you miss the annual deadline, regardless of exactly when it falls, then you'll likely end up facing filing-related penalties, the harshest of which is for not filing at all. Below are four things you need to do now to get out of that penalty jam with as little damage as possible. Plus, there's a fifth tax move that could pay off for folks who aren't legally required... Read more →


Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. via Pexels Filing status is one of those tax matters that seems so simple, but which often trips up taxpayers in real life. As noted (shameless plug warning) in my 5 filing status choices item for the April Tax Tips page, most folks' status stays the same from tax year to tax year. But a change (or two, or more) in your personal situation could mean you need to revisit how you file your return. The head of household (HoH) status is a frequent source of confusion. Here, an unmarried person takes care of the... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


You have a mortgage that, even after refinancing at a lower rate, racks up a substantial interest bill. That home's property taxes were pretty hefty, too. (Note to self: Next appraisal period, protest the assessment.) Don't even start with your state — and county and city — income taxes. But at least your good salary meant you were able to be really generous. All those factors could mean you're in the tax-filing minority that finds itemizing expenses will get you a larger deduction than the standard amount. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your... Read more →


Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels Millions of taxpayers and buckling down to complete their 2021 tax returns by April 18. Some, however, might want to also mark April 9 on their calendars. It's the third Saturday in this filing season where certain Internal Revenue Service Taxpayer Assistance Centers will be open. That day, 40 IRS TACs in 24 states, as well as offices in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, will be open for in-person guidance. Normally, TACs are only open by appointment on weekdays. But on Saturday, April 9, taxpayers don't have to make an appointment. TAC... Read more →


Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work. Millions who lost earnings when the coronavirus cut their workplace hours filled the fiscal gap with gig jobs. Others left their wage-paying work entirely, opting to start their own businesses. That's meant these entrepreneurs are facing self-employment tax tasks for the first time. It also means many of them are claiming their first home office tax deduction. And that tax-saving break itself means one more tax decision. Are you going to use the regular home office deduction, or go with the simplified method? As with most things tax,... Read more →


You need to follow your doctors' practice of keeping track of your medical records. Your documentation of your health care treatments and costs could pay off as valuable tax deductions. It's been a crazy couple of months for the hubby and me. In February, we headed to our local hospital's emergency room after he sustained a head injury. A month later, I apparently was too aggressive of a walker, ending up with a fracture of one of my toes. We're both healing, not as quickly as we'd like, but thankful that things weren't worse. Good podiatrist news: MRI showed fracture... Read more →


No-cost help fulfilling our annual tax-filing obligations has always been a better slogan than a reality. We are just about three weeks away from Tax Day 2022. This is our third consecutive coronavirus-tinge tax filing season, but things seem (fingers crossed!) to be going relatively well. As of March 18, the Internal Revenue Service had received more than 72 million returns. Almost 70 million of those 1040s arrived electronically. The IRS doesn't break out in its regular filing season statistics how many of the e-filings were submitted by users of its Free File option. That number, however, is likely to... Read more →


It's that time of filing season again. The Internal Revenue Service is reminding millions of people that they've left collective billions of dollars unrefunded. Yep, for a variety of reasons, every year people who are due tax refunds don't file the necessary tax paperwork to get their money. The U.S. Treasury holds on to it, but just for three years. If the due tax refunds aren't claimed within that time frame, Uncle Sam gets to keep the money. Forever. That means the claiming clock is ticking down for an estimated 1.5 million individuals who didn't file 2018 tax year returns... Read more →