Coronavirus COVID-19 Feed

No, that money from the Internal Revenue Service that just showed up in your bank account or snail mail box is not another COVID-19 economic impact payment. It's the result of the IRS working through tax returns that were filed before a new tax law that excludes a chunk of unemployment benefits from taxation. This week, the IRS announced that another 1.5 million taxpayers will get these unemployment-income-related refunds. The IRS says the average refund going out now is $1,686. COVID relief for the out-of-work: This is the latest round of refunds made to comply with changes in the American... Read more →


You got your first Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) this month. The added $300 for each of your kiddos age 5 or younger or $250 per child if your youngsters are age 6 through 17 is nice. But your 2021 financial situation has changed, and you've done the math. The calculations show that this COVID-19 relief money, authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and which the Internal Revenue Service is sending based on your 2020 tax year filing data, no longer applies. In fact, since you're making a bit more money this year, if you keep getting the AdvCTC... Read more →


Attention shoppers in Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Your states are holding back-to-school sales tax holidays this final weekend in July, and beyond for Sunshine State and Volunteer State tax bargain hunters. Retailers are getting ready for youngsters to return to classrooms. Shoppers are getting ready for tax-free savings on school supplies and more. (Photo by Kay Bell) Despite a surge among unvaccinated of the COVID-19 Delta variant, most schools are making plans to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Retailers also are joining the back-to-school parties. This year, 18 states scheduled sales tax-free events, most of them... Read more →


Just about a month ago, the Internal Revenue Service reportedly had a backlog of more than 35 million individual and business returns that required manual processing. That was up from 29 million back in April. Last week, however, the IRS said it's essentially caught up with early season individual filings. Hey, don't shoot the messenger. That's the official word from the IRS, via its special IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue webpage. In a July 23 update to a portion of the What You Can Expect section of that site, the tax agency says it "is opening mail within... Read more →


The newly built Japan National Stadium in Tokyo will host the 2020 Summer Olympics opening ceremonies on July 23, 2021, as well as some of the COVID-delayed games' events. (Photo by Arne Müseler via Wikipedia Commons) The 2020 Olympics from Tokyo officially start on Friday, July 23. No, the opening ceremonies arriving after some events' preliminary matches have already been played doesn't mean we get do-overs. Sorry, women's U.S. soccer team. Yes, the global sporting event is keeping last year's designation for continuity's sake, as well as not having to go to the expense of reproducing material created before the... Read more →


Everybody needs some help now and then. On Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24, the Internal Revenue Service is providing assistance to those in 16 metropolitan areas who need to file a 2020 tax return so they can get various COVID-19 relief payments. The first of six scheduled Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments hit bank accounts and U.S. Postal Service boxes last week. The bulk of these initial payments — the Internal Revenue Service says it sent out $15 billion to about 35 million families — were dispersed automatically. The recipients, who had previously filed returns or used... Read more →


It's mid-July, a particularly important date this year for parents. No, I'm not talking about the Advance Child Tax Credit payments that started going out today. I'm talking about the imminent arrival of the 2021-22 school year. With the COVID-19 pandemic somewhat under control — Be gone, Delta variant and everyone please get vaccinated! — schools across the country will be opening this year. Yes, that sound you hear over the internet is millions of parents celebrating. Tax holidays, too: That other sound you hear is taxpayers, both parents and child-free, celebrating, too, because the annual back-to-school tax holidays also... Read more →


July has become a big month for the Internal Revenue Service. Last year, in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, July 15 was the delayed regular tax return filing deadline. This year, July 15 is the kickoff date for Advance Child Tax Credit payments and resumption of some IRS collection and enforcement efforts. This summer month also a welcome time for folks who early in 2021 filed tax returns reporting all their 2020 unemployment benefits. The IRS announced today that around 4 million of those taxpayers are about to get refunds for their tax overpayments. Where the IRS has taxpayers'... Read more →


With companies reopening as the coronavirus has abated somewhat, rush-hour traffic has returned to highways across the United States. Austin area workers, like these on the Capital of Texas Highway, are among those resuming commuting. (Photo by Tony Webster via Flickr) Many workplaces across the United States are returning, at least in part, to pre-COVID-19 form. That means many employees are heading back to their offices. And that means commuting is returning, too. The good news for many workers is that they get tax-free help in going back to their jobs. Since it's been a while between bus, train, vanpool... Read more →


Cleaning up after customers. (Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels) Some businesses reopening after the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have struggled to hire workers. The big debate is whether coronavirus relief, primarily Uncle Sam's added unemployment benefits, or low wages is why so many jobs are going unfilled. That argument is likely to continue, along with the Congressional battle to raise the federal minimum wage. Earlier this year, the effort to increase it from $7.25 per hour to $15 an hour failed. Some state, city minimum wages hiked: Wage increase advocates, however, have had more success at other governmental... Read more →


Your youngster might not have enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks (I'm right there with you, kiddo, when it come to the noise!), but your son or daughter could make you eligible for Advance Child Tax Credit payments starting this month. Hello, July! Yeah, I know my welcome to the first full month of summer is a bit late. But admit it. You don't really focus on the month either until after July 4th. Since it's the midpoint of the tax year, July usually is a great time to look into some tax saving tasks (more on this a bit... Read more →


The COVID-19 pandemic presented new opportunities for crooks, as noted in yesterday's post on the first group of 2021's Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. Today, however, we're back with the golden oldies, as in trying to steal your gold. And your identity. These Personal Information Cons use a variety of techniques that have been around for years. There's phishing, its cousin voice phishing or vishing, Internal Revenue Service impersonators, social media trolling and tricks, and ransomware. Regardless of which illegal method is used, the goal is the same. Criminals try to get as much of your personal information as possible, including... Read more →


It's Dirty Dozen Week at the Internal Revenue Service. That's right, a week of examining the 12 most common and/or worst tax scams that have cropped up over the last year. I've been blogging about the annual IRS scam list for as long as Don't Mess With Taxes has been around. Sadly, some of the scams that I noted in my first list post back in the spring of 2006 — phishing for taxpayer identity details, fake charities, unscrupulous tax preparers — tend to show up year after year. You can see the repeat offenders in the 2019 and 2020... Read more →


Photo by 竟傲 汤 from Pexels Texas is pretty much open. Even my local grocery store, which for almost a... Read more →


Need help filing a 2020 tax return so you can get Advance Child Tax Credit payments? The IRS and community groups in 12 metro areas are holding events to help you do just that. In a few weeks, the Internal Revenue Service will start sending out advance payments of the Child Tax Credit. The early credit amounts will go out automatically to taxpayers who, based on their 2019 or 2020 tax filing data in the IRS system, qualify for the family-friendly tax break. But not everyone who's eligible for the Child Tax Credit, which generally will be $300 a month... Read more →


Advance payments this year of some of 2021's Child Tax Credit amounts can be a nice helping hand for some families. But the early distributions aren't for everyone. Those who want to wait to claim the tax break when they file in 2022 can go online to let the IRS know they'd rather wait. (Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas via Pexels) The Internal Revenue Service is finalizing distribution of advance payments for the last half of 2021 to families that qualify for the newly enhanced Child Tax Credit. The Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) payments of $250 or $300... Read more →


Almost 40 million U.S. families could get monthly Child Tax Credit payments this year. The extra money no doubt would be a big help, but some might discover they have to pay back the advanced amounts when they file their 2021 tax returns. (Photo by August de Richelieu via Pexels) You're fully vaccinated. Your company is open again, with everyone returning to the office. You got your kiddos, who also got jabbed, into a summer day camp. Hello, sort of normal summer! Even better, you're about to get some added monthly cash from Uncle Sam thanks to early Child Tax... Read more →


Being a parent is tough when there are two adults to share the responsibilities. Child rearing sometimes is darn nigh impossible when there's just a single parent in charge. Most single-parent families are headed by mothers. But there's a substantial number of dads facing these challenges, too. U.S. Census Bureau data show that of the 35 million fathers of minor children, 1.7 million, or roughly 2 percent, are single fathers living with at least one child younger than 18. On Father's Day 2021, we salute all you nearly 2 million dads who are doing your best to take care on... Read more →


If a new piece of legislation is enacted, these two youngsters might bring their classroom enthusiasm to the accounting profession. Tax professionals have been unsung heroes for the last two tax filing seasons. They've dealt with complicated and often last-minute tax law changes created to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic's economic problems. Not only did they have to decipher and apply the changes, tax pros had to explain them to their clients and, in many cases, hand hold taxpayers through the process more than usual. Plus, this all happened as tax deadlines were upended by the coronavirus and multiple major... Read more →


More tourists, including American travelers, are expected this year at the Louvre and other European destinations as countries continue to get a better handle on the coronavirus. (Photo by Dimitry Anikin from Pexels) Most Americans are looking forward July 4th to celebrations this year like the ones they enjoyed pre-COVID. The vaccinated hubby and I are among that group, although I admit that last year's fireworks free festivities were fine with us. Others, however, are planning on declaring their coronavirus independence in a global fashion. The European Union (EU) plans a gradual and partial easing of its international travel ban... Read more →