Forms Feed

Happy Monday to Patriots' — I mean Buccaneers' — fans. Your man Tom Brady did it again. Instead of the usual sports league drug tests, can we get a DNA sample to prove that the man is human? It's an even happier Monday for all y'all who collected on Super Bowl LV bets, both the ones on the on-field match-up and all the goofy prop bets for things only peripherally related to the National Football League championship game. The Internal Revenue Service is happy for you, too, as long as you report those winning wagers on your tax return. All... Read more →


For the second consecutive year, millions of individual taxpayers aren't freaking out about their taxes as April 15 nears. That's because for the second consecutive year, the annual Tax Day has been postponed. But still, some folks are crashing right about now to get their 2020 filings done. That's because the Internal Revenue Service decision to move Tax Day 2021 from mid-April to May 17 applies only to individuals who must file income tax returns, aka the IRS' 1040 forms series. And some of these still have an April 15 deadline if they must pay estimated taxes for the 2021... Read more →


If it feels like you just filed required federal forms about your overseas financial holdings, you're probably right. Last year, as we all were working to adjust to the myriad tax (and life) changes precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of tax deadlines got pushed back. Some way back. One of those was the filing extension for Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, usually referred to as FBAR. Some individuals didn't have to submit this document until Dec. 31, 2020. Now FBAR filers are facing a new deadline. Next week. On Thursday, April 15. That's right. The... Read more →


Photo: RODNAE Productions via Pexels April 7 is National No Housework Day. I didn't realize that until #TaxTwitter pal Joe Kristan noted it at the end of his Eide Bailly LLP tax roundup blog post today. In my defense, I overlooked No Housework Day because that's basically every day for me. Oh, I do some household chores, but grudgingly. And I'm lucky. The hubby is a more diligent cleaner than I. That means we don't (so far) have a paid housekeeper. But some folks do. And depending on the arrangement, those who hire household help have some tax tasks to... Read more →


You lost your job last year and collected unemployment. You knew that the benefits are taxable income, so when you filed your 2020 tax return earlier this year, your calculations made sure that Uncle Sam got his piece of your unemployment money. Then along came the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), signed into law on March 11, and its provision excluding a portion of jobless benefits from tax. How do you get your overpaid unemployment taxes back? This week, the Internal Revenue Service followed up on its earlier announcement that filers shouldn't amend their 2020 returns because of the new... Read more →


Ah, college days. Studying, working between and after classes and now trying to avoid becoming a tax scam victim. (Photo by Tim Gouw via Unsplash) Many college students shoehorn jobs into their study schedules to help pay for their continuing educations. In addition to pocketing that cash throughout the year, many of these young workers also look forward at filing time to tax refunds from their jobs. So do crooks. The Internal Revenue Service today warned of an ongoing phishing scam in which the perpetrators are targeting education institutions, including students and staff with email addresses ending in the .edu... Read more →


The tax world is full of instances that are different from the real world. There are quarterly estimated tax payments that don't align with our standard calendar quarters. There are birthdays that are considered having been celebrated earlier when we get older. And now there are financial transactions that aren't financial transactions, at least when it comes to cryptocurrency. IRS has crypto questions: Cryptocurrency, often referred to generally as bitcoin (the Kleenex tissue of virtual money), has been a target of the Internal Revenue Service for years. Most recently, the agency has focused on getting taxes due on crypto transactions.... Read more →


Last March, parents were frantically searching for day camps to enroll their kiddos once school let out for the summer. Then COVID-19 arrived. Most camps shut down or dramatically pared back operations and parents added teacher and summer activity director to their already long list of de facto titles. We're still not sure whether or how many summer day camps will resume this year, but things are looking better thanks to expanding coronavirus vaccinations across the country. That means that parents might be able to once again take advantage of the child and dependent care credit in connection with certain... Read more →


The American Rescue Plan is now on its way to President Joe Biden. As soon as Biden signs it, millions of taxpayers can look forward to the third COVID-19 economic relief payment. And taxpayers who've already filed their 2020 returns and paid tax on unemployment benefits they received last year also can get ready to file amended returns. That's because during its consideration of the bill last week, the Senate included a provision that made the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits tax-free. UPDATE, Thursday, March 11, 2021: Biden signed the bill into law early in the afternoon today. He originally... Read more →


Being the boss can be fulfilling, exciting and, if profitable, mean more tax responsibilities, like paying self-employment taxes. (Photo by Zen Chung via Pexels.com) There are a lot more self-employed taxpayers this filing season, thanks to (you guessed it) the COVID-19 pandemic. People whose hours were reduced at their full-time jobs made up (or tried to) the lost income with side gigs. Others whose salaried positions were eliminated embraced their entrepreneurial spirit and became their own bosses. Now they are filing their tax returns for the first time with self-employment income. That, of course, means encountering another form, Schedule SE.... Read more →


In addition to looking for another job, folks who got unemployment benefits also have to deal with paying taxes on the payments and, in some cases, other complications. Unemployment benefits can be a lifesaver. That's been especially true during the year+ that we've been dealing with COVID-19 complications. Employers had to reduce services or close completely. In addition to the business costs, the establishments' workers were suddenly facing steep pay cuts or no pay at all. Congress has boosted state unemployment insurance (UI) benefits through much of the coronavirus pandemic. The latest federal UI add-on is set to expire in... Read more →


What's worse than getting an Internal Revenue Service notice? Getting a wrong IRS notice. That just happened to potentially more than a quarter million taxpayers. The IRS last week acknowledged that it sent approximately 260,000 taxpayers notices that they had failed to file return for the 2019 tax year. Some, perhaps many, of those mailings, officially known as CP59 notices, likely are incorrect. The reason is the same one we've all seen or used ourselves for the last 13 months: COVID-19. Pandemic processing delays: "Due to pandemic related shutdowns, the IRS has not completed processing all 2019 returns at this... Read more →


Just can't bring yourself to do your taxes? Don't worry. There's no rush (yet). And there are some good reasons to wait a bit before finishing your Form 1040. The 2021 tax filing season is finally underway. The Internal Revenue Service started processing returns on Friday, Feb. 12. A lot of the 1040 forms actually had been submitted electronically weeks earlier, and were just waiting for Uncle Sam to accept them. This is not unusual. Millions of taxpayers file as early as possible, with good reason, every year. But there's something to said for those of us who wait. Here... Read more →


Much of Texas got record snowfall on Feb. 14-15, with around 6 inches covering our backyard. Thank goodness for some much welcome sunshine today, but it's still below freezing, meaning our heater is working overtime! (Photo by Kay Bell) We have sunshine here in Central Texas! Still, the high temperature today in the greater Austin area is not expected to break the freezing mark. That means my home's heater is still in overdrive. And that means my next bill is going to be ginormous. The only consolation, is that I can count part of that heating bill as a home... Read more →


Tax Season 2021 is finally here! The Internal Revenue Service has started accepting tax returns and, more importantly, is now processing the filings as of today, Friday, Feb. 12. Millions have already filed. Most of them used tax software, either on their own or through the Free File program, which the IRS and its tax prep partners opened up a month ago. Those 1040 forms have been on hold. Now they've been transmitted to the IRS. Others, however, still have some work to do. We're waiting for some tax statements to straggle in, either to our snail mail or email... Read more →


I've always done my taxes. When the hubby and I married, I continued this annual task, now filing our joint return. The only change is that every tax season the hubby periodically peers over my shoulder as I work on our return and chants, "Deduct! Deduct! Deduct!" Although taxes aren't his thing, he's right. Deductions can help lower taxes. And for most of our marriage, we've found it better to itemize deductions on Schedule A. But even then, we've been able to use now and then what are known as above-the-line deductions. Back when these write-offs got that name, they... Read more →


We've always asked a lot of our teachers. We've been asking more during the COVID-19 pandemic. But at least they are getting a bit of tax help this filing season thanks to a tweak to the educators' tax break. Now teachers and other qualifying school personnel can count some coronavirus out-of-pocket expenses when they claim the $250 deduction on their returns. That added spending option was included last December's Consolidated Authorization Act, 2021 that combined government funding, COVID-19 relief and some expiring tax provisions. You might remember it as the bill that provided a second $600 economic impact payment. This... Read more →


Yes, I know very few filers use paper tax forms now. But even if you rely on tax software or a tax preparer, it's still worth a look at what's on Form 1040. There are some changes to the form and its three schedules for 2020 filings. (Photo by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr CC) The 2020 Form 1040 makes it official. The never-really-a-postcard individual tax return is dead. This filing season, set to officially begin on Feb. 12, taxpayers and preparers will see a Form 1040 that looks very much like the two-page version that we tax veterans used to call... Read more →


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the federal government's largest refundable federal income tax credit for low- to moderate-income workers. In 2020, more than 25 million taxpayers received over $62 billion in EITC. The average EITC amount received last year was $2,461 per return. The EITC also is regularly overlooked. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that one of five eligible taxpayers do not claim the credit. That oversight could change this filing season. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed millions of American workers into lower income brackets last year as their work was reduced. That could make them eligible for this... Read more →


We got our first tax statement yesterday. It's our mortgage lender's Form 1098 with details on potentially tax-deductible amounts like loan interest and property taxes. This is just one of the documents that millions of taxpayers are awaiting so they can file their returns. In addition to tax-related home transactions, the various documents that are or soon will be on their way include documents detailing income, be it from wages, contract work or retirement accounts; investments; winnings and/or gambling proceeds; and in some cases, health care information. A handful of these documents must be submitted with Form 1040. Most, however,... Read more →


Attention early tax return filers. The 2021 tax filing season now is officially, although only partially, open. UPDATE, Jan. 15, 11:20 a.m.: The full 2021 filing season will start on Feb. 12. Details to come shortly in a separate post. UPDATE, Jan. 15, 4:00 p.m.: The IRS opened up its Free File site on Jan. 15. It also announced that it will officially open the full 2021 tax filing season on Feb. 12. That's when the IRS will start accepting and processing all 2020 tax returns, regardless of how they are filed. The Internal Revenue Service announced today that eligible... Read more →