July is the new April, according to the official 2020 coronavirus tax calendar.
If you've been periodically checking the ol' blog's special Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes page, you know there's been a lot of new tax laws enacted to help us cope with the pandemic.
And, of course, the Internal Revenue Service gave us three extra months to file our 2019 Form 1040 and pay any tax we discovered we owe. That new July 15 deadline is almost here.
That means that a lot of tax tips you were used to seeing earlier in the tax season during a pandemic-free year are reappearing here.
There also are some new ones, many of which deal with special COVID-19 tax law changes.
And then there are some post-filing tips, for those industrious filers who got their 1040s to the IRS before the July deadline. Yes, even during a pandemic, some basic year-round tax considerations remain.
Hopefully, this old and new collection of July tax tidbits will help us get through 2020's extended filing season. Like this year's earlier tax tips, they are highlighted in the upper right corner of the ol' blog. After each tip has its time in spotlight, it will join all the other July tips here on this page.
But before we can pop the bubbly and celebrate the end of the 2020 COVID-19 filing season — or, more likely for most of us who've put off filing this long already, resign ourselves to getting an extension to file by Oct. 15 — we've got to get through the next two weeks.
Since the deadline is getting ever nearer, as noted by the countdown clock also over in the ol' blog's righthand column, let's get to it!
- 6 tax tasks to take care of by July 15 — It's July, meaning that Tax Day 2020 is almost here! But you need to take care of more than just filing a Form 1040 (and paying any due tax) this month. Check out these six tax tasks that must be completed in this coronavirus-affected tax season by July 15. (July 1, 2020)
- $1.5 billion awaiting late 2016 return filers — If you didn't file a tax year 2016 return in 2017, you've got until July 15, 2020, to do so. Miss that deadline and the U.S. Treasury gets to keep your money. Plus, take a look at the number of 3-year-old unfiled returns and median refund amounts available in your state in this accompanying state-by-state breakout. (July 2, 2020)
- IRS adds more pay-taxes-with-cash locations — They don't have Slurpees, but the additional retailers where you now can pay your tax bill in cash should make that option accessible for more people. While the added access is good, the process remains the same. That means if you choose this cash option, get started soon (NOW!) because it takes several steps — and days — to complete. (July 3, 2020)
- IRA & HSA contribution deadline is July 15 — The new 2020 Tax Day of July 15 also is the deadline to contribute to a some tax-favored accounts for the 2019 tax year. The Internal Revenue Service has confirmed that change, assuring folks who want to put money for the prior tax year that they, too, have the same automatic 90-day extension as 2019 tax return filers. (July 5, 2020)
- July 10 is deadline for some tax notices — Yes, July 15 is 2020's coronavirus-delayed Tax Day, but Internal Revenue Service's pandemic precautions also created a different deadline in connection with some tax agency notices. In some cases, you must respond to those IRS notifications by Friday, July 10. (July 6, 2020)
- Tax return filing checklist, take 2 — Coronavirus-delayed Tax Day 2020 is almost here. If you're among the millions who put off this annual tax task until the rapidly approaching July 15, get started now by checking out this tax checklist to make sure you have all the material you need and have taken into account all your personal filing situations to properly complete your Form 1040. Yes, it's long, in part because it includes Schedule A considerations. (July 7, 2020)
- Tax statements you need so you can file — Before you start filling out your Form 1040, make sure you have these tax documents. They're sent to you by others who handled matters that involve taxes, like earnings statements or records of taxes you paid. Depending on your filing situation, you'll need at least a few and maybe a lot of them to finish filling in your return. (July 8, 2020)
- Deductions that don't require itemizing — Claiming the standard deduction has always been the most popular tax filing option. And with 2017's tax reform law increasing that amount, even more use it rather than itemize. But there still are some added write-off possibilities, formerly known (apologies to Prince) as above-the-line deductions, that every taxpayer can claim. (July 9, 2020)
- 10 often overlooked tax breaks — Still searching for tax write-offs as the filing deadline nears? Regardless of whether you claim the standard deduction or itemize, you also need to look at income adjustments. These tax breaks, still referred to (by me, at least!) as above-the-line deductions can reduce the amount of income that's taxed. And don't forget tax credits, which reduce your actual tax bill dollar-for-dollar. Those are among overlooked tax breaks that filers too often miss in their rush to finish their 1040s. (July 10, 2020)
- 10 common and costly tax mistakes — Taxes are complicated, so it's no surprise that we taxpayers make mistakes now and then. But some errors seem to show up regularly. You can avoid these 10 common tax filing errors by taking a little extra care when finishing up your Form 1040. (July 11, 2020)
- Making two 1040-ES payments at once on July 15 — The chaos of the current COVID-19 tax season has affected, among many other things, estimated tax filings. Instead of being due on April 15 and June 15, the estimated tax payments for quarters 1 and 2 of the 2020 tax year are due simultaneously on July 15. Here's how to handle these dual 1040-ES payments. (July 12, 2020)
- 7 ways to pay your tax bill — Tax Day 2020 is almost here. Most of us think it's the day we must file our 1040s. It is. But more importantly, if you owe it's the day you must pay any tax you owe. You can extend the sending Uncle Sam your return, but not your money. Here are 7 ways you can pay up on July 15. (July 13, 2020)
- Paying your taxes through an installment plan — Can't pay Uncle Sam the tax bill you owe? Consider setting up a payment plan with the Internal Revenue Service. The federal tax collector has a variety pay-longer-term tax payment arrangement. Most IRS installment plans start by filing a paper or electronic version of Form 9465 and one of the income verification versions of Form 433. (July 14, 2020)
- Get more time to file with Form 4868 — Need more time to complete your Form 1040? Then turn to another Internal Revenue Service document, Form 4868. Filing Form 4868 by Tax Day — July 15 this year — will give you three more months — until Oct. 15 — to finish your tax return. Remember, though, you still must pay any tax that you owe (or make plans to do so in installments) with your extension request. (July 15, 2020)
Just getting started on your taxes? Even though time is short, no problem. You can find the previous months' collected tax wisdom by clicking the links below.
|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.
Whoa up there, cowboy! Don't leave. Just because we finally reached Tax Day 2020, that doesn't mean we're going anywhere.
It's Weekly Tax Tip Time!
As in previous years, once the annual tax year filing deadline passes, I'll be posting a new piece of tax advice on a weekly basis.
I'm aiming for Friday. I know, it's the perfect lead-in to weekend tax reading!
And it still will be in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
Many of the items will be for the majority of taxpayers who are done with their tax year 2019 returns and now are looking for ways to trim this year's tax bill.
A few, though, will be aimed at helping those of us who've yet to file get our annual return to the IRS. These tips will target all the folks who got an extension to file by Oct. 15.
The once-a-week tax tips will continue, as they've done in past years, until calendar year 2020 is a wrap. But don't be surprised if a stray weekly tip or two also shows up in the opening week/weeks of January 2021 before I transition to the New Year and the return of more frequent Filing Season Tax Tips.