Refund Feed

Did you discover when you filed your taxes, either earlier this year or this week to get in under the Oct. 15 extended deadline, that you were due a refund? Or, yikes, that you owed Uncle Sam? Either way, now is a good time to review your tax withholding. With 2021's third quarter just under way, you have plenty of time to deal with the differences either way. And there is enough time left in the year to spread the changes over several pay periods so they don't produce a major shock either way to your budget. Rationalizing over-withholding: Around... Read more →


Here's some news that's not news for many taxpayers. The Internal Revenue Service is still running behind in its processing of tax filings and getting payments, including refunds, out to taxpayers. What is new, though, is that the admission comes from the top of the tax agency. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig praised the efforts of his employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in a recent A Closer Look column. The online IRS publication offers agency executives the chance to discuss issues of interest to taxpayers and the tax community. But Rettig also acknowledged in the Sept. 14 piece that "despite... Read more →


The Child Tax Credit, particularly the advance payments now being distributed by the Internal Revenue Service in monthly installments through the rest of 2021, are getting a lot of attention. But that's not the only tax credit that offers help to families. These tax breaks are particularly helpful because, as tax credits, they offset dollar-for-dollar any tax liability you might have. A few are even refundable, meaning they'll net you a tax refund once they wipe out any tax you might owe. Such help from Uncle Sam is welcomed by all taxpayers, but especially families working to make ends meet.... Read more →


It's fitting that I just learned today, late in the day, that Aug. 10 is National Lazy Day. I definitely will note this date on next year's calendar, if I can muster the energy, so I make the most of it in 2022. National Day Calendar, which keeps track of the myriad special designations for our 365 (plus one in a Leap Year), doesn't have much information on National Lazy Day. That would require some work, which is antithetical to the day's commemoration. But it does say that Aug. 10 is the day where we are given permission to relax... Read more →


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 →


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 →


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 →


Unemployment benefits were a lifesaver for many Americans who saw their jobs eliminated during the height of coronavirus pandemic. Now some of those unemployment insurance (UI) recipients are getting another boost from the benefits thanks to a change in how the COVID-related funds are taxed. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) deemed up to $10,200 per taxpayer in unemployment compensation as tax-free. ARPA became law on March 11, meaning some filers submitted their 2020 returns and paid tax on all the UI benefits they got last year before the change took effect. Rather than make those folks redo... Read more →


Including some amended filing considerations that are affected this year by COVID-19 law changes. Photo by Ann H from Pexels It's been a week since Tax Day 2021. Those of us who submitted our tax returns have just been enjoying being done with the Internal Revenue Service for another year. But maybe we should give Uncle Sam's tax collector a little more thought before we finally wrap up this tax season. Here are 5 tax matters you need to consider so that you can completely clear your 2020 tax year decks. 1. Check your refund status: This is the biggie... Read more →


The rest of us waiting for less, but just as eagerly anticipated, refunds should use IRS online options to track down their money. One of the biggest taxpayer frustrations every year is having to wait on the Internal Revenue Service to issue refunds. That's been exacerbated during taxes in the time of COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has meant delayed filing deadlines, new tax laws and more jobs for IRS personnel. And that's meant that what used to be considered routine IRS work and customer service has suffered. I wish I could tell you this post was a welcome revelation that... Read more →


Reviewed and updated May 15, 2021 Tax Day 2021 for most U.S. taxpayers is just a week away. Procrastinators' focus obviously is on finishing up those 1040s. But there are some other tax tasks that, if they apply to your tax situation, you should take care of or at least consider by May 17. 1. Contribute to an IRA: Putting as much as you can into an individual retirement arrangement, or account as most of us call it, is always a smart move. The IRA will grow over the years, giving you some cash when you're ready to call the... Read more →


Princess Bride impatience via Giphy.com Aside from having to fill out a tax return, the most annoying thing for most people each year is waiting for their tax refunds. The complaint is continually atop the list of taxpayer complaints. The frustration of waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to deliver their tax cash probably is why so many folks fall for tax refund myths. Don't! These fabrications, six of which are listed below, won't help you get your money any sooner, and some could actually cost you more. Myth 1: Calling my tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service will... Read more →


Every tax season is challenging. Often, it's because Congress has fiddled with tax laws, presenting new learning curves for both taxpayers and the preparers they hire to lead them through the Internal Revenue Code. Problems during the last two years, however, can be blamed on COVID-19. Not only did the pandemic produce new laws, there have been delayed deadlines and health-related closures that created processing problems for the Internal Revenue Service. The latest 2021 filing season hurdle, for both taxpayers and the IRS, is the amount of tax returns the agency says must be processed by hand. The IRS is... Read more →


Helping hand photo by Lalesh Aldarwish via Pexels.com I'm a big fan of the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Part of that, as long-time readers know, is because I was fortunate enough to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), a volunteer group created to help the Internal Revenue Service meet and improve on the promise of the final word in the agency's name. My years with TAP let me see how TAS and the IRS work to help solve taxpayer problems. And yes, the people committed to this process really do care and do all they can to help taxpayers within... Read more →


Sometimes it's worth the extra time and effort to file an amended tax return. In its regular email to tax professionals last week, the Internal Revenue Service remined them that their clients who filed 2020 returns before the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) excluded a portion of unemployment from tax don't need to file amended returns. The IRS says it will recalculate the tax liability of these filers, taking into account the tax they paid on $10,200 per person in unemployment benefits before ARPA's March 11 enactment date. If the early-filing taxpayers are due a refund, the IRS will automatically... Read more →


May 17 is the deadline this year to file your 2020 tax return and pay any tax you owe. It's also the last day that 1.3 million people can claim their portion of more than $1.3 billion in taxes they overpaid during 2017 but never collected as tax refunds. If you're one of those non-filers, you need to file that 2017 return and claim your refund by May 17. Federal law says that if a taxpayer doesn't file an old return within three years of its original due date — and that was April 15, 2018 for those 2017 tax... 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 →


Princess Bride impatience via Giphy.com You're due a tax refund. Plus, your 2020 tax situation means you can claim the rest of the COVID-19 related Recovery Rebate Credit that you didn't automatically get last year. So, of course, you filed on Feb. 12, as soon as the Internal Revenue Service started accepted returns. Now you're wondering, why the heck you haven't yet received your refund. Unusual overload: The bad news is that the IRS is still dealing with backlogs, primarily of mailed correspondence, created when it had to shut down its offices last year as part of coronavirus precautions. The... Read more →


IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig's testifying on March 18, 2021, before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight. Watch the full hearing at the Ways and Means' hearings YouTube channel. When large swaths of the world shut down last year in response to COVID-19, it helped make the literal life-or-death medical situation less devastating (relatively speaking). But the coronavirus closures also created damaging economic fallout. Businesses shuttered their doors, some permanently. Associated companies took hits. Employees lost their jobs. In the United States, federal coronavirus relief legislation provided some help. However, it also produced unwelcome side effects. Surprise unemployment taxes:... Read more →


Some people got less COVID-19 relief money because the IRS took some to pay other debts. Every year, some taxpayers find the tax refunds the Internal Revenue Service sends them are less than they expected. The usual reason for the shortfall is that the federal refund amounts were offset by other debts, such as unpaid taxes, student loans or delinquent child support. That situation cropped up last year when the Recovery Rebate Credit was created as part of COVID-19 relief legislation. The rebates were paid in advance to millions of taxpayers. And in some, but not all, instances, economic impact... Read more →