Beyond Tax Day! Dealing with the filing extension deadline
and the tax tasks that are still ahead in 2020.
We did it! We made it through the delayed Tax Day 2020 of July 15. Now what?
Well, there is the Oct. 15 extension deadline, which thanks to the coronavirus tax postponements now is just three, instead of the usual six, months away.
Then there's the post-filing process.
If you filed, you need to gather up all the material you used to fill out your Form 1040 and file at least some of it away in your tax record keeping system.
If you got an extension, you need to keep all those tax statements handy so you can eventually file your return.
Bonus early tip #1: You don't have to wait until Oct. 15 to finish the job.
Bonus early tip #2: You still can find 2019 return filing tips on the ol' blog's Filing Season Tax Tips that are collected on their monthly pages: January, February, March, April, May, June and (whew!) July.
Other folks face another type of tax clean up. They need to file an amended tax return to fix some errors they discovered, maybe when sorting through all those aforementioned tax statements.
And, of course, there's tax planning for the 2020 tax year so that next year's filing process won't be as much of a hassle or as costly.
Once a week through 2020: Sorry if you're starting to freak out about taxes again, right after we've wrapped the main filing season. I didn't mean to alarm you. In fact, this page is where you'll find tips to help you get through the rest of 2020 and tax tasks you may still face.
As in previous years, a new piece of tax advice will be featured here each week, usually each Friday. I know, it's a perfect lead-in to weekend tax reading!
And again as n previous tax years, the tips collected on this special page also first will be featured in the upper right corner of the ol' blog.
Regardless of whether you're looking for some tax advice to help file your extended return or save on 2020 taxes, regularly check the top of the blog page and bookmark this one for help. The weekly tips will continue until the end of this year.
Since Christmas this year is on a Friday, and it's the last Friday of the year, I'm thinking, at least right now that the final Weekly Tax Tip of 2020 will be pushed to the following Monday, Dec. 28. That way you'll have a few business days left in 2020 to take care of what I suspect will be a reminder of year-end tax moves to make.
Also, don't be surprised if a stray weekly tip or two also shows up in the opening weeks of January 2021 before I transition to the New Year and the return of the 2021 Filing Season Tips.
But I'm getting way ahead of myself. There's lots of 2020 left. So back to now, the middle of July, and this year's Weekly Tax Tips!
- Didn't file on Tax Day? Do this now — Did July 15, the COVID-19 delayed Tax Day 2020, slip by you? Don't panic. But do make these tax moves as soon as possible to stop or reduce any late-filing and non-payment penalties. (July 16, 2020)
- 16 states have scheduled sales tax holidays — The national debate over when and how schools will resume this fall continues as the coronavirus resurges across much of the country. Meanwhile, 16 states are counting on (hoping) things will be safe enough for shoppers to participate in their annual back-to-school sales tax holidays this summer. Alabama kicked off the tax holidays on July 17-19. Two more start the end of July, with the other 13 in August. Make your lists. Shop safely. (July 17, 2020)
- Tax record keeping tips — Is all the material you used last week to file your 1040 still stacked up in a pile? Time to go through it and save the crucial tax documents. Here are some record keeping tips and what tax material to keep and for how long. (July 24, 2020)
- Hurricane season heating up: Prepare now! — Hurricane season 2020 got off to an early start and as July arrives, it's picking up steam. Hurricane Isaias, the earliest "I" name since 2005, could affect Florida's east coast and then North Carolina. Time to prepare! (July 31, 2020)
- Mid-August tax holiday flurry — The bulk of the 2020 sales tax holidays are the Aug. 7-9 weekend. If you head to stores in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, be sure to follow coronavirus precautions. The same advice holds for Tennessee residents getting tax-free restaurant food and Marylanders who have a week (Aug. 9-15) for their back-to-sales tax holiday shopping. In addition to your health protection measures, safeguard your bank account with these tax holiday shopping tips. (Aug. 5, 2020 Bonus Tip)
- Home office tax deduction rules — The coronavirus pandemic has meant millions of us now do our jobs from home. But that doesn't mean every new work from home (WFH) employee gets to claim the home office tax deduction. In fact, the Internal Revenue Service expressly says if you're getting a salary for your WFH efforts, you're not eligible for this tax break. Here are the other rules about who can and can't write off a home office. (Aug. 7, 2020)
- Tax notice types and tips — It's rarely fun getting an Internal Revenue Service notice, but don't freak out. First, determine just what the IRS wants by looking at which type of tax notice you received. Then follow these 10 steps to deal with the tax agency's inquiry. (Aug. 16, 2020)
- RMDs can be reversed by Aug. 31 — Among the COVID-19 consequences is the waiving of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020. If you made a required retirement account withdrawal before this law took effect in late March, the IRS says you have until Aug. 31 to reverse that RMD. (Aug. 21, 2020)
- Added COVID cash on way to some spouses and tax refund recipients — The coronavirus pandemic has royally messed up tax season 2020, but as the year winds down its effects are providing a bit more cash for some. Joint filers who filed injured spouse claims are getting catch-up COVID-19 payments. Plus, COVID-created tax refund interest payments are going to nearly 14 million filers. (Aug. 28, 2020)
- Tax breaks that can help cover educational costs — If you or your parents are paying for upcoming semesters, it's time for some educational tax incentives homework. Uncle Sam's various tax-favored credits, deductions, savings options, scholarships and even employer assistance can help pay many school bills. (Sept. 4, 2020)
- Tax value of your donated household goods — If you've spent at least a part of your COVID-19 self-isolation cleaning up and cleaning out your house, consider donating items you no longer want or need. They could help out your favorite charity, be welcomed by many thrift store shoppers and possibly give you a tax deduction at filing time. Just be sure to value your donated household goods accurately and fairly. (Sept. 11, 2020)
- Inventory your property before disaster strikes — The historic 2020 Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico hurricane season started early and shows no signs yet of slowing, so don't let up on storm preparation. That process includes taking a pre-disaster inventory that can help when you file insurance and/or potential tax deduction claims. (Sept. 18, 2020)
- Sept. 30 is dependent EIP deadline — Get government benefits? Have kids? You get one more chance to claim added COVID cash, but it expires on Sept. 30. (Sept. 23, 2020)
- Small business get COVID-19 tax credit help — COVID-19 has hammered small businesses. But the coronavirus pandemic also prompted creation of the Employee Retention and Paid Sick and Family Leave tax credits that can help companies and self-employed individuals cope with the health crisis' unexpected costs. (Sept. 25, 2020)