With the passage of the CARES Act stimulus package early in 2020, the federal government began supplementing the normal state weekly unemployment benefits by adding $600 per week through the end of July 2020. When this provision ran out, and with Congress at a stalemate, President Trump issued an executive order in early August that extended the supplement, but at $400 per week, with the federal government providing $300 and the state the other $100. Then, the COVID Tax Relief Act that was enacted in late December of 2020 extended the federal unemployment supplement through March 14, 2021, but at $300 per week.
There are many professions that require taxpayers to travel extensively and spend significant amounts of time in paid lodging. These expenses are traditionally claimed as travel deductions. However, a case recently heard by the Tax Court – Soboyede, TC Summary Opinion 2021-3, 1/26/21 – has apparently established a new standard for what the IRS is to consider your tax home, and it’s not necessarily the same place that you think of as your primary residence.
The American Rescue Plan Act has passed and includes a third much-anticipated economic impact payment (EIP). This is one of several government measures intended to help financially stressed citizens. This will be the third round of EIPs since the pandemic began disrupting the economy at the beginning of 2020, leaving many Americans without jobs or any way to support their families.
As if this past year with all of its pandemic perils has not been stressful enough, the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Labor has just added to our anxieties by announcing that at least at least $36 billion and possibly as much as $63 billion has been lost to improper unemployment payments having been made. In many cases the improper payments are a result of fraudsters who spent the earliest months of the pandemic filing unemployment claims using stolen personal data.
Most taxpayers think they have to itemize their deductions to claim them on their tax return. However, that is not entirely true. There are certain deductions that can be claimed while still using the standard deduction.
As tax time approaches, here are some tax issues that taxpayers frequently overlook, ranging from obscure deductions to overlooked tax credits and benefits. Of course, not everything can be included since the tax law has grown significantly in complexity, and it would take a thick book to list everything. But besides what you are probably accustomed to, here are over 20 issues you may not be aware of and that can save you tax dollars.
Congress passed, and former President Trump signed, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. Included in its approximately 5,600 pages is a second draw of forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The first round allowed loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees and to certain businesses with multiple locations, for which each location could not have more than 500 employees. Unfortunately, this opened the door to some large businesses gobbling up the allocated funding and shutting out the smaller businesses that the loans were intended to help until additional funding was authorized.
In the past, the IRS has assigned verification numbers to victims of identity theft to file their tax returns, if requested by the victimized individual. These numbers are referred to as identity protection (IP) PINs. The IP PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. It helps prevent identity thieves from filing fraudulent tax returns using a taxpayer’s personally identifiable information.
Tax time can be one of the most hated times of the year. Just preparing the forms is enough to be an irritant, and if you owe the government money there’s a good chance that you’re downright annoyed. But neither of those things compare to the feeling that accompanies an envelope bearing an IRS return address, alerting you to the fact that your taxes are about to be audited.
There are few things that can send a chill down your spine more than mail from the IRS. Just seeing the agency’s name on an envelope’s return address creates anxiety. If you find yourself in that position and open the mail to find a CP2000 notice inside, you don’t need to panic — but you do need to know what to do.