President Biden presented his proposed American Families Plan (AFP) during his Joint Session of Congress address on April 29, 2021. What follows is an overview of what is included in the plan. But this is only his wish list; Congress will need to draft proposed legislation that will have to pass in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before becoming law. With a price tag of more than $1.8 trillion, many on both sides of the political aisle think the plan is too expensive. As with virtually all legislation, the provisions will be debated, altered and deleted during Congressional negotiations. The final bill, if passed, may be quite different than the original proposed version.
As part of its oversight role, Congress is constantly assessing the economic health of the United States, so hearing from Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Chuck Rettig that the country may be losing up to $1 trillion a year in evaded taxes is an obvious cause for concern. This estimate is several times the 3-year-cumulative amount of $441 billion that the agency had previously asserted.
The vast majority of Americans get a tax refund from the IRS each spring, but what if you are one of those who end ends up owing? The IRS encourages you to pay the full amount of your tax liability on time by imposing significant penalties and interest on late payments if you don’t. So if you are unable to pay the tax you owe, it is generally in your best interest to make other arrangements to obtain the funds for paying your taxes rather than be subjected to the government’s penalties and interest.
The IRS announced on March 31, that it will take steps to automatically refund money this spring and summer to people who filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation before the recent law change made by the American Rescue Plan Act.
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.