Filing Your 2021 Taxes with Guidance from Congressman Tom ColeMon, 24 Jan 2022 10:59:46 CST
This week marks the beginning of tax filing season with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). While this can often feel like a daunting task, I wanted to provide you with some timely tips concerning the 2021 tax year that can hopefully answer some of your questions or point you in the right direction.
Last year, many taxpayers received advanced payments for the 2021 Child Tax Credits (CTC). If this applies to you, be advised that the IRS will send you Letter 6419, which contains important information to help ensure your return information is accurate - including the total number of payments you received in 2021 as well as the number of qualifying payments. For information on how to understand your letter, click here.
In addition, taxpayers may be unaware that the advanced CTC payments made in monthly installments starting in August are considered an advance on what is normally claimed as a tax credit on an income tax return. As a result, be aware that your refund amount could be less than expected. Those who received the advanced CTC payments can also check the amount of the payments received by using the Update Portal.
If you received the third pandemic-related Economic Impact Payment, or stimulus check, sent during the 2021 tax year, be on the lookout for Letter 6457 that confirms the total amount of your payment and any other payments received. And if you did not receive one or any of your Economic Impact Payments, you may be eligible to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on your federal tax return. For information on how to a claim a missing payment, find out which payments you received and check the status of payments, here.
This year, the IRS has advised Americans of possible delays in processing returns and issuing refunds. I certainly understand that such delays can be burdensome for Americans, especially those who count on and plan for refunds as part of their annual household budget. Considering that many have still not even received their refunds from the previous 2020 tax year, I signed a letter sent to the IRS in December raising concerns about the tax return backlog and asking how it plans to solve this issue while also processing 2021 returns. To avoid further delays, please verify that any information necessary for processing is correct and nothing is missing. Additionally, to track the status of your refund, click here.
As you start gathering the documents and paperwork you need to prepare your tax return, know that there are some free resources that could apply to you. Many Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) organizations serve our communities and provide free help, including to those who earn $58,000 or less, those with disabilities and those who speak limited English as well as our older population. There are also resources for our seniors like Tax Clinics for the Elderly (TCE) programs, which provide free tax counseling and federal return preparation to those who are 60 or older. To find a VITA or TCE site close to you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.
You can also find TCE locations operated by the AARP Foundationís Tax Aide program site through the months of January to April by using the AARP Site Locator Tool or by calling 888-227-7669.
If you choose to receive help from a VITA or TCE program, make sure you are prepared for your visit and know what to bring by visiting this website.
Finally, as you prepare to file your taxes before the April 18 deadline, know how to keep your personal information safe and secure from bad actors and scams. It also important to have a full understanding of what you are qualified to receive or required to report. Use the resources below for additional information and guidance:
∑ For tax scams and consumer alerts, click here.
∑ For information on tax relief in disaster situations, click here.
∑ For tax filing tips and much more, click here.
∑ For IRS fact sheets and frequently asked questions, click here.
∑ To learn if you are eligible for the IRS Free File service and how to use this tool, click here.
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