What you need to know this tax season

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 5:28 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -For those first time filers to even people who’ve filed for years, this 2020 tax season comes with a few new questions.

We’re breaking down what you or your business may need to know about filing this year from stimulus checks to COVID-related business loans.

In his 42 years of helping people file their taxes, this year is looking a little different for Greg Solfest an enrolled agent with the IRS at Solfest Accounting.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a few changes in how his business operates.

“This year I’m not going to have as much contact as I have in previous years,” Solfest said. “I’m asking most of my clients to either mail in their information or just drop it off rather than have a face-to-face interview.”

The pandemic not only affected how Solfest works, but also added new questions from his clients.

Their most popular one: do the stimulus checks need to be included on my taxes?

Solfest said these payments are not taxable, but if you did not receive your check yet, you may be able to use your tax form to get them.

“Let’s say they moved and the IRS did not have their current address or the IRS did not have their up-to-date banking information, the IRS on from 1040 line 30, you can still recover that stimulus refund if you have not received it yet,” Solfest said.

Some business owners who got a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan may also have a few new questions this year.

Solfest said Congress passed a bill in December that makes these loans nontaxable as long as they were used on qualifying expenses.

With all the differences this tax season, one resources remains the same. For people with incomes under $72,000, the IRS provides a free tax filing software. It will be available for use this year starting on Friday.

Key filing season dates

There are several important dates taxpayers should keep in mind for this year’s filing season:

  • Jan. 15. IRS Free File opens. Taxpayers can begin filing returns through Free File partners; tax returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12. Tax software companies also are accepting tax filings in advance.
  • Jan. 29. Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day to raise awareness of valuable tax credits available to many people – including the option to use prior-year income to qualify.
  • Feb. 12. IRS begins 2021 tax season. Individual tax returns begin being accepted and processing begins.
  • Feb. 22. Projected date for the Where’s My Refund tool being updated for those claiming EITC and ACTC, also referred to as PATH Act returns.
  • First week of March. Tax refunds begin reaching those claiming EITC and ACTC (PATH Act returns) for those who file electronically with direct deposit and there are no issues with their tax returns.
  • April 15. Deadline for filing 2020 tax returns.
  • Oct. 15. Deadline to file for those requesting an extension on their 2020 tax returns

For more information about taxes this year, click HERE.

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