How filing your taxes could be different this year

ByJeff Ehling via KTRK logo
Wednesday, January 6, 2021
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Stimulus checks and unemployment benefits might make your tax filing look different this year. Here's what you need to know.

2020 was not a normal year, so the 2021 tax filing season will include plenty of things that most of us have not had to deal with in the past.

Most Americans got a stimulus check this year, and the good news is that the checks will not count against you as income, and you do not have to pay taxes on them.

But what if you did not receive a check and should have?

Look for line 30 on your tax forms, follow the steps and you will get to reduce your tax liability by the amount you are owed.

Stimulus check problems: IRS says some won't get $600 directly, need to claim funds on 2020 tax return

For those who got unemployment checks, those do count as income and must be reported. Yes, you will have to pay taxes on that benefit.

If you were forced to pull money out of a retirement account to help cover your costs during the pandemic, you have three full years to pay that back without penalties.

The IRS is still dealing with returns from last year, so if you are looking for a quick refund, get your returns in early.

"Pull out a copy of your 2019 return and make a list of things on your 2020 tax returns: Where you worked, what employers are going to be sending W-2s, what interest dividends you are going to get, and what other items you have so you won't forget them," said Ed Gardner, a certified public accountant in Houston.

Last year, the IRS moved the filing deadline, giving you longer to file. Do not expect that to happen this year, be sure to get your taxes filed by April 15.

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