Here’s What Taxpayers Need to Know About the Home Office Deduction

The home office deduction allows qualifying taxpayers to deduct certain home expenses on their tax return. With more people working from home than ever before, some taxpayers may be wondering if they can claim a home office deduction when they file their 2020 tax return next year.

Here are some things to help taxpayers understand the home office deduction and whether they can claim it:

Dirty Dozen Part 2: Thieves Are Constantly Coming Up With Ways to Scam Taxpayers

This is the second of two tips exploring the IRS Dirty Dozen tax scam list. Tax scams tend to rise during tax season or during times of crisis. Scam artists are using the COVID-19 pandemic to try to steal money and information from taxpayers.

Taxpayers should watch out for these scams.

Scammers targeting individuals with limited English proficiency: IRS impersonators and other scammers are targeting groups with limited English proficiency. These scams are often threatening in nature. Phone scams pose a major threat to people with limited access to information, including individuals not entirely comfortable with the English language.

IRS Unveils ‘Dirty Dozen’ List of Tax Scams for 2020 – Americans Urged to Be Vigilant to These Threats During Pandemic and Aftermath

The Internal Revenue Service announced its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams with a special emphasis on aggressive and evolving schemes related to coronavirus tax relief, including Economic Impact Payments.

This year, the Dirty Dozen focuses on scams that target taxpayers. The criminals behind these bogus schemes view everyone as potentially easy prey. The IRS urges everyone to be on guard all the time and look out for others in their lives.

IRS Advice for Those Who Missed the July 15 Deadline – File Now to Avoid Bigger Bill

For those who missed the July 15 tax deadline and didn’t request an extension, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers about some important tips, including filing electronically as soon as possible to reduce potential penalties.

Some taxpayers may have extra time to file and pay any taxes due without penalties and interest. These include:

‘Where’s My Refund?’ Tool on IRS.gov Takes Guesswork Out of When to Expect Refunds

The IRS reminds taxpayers that one of the best ways to check on their refund is the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website and the IRS2Go app. Updated once a day, usually overnight, this useful tool gives taxpayers a projected refund issuance date as soon as it is approved.

The IRS issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, and the fastest way to get a refund is to use IRS e-file and direct deposit. Taxpayers should also know they can have their refunds divided into up to three separate accounts.

IRA Contributions Made by July 15 Count as 2019 Tax Deduction

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded people that contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) made by the postponed tax return due date of July 15, 2020, are deductible on a 2019 tax return.

Taxpayers can file their 2019 tax return now and claim the deduction before the contribution is actually made. But the contribution must then be made by the July 15 due date of the return, not including extensions.

Taxpayers Need to Resume Payments by July 15

The IRS today reminds taxpayers who took advantage of the People First Initiative tax relief and did not make previously owed tax payments between March 25 to July 15 that they need to restart their payments.

As the IRS continues to reopen its operations across the country, taxpayers who were in payment agreements and skipped any payments from March 25 and July 15 should start paying again to avoid penalties and possible default on their agreements.

IRS Resources Available in English, Spanish and Other Languages to Help Taxpayers Still Needing to File Their 2019 Tax Returns

As the tax-filing deadline fast approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers with limited English proficiency and who have yet to file their 2019 tax returns that there are a variety of ways to get help and information in languages other than English.

“Providing additional materials in more languages to help taxpayers is a priority for the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “These resources are just a start for the IRS. In the months ahead, we will be working to add more material on IRS.gov. We also continue to work with our partners in the tax community to help translate and share more tax materials into different languages. For example, we are extremely proud to have material related to Economic Impact Payments translated into more than 30 different languages with the help of our partners.”

The IRS provides some tax information on its IRS.gov website in up to seven languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese and Haitian-Creole.

To get information in one of these languages, taxpayers can click on the language dropdown tab at the top of IRS.gov pages. The tab displays the current language selection and other languages a taxpayer can choose to view translated content. IRS.gov pages translated into one or more languages also have links to available translations on the right side of the page, just below the title.

For example, the Let Us Help You page highlights IRS resources for taxpayers in six languages. This page offers information on notices, payments and numerous other topics. A helpful page for people wanting to plan for the future is the Steps To Take Now To Get A Jump On Next Year’s Taxes page, available in seven languages.

Other resources for people with limited English proficiency on IRS.gov include:

Watch out for scams targeted to non-English speakers

IRS impersonators and other scammers target people with limited access to information, including individuals not entirely comfortable with the English language. These scams are often threatening in nature and pose a major threat to these communities.

These scams frequently take the form of a “robocall” (a text-to-speech recorded message with instructions for returning the call), but in some cases may be made by an actual person. These con artists may have some personal data, including the taxpayer’s address, the last four digits of their Social Security number, among other things – making the calls seem more legitimate.

One common IRS impersonation scam involves the taxpayer receiving a telephone call threatening jail time, deportation or revocation of a driver’s license from someone claiming to be with the IRS. Taxpayers who are recent immigrants to the United States often are the most vulnerable and should ignore these threats and not engage the scammers.

People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information.

Information on how to Report Phishing and Online Scams is available in six languages.

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IRS Unclaimed Refunds of $1.5 Billion Waiting for Tax Year 2016 – Taxpayers Face July 15 Deadline (IR-2020-135)

Unclaimed income tax refunds worth more than $1.5 billion await an estimated 1.4 million individual taxpayers who did not file a 2016 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

“The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are owed refunds but haven’t filed their 2016 tax returns yet,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on July 15. To claim the refund, a return for tax year 2016 must be filed by July 15, 2020.”

Relief for Taxpayers Affected by COVID-19 Who Take Distributions or Loans from Retirement Plans (IR-2020-124)

The Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2020-50 (PDF) to help retirement plan participants affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus take advantage of the CARES Act provisions providing enhanced access to plan distributions and plan loans.  This includes expanding the categories of individuals eligible for these types of distributions and loans (referred to as “qualified individuals”) and providing helpful guidance and examples on how qualified individuals will reflect the tax treatment of these distributions and loans on their federal income tax filings.

IRS Reminder: File Now, Choose Direct Deposit or Schedule Tax Payments Electronically Before the July 15 Deadline (IR-2020-118)

As the July 15 tax-filing deadline − postponed from April 15 − draws near, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding all taxpayers who have yet to file their 2019 federal tax return to file electronically now, choose direct deposit for their refund, or pay any tax owed electronically.

Taxpayers who owe for tax year 2019 or need to pay 2020 estimated taxes originally due for the first quarter on April 15 or the second quarter on June 15 can schedule an electronic payment up to the July 15 due date.

IRS Warns Against COVID-19 Fraud – Other Financial Schemes (IR-2020-115)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers to guard against tax fraud and other related financial scams related to COVID-19.

In the last few months, the IRS Criminal Investigation division (CI) has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes looking to take advantage of unsuspecting taxpayers. CI continues to work with law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad to educate taxpayers about these scams and investigate the criminals perpetrating them during this challenging time.

159 Million Economic Impact Payments Processed – Low-income People and Others Who Aren’t Required to File Returns Can Quickly Register for Payment

With  159 million Economic Impact Payments processed, the Internal Revenue Service reminds many low-income Americans who don’t usually file tax returns to register for a payment by Oct. 15.

Millions of low-income people and others who aren’t required to file a tax return may be eligible for an Economic Impact Payment and can easily register for a payment by using the free Non-Filers tool, available only on IRS.gov.

Answers to Tax Questions Are Just a Few Clicks Away on IRS.gov (COVID-19 Tax Tip 2020-65)

There are many easy-to-use tools available on IRS.gov. Even better, they are available 24 hours a day. These tools help people file and pay taxes, find information about their account and get answers to tax questions. Here are a few things that people can do with a quick visit to IRS.gov.

Filing a tax return

Taxpayers who earned $69,000 or less in 2019 can file using free brand-name tax software with IRS Free File. People who earned more and want to do their own taxes can use Free File Fillable Forms. These are the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Either way, everyone has a free electronic filing option.

IRS Reminder: June 15 Tax Deadline Postponed to July 15 for Taxpayers Who Live and Work Abroad (IR-2020-109)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded people who live and work abroad that they have until Wednesday, July 15, 2020, to file their 2019 federal income tax return and pay any tax due. The usual deadline is June 15.

The additional time was included in a wide range of Coronavirus-related relief announced in early April. The postponement generally applies to all taxpayers who have an income tax filing or payment deadline falling on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020.

Economic Impact Payments Being Sent by Prepaid Debit Cards, Arrive in Plain Envelope – IRS Answers FAQ (IR-2020-105)

As Economic Impact Payments continue to be successfully delivered, the Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers that some payments are being sent by prepaid debit card. The debit cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services.”

Nearly 4 million people are being sent their Economic Impact Payment by prepaid debit card, instead of paper check. The determination of which taxpayers received a debit card was made by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service, a part of the Treasury Department that works with the IRS to handle distribution of the payments.

Treasury is Delivering Millions of Economic Impact Payments by Prepaid Debit Card

This week, Treasury and the IRS are starting to send nearly 4 million Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check. EIP Card recipients can make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs, and transfer funds to their personal bank account without incurring any fees. They can also check their card balance online, by mobile app, or by phone without incurring fees. The EIP Card can be used online, at ATMs, or at any retail location where Visa is accepted. This free, prepaid card also provides consumer protections available to traditional bank account owners, including protections against fraud, loss, and other errors.

IRS: Three New Credits Are Available to Many Businesses Hit by COVID-19 (IR-2020-89)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers affected by COVID-19 about three important new credits available to them.

Employee Retention Credit:

The employee retention credit is designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Economic Impact Payments Continue to Be Sent – Check IRS.gov for Answers to Common Questions (IR-2020-85)

As Economic Impact Payments continue to be successfully delivered, the Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers that IRS.gov includes answers to many common questions, including help to use two recently launched Economic Impact Payment tools. The IRS is regularly updating the Economic Impact Payment and the Get My Payment tool frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov as more information becomes available.

Tools to Help People Get Their Economic Impact Payment (COVID: Tax Tip 2020-48)

The IRS has two tools to help millions of taxpayers with their Economic Impact Payment. The payments are $1,200 per eligible person and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

The first tool, Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here is available – in English and Spanish – for certain taxpayers who don’t normally need to file a return. This free tool allows them to enter basic information so the IRS can issue their payment. The second tool, Get My Payment, allows people to check the status of their payment and provide bank account information if a payment has not been scheduled for delivery.

Use IRS Non-Filers Tool to Get Economic Impact Payment – Many Low-income, Homeless Qualify (IR-2020-83)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminds low-income Americans to use the free, online tool Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to quickly and easily register to receive their Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has recently released a new Spanish language version of the tool to help even more Americans get their money quickly and easily.

Questions About Economic Impact Payments (COVID Tax Tip 2020-44)

The IRS is issuing Economic Impact Payments. These payments are being issued automatically for most individuals. However, some people who don’t usually file a tax return will need to submit basic information to the IRS to receive their payment.

Questions? The IRS is regularly updating the Economic Impact Payment and the Get My Payment tool frequently asked questions pages on IRS.gov as more information becomes available. Here are answers to some of the most common questions.

Special Tax Alert for Benefit Recipients Who Don’t File a Tax Return and Have Dependents

SSA, RRB Recipients with Eligible Children Need to Act by Wednesday to Quickly Add money to Their Automatic Economic Impact Payment; IRS Asks for Help in the ‘Plus $500 Push’ (IR-2020-76)

The Internal Revenue Service today issued a special alert for several groups of federal benefit recipients to act by this Wednesday, April 22, if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents so they can quickly receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payment.

Veterans Affairs Recipients Will Receive Automatic Economic Impact Payments – Step Follows Work Between Treasury, IRS, VA (IR-2020-75)

The Internal Revenue Service, working in partnership with the Treasury Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, announced today that recipients of VA benefits will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments. Veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from VA will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment with no further action needed on their part. Timing on the payments is still being determined.

IRS: Free File Use Soars – Taxpayers Still Have Time to Do Their Taxes for Free (IR-2020-74)

The Internal Revenue Service today reported a record increase in the use of Free File products for entering and filing federal income taxes and reminded taxpayers that they should go through IRS.gov to ensure they get the free offers they are due.

As of April 10, the IRS has received 2.9 million tax returns through the Free File program since January. That is a 28% increase compared to the 2.3 million received during the same time last year and already more than the 2.8 million received during all of 2019.

Supplemental Security Income Recipients Will Receive Automatic Economic Impact Payments – Step Follows Work Between Treasury, IRS, Social Security Administration (IR-2020-73)

The Internal Revenue Service, working in partnership with the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration, announced today that recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments.

SSI recipients will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment with no further action needed on their part. The IRS projects the payments for this group will go out no later than early May.

Treasury, IRS Unveil Online Application to Help with Economic Impact Payments

Working with the Treasury Department, the Internal Revenue Service today unveiled the new Get My Payment with features to let taxpayers check on their Economic Impact Payment date and update direct deposit information.

With an initial round of more than 80 million Economic Impact Payments starting to hit bank accounts over the weekend and throughout this week, this new tool will help address key common questions. Get My Payment will show the projected date when a deposit has been scheduled, similar to the “Where’s My Refund tool” many taxpayers are already familiar with.

Treasury, IRS Launch New Tool to Help Non-filers Register for Economic Impact Payments (IR-2020-69)

IRS.gov feature helps people who normally don’t file get payments; second tool next week provides taxpayers with payment delivery date and provide direct deposit information. To help millions of people, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for Economic Impact Payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return.

IRS Extends More Tax Deadlines to Cover Individuals, Trusts, Estates, Corporations and Others (IR-2020-66)

To help taxpayers, the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced today that Notice 2020-23 extends additional key tax deadlines for individuals and businesses. Last month, the IRS announced that taxpayers generally have until July 15, 2020, to file and pay federal income taxes originally due on April 15. No late-filing penalty, late-payment penalty or interest will be due.

IRS Urges Taxpayers to Use Electronic Options – Outlines Online Assistance (IR-2020-68)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminds taxpayers and tax professionals to use electronic options to support social distancing and speed the processing of tax returns, refunds and payments.

To protect the public and employees, and in compliance with orders of local health authorities around the country, certain IRS services such as live assistance on telephones, processing paper tax returns and responding to correspondence are extremely limited or suspended until further notice. All Taxpayer Assistance Centers remain temporarily closed as are many volunteer tax preparation sites until further notice. This will not affect the IRS’s ability to deliver Economic Impact Payments, which taxpayers will begin receiving next week.

Social Security Recipients Will Automatically Receive Economic Impact Payments

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

Social Security recipients not typically required to file a tax return will not need to take any action to receive Economic Impact Payments

“Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

For additional information see IR 2020-61, Economic impact payments: What you need to know (Updated April 1, 2020).

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IRS: Employee Retention Credit Available for Many Businesses Financially Impacted by COVID-19 (IR-2020-62)

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Does my business qualify to receive the Employee Retention Credit? 

Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know (IR-2020-61)

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

IRS Unveils New People First Initiative – COVID-19 Effort Temporarily Adjusts, Suspends Key Compliance Programs (IR-2020-59)

To help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues, the Internal Revenue Service announced today a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.

“The IRS is taking extraordinary steps to help the people of our country,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues. During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”

IRS Mission-critical Functions Continue During COVID-19 to Assist Taxpayers

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak continues, the Internal Revenue Service is taking multiple steps to protect America’s taxpayers.  Although we are curtailing some operations during this period, the IRS is continuing with mission-critical functions to support the nation, and that includes accepting tax returns and sending refunds.

“As a federal agency vital to the overall operations of our country, we ask for your personal support, your understanding – and your patience,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “I’m incredibly proud of our employees as we navigate through numerous different challenges in this very rapidly changing environment. Working closely with our partners in the nation’s tax community, we will do everything in our power to help.”

Tax Day Now July 15: Treasury, IRS Extend Filing Deadline and Federal Tax Payments Regardless of Amount Owed (IR-2020-58)

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on March 21, 2020, that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.

Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Treasury, IRS and Labor Announce Plan to Implement Coronavirus-related Paid Leave for Workers and Tax Credits for Small and Midsize Businesses to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus-related Leave (IR-2020-57)

On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

Tax Time Guide: Guard Personal, Financial and Tax Information Year-round – New Coronavirus-19 Page on irs.gov (IR-2020-56)

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers to remain safe and vigilant with their personal information by securing computers and mobile phones. Proper cybersecurity protection and scam recognition can reduce the threat of identity theft inside and outside the tax system. In addition, those needing an update on the Coronavirus-19 latest tax implications visit the new page created on irs.gov for updates.

IRS Increasing Focus on Taxpayers Who Have Not Filed Tax Returns (FS-2020-02)

The Internal Revenue Service announced it will visit more taxpayers who haven’t filed tax returns for prior years in an effort to increase tax compliance and further enforce the law. In addition, the IRS is increasing the use of data analytics, research and new compliance strategies, including personal visits, to reach taxpayers and tax return preparers who have not filed federal tax returns.

Tax Time Guide: Payment Options Available for Those Who Owe (IR-2020-48)

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that if they need to make a tax payment or owe and can’t pay, the IRS offers several options. The following info is part of a series of IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide, designed to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. This year’s tax-filing deadline is April 15. Taxpayers should know before they owe. The IRS encourages all taxpayers to check their withholding with the IRS Withholding Estimator.

Tax Time Guide: Check Out These Free Tax Return Preparation Options (IR-2020-47)

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers that free tax help is available in-person at nearly 11,000 volunteer sites nationwide and online through IRS Free File. This news release is part of a series called the Tax Time Guide, a resource to help taxpayers file an accurate tax return. Additional help is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax.

Tax Time Guide: IRS.gov’s ‘Where’s My Refund?’ Tool is Fastest, Easiest Way to Check on Tax Refunds

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding taxpayers today that the best way to check on their tax refund is by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go Mobile App. This news release is part of a group of IRS tips called the Tax Time Guide. The guide is designed to help taxpayers as they near the April 15 tax filing deadline.