Providing Assistance With Filing Your Taxes
Washington, February 19, 2021
Economic Impact Payments
As a result of the COVID relief bill I voted for, the IRS and the Treasury Department delivered a second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans of up to $600 for individuals or $1,200 for married couples and up to $600 for each qualifying child. Click here for more information on the payments.
How to Claim a Recovery Rebate Credit
If you did not receive a payment in the first and/or second round of Economic Impact Payments, you may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return. You can claim the credit if you meet the eligibility criteria for the payment, and did not receive a payment (including for each qualifying child), or your payment was less than what you were due.
Eligible individuals should claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. These forms can also be used by people who are not normally required to file tax returns but are eligible for the credit.
The IRS has created a Recovery Rebate Credit worksheet in the 2020 tax return instructions that you can use to figure the amount of any Recovery Rebate Credit for which you are eligible. You can find this on page 59 of the 1040/1040-SR instructions. You will then need to enter the total amount due to you on line 30 of your 1040/1040-SR.
Filing 2020 Taxes
This year, Tax Day is Thursday, April 15th. The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that tax season started on Friday, February 12th, which was the first day you could file your 2020 tax return.
Current IRS Operations
While the IRS is open and processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause delays in many IRS services, notably paper returns and mailed notices. The IRS is encouraging all filers to submit their 2020 tax returns electronically rather than by mail, if possible, due to ongoing delays in processing paper returns. For updates on current IRS operations and delays, click here.
If you are still awaiting processing of your already-submitted 2019 return, do not refile returns electronically or by mail because the IRS may flag the refiling as fraud. There are still millions of pieces of mail not yet opened.
Free Tax Preparation Resources
The IRS Free File program, available only through IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app, offers brand-name tax preparation software packages at no cost. The software is free for those who earned $72,000 or less in 2020 and some of the Free File packages also offer free state tax return preparation. Taxpayers comfortable filling out tax forms electronically, can use Free File Fillable Forms, regardless of income, to file their tax returns either by mail or online. These forms can also be used by those who are traditionally non-filers but need to file a 2020 return in order to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE)
The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. If you are elderly, disabled, speak limited English, or are a taxpayer who earns less than $57,000 annually, you can access free tax help using the VITA Site Locator Tool or by calling 311.