Answers to the top queries on tax regulations during COVID-19

Answers to the top queries on tax regulations during COVID-19

Answers to the top queries

on tax regulations during COVID-19

The outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 has created huge economic disruption globally. Amidst all the chaos and economic troubles, the US Government has announced certain changes related to the tax filing activities. Amongst these changes, the most important one is the extension in the deadline for federal tax filing to 15th July 2020. This step has been taken by the US Government to provide some relief to concerning handling taxes amidst the trauma spread by the COVID-19.Answers to the top queries on tax regulations during COVID- 19.

Now, with these changes been introduced by the US Government, it is quite obvious for you to have several questions related to the changes made, new tax deadlines and other associated impacts. Let us check out the answers to all the evident questions related to these changes introduced by the IRS.

  • Is there a possibility of state taxes to have a different deadline?

Mostly, a majority of the states have confirmed to the same extended deadline as that of the Federal tax i.e. 15th July 2020. However, there can be some states which will have different tax deadline than that of the Federal tax. You can know in detail about your State tax filing deadline by checking with your respective state tax agencies. 

  • Can I file my tax return according to the original tax filing deadline i.e. by 15th April 2020?

Yes, you can file your tax returns according to the original deadline i.e. 15th April 2020. If you expect a refund from the IRS it is advisable to file your tax returns now to get your refund money soon.

  • Is there a probability of obtaining the tax refund being delayed?

There are no such probabilities of tax refund being delayed and would be processed as normal. If the tax return has been filed by electronic medium or via direct deposit then it would be refunded within a maximum of 21 days. 

  • Is there any specific eligibility for availing this extended deadline for filing a federal tax return?

Any person who has a federal income tax payment or returns due on 15th April 2020 is eligible for availing the relief of the extended timeline. Here “person” can denote an individual, an estate, a trust, a corporation or even a business entity. The payment here refers to the Federal income tax payments for 2019 and the estimated federal income tax payment 2020. It must be noted that the return or tax payment must be due on 15th April 2020 and this relief does not apply to any return/payment due on any other date. 

  • Does this extension in the tax filing deadline means that I can some more time for making contributions to my HSA?

You can make contributions to your HSA anytime until the extended tax filing deadline. Since the tax filing deadline has currently been extended to 15th July 2020you can make your contributions into HSA until then.

  • I have already filed my tax return 2019 which was due on 15th April 2020 and even I have to pay taxes that are not paid yet? What can be done to avoid penalties and interest? 

You can avoid penalties and interest by paying your income tax by 15th July 2020. Interest/penalties will be charged only after 15th July 2020 if the due tax has not been paid. In case of filing the tax return by Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR the amount to be paid will be found on Line 23. If the return has been filed by using Form 1040-NR, the amount can be found on Line 75. For a corporation that is filing a return using Form 1120, the tax amount can be found online 35.

  • Does this extension in the tax filing deadline mean I have more time to make contributions to my IRA for the year 2019?

Contributions into IRA for a particular year can be made till the tax filing due date of that year. Now since the income tax filing for the year 2019 has been shifted to 15th July 2020 you can make contributions to your IRA till 15th July 2020.  

  • What to do if I am not able to pay my taxes due on 15th April 2020 by 15th July 2020 even?

If you are individual and are not able to pay your taxes that are due on 15th April 2020 even by 15th July 2020 then you must request an automatic extension. You will have to request for this automatic extension by 15th July 2020 and can be done by electronically filing Form 4868. Business entities and trusts can file for this extension by filing Form 7004.  

Hence, these are some of the common queries answered related to the extension of the federal tax filing deadline. This effort by the US Government during these times of emergency is sure to reduce stress related to finances up to some extent.

References

https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-news/your-top-tax-questions-about-coronavirus-covid-19-answered-46591/

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/filing-and-payment-deadlines-questions-and-answers

  

 

  

Does the new tax deadline by IRS mean a new deadline for your IRA contribution?

Does the new tax deadline by IRS mean a new deadline for your IRA contribution?

Does the new tax deadline by IRS mean a new deadline

for your IRA contribution?

The IRS Tax Deadline, The federal tax filing deadline in the US has been extended up to 15th July 2020 to combat the effects of economic hazards caused due to the outbreak of COVID-19. This extension would also mean that you can make contributions to the IRA up to 15th July 2020.

IRA and how it works?

In the US, IRA or Individual Retirement Account helps you in saving money for retirement in a tax-advantaged way. The money which you would invest in this account can grow in a tax-deferred manner until you are ready to retire. Usually, traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are opened by individuals whereas SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs are meant for small business owners and self-employed individuals. 

All the IRAs offer tax benefits which can be considered as a reward for saving. With the help of an IRA, you can even invest in stocks, bonds, and other assets. By making contributions to a traditional IRA, your tax bill would be reduced for the year in which you are contributing and you would not have owed income tax on the money until you withdraw it on your retirement. However, in a Roth IRA investments can grow in a tax-free manner but the contributions are not eligible for tax deductions. The withdrawal of the money can be done on retirement in a tax-free manner by investing in a Roth IRA as well.

The major benefits of an IRA can be listed below.

  1. Saving tool for retirement
  2. Cutting of tax bill
  3. The wider option of investments available
  4. Savior in any unexpected situation

By the IRA withdrawal rules, you can withdraw your money anytime from the IRA but by paying a penalty of 10% and a tax bill if your money has been withdrawn before the age of 59-1/2 years unless there is an exception.

Extension in IRA

contribution deadline

In case you have not been able to save much for your retirement in the last year, you can do that now as the IRA contribution deadline has also been extended. The IRS has extended this for 90 days without charging any penalties or interest for this.

You can contribute a maximum of $6000 towards the IRA. If you are above the age of 50 years then you can contribute an additional $1000 as a catch-up contribution. For making further contributions to your IRA you must contact the brokerage where your IRA has been held so that any additional funds that are added by you into the IRA are correctly filed.

Extension in the deadline for tax

owed on the income from IRA 

If you have taken an early distribution from your IRA or any other work-based retirement plan then you will owe an additional tax. This will be a 10% additional tax on the amount that can be included in 

gross income obtained from the early distribution. The deadline for reporting and payment of this additional tax has also got an extension up to 15th July 2020.

The major cause behind this is that this additional 10% tax is calculated and even paid at the same time as the income tax owed on the gross income. In case you are filing before 15th July 2020, then this extra 10% tax would be calculated at the time of filing itself.

Remove excessive

deferrals

In case, excessive deferrals have been made by you to your work-based retirement plans then those deferrals must be removed from the plan. This removal must be done by 15th April 2020 as those distributions need to be removed from the income and there has been no extension in this deadline. 

All you need to know about the changes in tax rules due to COVID-19

All you need to know about the changes in tax rules due to COVID-19

All you need to know about the changes in tax rules due to    COVID-19

On 13th March 2020, the US President had issued an emergency declaration in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Due to COVID-19 the tax Rules have changed Since the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused huge harm to individuals and businesses, the Federal Government and the State Government have responded very promptly by making significant changes to the tax laws.  

FEDERAL EXTENSIONS: The IRS has announced for the extension of both tax payment and tax return filing deadline for several taxpayers including individuals, business entities, trust, etc. The tax payment and return filing deadline has been extended to 15th July 2020 which would have been 15th April 2020 otherwise. There would be a waiver of interest and late filing penalties for this extension  of these 90 days. This relief applies to a taxpayer’s 2019 income tax liability and the estimated income tax payments for the first quarter of 2020.

STATE EXTENSIONS: Although the tax implications and timelines are different for the states, still a majority of the states have extended their tax return filing and payment deadlines following that of the federal guidelines. However, there might be some states which have responded to this deadline extension separately. State responses to the tax deadline extension might apply to other categories of taxes as well apart from Income tax.

THE CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS PACKAGE: On 27th March 2020, the US President had signed an Act known as CARES i.e. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic basis Security Act. This Act has been transformed into law which ensures a $2 trillion stimulus package. This will help in providing financial relief to business entities, individual taxpayers and even families. Also, by the coronavirus stimulus package taxpayers can avail of the benefits of advanced tax rebates.The taxpayers can receive stimulus checks up to $1,200 for individual taxpayers. 

 Joint taxpayers would receive stimulus checks up to $2,400 and an additional check of $500 in case of each qualifying child. The payment of this stimulus checks associated with COVID-19 would be done based on tax filings that have been done in 2018 or 2019. If a taxpayer has not yet filed the tax returns, then the information of 2018 would be used. The amount which would be paid now would be reconciled in the tax return of the next year depending on the 2020 situation. 

Moreover, the CARES Act also allows the Government to grasp the information of direct deposit in the income tax return filing of 2019 or the tax return 2018. This would help deposit the funds in the stimulus package directly into the taxpayer’s account by electronic means. 

So, in the present situation, it is advisable to file for 2019 tax returns soon and select to obtain the refunds by direct deposit method. By this, the IRS would be able to have the current tax filing information and direct deposit information which would help in the transfer of the stimulus amount conveniently. 

The FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (FFCRA): 

President Trump has signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into Law which would be effective from no later than 2nd April 2020. According to the guidelines of this Act, employers who have an employee count of less than 500 ought to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) rights and free testing for COVID-19. 

  1. This Act also helps in providing two refundable payroll tax credits which would help the businesses to make up for the cost incurred with the mandated paid leaves.  The eligible employers can claim both the credits in amounts that are equal to 100% of the amount of family leave wages which are paid under the FFCRA.  
  2. Employers need to offer paid sick leave tax credit and paid family leave or “Child Care Leave” Tax credit. Self-employed individuals or small business owners are required to offer paid sick leave for those employees who are unable to work due to COVID-19 and would also receive sick leave tax credit which is equal to 100% of the wage amount paid. This amount of credit has been limited to $200 per day if the employee is not able to work if he is taking care of a minor child after the closure of his school or an individual under the self-isolation order.
  3. Employers can also obtain refundable family leave tax credit for the wages that are being paid to the employees who are unable to work as they are taking care of a minor child. The school or child care center of the minor is closed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Conclusion

Hence, in these difficult times of national emergency, these changes introduced by the US Government would be highly beneficial for all the taxpayers as it would mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on individuals as well as business entities.

References

https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-news/is-the-tax-deadline-delayed-what-to-know-about-coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-taxes-46320/

https://www.bradley.com/insights/publications/2020/03/update-on-federal-and-state-tax-responses-to-covid19-pandemic

 

What is the process to obtain the US Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)?

What is the process to obtain the US Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)?

What is the process to obtain the US Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)?

US Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is an Identification Number which is used by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) for the administration required in the field of tax laws. ITIN is a nine-digit number that is issued either by the SSA (Social Security Administration) or by the IRS. ITIN is issued by IRS to those individuals who must have a US taxpayer identification number but do not qualify to obtain SSN (Social Security Number)from the SSA.

Why do you need ITIN?

When you are working in the US and earning in the US, but you do not qualify to obtain an SSN, then the ITIN will be helpful during your filing for tax returns.

Let us find out what does an ITIN does.

  1. If you qualify to obtain a tax refund from the IRS, then ITIN will help you in obtaining a refund.
  2. ITIN will help you to file your taxes and help the qualifying dependents to claim the tax benefits.
  3. Moreover, ITIN can help you to apply for a mortgage loan or open a bank account.

Eligibility for obtaining ITIN

 You should be falling into these below-mentioned categories to obtain the ITIN.

  1. You should be a non-resident alien who needs to file a US tax return.
  2. You must be a US resident alien who has to file a US tax return.
  3. You should be a dependent or the spouse of a US citizen or resident alien.
  4. You must be a dependent or spouse of a non-resident alien VISA holder such as H4 VISA.
  5. You should be a non-resident alien who is claiming a tax benefit.
  6. You should be a non-resident alien student, researcher or professor filing a US tax return or for claiming an exception.

Procedure to obtain ITIN

  • For the process of applying for ITIN, you will need the below-mentioned documents.
  1. Form W-7
  2. IRS Application for Individual Tax Identification Number.
  3. Your federal tax return. But, if you are eligible for an exception then you must provide the supporting documents as well for the exception.
  4. Original documentation from the issuing agency for proof of your identity and foreign status.
  • Since, you will be filing your tax returns in the form of an attachment to your ITIN application you should avoid mailing your filled form to the address which is mentioned in Form 1040, Form 1040A or even Form 1040EZ.
  • You can send your Form W-7, tax return, and other documents either to the mailing address mentioned in Form W-7 or submit it at the walk-in offices of the IRS. You can also get your form and documents processed by an agent who has been appointed by the IRS.
  • These Acceptance Agents are those entities such as colleges, financial institutions, accounting organizations, etc. who help the ITIN applicants in obtaining ITIN. These Acceptance Agents would review the application forms and would forward them to IRS for further processing.

Timeline within which ITIN must be applied

When you are ready to file your Federal Income Tax Return, you should also complete your Form W-7. This needs to be done as the return would be needed to be attached to FormW-7.

If you are qualifying for any of the exceptions, then you do not need to file a tax return. You would only submit Form W-7 along with those supporting documents which provide proof for the exception. An applicant is allowed to apply for ITIN during any time of the year but if you need to attach the tax return to Form W-7 and that tax return is filed after the due date then you might have to pay penalties.

When will you receive your ITIN?

 The IRS usually takes a time of around two months to complete the processing of the ITIN form. If your documents and details are correct, then your form would be processed and ITIN would be sent to your mailing address approximately within two months.

However, if even after 2 months you do not receive your ITIN or any other document/correspondence from IRS then you can call IRS at the Toll-free number and enquire about your ITIN application.

Hence, ITIN is very much necessary for tax return and if you are filing your tax return with an expired ITIN then your request would be processed but you will not receive any tax exemptions or credit claims.

Reference

  1. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/taxpayer-identification-numbers-tin
  2. https://www.hrblock.com/tax-offices/tax-prep/itin-application.html
  3. https://internationalcenter.umich.edu/resources/tax/getting-itin
  4. https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/what-is-an-itin
  5. https://www.immihelp.com/itin-individual-taxpayer-identification-number/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

What to do if you haven’t filed your taxes in the US?

There can be an array of reasons for taxpayers not to file their taxes in the US. For starters, an individual might not have filed their taxes because they cannot pay their taxes. Or the more common reason is that individuals get consumed with life and work and cannot get things aligned to be able to file their taxes on time.

Irrespective of what your reason maybe, it is essential that you file your taxes at the earliest. Simply because non-filing of taxes is a serious issue for the IRS. There are three straightforward outcomes when it comes to filing your taxes. Firstly, you do not owe any taxes to the government. Secondly, the government owes you tax refunds and thirdly, you owe taxes to the government.

While the first and second scenarios are still easy to live by, the third one can take a hefty toll on you. In the event that you owe taxes to the government, you are liable to pay fines and penalties on the top of the taxes that you are liable to pay. And things can get ugly, quite fast.

File your Tax Returns

For individuals who have not yet filed their taxes, they must start immediately. The first question that will come to your mind is, for how many years should I file my taxes. As per the IRS guidelines, you must file your taxes for at least 6 years to establish a good understanding with the IRS.

If there are any changes to the same, the IRS management will have to approve of the same. Depending on the situation, the IRS management can ask you for tax returns exceeding 6 years as well. Here are some of the common reasons for the same.

  • If there are relatively larger tax bills on your past filings. The absence of any withholdings for large wages, property taxes or Form 1099-Misc is red flags for the same.
  • The IRS would most probably do additional scrutiny if any businesses are involved since the possibility of non-compliance is higher.

Tips For Filing your Taxes

Citizens who have not filed their taxes and wish to do so, here are some tips that will help you get through.

  • It is essential to get a confirmation whether the IRS needs 6 years of taxes or beyond. You can either call the IRS to find out the same or reach out to a tax consultant for the same.
  • One more reason to file your taxes at the earliest is that the IRS will not pay older tax refunds. As per the IRS guidelines, it will pay refunds up to a maximum of 3 years from the date of filing. Thus, you might lose any refunds even if they are valid.
  • There is a good possibility that you might have to pay hefty fines on your taxes. The failure to pay and failure to file penalties can accrue up to 47.5% of your liable taxes.
  • The IRS usually starts a process called the substitute for return, if the due date exceeds three years. When you file your taxes, the IRS will compare your returns with the SFR (substitute for return). And this can be time consuming, sometimes these cases might take up to four months.
  • In the event you cannot pay your liable taxes, it is recommended that you reach out to the IRS and ask for an agreement. Depending on your needs, there are several typesof agreements that you can opt for.

Irrespective of your reasons, if you haven’t filed your returns, you must initiate the same at the earliest to minimize its impacts.

Reference:

https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/irs/audits-and-tax-notices/get-back-track-irs-havent-filed-one-returns/

https://twocents.lifehacker.com/what-to-do-if-you-havent-filed-your-taxes-in-years-1803756859

https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc153

Is it possible to maximize your tax refunds?

Is it possible to maximize your tax refunds?

Is it possible to maximize your tax refunds?

Mostly, we think that when we have filed for our tax return and finally obtained our tax return brings an end to the entire procedure for the current year. There is nothing more to worry about or think about tax and tax returns throughout the year. However, even after receiving your tax return for the current year you can think about maximizing your tax refunds.

If you are interested in learning about how to maximize your tax refunds for the next year, then you can follow some simple tips. Let us have a look at these tips which can increase your tax refunds in the next year.

1.Deduction of education-related costs

There are numerous costs related to education that are deductible. In case you are the owner of a business or you are employed in an organization, you can try and deduct those education costs which are needed for improving your skills at the workplace. If you have an income that is less than $80,000 then you might be able to take up tuition and the fee deduction would amount up to $4,000 for the tuition, fees, and books.  For instance, if you and your family members are together pursuing a degree then you can take up an American Opportunity Tax Credit which is a maximum annual credit of $2,500 for each student provided your income is less than $90,000 and is less than $180,000 for married couples who would be filing tax jointly.

2.Deduction of expenses incurred in job-hunting

There are various costs associated with job hunting which can be reduced such as deduction of the cost incurred during travel for jobs, meals and telephone calls associated with job search, preparation of a resume, career counseling, payment made to employment agencies, etc. These expenses account for almost 2% of your annual income even if you are not going to change your job anytime soon in the future.  But, if it is your search or hunt for your first job then the expenses are unavoidable.

3.Take deductions available for business owners

When you are the owner of a business, you should keep a track of the business expenses and avail deductions that are available. Expenses like business dinners, mileage of the car, use of a computer, appointments, etc. can be used to increase your deductions available. You can also motivate your children to work in your business along with you. You can pay those wages for their jobs and as a result, they will not have to pay different varieties of taxes like other employees working with you.

1.Making investments in future

You should start investing in various plans such as 401(k), IRA, tax-advantaged avenues, employee stock purchase plans, etc. You should start contributing to these avenues as much as you can. If you are making smaller contributions now it would be helpful rather than making huge contributions at a time which is quite nearer to your retirement. By doing this now, you are saving now and also taking an initiative towards boosting your wealth also. This extra compounding will help increase your corpus for retirement.

2.Your own home

 Your tax refund can have a remarkable increase in the mortgage interest and property tax deductions. When you are purchasing your house, you must check the settlement statement of your house properly and find out the deductible items.  In your closing statement, you can find out different deductible items such as property taxes, prepaid interest, points, etc. When you are acquiring your own house, those points that are paid are deductible during that year. If there are any points paid for the refinancing of the loan, then they should be written off over the loan’s length. Again if you are refinancing, you must not forget to write off the remaining points from the previous loan.

3.Charity

 Charity can also get you some tax deductions such as donating clothes, household goods, linen, sports items, etc. Donation of books and magazines made to the library can also get you tax deductions. You can make a note of the donated items and can deduct these at the time of tax filing.

Hence, tax refunds can be maximized by carefully keeping a note of the various deductibles that are available and those that have been availed by you. You can, later on, use these to maximize tax returns at the time of tax filing.