NASHVILLE, TN – Spring is coming but tax season is already here. In a special briefing last week for ethnic news media, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig noted some changes from last year.
“It is our intent that the filing of tax returns by people is as smooth and seamless as possible,” Rettig said.
He noted people dread doing their taxes people but the IRS wants people to fill out accurate returns so they can receive many of the tax credits and benefits they may be entitled to. Those include the earned income credit (EITC) and the advanced child tax credit.
“About 20% of people who are eligible to receive the earned income tax credit are not aware of it,” he said.
Tax credits are “triggered” by filing an accurate tax return. If you file electronically, your returns could be turned around in 21 days from the date you file.
“We want to get them those funds. And the way they get those funds is to file an accurate tax return and the way to get those refunds quickly, make sure it is accurate, electronically filed, and request a deposit of those funds into their financial account,” he said.
About one third of Americans do not have bank accounts. The IRS can help you set one up but if you don’t want one, the IRS will mail you a paper check. It will take longer though.
“We urge taxpayers to take care, particularly for those who received a third economic impact payment or an advanced child tax credit in 2021. They should ensure the correct amounts they received are entered on the tax return. Incorrect entries means the IRs will further review that tax return, creating a delay,” said Ken Corbin, Commissioner of the Wage and Investment Division.
The IRS mailed letters to taxpayers who received those payments. The letters list the amounts you received. If you didn’t receive the amount the IRS has on record, Corbin said that you should enter the correct amount on your return.
Workers with dependents can qualify for EITC if their income was less than $57,414. The maximum EITC credit for those with no dependents is $1502. It was $500 in 2020.
The age limit to claim the EITC has been lowered from 25 to 18. People over 65, like last year, are not eligible. However, you can qualify for an EITC with no dependents if you are homeless and over 65 or a former foster youth. People with investment income up to $10,000 can also claim EITC.
If you want to claim the child tax credit, you can find out if you are eligible by going here: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita/am-i-eligible-to-claim-the-child-and-dependent-care-credit.
If you need help or have questions instead of making a phone call go to www.IRS.gov “Our phone lines are jammed. We have received 100 million calls and have less than 15,000 people to answer them,” Rettig said.
The IRS has a free tax-filing program. If you go to the website there is a link that will take you to online filing for free. The IRS also has a program of volunteers, called VIDA, who help people fill out their tax return. Go there to find a volunteer based on your zip code.
“This allows you to get in-person assistance in your community from a certified preparer by the IRS for free,” Corbin said. Corbin said some volunteers offer virtual help for people who are afraid of COVID.
If you owe money to the government, you must pay it before April 18, 2022 or incur interest and possibly penalty costs. You can set up an installment plan whether you are an individual, self-employed, or run a small business.
Corbin said to beware of imposters pretending to be from the IRS. “The IRs will not call you on your phone without sending you a notice in the mail. Don’t accept a text message; don’t accept a phone call. Certainly if they ask for banking information or to pay your taxes with a gift care, that is most definitely a scam,” he said.