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Time is running out to file your taxes.
Tax season is in its final weeks with the Internal Revenue Service‘s deadline April 18 for most states. It’s the earliest deadline since 2019 after extensions over the last two years amid the pandemic.
The IRS started accepting and processing2021 tax returns Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than last tax season’s late start of Feb. 12.
(If you have any tax questions, feel free to fill out this form, which also is below. USA TODAY will be answering top reader questions as we go through the 2022 tax season.)
This tax season, there are key differences in how jobless benefits will be treated compared with the 2020 returns. You’ll also need to account for advance Child Tax Credit payments, the return of the Recovery Rebate Credit, and a special break for charitable contributions among other things.
As you get started putting together your returns, here are a few things to keep in mind:
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How did COVID relief change tax rules?
Pandemic-related relief changed many rules for 2021 tax returns. On 2021 returns, there’s no longer an age cap or ceiling set at 64 or younger for workers to qualify for the earned income tax credit. It’s a one-time-only deal, but the AARP is pushing to extend the tax break for older workers beyond 2021 tax returns.
The earned income credit (also called EITC or EIC) has been expanded so that the credit can apply on 2021 federal returns to workers who are 65 or older, even if they do not have dependent children, thanks to the American Rescue Plan passed last year.
It now also applies to childless workers from age 19 to 24 who are not half-time or full-time students and are claimed as dependents on their parents’ tax return.
What does the new cryptocurrency question on 1040 tax form mean?
A question is now listed on the front of the 1040 form, right above the section for providing information on dependents about cryptocurrency. The IRS asks: “At any time during 2021, did you receive, sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any financial interest in any virtual currency?”
Those who engaged in a transaction involving virtual currency in 2021 must say “yes” to a question on Page 1 of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
“Do not leave this field blank,” according to an IRS alert called “What’s New” in the instruction booklet for the current tax season.
“The question must be answered by all taxpayers, not just taxpayers who engaged in a transaction involving virtual currency.”
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What is the fastest way to get a refund?
The IRS advises filing taxes electronically and having the refund direct deposited into a financial account. The IRS says refunds can be deposited directly into bank accounts, prepaid debit cards or mobile apps as long as a routing and account number is provided, the IRS said.
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What is the last day to file taxes in 2022? Has the tax deadline been extended?
The deadline to file 2021 income tax returns is Monday, April 18, for most people, three days later than the normal April 15 deadline for filing taxes.
The later date is a result of the Emancipation holiday in the District of Columbia. By law, Washington, D.C., holidays affect tax deadlines for everyone the same way federal holidays do. Taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19 to file because of a holiday celebrated in those states, Patriots’ Day.
The IRS has extended the deadline until May 16 for victims of the late 2021 Colorado wildfires as well as victims of the December tornadoes in parts of Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The extension applies to various individual and business tax returns and tax payments deadlines.
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What is the tax extension deadline?
April 18 also is the deadline for requesting an extension, which gives taxpayers until Oct. 17 to file their returns for 2021.
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Free tax filing 2022: Who qualifies to use IRS Free File?
If your adjusted gross income was $73,000 or less in 2021, you can use free tax software to prepare and electronically file your tax return, according to IRS instructions online for the 2021 tax season.
Taxpayers who earned more can use Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of the federal tax forms, to file their tax returns online. Go to IRS.gov to learn more.
How long does it take to get a tax refund in 2022?
The IRS anticipates most taxpayers will receive refunds, as in past years. Most should receive them within 21 days of when they file electronically if they choose direct deposit (and there are no problems with their returns). Last year’s average federal refund was more than $2,800.
The IRS says many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a return electronically. A manual review may be necessary when a return has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud.
Is the best way to track tax refund with IRS ‘Where’s My Refund’ tool?
Yes, the IRS says using “Where’s My Refund?” on IRS.gov/refunds and the IRS2Go mobile app are the best ways to check the status of a refund. You can check the status within 24 hours after we’ve received your e-file return or four weeks after you’ve mailed a paper return.
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Stimulus checks for 2022? Maybe through Recovery Rebate Credit.
Some people might want to file returns even though they’re not required to do so to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit or the 2021 stimulus payments.
According to the IRS, individuals who didn’t qualify for a third Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amount may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. For those who got some money, the IRS says you’ll need to know the total received to calculate the correct rebate credit to avoid processing delays.
The IRS started sending Letter 6475 in late January with the total amount of the third Economic Impact Payment received. Economic impact payment amounts also can be viewed on IRS online accounts.
Child Tax Credit payments: Look for IRS letter 6419 before filing taxes
In January, the IRS advised families to hold off filing taxes until they received IRS letter 6419, which can help them file an accurate return and avoid delays. However, some taxpayers received letters with inaccurate amounts. Before filing taxes, review your records and check their specific information at the IRS “Child Tax Credit Update Portal Site” at IRS.gov/ctcportal.
DON’T THROW THIS IRS DOCUMENT AWAY:Why IRS Letter 6419 is critical to filing your 2021 taxes and the child tax credit.
Will unemployment benefits come with a tax break in 2022?
Taxpayers got a surprising tax break relating to unemployment benefits received in 2020 only, as part of a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which was signed into law in March 2021.
As part of the American Rescue Plan, many taxpayers were no longer required to pay taxes on up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits received in 2020. The exclusion was up to $10,200 of jobless benefits for each spouse for married couples.
But this year, jobless benefits received in 2021 will be taxable on the 2021 federal income tax return.
UNEMPLOYMENT INCOME TAXABLE:Don’t forget: Jobless benefits are taxable on 2021 tax returns
Contributing: Elisabeth Buchwald, USA TODAY; Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press; Russ Wiles, Arizona Republic; Associated Press
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