Tax Day 2021: Haven't done your taxes yet? 12 tips for last-minute filers


Tax Day is here! It’s down to the wire for some Americans, so be careful not to make sloppy mistakes or you could miss out on a larger refund, owe more in taxes or face an IRS audit.

Some of the most common errors that filers make include missing a tax break, providing incorrect bank information or accruing penalties for failing to file on time.

Many families should also file a 2020 income tax return to receive cash later this year through the expanded Child Tax Credit. That’s true even if you don’t normally make enough money to need to file a federal income tax return. Some may qualify for additional money by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Tax Day is Monday:Tax Day is Monday: How do I file a tax extension?

Did your state extend the deadline for income taxes? Here’s when 2020 taxes are due.

To be sure, May 17 isn’t the deadline all across the country. There are some exceptions. Victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana have until June 15 to file their 2020 federal returns and pay any tax due.

The IRS also extended the federal deadline in parts of Tennessee and Alabama to Aug. 2 for victims of storms. Some individuals in parts of Kentucky that were affected by flooding have until June 30.

For those who need to file by Monday, here are some last minute tips:

Tax Day 2021: Haven't done your taxes yet? 12 tips for last-minute filers

1. File on time. If you can’t, get an extension.

It’s important to file on time or get an extension up to Oct. 15 so you don’t get hit with a late filing and/or a late payment fee. But filing an extension when you owe taxes only gives you more time to file, not more time to pay. That means your payment is still due at the tax filing deadline.

To file an extension, submit IRS Form 4868 electronically by the deadline. Another option is to print out the form and send it to the IRS address for your state by the deadline. You can also do it for free using any of the Free File software offered by the major tax preparation companies.

The rules vary from state to state and each one has its own tax-filing extension rules. Check your state’s tax agency website for more information. But remember, you might not want to file for an extension — especially if you have your paperwork — if you have children and can qualify for the Child Tax Credit where you might start seeing some extra money this summer.

2. A 2020 return is vital for parents

The scope of the newly revised Child Tax Credit has been expanded significantly to cover children ages 17 and younger, instead of stopping at 16.

More important, families will be able to receive cash from the child credit from July through December 2021 as part of a new system. The goal is to help families pay bills now, instead of waiting for money to arrive next year.

The expanded credit is worth up to $3,000 per child a year for children ages 6 to 17. The credit offers an extra $600 — providing up to $3,600 — for each child 5 and younger. By filing a tax return, experts say, the IRS will know where to send your payment and how many children you have. The amount was temporarily increased under the American Rescue Plan Act for the tax year 2021.

3. Claim Recovery Rebate Credit if eligible

The Recovery Rebate Credit is found on Line 30 of the 1040 or 1040-SR. The credit is essential to claim on the 2020 tax return if you didn’t get your stimulus or didn’t get all the money you’re qualified to receive in the first two rounds of stimulus payments.

The Recovery Rebate Credit is triggering some stimulus-related mistakes on 2020 income tax returns that have already been filed. The IRS will end up mailing you a letter if you claimed the credit and may be getting a different amount than expected. The mistakes also cause delays in receiving your income tax refund.

If possible, dig up accurate stimulus numbers by looking for letters that the IRS sent out earlier, such as IRS Notice 1444 for the first Economic Impact Payment and IRS Notice 1444-B for the second EIP to document how much stimulus money you were sent.

If you threw those letters out or did not receive them, some taxpayers may be able to research any direct deposit money received by reviewing their bank statements for Economic Impact Payments.

4. If you can’t pay, look into an installment plan

You may qualify for an online payment plan or an installment agreement that allows you to pay off an outstanding balance over time, according to the IRS. If you already have a payment plan, you may still qualify to use the plan option to revise your existing agreement.

5. How to get free tax preparation services

IRS Free File at IRS.gov will enable you to use tax software to prepare and file your federal income tax online for free. To qualify, your income must be $72,000 or less. Go directly to IRS.gov to browse all offers.

6. Beware of tax scams

Be wary of unscrupulous individuals who may offer to prepare your taxes but could steal important personal information from you. As part of a hot scheme in 2021, identity thieves are targeting tax professionals by sending an email that appears to be from the IRS. The phony email refers to “IRS Tax E-Filing” and verifying key e-file information.

Remember, the IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers via email, text message or social media. With the deadline here, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a consumer alert to remind Floridians to be on the lookout for tax scams and identity theft. Earlier this year, she released a tip sheet for residents.

7. Watch out for wrong numbers

You want to make sure that you’ve entered the correct Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse and your children. The wrong numbers can delay your tax refund and cause headaches.

8. Get the address right

If mailing a return, send it to the correct address.

Your best bet, typically, is to file your tax return electronically and request direct deposit if you’re owed a refund. If you owe the IRS money, you can e-file and pay via electronic funds withdrawal or pay online. See IRS.gov/payments.

But if you are mailing an income tax return, take time to double check where you’re sending it. You could be surprised to learn that you must send some returns to a different IRS location than a year ago.

9. Make sure your bank account is correct

Be sure to double check the routing and account numbers on your return if you’re expecting a refund via direct deposit. Taxpayers who are anticipating a refund should choose direct deposit, which is typically the fastest way to get your money.

10. Did you change your name?

If you legally changed your name with the Social Security Administration, make sure it is reflected in your federal and state tax returns. A mismatch may delay the processing of your returns.

11. Don’t make math mistakes

Math errors are among the most common mistakes that filers make. They range from simple addition and subtraction to more complex calculations. Taxpayers should always double check their math. This is when tax prep software can come in handy since it does the math automatically.

12. Report all of your income

Individuals often don’t realize they generated income that is subject to tax, including unemployment compensation, rental income, or earnings generated from stock options, dividends and interest. Omitting income from a tax return can result in unpaid taxes subject to interest and various penalties.

A person may be unfamiliar when they receive a new tax form, such as a 1099 or K-1, that includes income to be reported on an individual income tax return. It’s crucial to report your activities from these forms. The IRS generally receives a copy and can determine if any discrepancies exist from their records.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Seccom Global, Dicker Data score Check Point partner awards

Cybersecurity vendor Check Point Software has honoured a pair of Australian channel partners as some of the best in Asia Pacific for the year. Sydney managed security services provider Seccom ... Read more »

Vocus finalises $3.5 billion sale to MIRA-Aware Super consortium

Vocus has revealed it has officially been acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) and Aware Super as the transaction finalises today. The two companies, who formed a consortium ... Read more »

7-Eleven, Walmart's muffin brands recalled due to listeria contamination

Photo by: Kaihao Zhao/Unsplash 7-Eleven and Walmart have a lot of items and brands in their stores, and it was revealed that some of the muffin brands that they sell ... Read more »

Behind Arq Group's move into Canberra

Canberra has been a strong hub for the IT sector largely due to the amount of IT and consulting work available, and the Australian IT channel has established a strong ... Read more »

Didi and Luckin's New York debacles shed light on corporate liability insurance as shield against class action lawsuits

Didi Global’s New York listing debacle is shedding light on a little-known area of insurance that protects corporate directors and officers (D&O) from legal liability, as a number of law ... Read more »

Tech scare sends Hong Kong stocks reeling in week as Chinese tutoring firms crash

Hong Kong stocks capped a weekly loss on lingering concerns about Beijing’s crackdown against internet-platform companies and as a surge in Delta variant cases clouds global economic recovery outlook. Chinese ... Read more »

Samsung Display to supply Apple with OLED as it ditches LCD technology

Photo by: Samsung Display/Facebook Samsung Display will be benefiting big time as Apple ditches the LCD technology and shifts to organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display panels for its new iPad ... Read more »

Volkswagen Korea drops prices for the new Tiguan SUV model

Photo by: Volkswagen Website Volkswagen Korea is lowering the prices of its newest SUV model, which is the Tiguan. The German automaker stated that it made the decision to drop ... Read more »

HBO shuts down Apple TV, forcing subscribers to upgrade to HBO Max

Photo by: Apple TV/Facebook HBO just shut down Apple TV on Thursday, July 22, and officially ended their integration that only started in May. Now subscribers will no longer be ... Read more »

Activision Blizzard sued by the state of California over discrimination, sexual harassment

Photo by: Activision Blizzard/Facebook Activision Blizzard that is known for its popular video game titles, including “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” has been sued by California's Department of ... Read more »

Consumer spending boom continues with 9% rise in May

Photo: Depositphotos.com Consumer spending soared by nearly 9% in May, but was still slightly down on April’s 9.7% rise, which itself was the biggest since World War II. However, the ... Read more »

Bankers expect bigger bonuses in 2022 as financial sector goes on Asia hiring spree

Financial services professionals in Asia are confident they will receive bigger bonuses in 2022 as banks and other institutions scramble to attract and retain talent in Asia, according to headhunting ... Read more »

DUG Drinks: World's first potato milk launched by Swedish vegan dairy brand

Photo by: DUG Drinks/Instagram DUG Drinks, a Swedish startup that produces vegan dairy products, just developed the very first potato-based milk in the world. The company has already launched the ... Read more »

Evergrande resolves debt dispute with Guangfa Bank after Hong Kong lenders withdrew mortgage loans to its apartment buyers

Heavily indebted developer China Evergrande said on Thursday that it resolved a dispute with a bank creditor that led to 132 million yuan (US$20 million) in its assets being frozen ... Read more »

At two years old, Shanghai's Star board is already bigger than Spain's capital market and shields investors from global tech rout

The Star Market, China’s Nasdaq-style board, which is celebrating its second anniversary, has emerged as a safe haven for investors seeking shelter from Beijing’s crackdown on technology companies. The board, ... Read more »

Hong Kong stocks snap three-day slump as oil firms rebound while Evergrande halts free-fall

Hong Kong stocks rose at the lunch break as Chinese oil giants advanced while shares of debt-stricken developer Evergrande surged in a relief rally. The Hang Seng Index rose 1.8 ... Read more »

China's yuan to become more influential part of the global financial system, survey shows

The Chinese yuan is on course to become a much more influential part of the global financial system with almost a third of central banks planning to add the currency ... Read more »

Indexes inch higher on Wall Street, preserving weekly gains

Major indexes edged higher on Wall Street after a day of muted trading, preserving their gains for the week. The S&P 500 emerged from a midday slump to end with ... Read more »

Intel raises full-year revenue forecast

Intel raised its annual revenue forecast on Thursday, focusing on its dual strategy of increasing in-house production as well as outsourcing to catch up with rivals. Intel, one of the ... Read more »

Macquarie Cloud Services achieves Azure Expert MSP status

Macquarie Cloud Services, part of Macquarie Telecom Group, has achieved Azure-only Expert MSP credentials. The company said it is the quickest and Australian partners has gone from inception to certification ... Read more »

Sophos buys UK network detection and response MSSP Braintrace

Sophos has purchased MSSP US-based startup Braintrace to get visibility into suspicious network traffic patterns, including encrypted traffic, without the need for man-in-the-middle decryption. The UK-based platform security vendor said ... Read more »

Collaboration software vendor Mural lands in ANZ, taps Robert Malkin as APAC boss

Digital workspace and visual collaboration software vendor Mural has hired Robert Malkin to lead its Asia-Pacific business. This marks the company’s launch into APAC, starting with Australia and New Zealand. ... Read more »

MNF Group closes $31m direct biz sale to Vonex

MNF Group has finalised its deal with Vonex for the sale of part of the company’s direct business for $31 million. The two signed the conditional term sheet on 7 ... Read more »

Wools of NZ, Primary Wool merger to go to farmer vote in November

About 2100 farmers will vote in November on a proposed merger between grower-owned export and marketing company Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) and Primary Wool Co-operative to form a fully ... Read more »

Covid 19 coronavirus transtasman bubble pause: Board of Airline Representatives pushes for wage help

An airline group says aviation businesses affected by the suspension of quarantine-free transtasman travel should be able to claim wage support. The Board of Airline representatives says the eight-week pause ... Read more »

Ingram's CloudBlue updates go-to-market program

Ingram Micro subsidiary CloudBlue has updated its ‘Go-To-Market (GTM) Fast-Track’ program, aiming to decrease time to market by 50 percent. Updates include virtual showrooms and greater insights, including access to ... Read more »

PUBLISH to make NFTs of national treasure of Korea, Hangul manuscript ‘Hunminjeongeum Haerye'

National Treasure No. 70, “Hunminjeongeum Haerye”. Credit: PUBLISH PUBLISH announced it has been contracted by Kansong Art Museum to implement the technical solution for the conversion of the Haerye Edition ... Read more »

Intel sales forecast implies rocky second half of 2021

Intel Corp said it still faces supply chain constraints and gave an annual sales forecast that implied a weak end of the year. The 2021 forecast of US$73.5 billion in ... Read more »

Mercedes plans to go all-electric by decade's end

Daimler AG’s luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz says it is stepping up its transition to electric cars, doubling the share of sales planned by 2025 and sketching out a market scenario ... Read more »

Sydney shrugs aside Covid-19, cooling measures and tensions with China to emerge as hottest luxury homes market globally

The absence of foreign homebuyers, including those from mainland China, in Australia’s property market has not prevented Sydney from copping the crown of being the world’s top prime property market, ... Read more »

Websites back up after brief global outage linked to Akamai

Many websites were briefly down in an outage sparked by a glitch in Akamai Technologies Inc’s systems, the second major disruption linked to the cloud company in about a month. ... Read more »

As floods hit Henan province, investors get respite with stocks spared from major sell-off

As Henan counts the huge economic damage from unprecedented flooding, stock investors are finding the market reactions far from disastrous as companies with operations in the central Chinese province ploughed ... Read more »

Debt-ridden electric vehicle maker Faraday Future loses Zhuhai government as a crucial investor ahead of US listing

Electric vehicle (EV) company Faraday Future failed to secure a crucial government investor ahead of its public listing in the United States, potentially crimping the debt-ridden carmaker’s expansion plans. The ... Read more »

Sin City Calling: How to book cheap flights to Las Vegas?

With the Coronavirus cases receding gradually and expensive fares no longer a roadblock for your next vacation, it's time to leave that couch behind and head out for a place ... Read more »

S. Korea's DHIC to invest additional $60 million in US-based NuScale Power

The investment in NuScale Power will enable Doosan Heavy to win more contracts to supply parts for SMRs. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. (DHIC) will invest US$60 million to ... Read more »

Korea Aerospace receives $240 million trainer jet order from Indonesia

 In 2012, KAI supplied 16 T-50 trainer jets worth $400 million. Korea Aerospace Industries Co. (KAI) has received a $240 million deal to supply six T-50 advanced trainer jets to ... Read more »

Luxury brands LV, Gucci, Balenciaga and Kenzo scramble to attract young S. Korean men

Luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Kenzo are scrambling to attract South Korean men in their 20s and 30s, who are becoming major consumers. Louis Vuitton is opening another ... Read more »

Hong Kong’s MTR Corp should bear responsibility for shoddy construction at residential project, lawmakers argue

The MTR Corporation should be held responsible for a construction defect at a residential project atop a railway station in Hong Kong forcing the demolition of two blocks of flats, ... Read more »

HSBC, ICBC (Asia) among Hong Kong banks to stop offering mortgage loans for unfinished flats built by debt-stricken China Evergrande

HSBC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) and other major banks in the city have stopped offering mortgage loans for unfinished flats built by heavily indebted property developer China Evergrande ... Read more »

Melbourne's Intelli-Systems tapped to launch Schneider Electric's micro data centre-as-a-service in Australia

Melbourne-based UPS reseller and critical infrastructure solutions provider Intelli-Systems has launched Schneider Electric’s micro data centre-as-a-service in Australia. Developed specifically for the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, the offering provides micro ... Read more »