(WIVB) – As tough a year as 2020 was to get through, tax season could make it seem even worse.
The additional unemployment, those stimulus checks you’re still waiting for, the tax man is watching.
The extra unemployment benefits, for many folks, might have been the difference between paying the rent, buying medication, or putting food on the table.
But it’s all taxable, and if you didn’t have the government withhold the state and local income taxes, you’ll now have to pay.
To soften the blow for millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic, Congress extended the maximum period for collecting unemployment and added hundreds of dollars per week in benefits- all of which is taxable- and it’s up to the worker to find the appropriate tax form.
Tim Eliason of EG Tax Service said those taxes can be substantial, and for younger workers, Eliason warns parents to watch out for a surprise on their child’s tax bill.
There’s a limit on how much unemployment they can collect before a “Kiddie Tax” kicks in, which would be at their parents’ rate.
“Most kids probably fall in the ten percent,” Eliason said. “We might have parents that fall in the 22 percent- so that income is going to get hit.”
If you haven’t yet received your second stimulus check, you will likely have to file for a tax credit on your 2020 return and collect it as a refund.
That could be an added burden for those who generally don’t have to file a return.
There are volunteer tax services that can do it for free, and some tax preparers can offer deep discounts- and the IRS is not making it easy this time around.
“Whether the income, or the access to computers, things like that- you can’t even go to the library and do it, because the library might be closed,” Eliason said. “It is unfortunate the IRS did not have the free portal set up this year, for the second one like they did the first one.”
Eliason says EG Tax can set up a basic return for non-filers to get their stimulus money for $25.
Tax filers can find some good news in their 2020 returns, such as parents can now get that $600 CARES Act benefit on their tax return.