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Smooth sailing: Tips to speed processing and avoid hassles this tax season

The IRS began accepting 2021 individual tax returns on January 24. If you haven’t prepared yet for tax season, here are three quick tips to help speed processing and avoid hassles.

Tip 1. Contact us soon for an appointment to prepare your tax return.

Tip 2. Gather all documents needed to prepare an accurate return. This includes W-2 and 1099 forms. In addition, you may have received statements or letters in connection with Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) or advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments.

Letter 6419, 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, tells taxpayers who received CTC payments how much they received. Since the advance payments represented about one-half of the total credit, taxpayers who received CTC payments need to file a return to collect the rest of the credit. Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, tells taxpayers who received an EIP in 2021 the amount of that payment. Taxpayers need to know the amount to determine if they can claim an additional amount on their tax returns.

Taxpayers who received an EIP or CTC payments must include that information on their returns. Failure to include this information, according to the IRS, means a return is incomplete and will require additional processing, which may delay any refund owed to the taxpayer.

Tip 3. Check certain information on your prepared return. Each Social Security number on your tax return should appear exactly as printed on the Social Security card(s). Likewise, make sure that names aren’t misspelled. If you’re receiving your refund by direct deposit, check the bank account number.

Failure to file or pay on time

What if you don’t file on time or can’t pay your tax bill? Separate penalties apply for failing to pay and failing to file. The penalties imposed are a percentage of the taxes you didn’t pay or didn’t pay on time. If you obtain an extension for the filing due date (until October 17), you aren’t filing late unless you miss the extended due date. However, a filing extension doesn’t apply to your responsibility for payment. If you obtain an extension, you’re required to pay an estimate of any owed taxes by the regular deadline to avoid possible penalties.

The penalties for failing to file and failing to pay can be quite severe. (They may be excused by the IRS if your lateness is due to “reasonable cause,” such as illness or a death in the family.) Contact us for questions or concerns about how to proceed in your situation.

[IRS Tax Tip] Here’s why taxpayers should have an IRS online account

Here is a tax tip recently released by the IRS we find super helpful for our clients!

An IRS online account is an safe an easy way for individual taxpayers to view specific details about their federal tax account. Here are some of the benefits and features of this online system.

Taxpayers can view:

  • Their payoff amount, which is updated for the current day.
  • The balance for each tax year for which they owe taxes.
  • Their payment history.
  • Key information from the their most current tax return as originally filed.
  • Payment plan details if they have one.
  • Digital copies of select IRS notices.
  • Economic Impact Payments if they received any.
  • Their address on file.

After viewing their information, a taxpayer can:

  • Select an electronic payment option.
  • Set up an online payment agreement.
  • Go directly to Get Transcript.

New authorization feature

The new the “authorization” option in Online Account allows taxpayers to control who can represent them before the IRS or view their tax records. They can also approve and electronically sign Power of Attorney and Tax Information Authorization requests from their tax professional.

Taxpayer’s balance will update no more than once every 24 hours, usually overnight. Taxpayers should also allow 1 to 3 weeks for payments to show up in the payment history.

To access their information online, taxpayers must register through Secure Access. This is the agency’s two-factor authentication process that protects personal info. Taxpayers can review the Secure Access page process prior to starting registration.

Please reach out to Team Encore if you have any questions or need assistance to create or access your IRS account.