Tax season kicks off to a delayed start next week, and experts say there are two things every American should do this year to ensure they receive all of the money from the federal government that they are entitled to.
Last filing season was unprecedented as the pandemic took hold in the U.S. But experts expect this year to come with its fair share of challenges as well, triggered by shifting employment statuses, remote work location changes and losses in income.
Further, the government has sent out two rounds of direct payments to eligible households, but some people did not receive their checks – or did not receive all of the money they are entitled to.
So what should you do to stay on top of your tax situation this year?
The first tip is to file regardless of your income level.
“[Tax year] 2020 is going to be the year where you reconcile what you are actually eligible for versus what you got,” Marianela Collado, a certified financial planner at Florida-based financial planning firm Tobias Financial Advisors, told FOX Business. “This is an incentive for people to file even if you are below the filing threshold.”
The major reason a person who is not normally required to file a return should considering doing so this year is if he or she needs to recover stimulus check money via the Recovery Rebate Credit, which can only be done with a tax return. There are a variety of reasons that someone may not have received their stimulus check – but most of those can be reconciled when a return is filed.
Collado also said that these individuals can provide their direct deposit information to the tax agency in order to get that stimulus money faster.
The second way experts say taxpayers can get ahead this year is to file as soon as possible.
The government pushed back the start of tax season until Feb. 12, but there are numerous reasons to get your returns in on or around that date.
Filing sooner will get you not only your refund – if you are owed one – sooner, but it will also help you recover your stimulus money more quickly as well.
And again, having direct deposit information on file with the IRS will expedite both processes as opposed to dealing with the regular mailing system.
Every year cybercriminals also see tax season as an opportunity to steal from Americans who wait to file. If you file your return first, however, a criminal will be unable to use your identity to file a fraudulent return on your behalf and steal your refund or perhaps even your stimulus check.