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Attention teachers: Those school expenses might be tax deductible

School may look a little different this year, but eligible teachers and other educators can still deduct certain unreimbursed expenses on their tax return next year.

Who is considered an eligible educator:
The taxpayer must be a kindergarten through grade 12 teacher, instructor, counselor, principal or aide. They must also work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under state law.

Things to know about this deduction:
Educators can deduct up to $250 of trade or business expenses that were not reimbursed. As teachers prepare for the school year, they should remember to keep receipts after making any purchase to support claiming this deduction.
 
The deduction is $500 if both taxpayers are eligible educators and file their return using the status married filing jointly. These taxpayers cannot deduct more than $250 each.
 
Qualified expenses are amounts the taxpayer paid themselves during the tax year.
 
Examples of expenses the educator can deduct include:

  • Professional development course fees
  • Books
  • Supplies
  • Computer equipment, including related software and services
  • Other equipment and materials used in the classroom

What to do if you missed the July 15 deadline to file and pay your taxes

While the federal income tax-filing deadline has passed for most people, some taxpayers haven’t filed their 2019 tax returns yet.

If you are entitled to a refund, there’s no penalty for filing late. Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid tax due as of July 16, 2020.

If you didn’t file and owe tax you should file a return as soon as you can and pay as much as possible to reduce penalties and interest. Electronic filing options, including IRS Free File, are still available on IRS.gov through Oct. 15, 2020 to prepare and file returns electronically.

You should then review your payment options. The IRS has information for taxpayers who can’t pay taxes they owe.

Some taxpayers may have extra time to file their tax returns and pay any taxes due. This includes some disaster victims, military service members and eligible support personnel in combat zones.

Filing soon is very important because the late-filing penalty and late-payment penalty on unpaid taxes adds up quickly. However, in some cases, a taxpayer filing after the deadline may qualify for penalty relief. For those charged a penalty, they may contact the IRS by calling the number on their notice and explain why they couldn’t file and pay on time. 

Additionally, taxpayers who have a history of filing and paying on time often qualify for administrative penalty relief. A taxpayer will usually qualify if they have filed and paid timely for the past three years and meet other requirements. For more information, see the first-time penalty abatement page on IRS.gov.

Tax returns are due today; taxpayers who can’t pay should still file today

Today, 2019 tax returns are due. Taxpayers should remember to file or request an extension of time to file and pay any taxes they owe by the July 15 deadline to avoid penalties and interest. Here are some tips for taxpayers who owe tax, but who can’t immediately pay their tax bill.

Taxpayers should:

  • File their tax return or request an extension of time to file by the July 15 deadline.
    • People who owe tax and do not file their return on time or request an extension may face a failure-to-file penalty for not filing on time.
    • Taxpayers should remember that an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.
      • An extension gives taxpayers until Oct. 15, 2020 to file their 2019 tax return, but taxes owed are still due July 15, 2020.

  • Pay as much as possible by the July 15 due date.
    • Whether filing a return or requesting an extension, taxpayers must pay their tax bill in full by the July filing deadline to avoid penalties and interest.
    • People who do not pay their taxes on time will face a failure-to-pay penalty.
    •  IRS.gov has information for taxpayers who can’t afford to pay taxes they owe.

  • Set up a payment plan as soon as possible.
    • Taxpayers who owe but cannot pay in full by the deadline don’t have to wait for a tax bill to request a payment plan.
    • They can apply for a payment plan on IRS.gov.
    • Taxpayers can also submit a payment plan request in writing using Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request.

Taxpayers act now to receive Economic Impact Payments by direct deposit

People must use Get My Payment by noon Wednesday, May 13, for a chance to get their Economic Impact Payment by direct deposit.

After noon Wednesday, the IRS will begin preparing to mail millions of additional payments to those who haven’t received one yet. Taxpayers can expect to receive these payments beginning in late May. People who use Get My Payment before the deadline can still take advantage of the direct deposit option. Get My Payment is available in English and Spanish.

How Get My Payment works
The Get My Payment tool provides eligible taxpayers with an estimated deposit date for their Economic Impact Payment. The information is updated once a day, usually overnight. There is no need to check more often. Taxpayers who didn’t choose direct deposit on their last tax return can use this tool to enter bank account information to receive their payment by direct deposit.

Non-Filers tool is still available
For people not required to file a federal tax return, the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, available in English and Spanish, helps them submit basic information to have an Economic Impact Payment sent to their bank account. This tool is a free and easy option for those who don’t receive:

• Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI)
• Railroad Retirement benefits
• Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
• VA Compensation and Pension (C&P)

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018 will receive the payments automatically. Automatic payments are also being sent to those receiving Social Security retirement, disability benefits, Railroad Retirement benefits, Veterans Affairs benefits or Supplemental Security Income soon.

The IRS encourages people to share this information with family and friends.

Economic impact payments: What you need to know

Check IRS.gov for the latest information: No action needed by most people at this time

IR-2020-61, March 30, 2020

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. However, some taxpayers who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the economic impact payment.

Who is eligible for the economic impact payment?

Tax filers with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment. For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 thresholds. Single filers with income exceeding $99,000 and $198,000 for joint filers with no children are not eligible. Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are otherwise not required to file a tax return are also eligible and will not be required to file a return.

Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.

How will the IRS know where to send my payment?

The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible.

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing to calculate the payment. The economic impact payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account reflected on the return filed.

The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?

In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.

I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?

Yes. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 to generate Economic Impact Payments to recipients of benefits reflected in the Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 who are not required to file a tax return and did not file a return for 2018 or 2019. This includes senior citizens, Social Security recipients and railroad retirees who are not otherwise required to file a tax return.

Since the IRS would not have information regarding any dependents for these people, each person would receive $1,200 per person, without the additional amount for any dependents at this time.

I have a tax filing obligation but have not filed my tax return for 2018 or 2019. Can I still receive an economic impact payment?

Yes. The IRS urges anyone with a tax filing obligation who has not yet filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019 to file as soon as they can to receive an economic impact payment. Taxpayers should include direct deposit banking information on the return.

I need to file a tax return. How long are the economic impact payments available?

For those concerned about visiting a tax professional or local community organization in person to get help with a tax return, these economic impact payments will be available throughout the rest of 2020.

Where can I get more information?

The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.

The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS assistors who are helping process 2019 returns.

Payment deadline extended to July 15, 2020

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns remains April 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can’t file by the April 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request a six-month extension to file their return.

This payment relief includes:

Individuals: Income tax payment deadlines for individual returns, with a due date of April 15, 2020, are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $1 million of their 2019 tax due. This payment relief applies to all individual returns, including self-employed individuals, and all entities other than C-Corporations, such as trusts or estates. IRS will automatically provide this relief to taxpayers. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this relief.

Corporations: For C Corporations, income tax payment deadlines are being automatically extended until July 15, 2020, for up to $10 million of their 2019 tax due.

This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.

Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. If you file your tax return or request an extension of time to file by April 15, 2020, you will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.

The IRS reminds individual taxpayers the easiest and fastest way to request a filing extension is to electronically file Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses must file Form 7004.

This relief only applies to federal income tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details.

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