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Experts say filing your 2020 taxes might be complicated

We are three months away from the tax filing deadline and experts say this year you need to not wait until the last minute.

It may seem like you just filed your tax returns for 2019, and it's already time to start thinking about filing your 2020 taxes.

The covid-19 pandemic moved the 2019 tax filing deadline from April to July. Now, it’s time to start thinking about filing your 2020 taxes, and this year tax experts say with unemployment and economic impact payments, it’s going to be more complicated than ever.   

“If you do it right, you will probably get a pretty good refund. If you mishandle any one of the elements of your life change on your tax return, you could be looking at problems from a reduced refund to a pesky IRS letter or notice of assessment,” Mark Steber said. 

Mark Steber is the Chief Tax Information Officer for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. He says because of the law changes, there is also a lot of opportunity and risks we haven’t seen in years past. He says you definitely cannot use your 2019 tax return as a guide to filing your 2020 taxes. 

“The CARES ACT and then the end of year tax which also put new provisions in place to help taxpayers, either with new provisions to let you look back, to look at prior information to help you out or to provide some new economic impact or some new tax benefits. So, a lot to know and a lot to watch out for,” he said. 

His biggest advice for your 2020 taxes is to file early and get your return faster and lock your tax information.  

“So, that some tax thief can’t go steal your information from the dark web and file a fake tax return and try to steal your refund. So, file early to get your money. File early, lockup your data. Thirdly, if you file early and get a refund, as I say, that’s great, but if you had a change and need more information and you’re missing something, you have more time,” he said.  

Westark RSVP says they aren’t filing taxes just yet, but they will be open in February. In a typical year, they file taxes for 5,000 families between their locations in Rogers and Fort Smith. 

Executive Program Director for Westark RSVP, Susan Reehl says they prepare taxes for families who make less than $57,000 a year and people 60 and over regardless of income all free of charge.

“If you received unemployment, you are going to receive a 1099-G form that is going to state what your unemployment receipt was during 2020. Unfortunately, the income is taxable,” she said. 

Reehl says people should expect to see that 1099-G form in their mailboxes by the end of January. The IRS has put a provision on the 2020 tax return to make sure anyone eligible and didn’t get a stimulus payment gets it in their refund.  

Westark RSVP says to visit their Facebook page for more information about when they will be opening and their covid-19 protocols. 

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