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Federal Income Taxes, Economic Impact Payments, and Other Tax Related Issues

The deadline to file your 2019 Federal and South Carolina State income tax return is July 15, 2020.   If you have a balance due on your 2019 return, the deadline to pay the balance due without incurring interest and penalties is also July 15, 2020.  If you are unable to pay by this date, you should still file the tax return. The IRS highly recommends e-filing your tax return as it will take a lot less time to process your returns and issue any refunds. 

The IRS has started issuing economic stimulus payments (EIP) in mid-April.   If you receive social security retirement, social security disability, supplemental security income (SSI), or veterans benefits through the Veterans Affairs (VA), the IRS will automatically issue your economic impact payment to the account where you receive your benefits.  The economic impact payment will be sent to you even if you have a federal income tax debt that is not paid off. 

If you did not file a tax return for tax years 2018 or 2019, you will not automatically receive the EIP.  You must apply for it here.  Additionally, if you have qualifying children under 17, you may be eligible to receive an additional $500.00 per dependent qualifying child.  If you did not apply online at the link above by May 5, 2020, you will be able to receive this additional sum by including your qualifying dependent in your 2020 tax return to be filed next year.

If you filed a 2018 or 2019 federal income tax return and you provided direct deposit information that is still correct, you do not have to do anything.   If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and you either did not provide direct deposit information, had a balance due, or your direct deposit information has changed, the IRS will send your payment by U.S. Mail.   You can check the status of your payment here.   If you have moved since you filed your tax return, make sure to submit a change of address form with the U.S. Postal service so that the economic stimulus payment will be mailed to your new address.   You should also change your address with the IRS.  

If you believe that your EIP was in the wrong amount, you will be able to claim the additional amount by filing a 2020 tax return in 2021.   If you are divorced or legally separated or have a support agreement in the family court and believe that the other parent claimed a child or children that they were not supposed to claim on their 2019 tax returns, you may need to speak with your family law attorney.  

Additionally, if the IRS based your EIP on your federal income tax return and a person on the return passed away before you received the EIP, the deceased person’s portion must be returned to the IRS.  For example, if you filed a joint return for tax year 2019 and your spouse died in February 2020, you must return the deceased person’s portion of the EIP.   Instructions on how to send back the payment are on irs.gov.  

Scammers have already been hard at work to try to take stimulus funds that taxpayers have or will receive.   The IRS will never contact you or request personal information such as your Social Security number by e-mail, social media, or telephone.  It will never ask for payments over the phone and will never require you to send a prepaid debit card.  If you have any concern relating to a phone call, e-mail or social media post, you should visit the IRS website at irs.gov.   Do not fall victim to people contacting you and saying that they can help you obtain the economic impact payment or get the payment faster than if you apply on your own!  This is not true!  Be safe and check for any updates relating to Covid-19 directly on irs.gov as the IRS frequently updates these rules and requirements.   

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