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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Tax refunds are usually issued 21 days after the tax return has been processed.
The federal income tax filing deadline is April 18. According to Marketwatch, To avoid or minimize delays in processing, the IRS is emphasizing the importance of filing electronically. Paperwork tends to cause delays. Submitting accurate information will speed things along. “Discrepancies and errors will slow down tax refunds. Refunds will not arrive in bank accounts till after February 14th,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, at a January 28th briefing hosted by Ethnic Media Services.
Requesting the refund by direct deposit instead of a paper check will ensure fast payment.
Last year, the IRS received more than 169 million returns. This year, the IRS is expecting more than 160 million individual tax returns,“ reports MSN.Com. By December 2021, the IRS still had 6.7 million unprocessed 2020 tax returns and 2.6 million amended returns, according to Ken Corbin, Wage and Investment Division Commissioner and Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer at the IRS.
For those hoping to avoid costly online tax filing portals, the IRS recommends using the free file program at: https://www.irs.gov/filing/free-file-do-your-federal-taxes-for-free. The service is available to those with Adjusted Gross Incomes of under $73,000. Using the IRS website will also provide insurance against scam artists.
For those who earn less than $58,000 annually, seniors or people with disabilities, and people with limited English skills, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) is made available. VITA helps those lacking broadband access. “Services are offered in 350 languages, either by phone or by going into a local IRS office., writes EMS. Some community centers offer VITA sites.
Economic Impact Payments received last year must be reported on the tax return. Individuals earning less than $72,000 must report the monies received even if they are not considered taxable income.
Earned Income Tax Credit program (EITC) has seen changes that benefit the youth. Qualifying age has been lowered from 25 to 18 thereby allowing more youth to avail of its benefits.
EITC has almost tripled from a maximum of $529 for the 2020 tax season, to $1502 this year for families without children. For families with children and household income under $43,492 one qualifying child allows for a maximum credit of $3,733, two qualifying children allow for a maximum of $6,164.
Families with household income under $53,000 and three or more children, receive a maximum credit of $6,935.
Ken Corbin, Wage and Investment Division Commissioner and Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer at the IRS, added that minors who have aged out of foster care or experiencing homelessness can now also qualify for the credit, reports EMS, adding that,
“Tax returns and payments are due by April 18, and the IRS is not considering extensions this year, as it did for the past two years during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Ritu Marwah was a 2020 California reporting and engagement fellow at USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash