Tax time looming, even for those who don’t usually file

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — In 2020, millions of Americans worked from home, collected unemployment, or were eligible for stimulus payments.

Whether one, some, or all of these apply to you, Erik Ricci with Jackson Hewitt said you need to file your taxes even if you don’t typically meet the requirements to file.

“Especially this year,” Ricci said, adding that the pandemic ushered in financial changes, like stimulus payments, that make filing a return critical. While not taxable, the IRS wants to know how much you received in stimulus payments, or if you received them.

“For those that didn’t get the stimulus, you’re not going to get it until you file, so if you didn’t file last year, you should file last year, file this year,” Ricci said.

And if you think you’ve been short-changed, didn’t receive the money you’re owed, you can claim the recovery rebate credit on your tax return. Having a return on-hand will provide the IRS with updated information for any future payments.

Unlike stimulus money, unemployment benefits are taxable.

“A lot of people who think, ‘Oh, I was under-employed. I got unemployment. I’m not gonna get anything back this year. I don’t even need to file,’” Ricci said. “Yeah, you do.”

If you collected unemployment, you should receive a 1099-G form, already filled out by the state, which needs to be reported as well.

If you received one of those forms and did not apply for or collect unemployment, though — you’re likely a victim of fraud.

“If it’s unemployment, and there’s no taxes withheld, now you’re going to be held liable,” Ricci said. “If that gets reported to the IRS, we have two options: you have to own it, or, if it’s wrong, we get it taken care of.”

And because of fraud, undelivered stimulus money, reduced income, and more, Ricci said it’s more important than ever to seek out the help of a tax preparer or accountant who may be able to provide guidance or find additional credits.

And act sooner rather than later so any errors can be corrected as soon as possible.

Right now, the deadline to file is still April 15.

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