What To Know When Doing Your Taxes This Year

Friday, May 7th 2021, 12:39 pm
By: CBS News

Tax Day is usually on April 15, but this year, it was extended to May 17 because of the pandemic.

Mark Steber is Jackson Hewitt's chief tax information officer.

"My first tip would be if you've not filed your tax return, you probably need to do that as soon as possible," Steber said.

Steber said that's because many people may be owed more stimulus money.

"If you did not get all of your money for a dependent or because the rules changed, or perhaps you share custody, or perhaps you had a new baby, those would not have already been paid to you, you will have to ask for that money on your 2020 tax return," he said.

People who lost jobs last year should know unemployment benefits are taxable, but most Americans will get a break on some of that money.

"The first $10,200 of unemployment benefits that you received in 2020 is not going to be taxable at the federal level, that's for folks who make up to $150,000," CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger said.

Millions with jobs were forced to leave the office and work remotely. However, claiming home office expenses is mostly reserved for people who own their own business.

"If you're working at home out of an abundance of caution, or for the convenience of your employer, or just because your office is closed, you do not qualify for the home office deduction," Steber said.

The pandemic has slowed the government's ability to process claims. The fastest way to get a refund is to file electronically. The IRS now offers free e-filing software to people making less than $72,000 a year.

For those who have filed, you can check the status of your tax refund at IRS.GOV.