JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Filing your taxes could be a little more confusing than usual this year. Given the pandemic, it’s fair to wonder how factors such as stimulus payments and Paycheck Protection Program loans could impact your filings.
Lakesha Thomas, director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic for Three Rivers Legal Services, joined The Morning Show on Tuesday to provide some answers to frequently asked questions. Below you’ll find a brief Q&A with Thomas explaining what you need to know:
Do you have to claim your stimulus claims when filing your taxes?
It depends. Stimulus checks have been released in two rounds. The first round was called the stimulus payment, or the EIP (economic impact payment) 1, and then Congress released a second round called EIP 2. So if taxpayers got both of those payments and received all of the payments for their qualifying children, then no, you don’t have to file a tax return to get the payments. But if you did not get all the stimulus money you were entitled to last year, then yes, they will need to file a return in 2021 in order to claim the rest of the credits as what’s called a recovery rebate credit.
Does the IRS look at stimulus payments as income?
These stimulus economic payments and the recovery rebate credits are not considered income. It’s a government benefit, so it will not increase your taxable income. It is a refundable credit if you claim it on the tax return, and it also does not determine your benefits or affect other benefits you may qualify for.
Do you have any advice for people filing who are unemployed for the first time?
If unemployment compensation was received last year, you definitely want to include that on your tax return. With any other income that you may have earned, including wages or non-employee compensation, you definitely want to include that on your tax return.
Lawson hosts virtual roundtable on taxes
If you have additional questions about your taxes, stimulus payments and Paycheck Protection Program loans, you’re in luck. U.S. Rep. Al Lawson is hosting a virtual roundtable featuring a panel including Thomas and other tax experts starting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. You can watch the event live on the congressman’s Facebook page.