Taxes

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Here’s why some people’s Economic Impact Payment is different than expected

As people across the country receive their Economic Impact Payments, some might receive a different amount than they expected.

Eligible individuals receive a payment for $1,200. Two eligible individuals filing a joint return receive $2,400. And, eligible individuals receive up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child who meets the conditions outlined on the Qualifying Child Requirements page.

The Economic Impact Payment is automatic for eligible people who filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019. They’re also automatic for those who aren’t required to file a tax return but who receive:
• Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits.
• Railroad Retirement benefits.
• Supplemental Security Income.
• Veterans Affairs benefits.

People who receive less than expected can go to IRS.gov and review this chart to check the payment they should receive. It has examples that use filing status and income to calculate the payment amount.

Here are some common things that help explain what may have happened:

• The taxpayer hasn’t filed a 2019 tax return, and their payment was based on the 2018 return. This could also be the case if the IRS has not finished processing the 2019 return.

• The qualifying child is not under the age of 17. For purposes of the payment, the child’s age is how old they are at the end of the year for the tax return on which the IRS bases the payment amount. If a dependent is 17 or older, they don’t qualify for the additional $500. This includes a parent or other relative, and college students.

• The Economic Impact Payment was offset by past-due child support. While this is the only offset that can affect the payment amount, federal law allows creditors to garnish a payment once it’s deposited into a bank account.

In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a payment that was smaller than expected may get an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return.

Anyone with questions about the payment can visit the Economic Impact Payments Information Center. It has answers to questions about eligibility, payment amounts, what to expect, and when to expect it.

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IRS People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers

Due to COVID-19, the IRS is providing relief on a variety of issues as part of the People First Initiative. The IRS is modifying certain activities through the filing and payment deadline, Wednesday, July 15, 2020. Here’s what people need to know about relief related to IRS exams or audits

Field, office and correspondence audits – Generally, the IRS won’t start new field, office and correspondence audits. The agency will continue to work refund claims, where possible, without in-person contact.
However, the IRS may start new audits if needed to preserve the statute of limitations.

• In-person meetings – In-person meetings for current field and office audits are on hold. However, examiners will continue their work remotely, where possible. Taxpayers should respond to any requests for information during this period, if possible.

• Unique situations – Corporations and businesses may want to begin a previously scheduled audit while people and records are available. When it’s in the best interest of both parties and appropriate people are available, the IRS may move forward with an audit. COVID-19 developments could slow activities.

• General requests for information – Taxpayers should reply to all IRS correspondence, if requested.

Earned income tax credit and wage verification reviews – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to respond to the IRS and verify that they qualify for the earned income tax credit or to verify their income. These taxpayers should submit all requested information. If they can’t contact the agency and explain why the information is not available, the IRS won’t deny these credits for a failure to provide information until July 15, 2020.

Independent Office of Appeals – Appeals employees will continue to work their cases. They aren’t currently holding in-person meetings, but conferences may be held by phone or video. Taxpayers should respond to any requests for information form the Independent Office of Appeals.

Statute of limitations – The IRS will continue to protect all statutes of limitations. If statute expirations might be jeopardized during this period, taxpayers are encouraged to cooperate in extending these statutes. Otherwise, the IRS will issue Statutory Notices of Deficiency and pursue similar actions to protect the interests of the government.

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IRS People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers facing COVID-19 issues

Due to COVID-19, the IRS’ People First Initiative provides relief to taxpayers on a variety of issues from easing payment guidelines to delaying compliance actions. This relief is effective through the filing and payment deadline, Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

• Existing Installment Agreements – Under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are delayed. Those currently unable to meet the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement or Direct Deposit Installment Agreement may cancel payments during this period with no default. By law, interest will continue to accumulate on any unpaid balances.

• New Installment Agreements – People who can’t pay all their federal taxes can establish a monthly payment agreement.

• Pending Offer in Compromise applications – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to provide additional information for a pending OIC. The agency generally won’t close any pending OIC request before July 15 without the taxpayer’s consent.

• OIC payments – Taxpayers can delay all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020. Interest may accrue, and missed payments are due when the suspension period ends. Taxpayers can call the number on their acceptance letter to address their needs.

• Delinquent return filings – The IRS will not default an OIC for taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their tax return for 2018. However, they should file any delinquent 2018 return and their 2019 return by July 15, 2020.

• Non-filers – More than 1 million households who haven’t filed tax returns in the last three years are owed refunds. The deadline to get refunds on 2016 tax returns is July 15, 2020. Those who owe taxes on delinquent returns may visit IRS.gov for payment options. The longer the debt is owed, the more penalties and interest accrue.

• Field collection activities – IRS stopped field revenue officer enforcement actions, such as liens and levies. Revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where necessary.

• Automated liens and levies – IRS delayed issuing new automated and systemic liens and levies. Taxpayers experiencing a hardship due to a levy should reach out to their assigned IRS contact or fax their information to (855) 796-4524.

• Certifications to the State Department – IRS has delayed new certifications of taxpayers who are considered seriously delinquent. This affects a person’s ability to receive a new or renewed passport. Existing certifications will remain in place unless their tax situation changes.

• Private debt collection – IRS will not forward new delinquent accounts to private collection agencies during this period.

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Why the Economic Impact Payment amount could be different than anticipated

WASHINGTON −The IRS and Treasury have successfully delivered nearly 130 million Economic Impact Payments to Americans in less than a month, and more are on the way. Some Americans may have received a payment amount different than what they expected. Payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size.

See below for some common scenarios that may explain why you received a different payment amount than expected:

You have not filed a 2019 tax return, or the IRS has not finished processing your 2019 return

Payments are automatic for eligible people who filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019. Typically, the IRS uses information from the 2019 tax return to calculate the Economic Impact Payment. Instead, the IRS will use the 2018 return if the taxpayer has not yet filed for 2019. If a taxpayer has already filed for 2019, the agency will still use the 2018 return if the IRS has not finished processing the 2019 return. Remember, the IRS accepting a tax return electronically is different than completing processing; any issues with the 2019 return mean the IRS would’ve used the 2018 filing.

If the IRS used the 2018 return, various life changes in 2019 would not be reflected in the payment. These may include higher or lower income or birth or adoption of a child.

In many cases, however, these taxpayers may be able to claim an additional amount on the 2020 tax return they file next year. This could include up to an additional $500 for each qualifying child not reflected in their Economic Impact Payment.

Claimed dependents are not eligible for an additional $500 payment

Only children eligible for the Child Tax Credit qualify for the additional payment of up to $500 per child. To claim the Child Tax Credit, the taxpayer generally must be related to the child, live with them more than half the year and provide at least half of their support. Besides their own children, adopted children and foster children, eligible children can include the taxpayer’s younger siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews if they can be claimed as dependents. In addition, any qualifying child must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualifying resident alien. The child must also be under the age of 17 at the end of the year for the tax return on which the IRS bases the payment determination.

A qualifying child must have a valid Social Security number (SSN) or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). A child with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is not eligible for an additional payment.

Parents who are not married to each other and do not file a joint return cannot both claim their qualifying child as a dependent. The parent who claimed their child on their 2019 return may have received an additional Economic Impact Payment for their qualifying child. When the parent who did not receive an additional payment files their 2020 tax return next year, they may be able to claim up to an additional $500 per-child amount on that return if they qualify to claim the child as their qualifying child for 2020.

Dependents are college students

Pursuant to the CARES Act, dependent college students do not qualify for an EIP, and even though their parents may claim them as dependents, they normally do not qualify for the additional $500 payment. For example, under the law, a 20-year-old full-time college student claimed as a dependent on their mother’s 2019 federal income tax return is not eligible for a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. In addition, the student’s mother will not receive an additional $500 Economic Impact Payment for the student because they do not qualify as a child younger than 17. This scenario could also apply if a parent’s 2019 tax return hasn’t been processed yet by the IRS before the payments were calculated, and a college student was claimed on a 2018 tax return.

However, if the student cannot be claimed as a dependent by their mother or anyone else for 2020, that student may be eligible to claim a $1,200 credit on their 2020 tax return next year.

Claimed dependents are parents or relatives, age 17 or older

If a dependent is 17 or older, they do not qualify the additional $500. If a taxpayer claimed a parent or any other relative age 17 or older on their tax return, that dependent will not receive a $1,200 payment. In addition, the taxpayer will not receive an additional $500 payment because the parent or other relative is not a qualifying child under age 17.

However, if the parent or other relative cannot be claimed as a dependent on the taxpayer’s or anyone else’s return for 2020, the parent or relative may be eligible to individually claim a $1,200 credit on their 2020 tax return filed next year.

Past-due child support was deducted from the payment

The Economic Impact Payment is offset only by past-due child support. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service will send the taxpayer a notice if an offset occurs.
For taxpayers who are married filing jointly and filed an injured spouse claim with their 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if they haven’t filed the 2019 tax return), half of the total payment will be sent to each spouse. Only the payment of the spouse who owes past-due child support should be offset.

The IRS is aware that a portion of the payment sent to a spouse who filed an injured spouse claim with his or her 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if no 2019 tax return has been filed) may have been offset by the injured spouse’s past-due child support. The IRS is working with the Bureau of Fiscal Service and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. If you filed an injured spouse claim with your return and are impacted by this issue, you do not need to take any action. The injured spouse will receive their unpaid half of the total payment when the issue is resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

Garnishments by creditors reduced the payment amount

Federal tax refunds, including the Economic Impact Payment, are not protected from garnishment by creditors by federal law once the proceeds are deposited into a taxpayer’s bank account.

What if the amount of my Economic Impact Payment is incorrect?

Everyone should review the eligibility requirements for their family to make sure they meet the criteria

In many instances, eligible taxpayers who received a smaller-than-expected Economic Impact Payment (EIP) may qualify to receive an additional amount early next year when they file their 2020 federal income tax return. EIPs are technically an advance payment of a new temporary tax credit that eligible taxpayers can claim on their 2020 return. Everyone should keep for their records the letter they receive by mail within a few weeks after their payment is issued.

When taxpayers file their return next year, they can claim additional credits on their 2020 tax return if they are eligible for them. The IRS will provide further details on IRS.gov on the action they may need to take.

The EIP will not reduce a taxpayer’s refund or increase the amount they owe when they file a tax return early next year. It is also not taxable and is therefore should not be included in income on a 2020 return.

 

Local IRS Offices

York
2670 Industrial Hwy, York, PA 17402
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
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228 Walnut St, Harrisburg, PA 17101
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
(Closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:00pm) (717) 777-9650

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1720 Hempstead Rd, Lancaster, PA 17601
Monday-Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
(Closed for lunch 12:30pm - 1:00pm)
(717) 291-1994










NATP

National Association of Tax Professionals