Q&A: 2020 taxes bring another stimulus shot

Dear Liz: My 2019 tax return was electronically submitted May 11 and my income was low enough to qualify for a stimulus payment. I got my refund at the end of July but was told I wouldn’t get a stimulus check because my 2018 income was too high. The IRS agent on the phone said I could request the money when I filed my 2020 taxes. But isn’t that past the deadline? The agent sounded like he was just trying to get me off the phone.

Answer: He probably was, but he gave you the correct information. The IRS used the tax returns it had on hand this spring when it started sending out stimulus payments. Since your 2019 return hadn’t been filed, it used your 2018 income to determine how much, if anything, to send you.

People who didn’t get checks or got too little aren’t out of luck. The stimulus checks were an advance payment of a credit that will be added to people’s 2020 tax returns. If you should have received a check but didn’t, you’ll get the full credit added to your refund next year.

Q&A: Coronavirus stimulus checks, tax refunds and the IRS’ backlog hell

Dear Liz: I’m a CPA. I sent out your recent column about IRS backlogs to two clients just this morning. It’s nice to have a published article backing up what I’ve unfortunately been having to tell clients for a few weeks now.

Answer: Pandemic-related shutdowns, years of congressional budget cuts and the effort required to push out more than 159 million stimulus checks have left the IRS facing a massive backlog. National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins estimated that 4.7 million unopened paper tax returns had accumulated as of mid-May. Taxpayers who filed paper returns and are due a refund may be in for “a long wait,” Collins told Congress last month. Many lower-income people and those who lost jobs are in dire need of the money, but it is unclear when they will get it.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Some taxpayers face a desperate wait for refunds. Also in the news: Are variable rate student loans worth the risk, 6 ways your investments can fund racial justice, and why your federal student loan servicer may be changing.

Some taxpayers face a desperate wait for refunds
IRS delays are hurting struggling families.

Even Near 1%, Are Variable Rate Student Loans Worth the Risk?
Your rate could change dramatically in the future.

6 Ways Your Investments Can Fund Racial Justice
Money makes change sustainable.

Your Federal Student Loan Servicer May Be Changing
Say goodbye to NelNet.

Some taxpayers face a desperate wait for refunds

As a 58-year-old woman on disability, Robin Short of Wallingford, Connecticut, relies on her tax refund to catch up on bills. She filed her return electronically in February, opting for direct deposit so she could get her $773 refund quickly.

She’s still waiting, as are millions of others. In my latest for the Associated Press, how the IRS is slowly resuming operations after pandemic-related lockdowns, but delayed refunds are devastating some people’s finances.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Mastering the awkward financial talk. Also in the news: Co-signing a student loan with bad credit, younger consumers getting a credit boost from their elders, and one in five fear they’ll owe the IRS money this spring.

Mastering the Awkward Financial Talk
Tackling tough topics with ease.

Can I Co-Sign a Student Loan With Bad Credit?
It’s not a good idea.

Younger Consumers, Get a Credit Boost From Your Elders
Authorized user status could give you score a bump.

One in five fear they’ll owe the IRS money this spring
Are you one of them?

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why credit cards are targeting ‘convenience’ spending. Also in the news: When you tax refund can hurt more than it can help, how to master the awkward financial talk, and why $3 million is the new $1 million when it comes to retirement.

Why Credit Card Rewards Are Targeting ‘Convenience’ Spending
Convenience comes at a cost.

Here’s When Your Tax Refund Can Hurt More Than Help
How to take control.

Mastering the Awkward Financial Talk
Few conversations spark as much anxiety as those about money.

Retirement dreams: $3 million is the new $1 million — here’s how to get there
You need to start early.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How your tax refund could improve your credit. Also in the news: 5 smart ways to invest your tax refund, how the Apple Card stacks up against the competition, and how moving between states could raise or lower your tax burden.

How your tax refund could improve your credit
Using your refund strategically.

5 Smart Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund
Your refund could help fund your future.

How the Apple Card Stacks up Against the Competition
Comparing features.

Will Moving Between States Raise or Lower Your Tax Burden?
Dramatic swings in both directions.





Tuesday’s need-to-know money news


Today’s top story: 5 empowering tips for women on Equal Pay Day. Also in the news: 5 smart ways to invest your tax refund, 7 ways to trim your taxes in retirement, and how changes to the ACA might affect your insurance premiums.

5 Empowering Tips for Women on Equal Pay Day
It’s time to bridge the gap.

5 Smart Ways to Invest Your Tax Refund
Putting it towards the future.

Taxes in Retirement: 7 Ways to Trim Your Bill
Making your retirement a little less stressful.

How Changes to the ACA Might Affect Your Insurance Premiums
Playing the waiting game.






Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to reclaim tax breaks you may have missed in recent years. Also in the news: Why college students take on loans they can’t repay, 6 surefire ways to delay your tax refund, and 7 red flags that could trigger an IRS audit.

Reclaim Tax Breaks You May Have Missed in Recent Years
IRS Form 1040X.

Why College Students Take on Loans They Can’t Repay
How to avoid these financial traps.

6 Surefire Ways to Delay Your Tax Refund
Don’t give the IRS any reason to slow your refund.

7 red flags that could trigger an IRS audit of your taxes
How to avoid the angst of an audit.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Paying debt back home vexes expats. Also in the news: 6 surefire ways to delay your tax refund, can your employer cure your money woes, and how paying your credit card minimum puts you in a debt spiral.

Paying Debt Back Home Vexes Expats
When your debt follows you around the world.

6 Surefire Ways to Delay Your Tax Refund
Avoid them to get your refund faster.

Can Your Employer Cure Your Money Woes?
Debt solutions as employee benefits.

How Paying Your Credit Card Minimum Puts You in a Debt Spiral
Paying just the minimum won’t make a dent.