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Timeline Photos 07/19/2021

IRS Begins Sending 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit Payments – Did You Know?

On July 15, the IRS sent the first round of advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) to over 30 million families. Qualifying households will receive monthly payments of up to $300 per child under age 6, and up to $250 per child age 6 through 17, through the end of 2021. The payment amount depends on the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). Generally, the advance payments will total half the CTC that the IRS anticipates for the taxpayer for 2021.

The IRS is sending most CTC advance payments by direct deposit, so millions of taxpayers have already received their first payment. Paper checks are mailed in cases where the IRS does not have banking information for a qualifying family. It may take a week or more for mailed payments to arrive. Upcoming payments will be sent on August 13th, and on the 15th of September, October, November and December.

The IRS will automatically calculate and send advance CTC payments to taxpayers who qualify and have done any ONE of the following:
- Filed a 2020 federal income tax return
- Filed a 2019 federal income tax return
- Used the 2020 IRS Non-Filers Tool for Economic Impact Payments (EIPs)
- Used the 2021 Non-Filers Signup Tool for Advance CTC (see link below).

The IRS urges all potentially eligible Americans who are not required to file federal tax returns and have not yet used an online Non-Filers Tool to do so as soon as possible. If you filed returns for both 2019 and 2020 but the IRS has not yet processed your 2020 return, your advance payments will initially be calculated based on your 2019 return. Your monthly payment amount may change after your 2020 return is processed.

You can also use the Advance CTC portal to check your CTC eligibility, update your banking information, or opt out of advance payments if you prefer to claim your entire credit when you file your 2021 tax return.

IRS 2021 Advance CTC site, including Non-Filers Signup, Eligibility and Unenroll Tools:
https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021

IRS Begins Sending 2021 Advance Child Tax Credit Payments – Did You Know?

On July 15, the IRS sent the first round of advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC) to over 30 million families. Qualifying households will receive monthly payments of up to $300 per child under age 6, and up to $250 per child age 6 through 17, through the end of 2021. The payment amount depends on the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). Generally, the advance payments will total half the CTC that the IRS anticipates for the taxpayer for 2021.

The IRS is sending most CTC advance payments by direct deposit, so millions of taxpayers have already received their first payment. Paper checks are mailed in cases where the IRS does not have banking information for a qualifying family. It may take a week or more for mailed payments to arrive. Upcoming payments will be sent on August 13th, and on the 15th of September, October, November and December.

The IRS will automatically calculate and send advance CTC payments to taxpayers who qualify and have done any ONE of the following:
- Filed a 2020 federal income tax return
- Filed a 2019 federal income tax return
- Used the 2020 IRS Non-Filers Tool for Economic Impact Payments (EIPs)
- Used the 2021 Non-Filers Signup Tool for Advance CTC (see link below).

The IRS urges all potentially eligible Americans who are not required to file federal tax returns and have not yet used an online Non-Filers Tool to do so as soon as possible. If you filed returns for both 2019 and 2020 but the IRS has not yet processed your 2020 return, your advance payments will initially be calculated based on your 2019 return. Your monthly payment amount may change after your 2020 return is processed.

You can also use the Advance CTC portal to check your CTC eligibility, update your banking information, or opt out of advance payments if you prefer to claim your entire credit when you file your 2021 tax return.

IRS 2021 Advance CTC site, including Non-Filers Signup, Eligibility and Unenroll Tools:
https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021

Timeline Photos 07/13/2021

100% Business Deduction for Restaurant Food & Beverage in 2021 – Did You Know?

A special tax rule may enable many businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, to take larger meal expense deductions in 2021 than the IRS usually allows. Ordinarily, deductions for food and beverage costs cannot exceed 50% of the actual expense. However, the 2021 rule enables businesses to deduct 100% of the cost of food and beverages from restaurants in certain cases beginning January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.

The provision defines a restaurant as a business that prepares food or beverages for retail customers to consume on-site, pick up, or receive by delivery. This definition excludes most grocery and convenience stores, unless the store contains a separate restaurant or cafe area. In addition, facilities overseen or owned by the employer claiming the deduction, such as a workplace cafeteria, generally do not qualify as restaurants under this rule.

In order for meal expenses to qualify for this special deduction, the following conditions must be met:

- The business owner or an authorized employee is present when the food and/or beverages are provided.
- The expense is paid to a restaurant, based on the definition above.
- The food and beverage costs are not lavish or extravagant for the circumstances.

The activity must also meet all the standard criteria for business meal deductions. A business tax advisor can help you determine whether your food and beverage expenses comply with IRS rules, and whether they qualify for a 100% deduction in 2021.

100% Business Deduction for Restaurant Food & Beverage in 2021 – Did You Know?

A special tax rule may enable many businesses, including sole proprietors and independent contractors, to take larger meal expense deductions in 2021 than the IRS usually allows. Ordinarily, deductions for food and beverage costs cannot exceed 50% of the actual expense. However, the 2021 rule enables businesses to deduct 100% of the cost of food and beverages from restaurants in certain cases beginning January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.

The provision defines a restaurant as a business that prepares food or beverages for retail customers to consume on-site, pick up, or receive by delivery. This definition excludes most grocery and convenience stores, unless the store contains a separate restaurant or cafe area. In addition, facilities overseen or owned by the employer claiming the deduction, such as a workplace cafeteria, generally do not qualify as restaurants under this rule.

In order for meal expenses to qualify for this special deduction, the following conditions must be met:

- The business owner or an authorized employee is present when the food and/or beverages are provided.
- The expense is paid to a restaurant, based on the definition above.
- The food and beverage costs are not lavish or extravagant for the circumstances.

The activity must also meet all the standard criteria for business meal deductions. A business tax advisor can help you determine whether your food and beverage expenses comply with IRS rules, and whether they qualify for a 100% deduction in 2021.

Timeline Photos 07/07/2021

IRS Issues New Warnings About Phone & Social Media Tax Scams – Did You Know?

The IRS recently updated its list of the 12 worst tax-related scams in America, known as the Dirty Dozen. Several current Dirty Dozen cases involve social media phishing, where scammers use social platforms to impersonate someone that a taxpayer knows and trusts.

For example, a scammer might "lurk" on a user's account, gathering personal information about the user from posts and public chats. The scammer then sends messages to the user that appear to come from a friend, family member or coworker. The messages may have links to websites related to the user's interests. However, clicking on the links triggers a download of spyware (software that the scammer uses to steal more private information) or ransomware.

Alternatively, the scammer may hack into a social media user's email or phone, then send fake messages to the user's friends and family. These messages may trigger malware downloads, or ask for donations to fake charities. All of these phishing methods can ultimately lead to tax-related identity theft. The IRS advises everyone to check the privacy settings on their social media accounts, and limit what they share publicly to prevent lurkers from mining personal data. If you receive an email or message from someone you know with a link or file, confirm that they sent it with a phone call or message them back.

The IRS also reminds Americans of the ongoing threat of phone scams involving IRS impersonation. Scammers may claim to be calling about a federal tax lien, or may threaten people with arrest for supposed tax issues. Remember that the IRS rarely initiates contact with taxpayers by phone, and NEVER demands payment via prepaid debit card, money order, wire transfer or gift card. If you ever doubt the legitimacy of an IRS phone call, do not provide any personal information. Hang up, then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to ask about the call you received, along with any supposed issues raised by the potential scammer.

IRS Issues New Warnings About Phone & Social Media Tax Scams – Did You Know?

The IRS recently updated its list of the 12 worst tax-related scams in America, known as the Dirty Dozen. Several current Dirty Dozen cases involve social media phishing, where scammers use social platforms to impersonate someone that a taxpayer knows and trusts.

For example, a scammer might "lurk" on a user's account, gathering personal information about the user from posts and public chats. The scammer then sends messages to the user that appear to come from a friend, family member or coworker. The messages may have links to websites related to the user's interests. However, clicking on the links triggers a download of spyware (software that the scammer uses to steal more private information) or ransomware.

Alternatively, the scammer may hack into a social media user's email or phone, then send fake messages to the user's friends and family. These messages may trigger malware downloads, or ask for donations to fake charities. All of these phishing methods can ultimately lead to tax-related identity theft. The IRS advises everyone to check the privacy settings on their social media accounts, and limit what they share publicly to prevent lurkers from mining personal data. If you receive an email or message from someone you know with a link or file, confirm that they sent it with a phone call or message them back.

The IRS also reminds Americans of the ongoing threat of phone scams involving IRS impersonation. Scammers may claim to be calling about a federal tax lien, or may threaten people with arrest for supposed tax issues. Remember that the IRS rarely initiates contact with taxpayers by phone, and NEVER demands payment via prepaid debit card, money order, wire transfer or gift card. If you ever doubt the legitimacy of an IRS phone call, do not provide any personal information. Hang up, then call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to ask about the call you received, along with any supposed issues raised by the potential scammer.

Timeline Photos 06/28/2021

Three New IRS Tools for 2021 Child Tax Credit Advance Payments - Did You Know?

The IRS recently launched three new online tools (links below) to help eligible Americans claim and manage their advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC). In addition to increasing the maximum CTC amount and raising the age limit for qualifying children, the American Rescue Plan authorized the IRS to send monthly advance payments of the 2021 credit to millions of eligible families beginning on July 15.

The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant helps families find out whether they qualify for the 2021 CTC. You do not need to set up an IRS online account in order to use this tool. Just answer 2-5 questions about whether you claimed the CTC in 2019 or 2020, where you live, and, in some cases, your tax filing status, family size and income. If the tool determines that you may qualify for the credit, you can follow the MANAGE YOUR ADVANCE PAYMENTS link to make sure you are enrolled to get monthly payments by check or direct deposit beginning in July.

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal provides additional information on eligibility for the 2021 CTC. However, in order to use it, you must either have an IRS online account, or go through an identity verification process. Once you determine that you are eligible, you can use this tool to:

- Unenroll from the program (for example, if you qualified for the CTC in 2019 or 2020 but do not expect to qualify in 2021 due to a family status or income change)
- Opt out of receiving advance payments, and instead receive your 2021 credit as a lump sum when you file your tax return
- Update your mailing address, family size, banking information for direct deposit, etc.

Most eligible families do not need to take any action, and will automatically receive monthly advance payments of the 2021 CTC from July through December. However, if you qualify for the credit but did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, you may need to register for this program using the Non-Filers Signup Tool. If you qualified for the CTC in past years but did not claim it, a tax professional may be able to help you file an amended return and perhaps receive an IRS refund for the credit.

CTC Eligibility Assistant: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-eligibility-assistant

CTC Update Portal: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal

Non-Filers Signup Tool: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool

Three New IRS Tools for 2021 Child Tax Credit Advance Payments - Did You Know?

The IRS recently launched three new online tools (links below) to help eligible Americans claim and manage their advance payments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit (CTC). In addition to increasing the maximum CTC amount and raising the age limit for qualifying children, the American Rescue Plan authorized the IRS to send monthly advance payments of the 2021 credit to millions of eligible families beginning on July 15.

The Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant helps families find out whether they qualify for the 2021 CTC. You do not need to set up an IRS online account in order to use this tool. Just answer 2-5 questions about whether you claimed the CTC in 2019 or 2020, where you live, and, in some cases, your tax filing status, family size and income. If the tool determines that you may qualify for the credit, you can follow the MANAGE YOUR ADVANCE PAYMENTS link to make sure you are enrolled to get monthly payments by check or direct deposit beginning in July.

The Child Tax Credit Update Portal provides additional information on eligibility for the 2021 CTC. However, in order to use it, you must either have an IRS online account, or go through an identity verification process. Once you determine that you are eligible, you can use this tool to:

- Unenroll from the program (for example, if you qualified for the CTC in 2019 or 2020 but do not expect to qualify in 2021 due to a family status or income change)
- Opt out of receiving advance payments, and instead receive your 2021 credit as a lump sum when you file your tax return
- Update your mailing address, family size, banking information for direct deposit, etc.

Most eligible families do not need to take any action, and will automatically receive monthly advance payments of the 2021 CTC from July through December. However, if you qualify for the credit but did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, you may need to register for this program using the Non-Filers Signup Tool. If you qualified for the CTC in past years but did not claim it, a tax professional may be able to help you file an amended return and perhaps receive an IRS refund for the credit.

CTC Eligibility Assistant: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-eligibility-assistant

CTC Update Portal: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal

Non-Filers Signup Tool: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool

Timeline Photos 06/21/2021

Summer Jobs - Did You Know?

If you're starting a summer job or know a teen or student who is, here is a useful tax-saving tip:

Students and teenage employees normally have taxes withheld from their paychecks by their employer after filling out a Form W-4.

However, if the job is regarded as self-employment, like baby-sitting or lawn care can be, they should keep good records of all expenses to help maximize potential deductions.

In the case of lawn care, potential deductible expenses may include business cards, fliers, fuel, equipment rentals, chemicals, work mileage, etc. A tax professional can help advise on potential deductible expenses.

Summer Jobs - Did You Know?

If you're starting a summer job or know a teen or student who is, here is a useful tax-saving tip:

Students and teenage employees normally have taxes withheld from their paychecks by their employer after filling out a Form W-4.

However, if the job is regarded as self-employment, like baby-sitting or lawn care can be, they should keep good records of all expenses to help maximize potential deductions.

In the case of lawn care, potential deductible expenses may include business cards, fliers, fuel, equipment rentals, chemicals, work mileage, etc. A tax professional can help advise on potential deductible expenses.

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