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Five things you should know before filing your taxes this year

Stimulus checks, unemployment, and remote work may create some difficulties for taxpayers when filing this year. Here's what you need to know.

The IRS is already accepting and processing returns for 2020, but the pandemic has brought some changes this year.

Stimulus checks, unemployment, and remote work may create some difficulties for taxpayers when filing this year.

Here are six things you should know before filing your taxes this year:

2021 is one of the nation’s most important tax filing seasons ever 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is one of the nation's most important tax filing seasons ever due to stimulus payments, unemployment, and PPP loans, according to Certified Public Accountant and author of Tax Free Wealth Tom Wheelwright.

“I would be shocked if there wasn't added anxiety," he said. "This is a year where I think a lot more people will need professional help on their tax returns."

You will owe taxes on the unemployment payments you received

One of the commonly asked questions he's getting is whether people who receive unemployment will owe taxes on the money they've received.

"Yes," Wheelwright said. "Those who didn't have withholding may have a considerable amount of tax."

"But consider also, if you're unemployed but your spouse was employed and had a  god job, you may have tax even if you had withholding,"

You can't deduct from your home office if you work from home

Others who are working from home are wondering if they can deduct from their home office. 

"You cannot if you're an employee, you can if you own a business," Wheelwright said.

Stimulus checks don't count as income and isn't taxed

If you received a stimulus check, he says the payment doesn't count as income and isn't taxed, so it won't change your refund or how much you owe.

If you didn't get a second stimulus check or receive the full amount, he says you can still claim the missing payment with the Recovery Rebate Credit. 

"The good news… if your income did go up, then the amount that you got, you don't have to send it back," Wheelwright said.  

File electronically as soon as possible

To speed up refunds during the pandemic, the IRS urges taxpayers to file electronically with direct deposit as soon as possible when you have the information you need. 

Most of all, Wheelwright said to be calm and not stress out this tax season.

More than 150 million tax returns are expected to be filed this year, with the vast majority before the deadline on April 15th.

Last year's average tax refund was more than $2,500 dollars. If you request an extension, you must do so by October 15th. 

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