As the 2022 tax season is set to begin from January 24, the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has reminded tax practitioners and taxpayers across the United States the important points to keep in mind when filing returns this year for faster processing and refund delivery. These guidelines are in line with the security measures proposed during the 6th Annual National Tax Security Awareness Week held from 29th November to 3rd December, 2021 by the Security Summit, the coalition of the IRS, the states and the nation’s tax community, to boost the protection against the tax-related identity thefts while tackling the unique circumstances and challenges posed by COVID-19 for return filing.
Here’s the 5-Point Checklist to help speed up the process of tax return filing and refund delivery.
1. Using e-Filing and Direct Deposits to Avoid Unnecessary Delays
The IRS recommends tax professionals and taxpayers to use electronic filing methods along with selecting Direct Deposit for maximum accuracy. e-Filing software solutions not only minimize the chances of calculation errors, but also helps tax filers through each phase of the return filing process with the help of simple question-and-answer format.
2. Gather the Essential Documents and Ensure Stimulus Payment and the Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) Data is Correct for Accurate Filing
Besides getting hold of the Form 1099s, W-2s, and other income-related documents, it is imperative for taxpayers to get hold of their advance Child Tax Credit and Economic Impact Payment data beforehand when processing returns.
2.1 Advance Child Tax Credit Letter 6419
Since late December 2021, the tax agency has been issuing letters to the individuals who received advance Child Tax Credit payments. The letter reads, “2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit (AdvCTC) Payments” on the top followed by “Letter 6419” on the bottom of the letter.
Given are the points that you need to take into consideration regarding this particular letter:
- The document comprises essential guidelines to help taxpayers ensure the return filing is accurate.
- Individuals who got AdvCTC payments can also view the actual amount they received by logging in to the Child Tax Credit Update Portal available on the official website of the IRS.
- Eligible individuals who are entitled and have received AdvCTC payments should file a 2021 tax return to get the remaining amount credited credit while those individuals who are yet to receive the said payments can claim the entire amount by filing their returns.
2.2 Third Economic Impact Payment Letter 6475
In late January 2022, the IRS will start sending letters to the taxpayers who got a third payment in January last year. This particular letter reads, “Your Third Economic Impact Payment” on the top while, “Letter 6475” on the bottom right hand side.
Here are the important points that the taxpayers need to keep in mind regarding this letter:
- Most of the taxpayers (those who are entitled to) have already got their stimulus payments. It will guide people to figure out whether or not they are entitled to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus amounts.
- Individuals who are entitled to who are eligible for Recovery Rebate Credit are required to file a previous year return to claim their pending stimulus payments.
- Individuals can also navigate through their IRS online account to check their Economic Impact Payment payments.
Both these documents – Advance Child Tax Credit Letter 6419 and Third Economic Impact Payment Letter 6475 – comprise detailed descriptions and instructions for accurate return filing. In case a return is incomplete or has some or the other kind of errors, then it might require further review from the IRS, which may delay the refund process. Therefore, tax filers are advised to follow the guidelines given in the letters as it will not only minimize the chances of errors but also prevents unnecessary delays in refund processing.
3. Steer Clear from Lengthy Phone Delays; Make Use of Web-based Resources before giving a call to the IRS.
As always, the IRS hotline is expected to be busy during the tax season. Hence, the tax bureau of the US Treasury has advised taxpayers to visit the official website (https://www.irs.gov/) and refer to the available resources to get quick resolutions for their return filing and refund related queries. The online resources and tools are readily available on the IRS’ website and you can get most of your answers there itself.
In addition, the agency provides different channels and options for tax preparers and taxpayers to get the latest updates:
- You are advised to follow the official social handles of the IRS, YouTube Videos, and email subscription lists to stay up to date on the latest tax-related information and notifications.
- You can also download the mobile app namely IRS2GoApp to get the latest updates.
4. For Those Waiting for Processing 2020 Tax Return Processing, Here’s What They Need to do While Electronically Filing a Return for 2021
With reference to validating and submitting an e-filed return successfully, the individuals require AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) from their latest return. In case the taxpayers are still waiting for their return to be processed for 2020, they need to enter USD 0 (Zero Dollars) for prior year’s Adjusted Gross Income on their 2021 return. Also, the individuals, who followed Non-Filer Tool in 2021 to register for AdvCTC or Third Economic Impact Payment, are recommended to enter $1 (One Dollar) as their last year AGI.
5. Utilize Online Resources for Efficient Filing
The IRS has introduced a number of tools and other resources that are freely available for taxpayers. Also, there’s an option called IRS Free File for the individuals who will be manually filing their returns to avoid delays in refunds. This option is available for those individuals or families whose last year’s income was less than $73,000. Eligible taxpayers can also get free one-on-one assistance for tax preparation under the Tax Counselling for the Elderly and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance schemes. Also, with the IRS Free File option, the prominent tax software providers offer their tax-related tools without any additional charges as part of a 20-year partnership with the IRS. For 2022, there are 8 utilities available in English while 2 products in Spanish for users’ convenience.
The times are challenging for both the IRS and the taxpayers and by following this checklist, individuals can efficiently file their 2021 tax returns and expect their refunds with minimum or no delays.