NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Millions of Americans will have tax returns that look much different this year, and experts are urging people to be prepared for a unique tax season.
Those changes will mostly impact the historic number of people who have lost their jobs or received unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic. Experts warn that unemployment benefits are taxable income, and some people may end up with a lower refund or even owing money to the IRS for the first time.
Experts said that's why it's important to be prepared to file.
"Especially if you're self-employed. A lot of people when they became unemployed they became self-employed, so be sure to get all your income documents and your expenses together," Tamara Kreigh said.
Kreigh works with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. The organization gives free tax help to people who qualify. She said that resource is extremely important this year.
"For somebody who is on unemployment, scraping by from paycheck to paycheck, getting free tax prep and not having to pay for that service, that's money in your pocket," Kreigh said.
You can find more information on the VITA program on their website.
Kreigh said to get your return sooner rather than later, you should file early and online.
"Don't wait, I would say don't wait," she advised. "And electronic filing is always going to get you a quicker refund than if you mail it in. The IRS has millions of letters that they're still waiting to open from 2019."
Kreigh said her biggest piece of advice is not to panic as you get ready to file.
"Panic is not the word, persistence and patience, those are your two words," she said.