NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a normal year, this would be the week millions of Americans are scrambling to finish their taxes before that infamous April 15 deadline. But because things still aren't normal, it's affecting your taxes too – more than just the extension, at least.
NewsChannel 5 spoke with Dr. Friday Burke, a certified expert in all things taxes and the IRS, to get some answers.
What are the key things people need to know if they've not yet filed?
“So, the IRS is basically saying, 'be accurate, try to make sure you have all of your information,' you know, e-filing, is going to be your best way to get your refund quickly and then obviously use the tools on the IRS website,” said Dr. Friday.
If people have received their stimulus check, do they need to do anything special for a deduction? What do you advise for the people that are questioning some of those stimulus payments?
“A great question because I have a lot of people that basically are always asking that question, as well, and really basically the first thing is if you did not get the first two, which is 1,200 for any adult that's not a dependent, and 600 for everybody under the age 16. So, if you didn't get those two, you need to file a 2020 tax return, even if you normally don't because that's the only way you're going to get that money back,” said Dr. Friday.
If you're working from home, can you write it off?
“I love it and yes — no you can't. There is absolutely nothing for the tax code, one of the changes that were made back at the end of ‘17 or the first of the ‘18 was the removing of the 2106 which is the home office, the out of pocket expense for employees. So if you're a W-2 person, you are not going to be able to write off that home expense, the IRS actually came out and said you're not getting the wear and tear on your car, so consider it a wash," she said.
If you feel like you’re owed a stimulus payment and didn’t receive it — Dr. Friday urges patience as she says the IRS is hand-sorting those returns — and it may delay the refund coming to you.
Also, don’t forget about your accounts like RobinHood or TD Ameritrade if you dipped into investing over the year. Finally, while it's also nice to hire a professional, if you're tight on cash or think you have an easy file, there's free tax software on IRS.gov.