So yes, the concept of time feels like it has been thrown off for a few months now. And yes, I know I have mentioned this more than a few times over that period. (Or was it only once, who knows anymore … is this real life?) But yes, again it must be said that the deadline for filing your taxes is not that far away.
There is less than a month remaining before the advanced deadline date of July 15. It felt far away at one point, but now it is just about here. Now is analogous to being in late March normally when that April 15 starts to loom large. So if you can, start getting things together and make moves to make the return happen. At the same time, though, I understand that some people are not in a position where they can do that right now. If you find yourself in that situation, remember that there is still the ability to file for an extension to gain a few more months.
That means it is now time for my annual missive when I remind you that getting an extension to file your taxes does not mean you are receiving an extension to pay your taxes.
Taxes come with due dates and in general when you fill out your annual return, those are due on the traditional date of April 15. Once they are not paid on that date, you start racking up fees and interest that increase the amount you owe. When you file for an extension, that does not mean what you owed goes away. The due date instead keeps moving steadily into the past, and interest continues to accrue, you know, as it does.
If the only reason you are looking to file an extension is so that you do not have to pay yet, you are actually only costing yourself more money. For even if you cannot afford the bill yet, you will only get more fees tacked on for not filing a return. Filing and not paying your tax bill, then, can actually save you money. If you are in this situation, please contact us so you can learn about how the IRS will handle you owing them instead of just hiding from the fact that you do.
If you are expecting a refund, there will be no fee or penalty for getting an extension and filing later, but why would you do that? Isn’t it better to have your money now than later?
Or maybe your personal story is more complicated than these. No matter what situation you are in, contact us if you need help getting to the finish line. We can help you make the best choice for yourself, whether it be getting an extension or getting that return going. The answers will not be the same for everyone, but we can help you arrive at yours.
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I have had to write for months now about how little in the world feels clear. And just when things started to seem they were getting a little clearer, now they may not be.
But take a deep breath, and let’s continue.
Because sure, everyone wants the world to continue to open up. This would help us achieve a sense of normalcy, and what do we want more than that? But it is also a ‘for sure’ that some areas are currently seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. That then makes it difficult to completely feel that opening up is the right step at this moment.
I feel like you can take this in a couple of ways. It can obviously be frightening to think that after going through so much we have not done enough to curtail a significant spread of this disease. It also stands to reason, however, that cases had to increase once social restrictions are lifted, so those numbers were just inevitable.
So where will we end up in a day, a week, a month? Really, who knows. There are so many variables that it is impossible to say. Answers that we desperately want are frustratingly elusive.
To try to make some peace with all of this, I think it is necessary to look at it from two perspectives. One of those is from that of a business. I think there we can all agree on some level that one cannot fault business owners for opening up and doing all the business they can as soon as allowable by law. There may have been multiple pieces of legislation passed to help these businesses, but those are stopgap measures, no one is thriving under them, and they need to try and get back to that state.
It is up to the business owner to take the necessary steps to make its customers/clients feel safe, though. And therein we begin to see the second perspective that I think is necessary, a personal one.
People’s comfort levels differ for many reasons – health, the health of others close to them, personal experience, location, etc. – so of course there are going to be many who still feel reticent to do certain activities even in areas that are completely open without restrictions. And if you are one of them, don’t do things that make you uncomfortable. Your comfort is important and added extra levels of stress is not going to help you stay healthy.
And for those whose comfort level is high, yes, get out there and do all that is allowed in your area (while following all necessary precautions). Again, it is tough to fault someone who has felt stifled in life for embracing the things they have missed.
For one thing that can be clear through all of this is that we can carry on and we will progress if we all embrace respecting each other and our communities while moving at our own pace.
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Certain situations bring up fear within us that is impossible to completely avoid. The past few months have certainly proven that. These feelings make us more vulnerable. It is not really a surprise then that the IRS put out a release earlier this week warning against schemes surrounding COVID-19.
A lot of the current schemes have been taking advantage of the government issuing economic impact payments. And again, this is not really a surprise, because when we were to receive these payments, and how, has been full of confusion for many. Real answers have been out there, but they have not always been the easiest thing to find, so that left fertile ground for scams to grow.
IRS scams are prevalent no matter the time or situation, and this also is partially because answers on how the organization and its tax structure work are not always easy to find. When someone threatens you about how you used this confusing system, fear can jump up quick. It almost always comes with a threat that it could hurt you in the wallet, and that is another place where fear can thrive. Combine that with a worldwide health scare, and we are probably all more vulnerable to such criminal activity than we would like to admit.
This is why current scams are going beyond the IRS ones and also involve fake cures, fake vaccines, fake testing, and fake advice. The antidote to all of these, however, remains the same – time and knowledge.
The first part of that is probably more difficult to keep in mind currently. After all, illness is one of the areas where acting quick is of utmost importance. So, if you think you may be really sick, do not hesitate to contact your doctor. But the reason to not hesitate in contacting them is because of their knowledge.
You see, scams rely on you not knowing the truth. If someone is going to sell you a vaccine that does not exist, they need you to be unaware that a real one does not exist. If you slow down and take the time to do some research, you gain the knowledge you need to not be drawn into paying too much for something that is going to do nothing for you.
This short blog then is an urging to not be reactionary, and instead to seek information, and make your own conclusions. This will not necessarily defeat fear, but it will at least keep us the right amount of fearful and about the right things.
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When the calendar turns lately, it feels unbelievable. Like didn’t May just start? How is it already June? Well it is somehow, and that seems like a good prompt to set aside a moment to take stock of where some things stand in relation to the calendar.
First off, it hopefully means that many of you business owners are getting a grip on when you will be able to at least begin to offer some services again, and ideally start to look forward to when everything is back up and running full time. So as you look toward those moments, make sure you have reached out to everyone you need (employees, vendors, etc.) to make sure you hit the ground running.
Then also for the business owners, if you have a received a PPP loan, do what you can to try to optimize loan forgiveness. I know this part of the process has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but I figured it was also worth another reminder here. A different reminder, though, is to be sure you look into the rules your bank has instituted for what it is going to require when you apply for forgiveness. We have seen a large amount of variety in this area – for something you would think would be pretty simple and universal – so be sure you are prepared with exactly what the institution is going to expect from you.
And it is time for individuals to think about the calendar, as well. Remember when getting an extra three months to file your taxes seemed like it gave you forever to worry about it? Well more than half of that forever has now passed. July 15 is now only next month, so at least start to get all your information together so you are prepared to fill out a tax return. We have enough things to worry about now without making that another one.
That tax relief until July 15 was not only for filing, though, as many tax payments were also being delayed until that later date. If you are someone who had some first- and second-quarter payments set to be made, this means their due date is also coming up quickly. Granted, the financial position of many has changed since you first thought about what those payments would be, so the number you were looking to pay may have changed, but the date is still approaching.
Looking at things like how your estimated payments may need to change can feel daunting – just like everything else in this column, and heck, like most everything in life lately – but that does not mean they should be ignored. We unfortunately cannot solve all of life’s headaches, but if you have some questions that are in our wheelhouse, please do not hesitate to reach out and let’s work together to get some answers.
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