Happy May, friends!
Can you believe we’re here already?
I have a couple bits of super exciting news here for Femme Frugality, but I can’t share them just yet. Be sure to subscribe to the email list to stay up to date on the latest!
In the meantime, there’s plenty of money news outside this little corner of the universe. Let’s talk about some of it.
We’ve talked about taxes for the past couple months. Things keep getting better!
The first think you should know is that the deadline to file your 2020 taxes is May 17, 2021. As in this coming Monday.
However, if you’re receiving a refund and you’re stressed TF out because life is just too much right now, you can breathe a little easier. You have up to three years to file your 2020 tax returns before you’re considered ineligible for your refund.
But I STRONGLY encourage you to file by Monday.
Because here’s the thing:
If the past year has been terrible for your personal economy, the government probably owes you money that you could use TODAY. Potentially a lot of money. Potentially even if you didn’t have a job through this mess.
Finally get access to your stimulus payments.
Filing your taxes also makes it way easier to get access to stimulus payments. For example, let’s say you didn’t file in 2019. You might have missed out on multiple stimulus payments.
The first two will be accounted for in your 2020 tax return.
The IRS should be able to issue you the third payment after you file your 2020 taxes.
The easiest way to make this happen is to set your refund up for direct deposit into your personal bank account — one that you don’t plan on closing any time in the near future.
Get access to those monthly child tax credit payments come July.
The government has estimated that it will preemptively issue portions of the Child Tax Credit for the 2021 tax year via direct payments to families starting in July.
To get access to these direct payments, the IRS will need to have your information on hand. Filing by the tax deadline makes that more likely to happen.
Expanded Child Tax Credits and Huge Refund for the Self-Employed
Over the past couple months, we’ve talked about a lot of different tax credits that are unique to this pandemic we’re living through. These credits can end up adding up to tens upon tens of thousands of dollars owed to you by the IRS — even if you’re just an ordinary person.
In March, we covered a tax credit that can make a huge difference for the self-employed.
In April, we briefly discussed:
- The first $10,200 you received in unemployment in 2020 no longer counts as taxable income.
- There are changes to the Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax credit that both make it larger and make a larger portion of it refundable.
- The Child and Dependent Care Credit has also become refundable, larger and claimable for an additional year.
- There are BIG changes to premium credits for those who pay for an ACA health insurance plan. It is extremely likely that these changes work in your favor no matter how much or how little money you make, and can result in a larger tax refund or lower overall tax burden. Learn more here.
All that giving you did last year? It counts for once.
Last year, a lot of us found ourselves digging into our pockets to support anyone who was doing the hard work of making our chaotic world a better place.
Normally, if you don’t itemize, donations to 501(c)(3) orgnaizations don’t mean much. The standard deduction for a head of household is $18,800, and for those married filing jointly it’s $25,100.
Most American families simply don’t make enough money to justify itemizing. The standard deduction is more than all their itemized deductions — including charitable giving — so there’s no point in itemizing.
However, this year, if you gave to a 501(c)(3), you can deduct those charitable donations beyond the standard deduction. The most you can claim is $300 on top of the standard deduction, and you’ve got to have receipts to back up your claim.
You can file your taxes for free.
I don’t go into those expensive, inexperienced big-box places. Even in times of non-pandemic.
Most people can file their taxes for free online all by themselves. Here are a bunch of options.
If you have a complicated tax situation, invest in an accredited CPA.
Help for Pittsburgh
If you’re in Allegheny County, there is still an Emergency Rental Assistance Program where you can apply for help with back rent.
Just a couple days ago, the City of Pittsburgh specifically launched a program that offers free legal services to those facing housing challenges a la eviction for renters and foreclosure for homeowners.
A portion of the funding for this program is specifically set aside for residents who are undocumented or are otherwise ineligible for legal services through other programs.
The best way to get a handle on a potential eviction situation is to get legal assistance as early on as you can.
However, if you already found yourself on the other side of eviction, we talked about some steps you can take to improve your situation last month.