Just like that we already find ourselves in the back-half of January which means that for some El Pasoans, it’s time to start gathering W2’s and make a list of how exactly that tax refund is going to be used this year.

Exiting a year which saw many people’s income situation change for the worse, expected returns can’t get here soon enough.  This year, those returns may provide a lifeline for those that need that extra help with catching up on rent or keeping their utilities on.

The consensus among tax professionals is that this year’s refunds won’t be disbursed until the first week of March at the earliest, but people shouldn’t let that delay them from actually filing their taxes.  Those that have already received all of their required tax forms can begin filing as soon as possible.

As electronic filing has become more of the norm at tax time, the options to file taxes for free have also increased.  Those comfortable and knowledgeable enough to prepare their own return can do so via the IRS’s website at irs.gov.  This year, they are actually encouraging people to file electronically instead of submitting paper returns since they are short staffed and hard copy returns will take several weeks longer before they can be processed.  I guess COVID affected the tax man too.

People that received unemployment benefits for the first time in 2020 will need to make sure they have Form 1099-G which shows the amount of benefits paid along with any federal income tax that was elected to be withheld.

The deadline to file taxes this year is April 15, 2021 but those that don’t owe anything back can ask for an extension for filing until October 15, 2021.  More information on filing taxes can be found at irs.gov/filing/individuals/how-to-file

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