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  • Writer's pictureMMH CPA

Prepare for Pandemic-Related Tax Surprises

Don’t get shocked by a high bill this tax season. 2020 was definitely an unusual year, so this aberrance also applies to your taxes. Get ahead of these pandemic-related tax surprises when you file your 2020 tax return.

Taxes on unemployment income. If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, you need to report these benefits on your tax return as taxable income. Check to see if either federal or state taxes were withheld from unemployment payments you received. If taxes were not withheld, you may need to write a check to the IRS when you file your tax return.

Taxes from side jobs. Did you pick up a part-time gig to make ends meet? Payments received for performing these jobs may not have had your taxes withheld. If this is the case, you’ll need to pay your taxes directly to the IRS on April 15.

Unusual profit-and-loss. If you run a business that was hit by the pandemic, you may find your estimated tax payments were either overpaid or underpaid compared to normal. Now that 2020 is in the books, run a quick projection to ensure you are not surprised with an unexpected tax bill when you file your tax return.

Underpayment penalty. If you did not have proper tax withholdings from your paycheck or your estimated tax payments weren’t enough, you could be subject to an underpayment penalty. While it’s too late to avoid a penalty on your 2020 tax return, the solution in the future is to make high enough estimated tax payments each quarter in 2021 or have the appropriate amount withheld from your 2021 paychecks.

Claim missing stimulus payments. A good surprise! If any of your stimulus payments were missing or less than what you should have received, you can get a tax credit for the difference when you file your 2020 tax return.

These are just a few examples to help prepare yourself for a potential tax surprise and get ahead of any financial roadblocks during the uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic.

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