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Phone Scams, IRAs and Tax Extensions: The IRS published multiple reminder letters this week. In IR-2017-64 the Service warned tax preparers to watch for phishing emails claiming to be from clients. The latest tactic is for a scammer to send an email to tax preparers with a "last...

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Saturday October 31, 2020

Washington News

Washington Hotline

8.8 Million Unclaimed Stimulus Payments

On September 17, 2020, the IRS published IR–2020–214 and explained the state–by–state breakdown of approximately 8.8 million people who have not yet received an Economic Impact Payment.

The IRS is mailing letters in English and Spanish to all of these individuals. It urges recipients to go to IRS.gov before October 15, 2020 and use the "Non–Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" tool to register for an Economic Impact Payment.

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated, "The IRS continues to work hard to reach people eligible for these payments. These mailings are the latest step by the IRS to reach as many people as possible for these important payments. We are releasing this state–by–state information so that state and local leaders and organizations can better understand the size of this population in their communities and assist them in claiming these important payments. Time is running out to claim a payment before the deadline."

The IRS has been engaged in a public awareness effort to encourage participation in the program by reaching out to nonprofit groups that serve different communities, the homeless and individuals whose primary language is not English. The final IRS letters are being sent to individuals who have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019. Most of these individuals have low incomes.

The individuals must qualify as U.S. citizens or resident aliens, have work-eligible Social Security numbers and may not be claimed as dependents on another person's federal income tax return. Qualified individuals may each receive up to $1,200, while married couples may qualify for up to $2,400. Individuals with qualifying children under age 17 may receive an additional $500 per child.

If an individual is qualified and misses the October 15 deadline, it is still possible to claim the stimulus amount on a tax return filed for tax year 2020. The stimulus qualification does have one limit - if a person is eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit, he or she must file a tax return.

Former National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson stated, "But the target audience is not really the tax professional community. It is the community groups who provide assistance to this low–income population and towns and cities with these populations."

Olson concluded, "Getting this information out is good. The real work will be done by the nonprofits and community-based organizations, including those [volunteer income tax assistance sites] that are up and running still."

The five states with the largest number of potential recipients are: California with 1,186,896, Texas with 796,525, Florida with 567,425, New York with 537,726, Georgia with 348,631 and Illinois with 309,972.

Published September 18, 2020
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