It's that time of year again—Tax Season. But don't fret, the Free Library is here to help you make sense of it all!
2021 IRS Tax Return Updates
Besides the annual inflation adjustments and increased standardized deduction that taxpayers can expect when filing their 2021 tax return, the Internal Revenue Service has provided a few guidelines to assist taxpayers as they prepare their returns:
- Child Tax Credit (CTC) Payments
Taxpayer families who received advance CTC payments last year will need to compare the amount received with the amount of the Child Tax Credit that they can claim on their 2021 return: Taxpayers who received less than the amount for which they’re eligible can claim a credit for the remaining amount they are owed on their return. However, taxpayers who received an advanced payment that is more than the amount for which they’re eligible, may need to repay some or all of the excess payment when they file their 2021 return. To assist taxpayers in collecting their tax records, the IRS will be sending Letter 6419 with the total amount of advance CTC payments received in 2021. Eligible families, even those who do not typically file tax return and who did not receive any advance payments in 2021, can still obtain a lump-sum payment by claiming the Child Tax Credit when they file a 2021 return.
- Recovery Rebate Credit for the Third Economic Impact Payment (EIP)
Taxpayers who did not qualify for the third Economic Impact Payment distributed in 2021 or did not receive the full amount for which they may have been eligible, can potentially claim a Recovery Rebate Credit. Taxpayers will need to compare their 2021 EIP with any Plus-Up Payments received to determine whether they are eligible to claim this credit. To assist taxpayers in gathering this information, the IRS will be sending Letter 6475 with the total amount of payments received in 2021. Eligible individuals, who did not receive the third EIP and who normally do not file tax returns, should file a 2021 return to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.
- Charitable Deduction Changes
Taxpayers who do not itemize deductions may qualify to take a charitable deduction of up to $600 for married taxpayers filing jointly and up to $300 for all other filers who made cash contributions in 2021 to qualifying organizations. Taxpayers can identify an organization’s tax-exempt status by using the IRS tax-exempt organization search tool.
- Electronic Filing and Direct Deposit Options
The IRS is still processing 2020 tax returns, many of which are paper returns. To avoid additional processing delays, the IRS is asking taxpayers to consider e-filing 2021 tax returns and to use direct deposit as an option for obtaining tax refund payments.
IRS Paper Forms and Instructions Are Still Available
Beginning in February, instructions and booklets containing Form 1040, Form 1040-SR, and the three Schedule supplements will be available in the Social Science & History Department at Parkway Central Library. To determine tax form availability at your neighborhood library, please call ahead to confirm before you visit.
Alternatively, IRS paper forms and instructions can also be obtained by submitting an online order through the IRS website or by calling 1-800-829-3676.
Pennsylvania Tax Forms Are No Longer Available at the Free Library
The Free Library of Philadelphia can no longer obtain Pennsylvania state tax forms and instruction booklets, or the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate form (PA-1000) due to policy changes with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.
Alternatively, individual taxpayers may still be able to obtain Pennsylvania state forms using one of the following methods:
- Viewing and printing forms online
- Ordering forms online
- Submitting a telephone request: 1-888-728-2937
- Submitting a written request:
PA Department of Revenue
Tax Forms Service Unit
1854 Brookwood Street
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2244
- Visiting a Pennsylvania district office for taxpayer assistance. Please note that district office appointments scheduled in advance are strongly recommended. It is suggested that taxpayers seeking assistance call for an appointment and verify service offerings per location. Appointments can be scheduled Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Philadelphia – Center City office
STE 204A (Inheritance Tax Office in Suite 204B)
110 N 8TH Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-2412
Philadelphia – Northeast office
Academy Plaza Shopping Center
3240 Red Lion Road
Philadelphia, PA 19114-1109
Pennsylvania 2021 tax forms and the 2021 Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate (PA-1000) will be available on the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s website after the start of the tax season.
As with the IRS, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue is strongly suggesting that taxpayers consider e-filing their 2021 tax returns to avoid filing delays. The Department of Revenue anticipates a period of 8-10 weeks for mailed paper returns to be added to their system, with an additional 4 weeks for the return to be reviewed and processed.
Need Filing Assistance This Tax Season?
Due to the pandemic, local organizations have modified their tax preparation assistance offerings this year.
Additional options for free or reduced-cost tax filing:
- Individuals earning under $66,000 annually may file for free using the United Way and H&R Block’s MyFreeTaxes, available for Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents.
- The Internal Revenue Service’s Free File program offers two filing options for taxpayers based upon income:
- Guided tax preparation for filers with an Adjusted Gross Income of $73,000 or less.
- Free electronic fillable forms for taxpayers of any income level to file online.
Remember: the deadline to file your taxes in 2022 is Monday, April 18!