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Explore: Pandemic Relief Measures and Your Tax Return

Pandemic Relief Measures and Your Tax Return

Two emergency relief bills passed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will make this an unusual tax season for many taxpayers. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed in March, and a second relief package was attached to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, in December.

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Federal Tax Filing Season Starts Soon

The IRS has announced that the federal income tax filing season for tax year 2020 returns begins on Friday, February 12, 2021. Although tax seasons frequently begin in late January, the additional time will allow the IRS to update its programming and test its system to take into account any changes made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA 2021), signed into law on December 27, 2020. Last-minute changes to tax law have already been included in IRS tax forms and instructions.

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Education Tax Credits

It’s tax time, and your kitchen table is littered with papers and forms. As if this isn’t bad enough, you recently paid your child’s college semester bill, and you don’t know where you’ll find the money to pay the taxes that you expect to owe. Well, you might finally catch a break. Now that your child is in college, you might qualify for one of two education tax credits — the American Opportunity credit and the Lifetime Learning credit. And because a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction against taxes owed, it’s more favorable than a tax deduction, which simply reduces the total income on which your tax is based.

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