2020 Taxes

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Trice

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2010
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Ankeny
I've dug into tax prep in the last few days, and what better way to celebrate than to start a new thread. Looks like both the IRS and Iowa state government begin accepting 2020 tax returns on February 12.

One notable change from the past few years is that the CARES Act from last spring created a $300 above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions even if you take the standard deduction. I tried numerous times to confirm that 1) this deduction would double to $600 for married couples, and 2) whether this was permanent or for 2020 only. On both counts I got conflicting information throughout the year. But the new 1040 instruction book makes it clear: $300 is the maximum whether you are an individual or couple for 2020.

But good news: the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, probably better known as the stimulus bill Congress passed and Trump signed just after Christmas, includes this same deduction for tax year 2021 and this time doubles it to $600 for married couples filing jointly. Again, I'm seeing conflicting reports about whether this deduction will be permanent. It seems pretty clear to me reading the language of the bill that it will be permanent, but numerous sources report simply that this applies to 2021 and will not be any more specific or go any further than that.

Also a question for tax experts: each year I download all the pertinent tax forms and publications for that year for archival purposes, in case I need to research something later. It's a time-consuming PITA downloading and saving like 50 PDFs and I'm wondering if there's a better way. Even if there's some web site where I could just batch download them would go a long way. Any suggestions?

Happy filing.
 
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kirk89gt

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2014
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I've dug into tax prep in the last few days, and what better way to celebrate than to start a new thread. Looks like both the IRS and Iowa state government begin accepting 2020 tax returns on February 12.

One notable change from the past few years is that the CARES Act from last spring created a $300 above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions even if you take the standard deduction. I tried numerous times to confirm that 1) this deduction would double to $600 for married couples, and 2) whether this was permanent or for 2020 only. On both counts I got conflicting information throughout the year. But the new 1040 instruction book makes it clear: $300 is the maximum whether you are an individual or couple for 2020.

But good news: the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, probably better known as the stimulus bill Congress passed and Trump signed just after Christmas, includes this same deduction for tax year 2021 and this time doubles it to $600 for married couples filing jointly. Again, I'm seeing conflicting reports about whether this deduction will be permanent. It seems pretty clear to me reading the language of the bill that it will be permanent, but numerous sources report simply that this applies to 2021 and will not be any more specific or go any further than that.

Also a question for tax experts: each year I download all the pertinent tax forms and publications for that year for archival purposes, in case I need to research something later. It's a time-consuming PITA downloading and saving like 50 PDFs and I'm wondering if there's a better way. Even if there's some web site where I could just batch download them would go a long way. Any suggestions?

Happy filing.

FWIW, when my tax situation was more complex, I gladly paid for someone else to do it. The couple hundred bucks saved me time, and headaches vs. trying to keep things straight. Now that things have simplified (thanks largely in part to the new standard deductions....i.e. no more itemization for us), basic tax software fits the bill quite nicely and I don't really need to keep up with the latest and greatest.
 

Rabbuk

Well-Known Member
Mar 1, 2011
42,241
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I have all my documents piled up I just don't want to do them. Between doing the clinics tax stuff and also getting our yearly audit it just seems like a pain. Even though my personal taxes are like an hour or 2 job.
 

khardbored

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Oct 20, 2012
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Middle of the Midwest
FWIW, when my tax situation was more complex, I gladly paid for someone else to do it. The couple hundred bucks saved me time, and headaches vs. trying to keep things straight. Now that things have simplified (thanks largely in part to the new standard deductions....i.e. no more itemization for us), basic tax software fits the bill quite nicely and I don't really need to keep up with the latest and greatest.
We always fall in this weird land where we are better off with the standard deduction for Federal, but are able to itemize deductions for state (Iowa). So I have to go through and carefully think of all possible deductions (charity, mortgage interest, etc)
 
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kirk89gt

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2014
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We always fall in this weird land where we are better off with the standard deduction for Federal, but are able to itemize deductions for state (Iowa). So I have to go through and carefully think of all possible deductions (charity, mortgage interest, etc)
Ugh!!! No fun there.
 

Nothingman

Active Member
Mar 31, 2006
284
203
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I'm trying to get my lady friend to file her taxes this year. For whatever reason she hasn't filed in a few years. I'm not sure exactly how long but it's probably been 3-4 years since she's filed. She would have had a refund each year. Nothing crazy but probably a few hundred dollars each year.

Is there anything special she needs to do to file this year since it's been a few years? Can she file just 2020 and not worry about the years she didn't file? I'd like to try to talk her into filing those past years as well but just trying to get some information. I did some searching around on Google but didn't really find anything concrete.
 

Gorm

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SuperFanatic T2
Jul 6, 2010
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Amana, IA
Got mine done already. Didn't know about that 12th date. Makes sense as neither the IRS or Iowa accepted my return yet. :p
 
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IcSyU

Well-Known Member
Nov 27, 2007
26,970
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Rochester, MN
Hey Uncle Sam...if you're reading this...Please get something set up so stimulus payments received can be quickly/easily looked up by tax professionals.

kthxbai
 

Trice

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2010
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We always fall in this weird land where we are better off with the standard deduction for Federal, but are able to itemize deductions for state (Iowa). So I have to go through and carefully think of all possible deductions (charity, mortgage interest, etc)
I don't think that's weird at all anymore since so many people who used to itemize on Federal no longer need to. But yes, it's a pain.

Along these lines, look real closely at the Iowa K-12 tuition and textbook credit. I used to think it was only for tuition and textbooks since, you know, that's the name of the credit. But a couple years ago I looked closer and you can deduct almost anything school-related - musical instruments, activity fees, all kinds of stuff. It's a 25% credit on up to $1,000 in deductions.
 
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throwittoblythe

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Aug 7, 2006
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I've gone back and forth between doing it myself and a professional. I'm 100% on board with a professional going forward. I'll gladly spend a few hundred bucks that allows me to just forward/upload documents and endure a 30 minute-1 hr meeting to have my taxes done properly.

Side note: we started a small, at-home business and created an LLC a few years ago. I failed to file a form and got a lovely notice from the IRS that I owed them A LOT of money. @isufbcurt knows all about that one.
 

SECyclone

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Sep 29, 2011
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Hey Uncle Sam...if you're reading this...Please get something set up so stimulus payments received can be quickly/easily looked up by tax professionals.

kthxbai
As in you never got yours or just saying hey I got this and this amount wasn’t good enough ?
 

IcSyU

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Nov 27, 2007
26,970
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Rochester, MN
As in you never got yours or just saying hey I got this and this amount wasn’t good enough ?
I’m not a tax advisor, but my understanding is that the last 2 stimuli were not taxable.
It has to be reconciled on the 2020 return. It's possible you can get additional money back if you were limited at the time it was initially sent. People way over or under the income limitations I can assume they got all/nothing. For others I don't know if their 2018 return or 2019 return was used to calculate their stimulus payments.
 
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isufbcurt

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Apr 21, 2006
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Newton
Hey Uncle Sam...if you're reading this...Please get something set up so stimulus payments received can be quickly/easily looked up by tax professionals.

kthxbai
Agree 100%. I went to the IRS lookup tool and typed in the information that it asked for for my clients and nothing came up.
 
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