IRS Free File Taxes available today; filers can claim important tax benefits

IR-2022-14, January 14, 2022

ATS Advisors

WASHINGTON — The IRS today announced the availability of Free File, providing taxpayers online tax preparation products available at no charge. Today’s launch of IRS Free File, available only through IRS.gov, provides people an early opportunity to file their taxes and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, the enhanced Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and other important credits. Taxpayers can use Free File to claim the remaining amount of their Child Tax Credit and claim any advance payments of the Child Tax Credit they did not receive in 2021.

Leading tax software providers make their online products available for free as part of a 20-year partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. This year, there are eight products in English and two in Spanish. IRS Free File is available to any person or family who earned $73,000 or less in 2021.

“Free File is part of a wide selection of services available on IRS.gov to help people file taxes during this challenging period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “IRS Free File offers taxpayers an easy, free way to do their taxes from the safety of their own home. Free File also provides electronic filing with direct deposit, which is the best way to avoid delays and receive refunds quickly and securely.”

Because the filing season starts on January 24, 2022, IRS Free File providers will accept completed tax returns and hold them until they can be filed electronically on that date. The Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, will be available on January 24, 2022. Free File Fillable Forms is available for use by everyone, regardless of income, but should be used only by people who are comfortable preparing their own taxes.

Other important information related to the January 24 start of tax season is available on IRS.gov, including important filing tips.

How IRS Free File works

Each IRS Free File provider sets its own eligibility rules for products based on age, income, and state residency. However, for those who make $73,000 or less, they will find at least one product that matches their needs, and usually more. Some providers also offer free state income tax return preparation. [Some state tax benefits, such as state Earned Income Tax Credits, are based on information contained on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. Taxpayers are encouraged to check with their state tax agency about state tax benefits and requirements to file a state income tax return.] Active-duty military can use any IRS Free File product if their income was $73,000 or less.

Here’s a step-by-step overview of how to find the right Free File product:

  1. Go to IRS.gov/freefile.
  2. Use the “Choose an IRS Free File Offer” tool for help in finding the right product, or
  3. Review each offer by a provider using the “Browse All” tool.
  4. Select a product.
  5. Follow links to the provider’s website to begin a tax return.

No computer? No problem. Taxpayers can complete and file their tax return using IRS Free File products through smart phones or tablets.

Child Tax Credit, 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit and other tax benefits

IRS Free File is all taxpayers need to claim the Child Tax Credit (CTC), 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, and other tax benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

The IRS also continues to urge people who received one or more advance Child Tax Credit payments in 2021 to carefully review their taxes before filing. Families who received advance payments will need to compare the advance Child Tax Credit payments they received in 2021 with the amount of the Child Tax Credit they can properly claim on their 2021 tax return. To help taxpayers who received an advance Child Tax Credit payment, the IRS started sending Letter 6419, 2021 Advance CTC, in late December 2021.

The letter contains important information on advance Child Tax Credit payments that can help ensure the tax return is accurate. People who received the advance CTC payments can also check the amount of their payments by using the CTC Update Portal available on IRS.gov.

In late January, the IRS will begin sending Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, to individuals who received a third stimulus payment in 2021, including initial and “plus-up” payments. While most eligible people already received their Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus payments, this letter will help them determine if they are eligible to claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments. If so, they must file a 2021 tax return to claim this credit. People can also use IRS online account to view both payment amounts.

IRS Free File also can be used by workers to claim the EITC, which provides a refundable tax credit based on a filer’s income and family size.

Please remember that unemployment benefits paid by states are taxable income. States should send Forms 1099-G to those who received jobless benefits.

IRS Free File participants

For 2022, these providers are participating in IRS Free File:

  • 1040Now.NET
  • ezTaxReturn.com (available in Spanish)
  • FreeTaxReturn.com INC
  • FileYourTaxes.com
  • On-Line Taxes at OLT.com
  • TaxAct
  • FreeTaxUSA ®
  • TaxSlayer (coming soon in Spanish)

IRS releases its 2021 Progress Update detailing challenging year

IR-2022-07, January 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today released its 2021 annual report describing the agency’s work delivering taxpayer service and compliance efforts during the pandemic while highlighting efforts taken by IRS employees to help people during the year.

Internal Revenue Service Progress Update / Fiscal Year 2021 – Putting Taxpayers First PDF outlines how the agency continued to work through difficulties related to the pandemic while delivering two rounds of Economic Impact Payments and millions of advance Child Tax Credit payments, all in record time. Meanwhile, IRS employees continued to make adjustments to deliver the filing season despite office closures, social distancing mandates and an extended tax filing deadline.

“This has been an unprecedented period facing the IRS and the nation,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “IRS employees worked hard during the pandemic, repeatedly delivering for taxpayers under tight timeframes and difficult circumstances. As the 2022 filing season approaches, more work remains for us to help taxpayers as well as tax professionals. We will continue to make progress on critical areas thanks to the hard work of so many people. I’m incredibly proud of what our employees have been able to accomplish during this period, and we also appreciate the efforts taking place by our partners inside and outside the tax system to help people struggling during COVID-19.”

Since the pandemic began, the IRS has successfully delivered more than $1.5 trillion to people across the nation through Economic Impact Payments, tax refunds and advance Child Tax Credit payments.

A large portion of that amount was distributed during Fiscal Year 2021, which is the focal point of this year’s Progress Update. The 56-page report highlights accomplishments around the agency’s six strategic goals and identifies ongoing modernization efforts. This year’s edition also discusses work related to implementing the various new pieces of legislation related to the pandemic, including the American Rescue Plan.

In his opening comments in the Progress Update, Rettig explained that each year the IRS collects more than $3 trillion in taxes and generates approximately 96% of the funding that supports the federal government’s operations.

“The 2021 Progress Update is not just a report, it’s the story of a dedicated group of public servants who continued to deliver for the nation, as they do every year, even in challenging times and while overcoming concerns for themselves, their families and their communities during the pandemic,” he said.

The document gives numerous examples of how IRS employees helped taxpayers, including:

  • Expanded information and assistance available to taxpayers in additional languages and underserved communities to help deliver Economic Impact Payments, advance Child Tax Credit payments and other services.
  • Developed new online portals for individuals to check on their pandemic-related relief payments and make updates to their personal information.
  • Offered a new online option for tax professionals to obtain signatures from individual and business clients and submit authorization forms electronically. Tax pros also now have an online account option, with new features being added.
  • Served their communities outside official duties through charitable work and service projects.

The report also shows ways IRS employees worked to maintain the tax system through a strong, visible and robust tax enforcement presence.

“We’ve continued to develop innovative approaches to understanding, detecting and resolving potential noncompliance to maintain taxpayer confidence in the tax system. We have expanded use of data, analytics and artificial intelligence across all lanes from selection to examination,” Rettig said.

“A few of our recent notable accomplishments include the creation of an Office of Fraud Enforcement in 2020 as well as an Office of Promoter Investigations in 2021,” he said. “These and other steps will help us do a better job of rooting out tax fraud, especially shutting down abusive tax avoidance transactions, including syndicated conservation easements and micro-captive insurance arrangements, as well as abusive transactions involving virtual currencies.”

The new Progress Update also highlights IRS work partnering on landmark criminal investigative cases that brought down child pornography, drug and terrorist organizations. In 2021, IRS Criminal Investigation’s conviction rate remained the highest among federal law enforcement at nearly 93% overall, and 96% for tax cases in particular.

“I’m especially proud of our Criminal Investigation Division’s efforts overall and in conjunction with the dark web illicit marketplace known as Silk Road,” Rettig said.

In January 2021, the IRS delivered the Taxpayer First Act Report to Congress PDF, a comprehensive set of recommendations to re-imagine the taxpayer experience, enhance employee training and restructure the organization to increase collaboration and innovation. The report introduced three integrated sets of recommendations required by the law and recognized as major improvement strategies.

“We appointed the first-ever Chief Taxpayer Experience Officer,” Rettig explained. “And, while outlining the design for the new Taxpayer Experience Office, we initiated several activities toward implementing the Taxpayer Experience Strategy.”

The IRS will remain focused on making progress and serving the nation as the 2022 filing season begins later this month.

“We remain confident the IRS will continue to deliver for our country, just as we have during other times of national urgency,” Rettig said.

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IRS revises Form 1024, allowing for electronic filing for exempt organizations

IRS revises Form 1024, allowing for electronic filing for exempt organizations.
IR-2022-2, January 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — As part of ongoing efforts to improve service for the tax-exempt community, the IRS has revised Form 1024, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(a) or Section 521 of the Internal Revenue Code, to allow electronic filing.

Beginning January 3, 2022, applications for recognition of exemption on Form 1024 must be submitted electronically online at Pay.gov. The IRS will provide a 90-day grace period during which it will continue to accept paper versions of Form 1024 (Rev. 01-2018) and letter applications.

“Electronic filing makes it easier to complete an application for tax-exempt status while reducing errors,” said Sunita Lough, Commissioner of the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities division. “Electronic filing also shortens IRS processing time so applicants won’t wait as long for a response.”

Organizations requesting determinations under Section 521 are now also able to use the electronic Form 1024 instead of Form 1028, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 521 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The required user fee for Form 1024 will remain $600 for 2022. Applicants must pay the fee through Pay.gov when submitting the form. Payment can be made directly from a bank account or by credit or debit card.

Organizations are encouraged to subscribe to Exempt Organizations Update, a free IRS e-Newsletter, for form updates and other exempt organization news.

As part of the revision, applications for recognition of exemption under Sections 501(c)(11), (14), (16), (18), (21), (22), (23), (26), (27), (28), (29) and 501(d) can no longer be submitted as letter applications. Instead, these requests must be made on the electronic Form 1024. Accordingly, organizations that are described in Section 501(c) (other than 501(c)(3) and (c)(4)) and 501(d) applying for tax-exempt status must now use the electronic Form 1024. Section 501(c)(3) organizations must continue to use Form 1023 or Form 1023-EZ, and Section 501(c)(4) organizations must continue to use Form 1024-A. Those forms also must be filed electronically.

Additional information on how to apply for IRS recognition of tax-exempt status:

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IRS issues 2022 Standard Mileage Rates

2022 Standard Mileage Rates – IR-2021-251

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2022 optional standard mileage rates. These rates are used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning on January 1, 2022, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 58.5 cents per mile driven for business use, up 2.5 cents from the rate for 2021,
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active-duty members of the Armed Forces, up 2 cents from the rate for 2021 and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations; the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2021.

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, unless they are members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details see Moving Expenses for Members of the Armed Forces.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

Taxpayers can use the standard mileage rate but must opt to use it in the first year the car is available for business use. Then, in later years, they can choose either the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. Leased vehicles must use the standard mileage rate method for the entire lease period (including renewals) if the standard mileage rate is chosen.

Notice 22-03 PDF, contains the optional 2022 standard mileage rates, as well as the maximum automobile cost used to calculate the allowance under a fixed and variable rate (FAVR) plan. In addition, the notice provides the maximum fair market value of employer-provided automobiles first made available to employees for personal use in calendar year 2022 for which employers may use the fleet-average valuation rule in or the vehicle cents-per-mile valuation rule.

Charitable tax deduction available through Dec. 31

Special rule helps most people get a Charitable tax deduction of up to $300 per individual, $600 for couples for gifts to charity; National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector highlight how donations can help the nation’s charitable community

IR-2021-247, December 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service joined today with several leading nonprofit groups to highlight a special tax provision that allows more people to deduct donations to qualifying charities on their 2021 federal income tax return.

The Independent Sector and National Council of Nonprofits joined with the IRS to highlight this pandemic-related provision where married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $600 in cash donations and individual taxpayers can deduct up to $300 in donations.

Under the temporary law, taxpayers don’t need to itemize deductions on their tax returns to take advantage of this, which creates tax-favorable donation options not normally available to about 90 percent of tax filers. Ordinarily, people who choose to take the standard deduction cannot claim a deduction for their charitable contributions. But this special provision permits them to claim a limited deduction on their 2021 federal income tax returns for cash contributions made to qualifying charitable organizations by year’s end, December 31, 2021.

At a time when many charitable groups are struggling during the pandemic, the IRS highlights the new provision and urges people to make sure they donate to a qualifying charity. The special Tax Exempt Organization Search tool on IRS.gov can help people make sure they donate to a qualified charity.

“The pandemic has created unique challenges for tax-exempt organizations, and we want to make sure people don’t overlook this special tax deduction that’s available this year,” said Sunita Lough, IRS Commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities division. “Donations to qualifying charities can reduce people’s tax bill when they file in 2022.”

Leaders from the National Council of Nonprofits and the Independent Sector, two prominent organizations representing the nation’s charitable groups, highlighted that the special tax provision can provide additional assistance to organizations hit hard by the pandemic. Some groups have seen reduced charitable donations and others have seen increased demand for their services during this unprecedented period.

“At a time when nonprofits continue to see immense demand for services, are facing significant challenges hiring and retaining staff to deliver those services–every donation counts,” said David L. Thompson, Vice President of Public Policy at National Council of Nonprofits. “We’re thankful that the universal (or non-itemizer) deduction is available through the end of the year to encourage every taxpayer give a little bit more to the missions they care about.”

“Over the past two years, charities have helped America confront generational health, economic and social crises. They have answered the call to serve their communities despite facing lost revenue, disrupted operations and dramatically increased need,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “Congress has sent a powerful message that everyone – not just those who itemize on their taxes – has a role to play in helping meet this moment, and we know people in America will respond in kind. We hope charitable contributions and deductions will increase in the coming years.”

Included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March 2020, a more limited version of this temporary tax benefit originally only applied to tax-year 2020. The Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2020, enacted last December, generally extended it through the end of 2021.

Nearly nine in 10 taxpayers now take the standard deduction and could potentially qualify. Under this provision, tax year 2021 individual tax filers, including married individuals filing separate returns, can claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities during 2021. The maximum deduction is increased to $600 for married individuals filing joint returns.

Cash contributions include those made by check, credit card or debit card as well as amounts incurred by an individual for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with their volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization. Cash contributions don’t include the value of volunteer services, securities, household items or other property.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that to receive a deduction, they must donate to a qualified charity. To check the status of a charity, they can use the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool.

Cash contributions to most charitable organizations qualify for a deduction. But contributions made either to supporting organizations or to establish or maintain a donor advised fund do not. Contributions carried forward from prior years do not qualify, nor do contributions to most private foundations and most cash contributions to charitable remainder trusts.

In general, a donor-advised fund is a fund or account maintained by a charity in which a donor can, because of their donor status, advise the fund on how to distribute or invest amounts contributed by the donor and held in the fund. A supporting organization is a charity that carries out its exempt purposes by supporting other exempt organizations, usually other public charities.

The IRS encourages all donors to be wary of scams masked as charitable solicitations. Criminals create fake charities to take advantage of the public’s generosity. Fake charities once again made the IRS’s Dirty Dozen list of tax scams for 2021. In October, the IRS also joined international organizations and other regulators in highlighting the fight against charity fraud.

Keep good records

Special recordkeeping rules apply to any taxpayer claiming a charitable contribution deduction. Usually, this includes obtaining an acknowledgment letter from the charity before filing a return and retaining a cancelled check or credit card receipt for contributions of cash.

For details on the recordkeeping rules for substantiating gifts to charity, see Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, available on IRS.gov.

How To Prepare For 2022 Taxes

How To Prepare For 2022 Taxes – December 1, 2021

There are steps people, including those who received stimulus payments or advance child tax credit payments, can take now to make sure their tax filing experience goes smoothly in 2022. They can start by visiting the Get Ready page on IRS.gov. Here are some other things they should do to prepare to file their tax return.

Gather and organize tax records

Organized tax records make preparing a complete and accurate tax return easier. They help avoid errors that lead to processing delays that slow refunds. Having all needed documents on hand before taxpayers prepare their return helps them file it completely and accurately. This includes:

Taxpayers should also gather any documents from these types of earnings. People should keep copies of tax returns and all supporting documents for at least three years.

Income documents can help taxpayers determine if they’re eligible for deductions or credits. People who need to reconcile their advance payments of the child tax credit and premium tax credit will need their related 2021 information. Those who did not receive their full third Economic Impact Payments will need their third payment amounts to figure and claim the 2021 recovery rebate credit.

Taxpayers should also keep end of year documents including:

  • Letter 6419, 2021 Total Advance Child Tax Credit Payments, to reconcile advance child tax credit payments
  • Letter 6475, Your 2021 Economic Impact Payment, to determine eligibility to claim the recovery rebate credit
  • Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, to reconcile advance premium tax credits for Marketplace coverage

Confirm mailing and email addresses and report name changes

To make sure forms make it to the them on time, taxpayers should confirm now that each employer, bank and other payer has their current mailing address or email address. People can report address changes by completing Form 8822, Change of Address and sending it to the IRS. Taxpayers should also notify the postal service to forward their mail by going online at USPS.com or their local post office. They should also notify the Social Security Administration of a legal name change.

View account information online

Individuals who have not set up an Online Account yet should do so soon. People who have already set up an Online Account should make sure they can still log in successfully. Taxpayers can use Online Account to securely access the latest available information about their federal tax account.

Review proper tax withholding and make adjustments if needed

Taxpayers may want to consider adjusting their withholding if they owed taxes or received a large refund in 2021. Changing withholding can help avoid a tax bill or let individuals keep more money each payday. Life changes – getting married or divorced, welcoming a child or taking on a second job – may also be reasons to change withholding. Taxpayers might think about completing a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Certificate, each year and when personal or financial situations change.

People also need to consider estimated tax payments. Individuals who receive a substantial amount of non-wage income like self-employment income, investment income, taxable Social Security benefits and in some instances, pension and annuity income should make quarterly estimated tax payments. The last payment for 2021 is due on Jan. 18, 2022.

 

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Interest rates remain the same for the first quarter of 2022

2022 Interest Rates – IR-2021-234

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced that interest rates will remain the same for the calendar quarter beginning January 1, 2022. The rates will be:

  • 3% for overpayments (two (2) percent in the case of a corporation),
  • 0.5% for the portion of a corporate overpayment exceeding $10,000,
  • 3% for underpayments, and
  • 5% for large corporate underpayments.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, the rate of interest is determined on a quarterly basis. For taxpayers other than corporations, the overpayment and underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points.

Generally, in the case of a corporation, the underpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percentage points and the overpayment rate is the federal short-term rate plus 2 percentage points. The rate for large corporate underpayments is the federal short-term rate plus 5 percentage points. The rate on the portion of a corporate overpayment of tax exceeding $10,000 for a taxable period is the federal short-term rate plus one-half (0.5) of a percentage point.

The interest rates announced today are computed from the federal short-term rate determined during October 2021 to take effect November 1, 2021, based on daily compounding.

Revenue Ruling 2021-24 PDF, announcing the rates of interest, is attached and will appear in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2021-50, dated December 13, 2021.

 

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IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2022

Inflation Adjustments: IR-2021-219, November 10, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced the tax year 2022 annual inflation adjustments for more than 60 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2021-45 PDF provides details about these annual adjustments.

Highlights of changes in Revenue Procedure 2021-45:

The tax year 2022 adjustments described below generally apply to tax returns filed in 2023.

The tax items for tax year 2022 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following dollar amounts:

  • The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly for tax year 2022 rises to $25,900 up $800 from the prior year. For single taxpayers and married individuals filing separately, the standard deduction rises to $12,950 for 2022, up $400, and for heads of households, the standard deduction will be $19,400 for tax year 2022, up $600.
  • The personal exemption for tax year 2022 remains at 0, as it was for 2021, this elimination of the personal exemption was a provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • Marginal Rates: For tax year 2022, the top tax rate remains 37% for individual single taxpayers with incomes greater than $539,900 ($647,850 for married couples filing jointly).The other rates are:
    35%, for incomes over $215,950 ($431,900 for married couples filing jointly);
    32% for incomes over $170,050 ($340,100 for married couples filing jointly);
    24% for incomes over $89,075 ($178,150 for married couples filing jointly);
    22% for incomes over $41,775 ($83,550 for married couples filing jointly);
    12% for incomes over $10,275 ($20,550 for married couples filing jointly).
    The lowest rate is 10% for incomes of single individuals with incomes of $10,275 or less ($20,550 for married couples filing jointly).
  • For 2022, as in 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018, there is no limitation on itemized deductions, as that limitation was eliminated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2022 is $75,900 and begins to phase out at $539,900 ($118,100 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption begins to phase out at $1,079,800). The 2021 exemption amount was $73,600 and began to phase out at $523,600 ($114,600 for married couples filing jointly for whom the exemption began to phase out at $1,047,200).
  • The tax year 2022 maximum Earned Income Tax Credit amount is $6,935 for qualifying taxpayers who have three or more qualifying children, up from $6,728 for tax year 2021. The revenue procedure contains a table providing maximum EITC amount for other categories, income thresholds and phase-outs.
  • For tax year 2022, the monthly limitation for the qualified transportation fringe benefit and the monthly limitation for qualified parking increases to $280.
  • For the taxable years beginning in 2022, the dollar limitation for employee salary reductions for contributions to health flexible spending arrangements increases to $2,850. For cafeteria plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount is $570, an increase of $20 from taxable years beginning in 2021.
  • For tax year 2022, participants who have self-only coverage in a Medical Savings Account, the plan must have an annual deductible that is not less than $2,450, up $50 from tax year 2021; but not more than $3,700, an increase of $100 from tax year 2021. For self-only coverage, the maximum out-of-pocket expense amount is $4,950, up $150 from 2021. For tax year 2022, for family coverage, the annual deductible is not less than $4,950, up from $4,800 in 2021; however, the deductible cannot be more than $7,400, up $250 from the limit for tax year 2021. For family coverage, the out-of-pocket expense limit is $9,050 for tax year 2022, an increase of $300 from tax year 2021.
  • The modified adjusted gross income amount used by joint filers to determine the reduction in the Lifetime Learning Credit provided in § 25A(d)(2) is not adjusted for inflation for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2020. The Lifetime Learning Credit is phased out for taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income in excess of $80,000 ($160,000 for joint returns).
  • For tax year 2022, the foreign earned income exclusion is $112,000 up from $108,700 for tax year 2021.
  • Estates of decedents who die during 2022 have a basic exclusion amount of $12,060,000, up from a total of $11,700,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2021.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts increases to $16,000 for calendar year 2022, up from $15,000 for calendar year 2021.
  • The maximum credit allowed for adoptions for tax year 2022 is the amount of qualified adoption expenses up to $14,890, up from $14,440 for 2021.

More Information

 

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IRS announces 401(k) limit increases to $20,500

IRS Increases 401k Limit – IR-2021-216, November 4, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the amount individuals can contribute to their 401(k) plans in 2022 has increased to $20,500, up from $19,500 for 2021 and 2020. The IRS today also issued technical guidance regarding all of the cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2022 in Notice 2021-61 PDF, posted today on IRS.gov.

Highlights of changes for 2022

The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased to $20,500, up from $19,500.

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs, and to claim the Saver’s Credit all increased for 2022.

Taxpayers can deduct contributions to a traditional IRA if they meet certain conditions. If during the year either the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse was covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction may be reduced, or phased out, until it is eliminated, depending on filing status and income. (If neither the taxpayer nor the spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work, the phase-outs of the deduction do not apply.) Here are the phase-out ranges for 2022:

  • For single taxpayers covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is increased to $68,000 to $78,000, up from $66,000 to $76,000.
  • For married couples filing jointly, if the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is increased to $109,000 to $129,000, up from $105,000 to $125,000.
  • For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the phase-out range is increased to $204,000 to $214,000, up from $198,000 to $208,000.
  • For a married individual filing a separate return who is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the phase-out range is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is increased to $129,000 to $144,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $125,000 to $140,000. For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range is increased to $204,000 to $214,000, up from $198,000 to $208,000. The phase-out range for a married individual filing a separate return who makes contributions to a Roth IRA is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $0 to $10,000.

The income limit for the Saver’s Credit (also known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit) for low- and moderate-income workers is $68,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $66,000; $51,000 for heads of household, up from $49,500; and $34,000 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up from $33,000.

The amount individuals can contribute to their SIMPLE retirement accounts is increased to $14,000, up from $13,500.

Key employee contribution limits that remain unchanged

The limit on annual contributions to an IRA remains unchanged at $6,000. The IRA catch-up contribution limit for individuals aged 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and remains $1,000.

The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $6,500. Therefore, participants in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan who are 50 and older can contribute up to $27,000, starting in 2022. The catch-up contribution limit for employees aged 50 and over who participate in SIMPLE plans remains unchanged at $3,000.

Details on these and other retirement-related cost-of-living adjustments for 2022 are in Notice 2021-61 PDF, available on IRS.gov.

IRS Increases 401k Limit

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Child Tax Credit: Families with income changes must enter them in IRS online portal on Monday to impact Nov. 15 payment

IR-2021-211, October 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — On Monday, November 1, the Internal Revenue Service will launch a new feature allowing any family receiving monthly Child Tax Credit payments to update their income using the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (CTC UP), found exclusively on IRS.gov.

To help families plan ahead, the IRS also announced today that in late November it will launch a new Spanish-language version of the CTC UP.

The IRS urges families to enter any significant income changes by midnight on November 1 in order for them to be reflected in their November payment, scheduled for November 15. If a family is unable to make the changes on November 1, enter them by November 29 so they are reflected in the December payment. Once the update is made, the IRS will adjust the remaining payment amounts to ensure people receive the total advance payment for the year. For married couples, if one spouse makes the income update, it will apply to both spouses and could impact both spouses’ future monthly advance payments of the Child Tax Credit.

Income feature right for some

The new income feature can help families make sure they are getting the right amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments during 2021. For that reason, it will be especially useful to any family who wants to raise or lower their monthly payments because their 2021 income has risen or fallen substantially, compared to 2020.

In many, but not all, cases a big income swing can either raise or lower a family’s monthly payments. Normally, this means that small changes in income will not impact the payment amount and need not be entered into the CTC UP.

Any change to the monthly payment amount will be reflected in both the November 15 and December 15 payments, but only if a person completes their updated income request before midnight Eastern Time on Monday, November 1. Changes made after that date, but before midnight on November 29, will only impact the December 15 payment, which is the last scheduled monthly payment for 2021. The IRS will adjust the payment amount to reflect these changes and ensure people receive their total advance payment for the year of up to $1,800 for each child under age 6 and up to $1,500 for each child ages 6 through 17.

Who qualifies for a bigger payment

In some cases, families who are currently receiving monthly payments that are below the maximum may qualify to have their payments increased. This could happen if, for example, they experienced job loss during 2021, or for some other reason are receiving substantially less income this year. If the reduction in income is large enough, reporting that change now may increase the amount of their advance CTC payments for the rest of this year.

For any family already receiving the maximum payment, a drop in income will not increase the payment amount. Normally, the maximum CTC payment is $300 per month for each qualifying child, under the age of 6, and $250 per month for each child, ages 6 to 17.

Most families are receiving half of the total CTC through monthly payments. This means that any changes entered into the CTC UP will increase or decrease their monthly payments to ensure they receive half of their total expected credit before the end of 2021. They will claim the remaining portion on their 2021 tax return.

Who should have their payments reduced

Any family whose income rose substantially in 2021 should consider having their payments reduced. This is especially true if they are now receiving the maximum monthly payment, and they expect to qualify for less than the full credit when they file their 2021 federal income tax return. For more information on calculating the CTC, see Topic C of the agency’s Frequently Asked Questions. In particular, where a family qualifies to receive less than the full amount, see QC 4 &  QC 5.

Using the portal to report income changes

Only families who are already eligible for and receiving advance CTC payments based on their 2020 tax return can use the CTC UP to update their income. Note that someone who filed a joint return for 2020 can only update their income if they plan to file a joint return for 2021 with the same spouse. IRS representatives cannot process income changes over the phone or at Taxpayer Assistance Centers.

After an income update is completed, the Update Portal will acknowledge a change was made but will not display the change. Likewise, IRS representatives won’t be able to confirm that an update was made.

Low-income families can still sign up

It’s not too late for low-income families to sign up for advance CTC payments.

The IRS urged any family not already receiving payments who normally isn’t required to file a tax return to explore the tools available through IRS.gov. These tools can help determine eligibility for the advance CTC or help them file a simplified tax return to sign up for these payments as well as Economic Impact Payments and the Recovery Rebate Credit.

The deadline to sign up is November 15, 2021. People can get these benefits, even if they don’t work and even if they receive no income.

Families who sign up will normally receive half of their total Child Tax Credit on December 15. This means a payment of up to $1,800 for each child, under 6, and up to $1,500 for each child, ages 6 to 17.

Get ready to file next year

Early in 2022, families will receive Letter 6419 documenting any advance payments issued to them during 2021 and the number of qualifying children used to calculate the advance payments. This letter can help them accurately reconcile the advance CTC payments they have received and claim any remaining portion of the CTC when completing their 2021 federal income tax return next year.

The income change feature joins a growing set of services available through CTC UP. Available only on IRS.gov, the portal already allows families to verify their eligibility for the payments and then, if they choose to:

  • Switch from receiving a paper check to direct deposit;
  • Change the account where their payment is direct deposited;
  • Update their address or
  • Stop monthly payments for the rest of 2021.

Latest information available on IRS.gov

The IRS has created a special Advance Child Tax Credit 2021 page designed to provide the most up-to-date information about the credit and the advance payments. It’s at IRS.gov/childtaxcredit2021.

The agency encourages partners and community groups to share information and use available online tools and toolkits to help non-filers, low-income families and other underserved groups sign up. People can check their eligibility by using the advance Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant.

The webpage features a set of frequently asked questions and a user guide for the Child Tax Credit Update Portal (Publication 5549) PDF. It also provides direct links to the portal, as well as two other online tools – the Non-filer Sign up Tool and the Child Tax Credit Eligibility Assistant – and other useful resources.

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