Issue Number: COVID Tax Tip 2021-175
Some important things all taxpayers should do before the tax year ends
The IRS reminds taxpayers there are things they should do before the current tax year ends on Dec.31.
Donate to charity
Taxpayers may be able to deduct donations to tax-exempt organizations on their tax return. As people are deciding where to make their donations, the IRS has a tool that may help. Tax Exempt Organization Search on IRS.gov allows users to search for charities. It provides information about an organization’s federal tax status and filings.
The law now permits taxpayers to claim a limited deduction on their 2021 federal income tax returns for cash contributions they made to certain qualifying charitable organizations even if they don’t itemize their deductions. Taxpayers, including married individuals filing separate returns, can claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions to qualifying charities during 2021. The maximum deduction is $600 for married individuals filing joint returns.
Most cash donations made to charity qualify for the deduction. However, there are some exceptions. Cash contributions include those made by check, credit card or debit card as well as unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with volunteer services to a qualifying charitable organization.
Check Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
An ITIN only needs to be renewed if it has expired and is needed on a U.S. federal tax return.
If an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number was not included on a U.S. federal tax return at least once for tax years 2018, 2019 and 2020, the ITIN will expire on Dec. 31, 2021.
As a reminder, ITINs with middle digits 70 through 88 have expired. In addition, ITINs with middle digits 90 through 99, if assigned before 2013, have expired. Individuals who previously submitted a renewal application that was approved, do not need to renew again.
Find information about retirement plans
IRS.gov has end-of-year tax information about retirement plans. This includes resources for individuals about retirement planning, contributions and withdrawals.
Contribute salary deferral
Taxpayers can make a salary deferral to a retirement plan. This helps maximize the tax credit available for eligible contributions. Taxpayers should make sure their total salary deferral contributions do not exceed the
$19,500 limit for 2021.
Get banked and set up direct deposit
Direct deposit gives taxpayers access to their refund faster than a paper check. Those without a bank account can learn how to open an account at an FDIC-Insured bank or through the National Credit Union Locator Tool.
Veterans should see the Veterans Benefits Banking Program for access to financial services at participating banks.
Connect with the IRS
Taxpayers can use social media to get the latest tax and filing tips from the IRS. The IRS shares information on things like tax changes, scam alerts, initiatives, tax products and taxpayer services. These social media tools are available in different languages, including English, Spanish and American Sign Language.
Think about tax refunds
Taxpayers should be careful not to expect getting a refund by a certain date. This is especially true for those who plan to use their refund to make major purchases or pay bills. Just as each tax return is unique to the individual, so is each taxpayer’s refund. Taxpayers can take steps now to Get Ready to file their federal tax return in 2022.
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