Tips on how to keep away from a tax submitting rejection if final yr’s return continues to be pending

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The IRS is backlogged and nonetheless sifting by means of tens of tens of millions of pending returns, together with a lot of final yr’s filings. In case your 2020 return is a part of the pileup, there is a particular step to your 2021 digital submitting.

The company processed greater than 61.9 million returns as of March 11, with the bulk filed digitally and roughly half self-prepared, the IRS reported.

Once you self-prepare electronically, the IRS validates your submitting with the earlier yr’s adjusted gross earnings. Nonetheless, there is a totally different course of for the tens of millions of filers with a pending 2020 return.

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If final yr’s return continues to be in limbo, you will have to enter $0 for your 2020 AGI when submitting on-line, mentioned Nationwide Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins in a listening to with the Home Methods and Means Oversight Subcommittee.

“That manner you may file electronically, and you do not have to file a paper return,” she mentioned. “We have to get that message out to taxpayers.”

Whereas these instructions solely apply to digital filers, the company urges everybody to file electronically with direct deposit to avoid delays.

Practically 94.3% of particular person tax returns had been filed electronically through the fiscal yr 2020, according to the IRS.

And there are similar instructions for non-filers, who sometimes embody sure Social Safety recipients or these with yearly earnings beneath the usual deductions.

Should you used the non-filer software in 2021 to gather the advance child tax credit payments or your stimulus verify, the IRS says to place $1 for final yr’s AGI.  

“I might suppose hardly anyone is aware of about that one,” mentioned licensed monetary planner Larry Harris, director of tax companies at Parsec Monetary in Asheville, North Carolina.

Should you do not observe these directions, the IRS could not settle for your digital return, mentioned Tommy Lucas, a CFP and enrolled agent at Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo in Orlando, Florida.

“We have seen that from people making an attempt to file themselves,” he mentioned, explaining how AGI conflicts could set off a complicated rejection e mail from their tax-filing software program.  

Lacking 2020 returns

Your return can also be pending if you happen to received a CP80 notice a couple of lacking 2020 return.

Should you received this discover and it nonetheless hasn’t been accepted, it’s best to enter $0 to your 2020 AGI when submitting this season, mentioned Lucas.

“They will present $0 of their system, so that is what I might begin with,” he mentioned. 

But when the IRS rejects your return with a 2020 AGI of $0, they might have processed final yr’s return after sending the discover, Lucas mentioned, that means you may refile your 2021 return along with your precise 2020 AGI.

Whereas it might be troublesome to achieve the IRS by telephone, you may double-check the standing of your 2020 tax return by downloading a free IRS transcript out of your on-line account.


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