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Tax season begins January 24: What you need to know

Tax season begins Jan. 24, and experts say there are a few changes to be aware of as you file, especially if you received the child tax credit.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:35 AM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The IRS will begin accepting and processing tax returns on January 24, which is a little bit earlier than in 2021, when it began in February.

As people prepare to file, tax experts said some of the biggest changes will be for people who received the child tax credit.

Keith Maynard, a Waco-area CPA, said if you received the child tax credit, you should have received a letter in the mail--Letter 6419. That letter breaks down how much money you received in 2021 and the number of qualifying dependents. You’ll need to double check that information to make sure it’s right.

“For example, if you had a child or something later in the year, and you didn’t go on to the portal and tell them {IRS} that, then you could receive quite a bit of additional refund,” Maynard said. “It just depends on how much you received and how much you’re entitled to.”

Maynard said filing with the child tax credit should be fairly straightforward, unless your income increased and you are no longer eligible.

“One catch that I would highly suggest that families look at, if they receive for instance, if their income increased or went up, and they receive the advanced child tax credit payment, and then they’re actually not eligible for it. That is when there’s going to be a gap,” Maynard said.

He added whether you’d owe money to the IRS depends on the individual. It could be that you’d end up with a smaller refund than you expect.

Dr. David Ritter, an accounting professor at Texas A&M University Central Texas said there are some other changes this year. The standard deduction increased slightly this year to match inflation.

It’s $12,500 individuals and $25,100 for couples filing jointly. Dr. Ritter said tax brackets are also changing, which could mean you pay more taxes.

If you qualify for the IRS’ Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Dr. Ritter recommends taking advantage of it.

“I would say that the most common mistake people make is not taking advantage of these tax credits because they don’t know that they are entitled these tax credits.”

Generally, if you make less than $58,000 a year, you qualify for VITA. More information about qualifications and VITA locations near you are available on the IRS website.

Dr. Ritter adds another common issue on taxes is being inaccurate.

“That’s a reason that the IRS has tried to make tax filing through TurboTax online free for the IRS, and if you file electronically, that takes care of your math errors,” Dr. Ritter said.

“I would say that the most common mistake people make is not taking advantage of these tax credits because they don’t know that they are entitled these tax credits.”

This year, the IRS is encouraging everyone to file electronically, since due to staffing issues, it could take six to eight weeks to process a paper return.

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