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Taxpayer Advocate Service website
One of the flagship provisions in this bill is the third round of direct stimulus payments, this time for $1,400 per person. Stimulus payments started going out in mid-March, and if you’ve already received yours, that’s awesome, you don’t need to do anything else. But if you haven’t received your payment yet, this video is for you.
First things first, make sure you check on the status of your payment. The IRS has a lot of stimulus payments to issue, and they just haven’t gotten to some of them yet. You can check using the “Get My Payment” tool on the IRS website – a link is included in the video description.
If the Get My Payment tool tells you that your payment status is “Not Available,” you are probably a bit confused. And that’s understandable because the IRS is issuing this message as something of a catch-all to anyone who hasn’t been specifically scheduled to receive a payment, so what it actually means for you is unclear. It could mean that you are ineligible for payment, and you’re just not getting one. But it could also mean that the IRS isn’t sure if you’re eligible yet, so you might still be entitled to one later. Unfortunately, the IRS hasn’t set anything up to tell you specifically what the problem is. So, what can you do?
If you’re in this situation and you haven’t filed your 2020 return yet, filing immediately is probably the best way to get your stimulus payment as soon as possible. Stimulus eligibility can be determined by your 2019 or 2020 return, but the IRS only looks at 2019 if you haven’t filed 2020 yet. So, if your money is being held up by issues with your 2019, filing 2020 will sidestep that delay and allow you to get your money immediately. When you do file your 2020 return, you SHOULD do so electronically, either through commercial software or a tax preparer who has that capability. The IRS is still very backed up in processing physical mail because of pandemic-related delays. If you file a paper return, it can take months for them to process it, which defeats the purpose of filing to try to get your stimulus money quickly.
If you have filed your 2020 return and are still getting a “Status Not Available” message, things are a bit trickier, and there isn’t always a clear, neat solution. First, you can check on the status of your 2019 and 2020 returns by setting up and logging into your account on IRS.gov. You can also reach out to the Taxpayer Advocate Service for assistance. If you can get ahold of them, they should be able to tell you if there are any issues with our most recent return that might be holding up your stimulus payment.
If you need help with problems you are experiencing with your stimulus payment, you should seek professional assistance from a tax attorney. If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you may be eligible for free assistance from a Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic like us. If you’d like to know more about our services, please check out our website or give us a call.
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Since our first dollar saved in 2019, we have been working hard to change lives by helping low-income people and families in its community achieve financial independence. And now, we can announce that we have saved over 1 Million Dollars to people in Georgia.
Thank you to all of our supporters who played such a crucial role in this process and our work.
To read about the case that included our millionth dollar saved, click here
At the North Georgia Low Income Tax Clinic, we have made it our mission to help families and individuals overcome financial hardship and achieve independence. Since 2019 we have assisted more than 130 people from across the state of Georgia in their journeys to make this mission a reality. Some of these amazing people have given us permission to share their stories. Our clients’ names have been omitted to preserve their privacy.
Terri and Joe are a married couple raising three children in North Georgia. They have supported their family by running a small auto repair and maintenance shop for years, and while they have struggled at times, they’ve always managed to make ends meet. In 2018, the IRS audited Terri and Joe. They denied a large portion of the business expense deductions that the couple had declared in several prior years. If the IRS had been successful in removing those deductions, Terri and Joe would have owed more money in taxes than their total, combined, take-home earnings in all those years combined. The stakes were high.
After initially attempting to resolve the issue themselves and filing a petition in the US Tax Court, Terri and Joe realized that they needed help to navigate the looming litigation effectively. They found their way to the North Georgia LITC. Our Executive Director, Eric Santos, was able to help Terri and Joe successfully defend nearly all of the business expense deductions that they had initially declared on their tax returns. If the IRS’s initial adjustments had been upheld, Terri and Joe would have owed the IRS more than $120,000 in additional taxes, interest, and penalties from the years at issue. In the end, they were able to resolve their case with adjustments resulting in less than $8,000 in total liability. Additionally, Eric was able to advise Terri and Joe about how to improve their recordkeeping practices to ensure that they are able to prepare and file their taxes more easily and more accurately in future years.
“Volunteering at the North Georgia Low Income Taxpayer Clinic is a rewarding experience because the work I do has a significant impact on clients’ financial and personal lives, especially during these hard times. The cases are challenging, but the clients are always kind and amazing to work with. It is a great privilege for me to listen to a client’s story and interact with people from different backgrounds and walks of life. I also get to expand my horizons by working on cases that are unique to the most vulnerable in our society. I highly recommend volunteering at the Clinic to anyone interested in the tax field or to anyone wanting to lend a helping hand.”
-Jarter Gao, Managing Attorney at the Gao Tax Law Firm
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