Updates Regarding Unemployment

The Bureau of Unemployment Compensation

Maine Dept. of Labor will begin taking claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program on May 1st. The program covers those who are self-employed, or otherwise ineligible for traditional state unemployment benefits. Please do not apply until 8 a.m. on May 1, when the new application becomes available. More information can be found on the State of Maine’s PUA webpage: www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua.

Rick also listened in on a webinar today, regarding PPP loans and Unemployment and learned the following…

  • If you receive a PPP loan you can still apply for unemployment benefits to cover the period from 2/15/20 until you received your PPP loan money.
  • If your tax return showed zero net income from your business you can apply for unemployment and get a minimum of $172/week PLUS the extra $600/week ($772 total per week)

Didn’t get your stimulus payment? Here’s what the IRS says you need to do…

Didn't get your stimulus payment. We have advice for you.

The IRS said they are working on fixing some issues pertaining to the “Get My Payment” portal and that updates should be available daily. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and their responses:

Q: I am getting a “Payment Status Not Available” error – What does that mean?

Your information proving eligibility hasn’t been processed yet or you are an SSA/RRB recipient and data for those individuals aren’t yet available.

Otherwise, according to tax officials, these are your most likely scenarios:

  • If you are not eligible for payment (see IRS.gov on who is eligible and who is not eligible)
  • If you are required to file a tax return and have not filed in tax year 2018 or 2019.
  • If you recently filed your return or provided information through Non-Filers: Enter Your Payment Info on IRS.gov. Your payment status will be updated when processing is completed.
  • If you are an SSA or RRB, SSI or VA benefit recipient – the IRS is working with your agency to issue your payment; your information is not available in this app yet.

Q: What does “Need More Information” mean?

The IRS has confirmed that you are eligible for your stimulus payment but doesn’t have current or active banking information to process your direct deposit.

  • Just verify your 2018 or 2019 tax return information and input a valid routing and checking account number. Users of prepaid or “digital-only” banking accounts are also eligible.
  • You should then get it within seven days, according to some media reports.

Q: The IRS sent my payment to a closed, frozen or otherwise inaccessible bank account, what’s next?

  • If your payment date has been scheduled and processed, your bank will likely reject the direct deposit and send it back to the IRS.
  • At this time, officials say they will be dispersing rejected direct deposits by mailing checks to your last-known mail address.
  • According to the IRS website: “Get My Payment will not allow you to change your bank information once your payment has been processed.”
  • It adds, “no action is needed to contact the IRS as phone assistors won’t be able to change your bank information either”

Q: I requested a direct deposit, why am I getting a mailed payment?

  • The IRS says those who it determined to have invalid bank account information will be getting their payment mailed to the address on file.
  • “Those who did file, but did not include direct deposit information, should use “Get My Payment” to provide their banking information to get their Economic Impact Payment immediately,” the website said.

The Latest News Regarding Stimulus Checks

Didn't get your stimulus payment. We have advice for you.

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy during this unprecedented crisis we are all facing these days. We are still working in the office, preparing taxes and trying to keep updated on the daily changes with the government and IRS business loans and stimulus checks.  

Many clients have contacted the office regarding the fact that they either pay the IRS from their tax returns or have just received checks in the mail for their refunds so they are not sure where or how to give the IRS their direct deposit information.  

IRS Direct Deposit

The IRS website now has a location to enter your direct deposit information so that you may receive your stimulus check much faster. Here are the steps:

  • Click on the link below and it will bring you to the IRS Economic Impact Payments page.
  • Look for a tab that says Get My Payment.
    • Be sure to have your most recent tax return handy (2018 or 2019) as you will need some information from it.

Trouble at Tax Time? Remember, You Have Options

Trouble at Tax Time? You Have Options.

Reprinted from Landings, February 2020

If you are in a tax situation that seems overwhelming, just know you have op­tions. The first thing you need to do is meet with an expert in tax resolution (EA. CPA, or tax attorney). If they are good at what they do, they will most likely be able to help you.

The tax professional should be able to put you at ease and evaluate your situation. Hopefully you will find someone who will give you a free initial consultation to assess your situation and come up with a plan. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there, so be careful who you choose, I have had clients come to me after paying thousands of dollars to one of these national companies you hear about on TV and radio with no results to show for it. These clients were very upset and embarrassed; please don’t let this happen to you. These companies have great salespeople. ‘They all seem to do the same thing – getting you on a plan of sending them money each month, and after six to nine months they disappear with $5,000 to $9,000 of your hard-earned money.

Everyone’s situation is different; there isn’t one magic solution. Toe first step is to make sure you file the last six years of tax returns. This can take time, but your tax professional will guide you through it. Once this is done, you need to figure out your best option to get your taxes paid.The right option will depend on how much tax is owed and your current financial situation.

Don’t panic; as long as you are working with the IRS, they will work Wlth you. They understand that you probably can’t pay the debt all at once. The options are to:

  • Apply for an ‘Offer in Compromise’
  • Get on a manageable payment plan
  • Pay the full amount if possible. The IRS may abate your penalties if you pay in full.
  • Have the IRS put you on uncollectible status.You will still owe the debt, but the IRS Wlll not try to collect or levy your assets.

Although the IRS sometimes accepts an offer for pennies on the dollar, it is not an easy process, and not everyone will qualify. When I have a client who looks like they meet the qualifications of an Offer in Compromise, I make sure they are ready for what is involved. You will need to have your financial life be an open book to your tax advisor and the IRS, and the process takes 8 to 12 months. If the IRS accepts your offer, they will have expectations of you. For the next five years, you will be required to make quarterly estimated payments, file your tax returns on time, and pay the full amount that is owed each year. If you fail to do this, they will take the offer away.

Remember, you’re not alone. Many people get into tax trouble for a variety of reasons. The best thing to do now is to work on fixing the problem. It’s not easy, but with the right help, most can overcome their tax troubles; the relief from stress will be worth it.