Still Waiting For Your 2020 Refund? This Year’s Refund Might Get Rejected

tax forms 1040 with the glasses, money and the pen.
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If you, like millions of Americans, are still waiting on the processing of your 2020 tax return, the IRS says you will need to pay special attention when reporting your income on an electronically filed tax return for 2021. 

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In order to successfully submit an electronic tax return to the IRS, all taxpayers need to add their adjusted gross income from their most recent tax return in the appropriate slot when asked for. The agency says that tax software will usually automatically enter the information for their customers from last year, but those using software for the first time will have to manually input this.

For those still waiting on a 2020 tax return, the IRS says that taxpayers should enter $0 for 2021’s adjusted gross income. If not, it’s possible your return — as well as your refund — will get rejected.

What’s more, those who registered for a child tax credit or third stimulus check last year through the non-filer tool will need to enter their adjusted gross income as $1 on their 2021 tax return.

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Stimulus relief money, in the form of both the advance child tax credit payments and the stimulus checks, are all fully refundable, meaning they do not need to be paid back. Given income thresholds (and dependents, for the child tax credit) do not change, these payments were made available to all qualifying people — not just taxpayers — without ever being on the hook for it in the future. This was done through registration via a special online portal that allowed non-filers to register their information with the IRS.

For the child tax credit specifically, only half of the benefit was distributed to all who were registered. The other half is now available to be claimed this year once you file taxes.

See: 1/3 of Child Tax Credit Recipients Don’t Know How It’ll Affect Their Taxes — Here’s What You Need To Know
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If you were a non-filer last year, meaning you do not make enough money to file taxes or do not qualify to file taxes, then you will need to enter your adjusted gross income as $1 when filing/validating your tax return for 2021.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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