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Benefits of Filing Taxes, The California Stimulus Check, and More-5 Things You Should Know Before Filing Your Taxes

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Although tax season started on February 12, many people still wait until April 15 or even longer to file their taxes. Some because they prefer to know what the latest changes have been with the economic packages announced by the government and others because they are still waiting for the necessary documents.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind before filing your taxes:

  1. Benefit of filing taxes for people without documents:

It is important to consider that if you do not have a Social Security (SSN) you can apply for an ITIN number and declare with that number. Filing taxes is important because if you have the opportunity to change your status in the country, one of the mandatory documents to present is the tax return for the last 3 years. This shows that: you are a person of good moral character, followed the rules and laws of the country, had a job and income, and paid taxes during your stay in the country.

Also, if you access credits for children or income, you can receive them when you file your taxes. If you are married to a citizen, you can jointly access the stimulus check. In addition, you can access other state aid such as the case of California that is including in different credits such as Caleitc for people with ITIN numbers.

2. California Stimulus Check:

The Governor of California recently signed a $7.6 billion economic stimulus package that includes $600 checks for low-income Californians. Plus, the package includes additional checks for undocumented immigrants.

People with annual income less than $30,000 qualify for the $600 check. Undocumented immigrants earning less than $75,000 qualify for an additional $600, which in some cases totals $1,200. The waiting time depends on how you indicated that you want to receive your refund.
Lead Time: Most can receive a direct deposit to your account within 4-5 weeks after your 2020 tax return. But if you indicated that you prefer mailing a check, you can expect to receive it within 6 a.m. 7 weeks after your return. CalWORKS recipients can expect to receive a check-in in mid-April.

3. Claim Stimulus Checks:

There are still many questions about what to do if you have not received the first two economic stimulus checks of 2020. Here is what to do when you file your taxes:
– If you did not receive the check and you qualify, you can claim the “Recovery Rebate Credit“.
– This credit will return the amount of money that you qualify for if you have not received the first and/or second economic stimulus check.
– This credit can also be claimed by people who do not file taxes but are considered qualified.
If you received any of the economic stimulus checks, no tax is due on it. Tax is only paid if you received unemployment benefits and did not request tax deduction.

4. ITIN Numbers That Have Expired and You Must Renew:

If you or any member of your family declares taxes with an ITIN number, you should be aware that it has not expired but must be renewed before or during the tax return. You must renew it if:
If you did not use your ITIN number on a federal tax return, at least once in the last three years, it expired on December 31, 2020. Also, all ITINs issued before 2013, with the digits 88 in the middle (Example: 9XX-88-XXXX) also won. ITINs with the digits 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99 in the middle that was assigned before 2013 and have not been renewed have also expired. To renew it, you must send the W-7 form with the documents that the IRS requires according to your case. This application and/or renewal has no cost.

5. There are Free Places to File Taxes:

The Voluntary Taxpayer Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax Counseling Program for the Elderly (TCE) offer free basic tax help to eligible individuals. This program has volunteers prepared with IRS rules who will help you file your taxes without paying anything. Find a VITA Center near you here.
Also, the IRS has a program called Free File. This is a free program where you can file your taxes if your adjusted gross income (or AGI) is up to $72,000. Remember that for any of the free services that you are going to use, you must have all your documents ready for the return.

Rocio Segura is a bilingual freelance writer with Revolution English. She holds a Master in Education, with experience in higher education and non-profits in Peru and the US. In addition to writing for Revolution English, she is also an avid travel blogger.