CNN: Activists pushed the IRS to drop facial recognition. They won, but they’re not done yet

CNN: Activists pushed the IRS to drop facial recognition. They won, but they’re not done yet. “Facial recognition has emerged as a hot-button issue where activists who oppose it see a chance to win. Even as the technology has proliferated and been embraced by law enforcement, lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle have expressed serious concerns about its deployment. And while most legislation regarding its usage has been passed at a more local level, this recent decision by a federal agency could mean more widespread limitations are achievable — or so the activists hope.”

CNN: The IRS website will soon require facial recognition to log in to your account

CNN: The IRS website will soon require facial recognition to log in to your account. “The next time you try to log in to the Internal Revenue Service’s website you’ll be urged to use facial-recognition software to verify you are who you say you are. The verification process includes taking a picture of a photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport, and then taking a video selfie with a smartphone or computer so software can compare the two. It’s part of a partnership the IRS has with ID.me, a fast-growing company that uses facial recognition software as part of its identity-verification process.”

CORONAVIRUS: IRS starting tax season early (KVOE)

KVOE: CORONAVIRUS: IRS starting tax season early. “The IRS has announced this year’s tax filing season will begin Jan. 24, 17 days earlier than it started last year. The main reason, like it is for many adjustments the past two years, is coronavirus. The IRS is anticipating a resurgence of COVID cases — underway now across the country — as well as less funding authorization from Congress than requested by President Biden.”

Government Accountability Office: How the Pandemic is Changing the IRS

Government Accountability Office: How the Pandemic is Changing the IRS. “At the onset of the pandemic, IRS had to temporarily shut down its onsite operations, including its mail processing facilities. The impact could be felt by taxpayers, who waited longer for returns to be processed or to receive COVID-related economic relief checks. But the pandemic also disrupted IRS’s tax enforcement programs used to check that information provided by taxpayers is verified, and that the correct amount of tax is paid to the federal government. Today’s WatchBlog post looks at our new work on how IRS was impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, as well as the long-term changes the pandemic may have on its operations.”

IRS: IRS unveils online tool to help low-income families register for monthly Child Tax Credit payments

IRS: IRS unveils online tool to help low-income families register for monthly Child Tax Credit payments. “The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today unveiled an online Non-filer Sign-up tool designed to help eligible families who don’t normally file tax returns register for the monthly Advance Child Tax Credit payments, scheduled to begin July 15. This tool, an update of last year’s IRS Non-filers tool, is also designed to help eligible individuals who don’t normally file income tax returns register for the $1,400 third round of Economic Impact Payments (also known as stimulus checks) and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for any amount of the first two rounds of Economic Impact Payments they may have missed.”

CNBC: Covid masks and hand sanitizer can get you a tax break, IRS says

CNBC: Covid masks and hand sanitizer can get you a tax break, IRS says. “Americans can get a tax break this filing season for masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and other personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the IRS announced Friday. The tax code lets taxpayers deduct medical costs that exceed 7.5% of their adjusted gross income each year. The IRS is counting costs incurred for PPE as a medical expense that qualifies for the tax break.”

ProPublica: Where Is My Tax Refund?

A little outside the ResearchBuzz lane, but tax season is so weird this year I thought it would be worth it. Apologies to non-US readers. ProPublica: Where Is My Tax Refund?. “For many Americans, hitting ‘submit’ isn’t the last step in the tax-filing process. Here’s what you need to know about checking your return’s status, reasons it may be delayed and the truth about companies that promise quick cash during tax season.”

NBC News: IRS pushes tax filing deadline by one month, to May 15

NBC News: IRS pushes tax filing deadline by one month, to May 15. “The Internal Revenue Service is pushing back the tax filing deadline for all taxpayers from April 15 to May 15, the agency confirmed to CNBC on Wednesday. The IRS this year began accepting 2020 returns as late as Feb. 12 instead of its customary January start date. But it had kept the filing deadline at April 15, resulting in a shorter filing season.”

IRS: IRS Statement – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

IRS: IRS Statement – American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. “The IRS is reviewing implementation plans for the newly enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Additional information about a new round of Economic Impact Payments, the expanded Child Tax Credit, including advance payments of the Child Tax Credit, and other tax provisions will be made available as soon as possible on IRS.gov. The IRS strongly urges taxpayers to not file amended returns related to the new legislative provisions or take other unnecessary steps at this time.”

Accounting Today: Momentum builds for delaying tax deadline

Accounting Today: Momentum builds for delaying tax deadline. “House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard E. Neal, D-Massachusetts, and Oversight Subcommittee chairman Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-New Jersey, on Monday urged the IRS to extend the 2021 tax filing season until July 15, noting that the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to impose a ‘titanic strain’ on the agency as well as taxpayers. They pointed out that as of the end of February, the number of tax returns filed had declined nearly 25 percent compared to the same time last year, and the number of returns processed by the IRS was down 31 percent.”

WTHR: IRS launches new tool for low-income Americans who haven’t received stimulus checks

WTHR: IRS launches new tool for low-income Americans who haven’t received stimulus checks. “The IRS said on Wednesday it launched a non-filers tool for Americans who aren’t required to file a tax return to register for a payment. The non-filers tool is designed for people with incomes typically below $24,400 for married couples, and $12,200 for singles. This includes couples and individuals who are homeless. This tool does not need to be used by anyone who has already filed either a 2018 or 2019 tax return.”

Washington Post: As the backlogged IRS struggles to open mail and answer the phone, taxpayers face long delays

Washington Post: As the backlogged IRS struggles to open mail and answer the phone, taxpayers face long delays. “The Internal Revenue Service had barely begun bringing its lowest-paid workers back to the office in late April when someone in the Philadelphia call center came down with a fever, forcing the third-floor staff to head home. Within two days, an employee in the processing center in Kansas City, Mo., who routes paper checks for deposit was sick with symptoms of the novel coronavirus, too. Then the husband of a woman in accounts management in the Covington, Ky., office tested positive, leading managers to presume that she was infected. The three service centers, among 10 campuses nationwide where the IRS is trying to reinstate 11,000 employees, had to partially close for a week for deep cleaning. The infections were just the first hurdle for an agency desperate to reconnect with tens of […]