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  • Child Tax Credits: Letter 6419 was mailed to households who received Advance Child Tax Credits in 2021. You should receive two letters if you are a married couple filing jointly. It is imperative that the Letter(s) be retained and brought to your tax preparer. The letter gives two key pieces of information: How much you received in total payments in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used to calculate those advance payments. The IRS notes on Schedule 8812, Line 14f: "If the amount on this line doesn’t match the aggregate amounts reported to you (and your spouse if filing jointly) on your Letter(s) 6419, the processing of your return will be delayed."   

  • Third Economic Impact Payment: Letter 6475 was sent to those who received a third stimulus check in 2021. The Letter will explain exactly what you received in 2021 and the tax implications. Like the previous letter, this needs to be brought to your tax preparer.  
  • Unemployment Benefits in 2021: If you received unemployment benefits in 2021, they are considered taxable income. Unlike 2020, the special tax waiver of $10,200 was not continued and does not apply in 2021. Therefore, this income may have a dramatic impact on your tax obligation or refund status.  

  • Charitable Donations: For the 2021 returns, married couples are allowed to claim up to $600 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities in 2021, if filing a joint return. A single individual, including married individuals filing separate returns, can claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions. This is applicable, even if taking the standard deduction and not itemizing.  

In addition, the filing dates for this tax season are different than previous years. 2021 federal income tax returns are due April 18. (Those who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 19 because of the Patriots Day holiday in those states.)