Here’s why you shouldn’t celebrate that big tax refund
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Sorry, but It’s Tax Time, and You Should Probably Read All This Stuff

Here are survival tips and extensive coverage of what’s new for 2020.

By Jeff Sommer in the New York Times on Mar. 6, 2020

I dread filing taxes. At best, after preparing my return, I learn that I’ll get a modest refund, one that isn’t worth all the trouble. At worst, I get news like I did last year.

Thanks to the 2017 tax overhaul, I discovered that the Internal Revenue Service hadn’t been gobbling up enough of my paycheck week by week. I owed the Treasury an unexpected bill. What fun!

Perhaps your experience has been better. You may love tax preparation or even profit from it, in which case, congratulations. It’s your special time of year. For everyone else, though, we offer condolences, plus a little more: help.

We can’t prepare your return or pay your bills. But we do have plenty of tips, answers to frequently asked questions and coverage of some of the biggest tax issues this year.

 
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What’s the deal with the redesigned W-4? How did I screw up my withholding again? Did I hear something about expired tax breaks being extended? And how come … Read more »
 
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One reason people have so many questions, Neil Irwin writes, is that America administers a huge swath of its social welfare programs via the I.R.S. Most other democracies just subsidize certain behaviors directly. Our heaps of special deductions, exemptions and credits are part of what makes filing taxes an intimidating gantlet for many Americans. Read more »
 
 
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The leading Democratic presidential candidates and the top Democrats in Congress argue about many aspects of tax policy, but they agree on one thing, Jim Tankersley says. It is that taxes on the investment income of wealthy people need to increase, a position that the Trump administration roundly rejects. Read more »
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At some point, it makes sense for many people to use an accountant, Ron Lieber argues. He outlines nine compelling situations. Read more »
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They created fake returns for filers called Steve Straightforward, Frank and Frannie Family, and Erica Entrepreneur, and ran them through seven online services. Read more »
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A change in the law late last year instituted some important changes for retirees, who can keep money in tax-sheltered accounts longer, if they don’t need the money immediately. But if you inherit a retirement account, the law reduces the time that you can shelter the money. As usual, though, there are some loopholes. Read more »
 
 

Nicolas Ortega

If you have a part-time job with Uber, or a series of freelance engagements, you face particular problems at tax time, writes Tara Siegel Bernard. There are special forms you need to use, benefits that you may qualify for and pitfalls to avoid. Read more »

 
 

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