CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Tax season is officially open, and here’s what’s new this year. In addition to routine inflation adjustments to tax bracket income ranges, deductions, and credits, there are a couple of new rules.
The penalty for not having health insurance (Individual Mandate) was reduced to zero in 2019. So, if you didn’t have coverage last year, you don’t have to pay the penalty, nor must you file any tax forms.
The other change impacts those whose separation or divorce decree was finalized after 2018 — alimony payments are not deductible for the payer, nor are they treated as taxable income to the recipient. If you were divorced prior, the old rules apply.
To start the process gather your documents and then decide how you will file. Any taxpayer earning $69,000 or less (that’s about 100 million Americans) can use IRS Free File, free tax preparation and electronic filing program. Just go to IRS.gov.
Some providers offer both free federal and state tax prep. If you’re queasy about your digital security, the IRS says filing electronically flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.
You can also get free tax help through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or VITA program, geared towards those who make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers. Tax Counseling for the Elderly specializes in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.