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Stretch Your Dollar: Why working from home during the pandemic doesn’t count as a tax credit

Stretch Your Dollar

(WTNH) — Tax season has officially begun and this will be a complicated season based on all the changes 2020 delivered.

After a rocky 2020, tax professionals want you ready to tackle the big questions this tax season: What applies to my family?

If you think working from home – due to the pandemic – qualifies you for the home-office deduction, Jackson Hewitt’s Mark Steber says think again.

“It is for people who have a home-based business who are self-employed,” he explained. “If you’re just working from home out of the convenience of your employer, out of an abundance of caution in the pandemic, or your office won’t let you go in, you may have a home office, and working diligently, and you may have expenses, but you do not qualify for the tax break.”

RELATED: Important tax deadlines in 2021

Another topic is how to handle unemployment benefits and those stimulus checks.

Steber reminds that the stimulus checks are not taxable income. Unemployment benefits are.

“Those are fully taxable just like income. Leave that off, you’ll probably get an IRS notice, tax assessment, penalty and some interest. Unemployment benefits, fully taxable, stimulus payments, not taxable.

Best advice? Get all your paperwork together now and begin filing early, It gives you a chance to ask questions and make corrections to avoid overpaying or getting hit with an audit.

Be careful how you handle stimulus checks on your taxes. If you list that as income, you could end up mistakenly paying taxes on it. You don’t want to do that because he said the chances of the government fixing that, in the end, is highly unlikely.

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