In 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, West Virginians have until July 15, 2020 to file their federal and state income tax returns.
Filing earlier, especially if a refund is likely (67% of Americans received one in 2019), is smart because identity theft is still a threat. A scammer can fraudulently file your tax returns, claiming to be you, and direct the refunds to themselves. It just takes some basic identity information to steal your refunds and you won’t know it until your tax returns are rejected.
When working on taxes, everyone appreciates a way to lower them, especially through tax credits. Each dollar of a credit eliminates a dollar of tax.
To claim such a federal or state credit, a taxpayer must file a tax return, but does not have to itemize deductions.
Federal law provides an earned income tax credit for anyone with lower income who is raising one or more children.
Around the country, many working grandparents are raising grandchildren and may be eligible for this federal tax credit. The amount is based on earnings from employment (not government benefits) and the number of dependents. More details are available at https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/individuals/earned-income-tax-credit.
For older or disabled homeowners, West Virginia’s Senior Citizens Tax Credit and Homestead Excess Property Tax Credit help lower income taxes.
As part of the state’s property tax system, the Homestead Exemption program reduces the taxes owed on owner-occupied property for those who are age 65 and older or permanently disabled and who have signed up at their county assessor’s office for the exemption. There is no income requirement for this exemption. Under the program, the first $20,000 of the home‘s assessed value is exempt, or non-taxable, for property tax purposes every year.
Those qualifying for the Homestead Exemption on property taxes may be eligible for the Senior Citizens Tax Credit to lower state income taxes. The West Virginia State Tax Department’s Form SCTC-1, sent out in January each year, will list the amount of the tax credit that can be claimed.
There is also a low income requirement for Senior Citizens Tax Credit eligibility that is determined when calculating the amounts for the tax return