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Coronavirus stimulus checks add new complication to tax return season

$600 stimulus is tied to your tax returns

Tax return season is nearly approaching.
Tax return season is nearly approaching.

ROANOKE, Va. – Americans are preparing to receive money from the government, but not just in the form of $600 stimulus checks.

Tax return filing season will likely begin by the end of January and tax return preparer David Kembel anticipates the process will have an additional significance this year because of the stimulus payments.

“It felt like we were customer service for the IRS when the $1,200 payments started last spring,” Kembel said. “When they started giving that money out, people asked, ‘Where’s my money?’”

The stimulus payments are tied to tax returns, as the Internal Revenue Service uses that data to determine where to send the money; however, Kembel said he has already heard stories of stimulus money ending up in the wrong place.

“People tell me, ‘It went to the wrong bank account’ or, ‘They mailed it to the wrong address and they didn’t know it.’”

Additionally, some people have to file their tax returns before receiving their stimulus payments.

Kembel said that’s because of the IRS, not because of individual tax return preparers.

“I wish they hadn’t tied it to taxes,” Kembel said. “Just give everyone some money and don’t worry about it, but they did tie it to taxes.”

Kembel expects many Americans to file early because of the stimulus checks, but tax return preparers are used to an early flood of customers every tax season.

“You go to bed at the end of January, and you wake up on April 15,” Kembel said. “Everything in between is just a blur.”

The IRS has not yet set the first day for filing tax returns.