February 5, 2021: It’s Tax Time. Here’s Your Essential Checklist

Gusto Editors

February 5, 2021

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Checklist: Tax filing to-dos

It’s been an abnormal year, but like every other, tax season still rolls around. The first tax filing deadline for businesses is around the corner on March 15. Here are a few tips and reminders to make sure you’re on track with your 2020 business tax filings: 

  • Choose direct deposit: The safest and fastest way to get a refund is to electronically file and choose direct deposit. This ensures any tax refund is electronically deposited for free into your financial account.
  • See if you qualify for Free File: The IRS’s Free File program lets qualifying taxpayers prepare and file their federal income tax returns online for free, through an IRS partner site. If your adjusted gross income (AGI) is $72,000 or less, you’ll qualify for Free File. 
  • Report unemployment compensation: If you received unemployment compensation in 2020, remember that this compensation is taxable and must be included as gross income on your tax return.
  • Interest is also taxable income: The IRS will send a Form 1099-INT no later than Feb 1, 2021 to anyone who receives interest of at least $10.
  • Home office deduction: This is available to qualifying self-employed taxpayers, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.
  • Charitable donation deduction for people who don’t itemize: The CARES Act permits individuals who take the standard deduction to claim a limited deduction on their 2020 federal income tax returns for cash contributions made to certain charitable organizations.
  • Disasters and deadlines: Some 2020 tax deadlines in certain counties have been extended due to recent wildfires, hurricanes, or flooding. Check your local government websites if your area has been affected.
  • Tax credits! Make sure you don’t miss out on any savings you could qualify for through pandemic and other small business tax credits, like:

Happy filing!

How to deal with workplace COVID-19 incidents

Pandemic-related incidents in the workplace are a new reality of being an employer, and there’s no perfect playbook for dealing with them. So, how do you manage these incidents and successfully protect your team and business? Here are a few tips that can help from the legal gurus at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP:

  1. Get REALLY familiar with government regulations and guidance, like OSHA’s COVID-19 reporting requirements.
  2. Know when you’re legally obligated to report employee cases to federal and local agencies.
  3. Investigate in a timely manner so you can identify work-related factors and those impacted in your workplace and community.
  4. Comply with requirements for identifying and notifying employees who have potentially been exposed to the virus.
  5. Review and update your COVID-19 response plan, and continually improve it via lessons learned.

Read the rest of their advice here. 

February compliance deadlines

Gusto’s February compliance calendar is here! Refer to this handy calendar for several small business deadlines coming up this month, from tax deposits to benefits updates. 

Gusto customers can access an in-app compliance dashboard to view and handle tax and compliance-related tasks, keep track of important dates, and see what Gusto’s doing to help you stay compliant. Log in here to view your tasks and find helpful resources. Not a Gusto customer? See a demo here.

Picks from our partners

Celebrate Black Excellence with USBC

February is Black History Month, and our partners at the US Black Chambers (USBC) are celebrating with a profile on Black excellence in business on Tuesday, February 24, at 3pm PT | 6pm ET. The virtual event will look back at history and celebrate the accomplishments of Black businesses, from Tulsa’s Black Wall Street to meeting the challenges of sustaining a business in a pandemic.

Register here.

IFundWomen of Color Pitch Competition

In honor of Black History Month, IFundWomen of Color is inviting five IFundWomen of Color members to pitch their businesses in front of a panel of VCs, Fortune 500 brands, and successful entrepreneurs. All five finalists will receive coaching grants to IFundWomen, plus monetary grants for the judge’s selection and for an audience favorite. Save your spot to watch these game changing founders pitch their businesses and get expert feedback on Thursday, February 25, at 3pm PT | 6pm ET.

RSVP here.

Top relief options for the week

  • Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program offers $15 billion in grants to shuttered venues, distributed by the SBA. Awards will equal 45% of applicants’ gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Funding is expected to deplete quickly; apply ASAP. 
  • WomensNet, a nonprofit entrepreneurial group for women, provides monthly nationwide grants of up to $10,000 to women business owners in Pennsylvania. Winners are also eligible for a separate annual grant of $25,000.
  • California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program provides grants from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. Applications for Round 2 of the grant program close on February 8, 2021.
  • See more relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.

Want more small business news and resources? Check out past editions in our archive.

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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