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TaxBuzz Top 5 - Thousands Eligible For 2020 Tax Refunds, Chrisley Lawyers File Appeals & More

TaxBuzz Top 5 - Thousands Eligible For 2020 Tax Refunds, Chrisley Lawyers File Appeals & More

Each Friday, TaxBuzz brings you the top five tax and accounting headlines you need to know from the workweek. We know life can get busy and you don't always have time to scroll through your news feed to stay informed.

We weed through all of the week's stories to showcase the most important updates in the tax and accounting world.

1. IRS Extends Waiver For Required Withdrawals on Inherited Retirement Accounts

Credit: Zach Gibson/Stringer/Getty Images

The IRS has extended the waiver for required withdrawals on inherited retirement accounts, initially introduced in 2020. However, according to a CNBC report, experts caution that this extension may not benefit heirs. Before the Secure Act of 2019, heirs could spread out withdrawals over their lifetime, minimizing yearly tax liabilities.

But under the Secure Act, they now have a shorter window to empty inherited accounts, potentially facing penalties if they fail to do so within 10 years. While the IRS has waived penalties for missed withdrawals, the latest extension only applies to certain heirs, termed "non-eligible designated beneficiaries," subject to the 10-year rule. Despite the penalty relief, experts warn that delaying decisions could pose risks, potentially requiring larger future distributions for heirs with substantial pretax inherited retirement accounts. 

2. IRS Says Over 940,000 People Are Owed 2020 Tax Refunds

Despite over 940,000 people being eligible for tax refunds from the 2020 tax year, totaling about $1 billion, many have yet to file their returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that the average refund for this group exceeds $900. The deadline to file and claim these refunds is May 17, 2024, per the New York Times. These unclaimed refunds range from an average of $761 in Idaho to over $1,000 in states like New York and Pennsylvania.

Some individuals may have forgotten to file due to pandemic-related disruptions, while others may not have earned enough to meet the filing threshold. The IRS notes that it is important to file promptly to avoid forfeiting the refund. Paper returns typically take longer to process, with refunds expected within six to eight weeks from the date the IRS receives the return.

3. Iowa Approves 3.8% Flat Tax Rate

Credit: Fran Polito/Getty Images

Iowa Republicans are pushing forward with a plan to expedite income tax cuts, aiming for a 3.8% flat rate by next year instead of the previously planned 3.9% by 2026. Senator Dan Dawson stressed the bill's goal of returning an additional billion dollars to Iowans in the Des Moines Register, stating, "We are accelerating the promised tax cuts, taking it lower and returning an extra billion dollars back to Iowans."

The proposed legislation, Senate Study Bill 3207 and House Study Bill 752, passed through committees Thursday, April 18, with a final vote expected Friday. Representative Bobby Kaufmann expressed the ongoing commitment to tax reduction in the state, saying, "Are we done? No. I would like to continue to go down as low as we can."

In addition, Governor Kim Reynolds praised the compromise, "Cutting taxes has been a priority of mine since taking office." 

4. Todd & Julie Chrisley's Lawyers File Appeals

Lawyers representing reality TV personalities Todd and Julie Chrisley, currently serving prison sentences for bank fraud and tax evasion, have brought their case before a federal appeals court, challenging various aspects of their convictions and sentences. The Chrisleys, stars of the show "Chrisley Knows Best," were found guilty in 2022 of engaging in a bank fraud scheme and evading taxes while showcasing their lavish lifestyle on television.

Alex Little, the Chrisleys' attorney, argued that an IRS officer provided false testimony regarding their tax liabilities during the trial, an assertion disputed by prosecutors. Little also contested the admissibility of certain evidence and the lack of evidence supporting some of Julie Chrisley's bank fraud charges. In response, prosecutors defended the convictions, citing ample evidence and rejecting claims of unfairness toward co-defendant Peter Tarantino.

Per ABC, Tarantino's lawyer, Don Samuel, called for a new trial, alleging his client's minimal involvement. The court is currently deliberating on the appeals. As Little emphasized during the proceedings, "We firmly believe in the innocence of the Chrisleys and are committed to ensuring that justice prevails."

5. Trudeau Government Proposes Higher Taxes on Wealthiest Canadians

Credit: Tom Sowerby/Getty Images

According to an AP report, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration has unveiled plans to implement increased taxes targeting the wealthiest citizens as part of the federal budget. The proposal aims to raise the capital gains inclusion rate on profits from asset sales exceeding $250,000 Canadian (US$181,000) from half to two-thirds.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland defended the move, saying it will impact only 0.1% of Canadians while projecting a revenue boost of nearly $20 billion Canadian (USD $14.5 billion) over five years. Despite anticipated opposition coming to fruition, Freeland urged the affluent to reflect on the country's future. The budget, presenting $53 billion Canadian (US$38 billion) in new spending, focuses on economic equity for younger generations. While Freeland refuted claims of political motivation, critics remain skeptical amid Trudeau's declining popularity due to concerns over the cost of living.

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Rebekah Barton

Rebekah Barton

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