Stop! Don't do your taxes until you dig up this number

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What's a Form 1444? And a Form 1444-B? You'll want to find those if you want to do your taxes. Or look elswhere for clues on your stimulus payouts.
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Aiming to file your taxes soon for a speedy tax refund? Well, this year, you better step back a minute and first ask yourself, "Hey, how much money exactly did I get for that stimulus?"

And: "What about that second stimulus check? Did it ever show up?"

These are odd questions. After all, stimulus payments aren't taxable at the federal level but you are still going to need those exact numbers for the stimulus payouts to process your 2020 federal income tax return.

"The way our tax software works it assumes you did not get a stimulus check unless you tell it you did," said George W. Smith, a CPA with Andrews Hooper Pavlik in Southfield.

And you're going to need a dollar amount of that stimulus to plug into the tax software. It's not just a yes or no question and then off we go.

Another clue: Everyone did not get the same stimulus payment, so no copying from your neighbor.

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What is IRS Notice 1444 and why do I need it?

Smith said he's noticed that clients who felt they were prepared to file in January but didn't realize that the stimulus information is essential. And some had a hard time conveying information about what kind of stimulus checks they received or not in 2020 and 2021.

"Taxpayers should have received IRS Notice 1444 for the first Economic Impact Payment and received Notice 1444-B for the second EIP they received," Smith said.

"I have yet to have a client give me these forms."

The Internal Revenue Service will begin processing 2020 tax returns Friday. The season officially starts about two weeks later than last year, as the IRS said it needed more time to program and test its systems after the Dec. 27 tax law changes that provided a second round of Economic Impact Payments and other benefits.

This year's tax season could trigger anything from a mild headache to a major migraine for many taxpayers, given the added…
Susan Tompor
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