Are Your Federal Income Taxes Due in May? Maybe, Maybe Not
In March, the IRS announced that it was pushing the deadline for 2020 federal tax returns ahead to Monday, May 17. This extended due date does not apply to all individual taxpayers, though. For example, if you live in Texas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, you could have the opportunity to file as late as June.
The deadline for first-quarter 2021 estimated tax payments still falls on Thursday, April 15, and it applies to taxpayers in 47 states and the District of Columbia. If you’re retired and are taking distributions from retirement accounts and have other investments, you may need to heed this April 15 estimated tax deadline.
If you already pay estimated tax because you are self-employed and/or own a business, you may have made that Q1 estimated tax payment already. If not, remember that any loans received through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or grant programs may need to be factored into the calculations.
Last year, the IRS extended the deadline for Q1 estimated taxes from April 15 to July 15, but that has not happened this year. Individual income taxes and Q1 estimated taxes are not due for taxpayers and businesses in Texas, Oklahoma, or Louisiana until June 15; the IRS is granting these taxpayers additional time in view of the rough winter storms that hit these states.
Steps to Staying in the Zone
Today, it can be hard to focus. How can you stay focused with all the distractions, anxiety, and uncertainty brought by the pandemic? Interestingly, the way to maintain your focus might be to unfocus your mind now and then.
One school of thought urges us to overfocus. If we learn to intensely focus on one task, we can theoretically apply that focused intensity to multiple tasks and become more productive. Multitasking, though, is arguably a myth: Our brains can focus on only one task at a time.
As University of California-Irvine informatics professor Gloria Mark told NPR, “Every activity we do uses a different set of cognitive resources,” and if we try to do two or three activities seemingly at once, we end up depleting our cognitive energy instead of focusing it. We can also do this through overfocusing, which is a conscious effort to rigidly absorb and perform every detail of a task.
Paradoxically, cognitive researchers have concluded that a little idleness is good for our focus, and that our brains need the occasional break.
Professor Mark and Dr. Srini Pillay, a TED-talking neuroscientist and psychiatrist, offer six steps for optimal focus: Schedule breaks in your workday; daydream positively during the workday; block out distractions before diving in deep to something; schedule your most intense work for the time of day your brain and body seem to work best for you; allow your brain time to read, play, and engage in new hobbies; and take the occasional “digital sabbath” from being online.
On the Bright Side
Thanks to the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, tens of millions of individual taxpayers age 50 and older are receiving stimulus checks of up to $1,400 this spring. Some of these payments have gone to Social Security recipients.
Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Lighthouse Financial, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated.
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.
1. CNBC, March 18, 2021
2. NPR, March 21, 2021
3. CNET, March 20, 2021