Capitol Roundup: the Revenue Department Has Extended the Hours of Its Phone Centre to Assist Late Tax Payers.

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WILKES-BARRE, PA. — With the deadline for filing Pennsylvania personal income tax returns for 2021 less than a month away, the Department of Revenue is expanding its customer support hours so that taxpayers can obtain help over the phone.

According to Revenue Secretary Dan Hassell, this will enable taxpayers get the advice they need before the April 18, 2022, deadline for filing 2021 personal income tax returns.

“Pennsylvanians preparing to file their tax returns may have questions or worries, so we encourage our customers to contact one of our personal income tax professionals immediately for assistance,” Hassell said. “We also offer a variety of other customer resource alternatives on our website, www.revenue.pa.gov, that can assist our taxpayers in answering their issues and filing their returns on time.”

Service and aid to taxpayers

Personal income tax assistance will be provided beginning today by phoning 717-787-8201 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Customers can contact the Department of Revenue’s Customer Experience Center by dialling this number.

Personal income tax preparation assistance is also available through the department’s Online Customer Service Center. The Online Customer Service Center contains answers to hundreds of frequently asked income tax inquiries and allows taxpayers to safely submit a query to the department via a process similar to sending an email.

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The district offices of the Department of Revenue are also available to provide customer service. To facilitate tax filing assistance, taxpayers are asked to contact ahead to book an appointment and bring their Social Security cards and a photo ID with them. The district offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Taxpayers can track the status of their refunds online by clicking on the Where’s My Income Tax Refund? link on the department’s homepage or by calling 1-888-PATAXES. To obtain the current status, taxpayers will be asked for their Social Security number and requested refund amount.

To file your state tax return, use myPATH.

The Department of Revenue encourages taxpayers to file their Pennsylvania personal income tax returns electronically using the department’s state-only filing system, which is available at mypath.pa.gov. myPATH is a free, user-friendly tool that allows most taxpayers to file the Pennsylvania Income Tax Return (PA-40) and make income tax payments while also providing other services.

All taxpayers who earned more than $33 in total gross taxable income in calendar year 2021 must file a Pennsylvania personal income tax return by midnight on Monday, April 18, 2022. This year’s deadline has been delayed due to Emancipation Day, a holiday recognised in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 15, which extends the federal and state reporting deadlines to April 18.

To execute various functions in myPATH, taxpayers do not need to create a username or password. This includes submitting a PA-40 or making a payment, responding to information requests from the department, and verifying the progress of a refund.

Toomey calls on the IRS to address concerns and delays.

Senators Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and colleagues led a bipartisan and bicameral group of 100 colleagues this week in a letter that reiterated longstanding concerns and urged the IRS to give much-needed relief as the agency tries to address customer service and processing challenges.

Toomey claims that the IRS’s inaction is causing undue uncertainty during the current tax filing season.

“We remain concerned that the IRS lacks a clear plan to address the various issues affecting taxpayers, despite the fact that this filing season is now well underway,” the congressmen wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “For example, there is ongoing uncertainty about which notices, beyond those currently suspended by the IRS, may be unilaterally suspended by the IRS, among other difficulties.”

The congressmen demanded in the letter that the IRS precisely answer which notices are statutorily needed to be given within a specified time frame, as well as why certain notices have not yet been suspended.

Toomey stated that the letter has the support of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), Padgett Business Services, the National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), the National Society of Accountants (NSA), the National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP), the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA), Latino Tax Pro, Diverse Organization of Firms Advocacy Committee, and the National Society of B (NSTP).

Solutions for financial stability are available for elders and those with impairments.

Chairman Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Ranking Member Tim Scott, R-SC, of the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing this week titled “Unbanked and Credit Invisible: Building Financial Inclusion for America’s Underserved Populations,” which examined the challenges faced by older adults and people with disabilities who do not have bank accounts and have little to no credit history, and thus lack options to build wealth and access financial products and services.

Chairman Casey emphasised his bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would allow 6 million more Americans to join an ABLE account and invest for the future by extending access to persons who were disabled before the age of 46. The current age limit is 26.

Casey and Scott also published a financial literacy booklet titled “Building Financial Literacy: Information and Resources for People with Disabilities,” which outlines specific strategies for people with disabilities to open bank accounts, build credit, manage disability benefits, and deal with debt.

“Millions of elderly folks and people with disabilities remain on the periphery of our country’s financial system.” Casey stated, “We have an obligation to correct this mistake.” “We must assist all Americans in finding chances to save and develop wealth, which is why my bipartisan ABLE Age Adjustment Act would enable millions more people to build money and enjoy financial security without fear of losing essential federal benefits.” I urge my colleagues to vote in favour of this bill, which would empower millions of Americans to become full participants in our financial system and invest for their future.”

 

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Casey’s ABLE Act, passed into law in 2014, allows persons who become disabled before the age of 26 to save money without risking losing their federal disability benefits.

The Wolf administration has called for pay equity.

This week, the Pennsylvania Commission for Women, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, and other stakeholders emphasised the significance of Equal Pay Day and the need of closing the gender wage gap.

“For years, our commission has addressed the gender wage gap and its impact on women in Pennsylvania,” said Commission Executive Director Moriah Hathaway. “Women make up 51 percent of Pennsylvania’s population and are critical to the state’s economy, but they are underpaid.” Because of the gender wage disparity, each woman in Pennsylvania will lose an average of $460,000 throughout her lifetime. Our mission is to assist hardworking women in Pennsylvania in better supporting their families. We can accomplish this by enacting equal pay legislation and increasing the minimum wage.”

Equal Pay Day noted how far into the year women had to work in order to be paid the same as men in the preceding calendar year. Women earn only 83 cents for every dollar earned by men working full-time, and over two-thirds of those earning the minimum wage are women.

Gov. Tom Wolf has advocated for a minimum wage hike every year he has been in office, and he is requesting that the General Assembly raise the salary for working Pennsylvanians once more.

The governor proposes an immediate raise to $12 per hour on July 1, 2022, followed by annual hikes until the wage reaches $15 per hour. Further increases would be pegged to inflation to ensure that working Pennsylvanians never again endure 13 years without a cost-of-living increase.

A $15 minimum wage would directly or indirectly affect an estimated 1.5 million workers, or 25% of all Pennsylvania employment. Sixty-two percent of the almost one million workers who would immediately benefit from a $15 raise are women. This equates to a pay increase for 618,400 women, or 20.9 percent of all women employed in the Commonwealth.

 

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The gender wage gap is wider for many women of colour than it is for white women, and this is exacerbated by the racial wage disparity. According to the American Association of University Women, Asian American and Pacific Islander women earn 75 cents for every dollar earned by white males. For every dollar paid to white males, black women get 58 cents. For every dollar paid to white men, Latina women get 49 cents.

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