Life moves quickly. It’s easy to get distracted. But that can be costly.
Miss an important financial date or deadline, and you could be on the hook for a penalty or lose out on a limited-time opportunity to save money.
Enter our “Money Calendar” series.
In this edition, we’ve rounded up the noteworthy money dates in February 2021. Take a look and mark your calendar with any dates that apply to you.
All month — Medicare Advantage open enrollment period continues
As if Medicare isn’t complicated enough, this federal health insurance program for folks age 65 and older and folks with certain disabilities or conditions has not one but two annual open enrollment periods.
The annual Medicare open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, while the annual Medicare Advantage open enrollment period runs from Jan. 1 to March 31.
Medicare Advantage plans, one of the two main types of Medicare, are offered by private insurance companies that are approved by Medicare. (The other type, Original Medicare, is the traditional government-managed health care coverage.)
During the current enrollment period, folks with Medicare Advantage plans (with or without prescription drug coverage) have the option to do one of the following:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage).
- Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare (with or without also enrolling in a drug plan).
For more Medicare news, check out our latest coverage.
Feb. 1 — Deadline for 2020 income forms
The deadline for employers to give workers several types of income forms for the 2020 tax year is Feb. 1, as the usual deadline of Jan. 31 falls on a weekend. These forms generally include:
- Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement
- Form W-3, Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements
- Form 1099-MISC, Miscellaneous Income
- Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation
This means that if you expect to receive any of these forms for the 2020 tax year but it has yet to arrive, you should keep an eye out for it. You don’t want to file your federal income tax return until you have such forms in hand.
Employers must send these income forms to the federal government as well as workers. So if the numbers that you report on your tax return do not match the numbers on your income forms, the IRS might question your return.
Feb. 12 — Federal income tax season starts
You don’t have to wait until Feb. 12 to start preparing your tax return, though. As the IRS recently announced:
“People can begin filing their tax returns immediately with tax software companies, including IRS Free File partners. These groups are starting to accept tax returns now, and the returns will be transmitted to the IRS starting Feb. 12.”
Feb. 13 — State sales tax holidays start
Perhaps you’ve heard of the sales tax holidays that some states offer each summer to give parents and students a chance to buy school supplies without having to pay sales tax. These are not the only type of state sales tax holiday, though.
Some states offer annual sales tax holidays for energy-efficient appliances or emergency-preparedness supplies, for example. And the first two of these other sales tax holidays of 2021 are in February, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators:
- Maryland: Shop Maryland Energy Weekend is Feb. 13-15.
- Alabama: The Severe Weather Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is Feb. 26-28.
If you live in Maryland or Alabama, check the applicable link above to learn more about your sales tax holiday, including which products will be exempt from sales taxes. If you live in another state, take a look at the Federation of Tax Administrator’s list of 2021 sales tax holidays and mark your calendar for any that your state will offer.
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