Should I Just Submit For An Extension On Filing My Taxes
Spivey said she anticipates “a significant number of people that will not do this year, and then get charged penalties and interest.” Sometimes people then experience a “snowball effect,” she said. “They don’t do one year and then it causes anxiety, and then they just don’t do them for a couple of years.”
Spivey strongly encouraged people to file their taxes to avoid getting sucked into this cycle. If you need more time, submitting for an extension via a Form 4868 will buy you until Oct. 15 to file your tax return.
If you’re anticipating needing help to file, remember that filing after the official deadline will mean that many of the free and low-cost options for tax prep that would have been available before that date are no longer available. And speaking of tax help …
Stimulus Checks And Expanded Unemployment Benefits
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to severe economic hardship, with millions of Americans losing their jobs. As a response, Congress passed three key legislation that expanded unemployment benefits and delivered direct stimulus payments to provide economic relief. As more and more people about 20 million people since November 2020 are claiming unemployment benefits, these are the key things to know:
Does Taxable Income Vary By State
While federal income taxes are easier to understand, state taxes are another story.
Taxable income varies wildly from state to state. California will not tax its residents for unemployment income. Meanwhile, Colorado assesses a tax on all unemployment benefits received. Contact the department of revenue in your state to find out if it taxes unemployment income.
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Who Is Eligible To Receive Unemployment Benefits
Each state sets its own guidelines to determine who is eligible to receive unemployment benefits. But in most states, youll qualify for those benefits if you become unemployed through no fault of your own.4
So if your job was cut in a round of layoffs or you resigned because of unsafe working conditions, you should have no problem applying for and receiving unemployment benefits. But if you just quit or you were fired with cause for gross misconductmaybe because you were caught stealing office supplies you might be out of luck.
Some states also say you must have worked a certain amount of time at your last job or received a minimum amount of earnings from your previous employer to qualify for benefits. It all depends on where you live!
Usually, self-employed workers like independent contractors and freelancers are not eligible for unemployment benefits. But because of the coronavirus, the CARES Act opened the door for states to extend benefits to some of those workers, at least for now.5
State Income Taxes On Unemployment Compensation
You may also need to pay state income taxes on your unemployment benefits. This is another tricky area because each state has different rules. Some states dont have a state-level income tax, and others dont tax unemployment benefits. Some tax unemployment benefits in full, and others impose taxes on only a portion of benefits.
If you live in one of the eight states that doesnt have a state income tax , you dont have to worry about paying state income taxes on your benefits. New Hampshire residents are also in the clear because the state only taxes interest and dividend income.
California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia dont tax unemployment benefits, so residents in those states dont have to worry about state-level withholding, either.
If you live in one of the other 37 states or the District of Columbia, check with your tax advisor or your states tax agency to find out how unemployment benefits are taxed. Those states should allow you to set up state withholding online when you apply for unemployment or at any point while you are receiving benefits.
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Talk To The Irs And Set Up A Payment Plan
If the amount seems impossible for you to cover, contact the IRS directly. Despite its reputation, the IRS actually works with individual taxpayers who are having difficulty paying their taxes. It offers extensions, waive fees, and sometimes even compromise in difficult situations.
Start by calling the IRS at 18008291040. Try to avoid doing this too close to the filing deadline of April 18, as the IRS tends to get very busy around that date. Call as early as possible. Discuss your situation with them and ask what options are available.
Do I Have To Pay To Prepare My Taxes If I Received Unemployment
No. If you made under $72,000 in 2020, you are eligible to file your taxes for free . Even if you made more than that, many tax preparation services now include a 1099-G as part of a simple tax return, which they will let you file free of charge.
But buyer beware: So-called free tax preparation softwares are often trying to push you to pay them more money.
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Its Never Been More Important To Estimate Your Taxes
Becoming unemployed changes almost everything about your tax situation your total income, your withholding, and all the tax calculations based on those numbers.
You may qualify for tax benefits for which you made too much money when you were working. You may need to have more or less income tax withheld.
Instead of guessing, be sure to use TaxAct to estimate your tax liability for the year as closely as possible.
When your finances change, hopefully for the better, estimate them again. Money is usually tight when people are unemployed.
Its the worst possible time to have too much income tax withheld, reducing your monthly income, or too little so you fall behind on your tax liability.
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Are Unemployment Benefits Tax
Eric is a duly licensed Independent Insurance Broker licensed in Life, Health, Property, and Casualty insurance. He has worked more than 13 years in both public and private accounting jobs and more than four years licensed as an insurance producer. His background in tax accounting has served as a solid base supporting his current book of business.
Receiving unemployment benefits is no different from earning a paycheck when it comes to income taxes, at least under normal circumstances when the U.S. isnt struggling with a pandemic. Unemployment income is considered taxable income and must be reported on your tax return. It is included in your taxable income for the tax year.
While the federal government tweaked this rule in 2020 in response to COVID-19, those who collected unemployment income in 2021 should expect to pay the full taxes on those benefits. As of Nov. 29, 2021, the federal government and the Internal Revenue Service did not say that the rule would be tweaked again.
Heres what to know about paying taxes on unemployment benefits in tax year 2021, the return youll file in 2022.
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Paying Unemployment Taxes At The Federal Level
There are 3 options to pay your federal income taxes on your unemployment benefits. If you dont expect your benefits to add much to any tax you owe, it may be easiest to pay the full amount at tax time. The following options can help you avoid having a large bill at tax time.
1. Request your state employment agency to withhold your federal taxes. Withholding your taxes means that a flat 10 percent of each of your unemployment checks will be used to pay federal taxes, similar to withholding taxes on a regular paycheck.
Usually, you can choose to have your taxes withheld when you first register for unemployment benefits. You can also complete and give Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request to the agency that is disbursing your unemployment benefits to start withholding your taxes. Request Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request from your unemployment office or find it on the IRS website. If your agency has its own withholding form, use that one instead.
Use the Estimated Tax Payments Calculator to make sure that you are withholding enough taxes from your unemployment benefits. If too little tax is withheld, you may also have to make quarterly estimated tax payments to avoid an underpayment penalty.
Depending on the amount of your unemployment benefits and your other sources of income, you may choose to make quarterly estimated payments and withhold your taxes if your total tax withholding does not cover enough of the income taxes you will owe.
How To File Your Taxes If You Received Unemployment Benefits In 2021
If you received unemployment benefits, you’ll owe income taxes on those benefits.
When tax season approaches, many Americans will face the prospect of filing their income taxes. For millions of people, this will include their unemployment benefits.
Knowing how to file correctly will help you avoid a lot of trouble with the IRS. Let’s take a look.
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What If I Can’t Pay The Tax Owed On Unemployment
Paying taxes on unemployment insurance payments can seem counterintuitive, since most recipients either are out of work or recently have been. This could lead to a situation where you have a tax bill that you can’t afford to pay.
In such a case, it’s important that you still file a return. If you’re unable to pay the tax you owe by your original filing due date, the balance is subject to interest and a monthly late payment penalty. There’s also a penalty for failure to file a tax return. So try to file on time, whether or not you can afford to pay the full balance due.
If your tax bill is too much for you to pay right now, pay as much as you can to reduce the amount of interest that will accrue. You can also apply to pay the balance in installments, allowing you to make monthly payments. You can request an installment agreement online through the IRS website, by filling out Form 9465, or for help.
No Tax Breaks On 2021 Unemployment Benefits
As the 2022 tax season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service expects it to be a messy one. The agency reported back in December it had a backlog of over six million unprocessed tax returns, still, from 2020.
And things aren’t looking much clearer for individuals filing taxes this year, who received unemployment benefits.
Tax experts, like Dwayne Townsend Sr., owner of Townsend’s Tax Network in Austintown, says the last two years have been anything but easy for tax filers.
That’s mostly because of the fluctuating rules and laws. After recipients of unemployment got tax breaks in 2020, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, it’s a different story this year, with that tax break expiring, and no signs from Congress a similar law will be passed affecting 2021 benefits.
“A lot of tax clients across the board were saying, ‘I didn’t know I had to file unemployment,'” he said.
Though, generally unemployment benefits count as taxable income. So for 2021, if you received unemployment benefits and didn’t set money aside, you could be looking at a much smaller refund or even a tax bill, Townsend said.
He also said the number one thing people need to look out for is their 1099-G form.
Experts say that’s what you’ll use to figure out if you owe money to the IRS, and if not, how much you’ll receive in a refund once you file.
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How Long You Could Receive Ei Regular Benefits
You can receive EI from 14 weeks up to a maximum of 45 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in your region at the time of filing your claim and the amount of insurable hours you’ve accumulated in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim, whichever is shorter.
If youre a seasonal worker, you may be eligible for 5 additional weeks of benefits up to a maximum of 45 weeks.
Until September 24, 2022: Number of weeks of EI regular benefits payable
|Number of hours of insurable employment in the qualifying period||< 6%|
To find out the rate of unemployment in your region, visit EI Program Characteristics.
Once the weekly benefit rate is established, it will remain unchanged over the life of your claim.
How Are Unemployment Benefits Taxed
Unemployment benefits are designed to replace a portion of your regular wages. As such, the IRS treats them like any other wages and taxes them at your ordinary income tax rate.
Whether youll actually owe taxes on unemployment benefits, and the rate youll pay, depends on your overall tax situation and tax bracket.
The state that paid your unemployment benefits should send you a Form 1099-G showing how much unemployment income you received and how much taxes it withheld.
In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan provided some relief for people who received unemployment benefits in 2020. Taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income under $150,000 could exclude up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits from their taxable income. For this exclusion, your MAGI is your adjusted gross income minus your unemployment compensation.
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However, this unemployment tax break applied only to 2020 tax returns. So if you collected unemployment benefits in 2021, you should expect 100% of your benefits to be included in your taxable income when you file your 2021 tax return.
In March, when the American Rescue Plan passed, many people had already filed returns and paid taxes on all of their benefits. Fortunately, the IRS didnt require taxpayers to file amended returns. It automatically sent unemployment tax refunds to eligible taxpayers who filed a tax return before the legislation was enacted.
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Useful Information & Links:
– When will my employer send me a W-2 form?
– What benefits are availabletoparents and guardiansthis tax season?
– What are the dates to submit your tax return?
Child Tax Credit
– Can families expect to claim more from the Child Tax Credit when they file their taxes?
– No January Child Tax Credit payment after Congress failed to extend the programme last month
– Senator Manchin says he is yet to be convinced on President Biden’s Build Back Better proposals.
– How many stimulus checks were approved during the last 12 months?
– Will Social Security recipients get an additional $200this month?
– What does the 5.9% COLA increase mean for Social Security beneficiaries?
Unemployment Income Rules For Tax Year 2021
When it went into effect on March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act gave a tax break on up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits collected in tax year 2020. You had to qualify for the exclusion with a modified adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. The $150,000 limit included benefits plus any other sources of income. You claimed the exclusion when filing your 2020 tax return in the spring of 2021.
The IRS recalculated tax returns that were filed prior to the March 2021 ruling. It then issued refunds to any taxpayers who overpaid before ARPA went into effect.
If you collected unemployment in 2020, theres a chance you were paid benefits in January 2021 because they accrued late. This means you have to include that income in your 2021 tax return, despite that the money is technically for the unemployment period in 2020. The ARPA exemption does not apply to unemployment income received in 2021. The key ARPA words are unemployment compensation paid in 2020.
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Why Withholding Makes Senseand How To Do It
Youre not required to have taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits check. But experts say its a good idea to go ahead and do so. Taking a hit upfront is better than finding out you owe the IRS at the end of the year. I know people really need their money, but so there are no surprises at tax time, I would say request to withhold some of the money, says Lisa Greene-Lewis, a certified public accountant and TurboTax tax expert.
This is especially important if youve earned income already for the year or expect to be employed again, because then youre likely to be in a higher tax bracket and may not qualify for as many credits to offset your earnings.
Usually unemployment benefits are only a couple hundred bucks a week, says Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and a leading unemployment expert. It might feel easy to rationalize taking the money now and increasing your deductions when you get back to work. But with these generous unemployment benefits, that mindset could be a substantial liability, he says.
Get Your Taxes Done Right
We’re here to help shoulder that burden with you. If youre stressing about how unemployment benefits affect your taxesdo you pay, do you not pay, how much do you pay, how do you pay?you might want to reach out to a tax advisor for help.
Nothing takes the stress out of Tax Day like having a tax advisor in your corner who eats, sleeps and breathes all this tax stuff on a daily basis. So if you still have questions about the taxes on your unemployment benefits, get in touch with one of our tax Endorsed Local Providers in your area!
Would you rather file your taxes on your own? Weve got you covered there too. Ramsey SmartTax makes filing your taxes feel like a walk in the park!
About the author
Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.
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