What If I Can’t Pay The Tax Bill
If unemployment income creates a tax bill you can’t pay right away, here are a few options to keep in mind.
Still file your tax return on time. The IRS issues penalties for paying late, but it also issues penalties for filing late. You can help keep the penalties to a minimum by filing your tax return on time, even if you can’t send any money. If you need more time to file your tax return, you can get an extension, but remember that getting an extension only gives you more time to file, not more time to pay.
The IRS lets people pay in installments over time. Signing up for an installment plan can let you pay your tax bill over the course of several weeks or months, and you can sign yourself up directly with the IRS. There are a few different plans to choose from depending on how much you owe and how long you need.
About the author:Tina Orem is NerdWallet’s authority on taxes and small business. Her work has appeared in a variety of local and national outlets.Read more
Reporting Unemployment Benefits On Your Tax Return
You report your unemployment compensation on Schedule 1 of your federal tax return in the Additional Income section. The amount will be carried to the main Form 1040. Remember to keep all of your forms, including any 1099-G form you receive, with your tax records.
If you use TurboTax to file your taxes, well ask about your unemployment income and put the information in all the right tax forms for you.
TurboTax is here to help with our Unemployment Benefits Center. Learn more about unemployment benefits, insurance, eligibility and get your tax and financial questions answered.
What To Do If You Have Filed Already
If you collected unemployment insurance in 2020 but you already filed your tax return, you are still eligible for the exemption under the American Rescue Plan. You do not need to take any action to claim the money youre owed. Instead, the IRS will automatically refund the money.
The first round of payments will begin in May and continue over the summer, according to the IRS. Youll either receive a refund or the amount will be deducted from your taxes owed.
There is no need for taxpayers to file an amended return unless the calculations make the taxpayer newly eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on the original tax return, the agency noted in a recent release.
This includes, for example, taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit but are eligible for an increased credit under the new exemption. While youll automatically get a refund for the exemption, youll need to file an amended return to get a larger credit.
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Are Government Benefits Taxable
- Check with your local benefits offices you may be eligible for state and federal benefits due to the change in your income. Benefits such as SNAP, housing subsidies, childcare subsidies, and many others are generally not taxable. Gifts from various organizations, such as local food pantries and utility and gas programs are usually tax-exempt.
How The $10200 Tax Break Works
As were in the middle of tax season, the rollout of this tax break is unfortunately a little complicated, and will be challenging for the IRS to administerand for ordinary Americans to take advantage of. But if you qualify, persist: You could potentially save thousands of dollars.
If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, you should have received a mailed statement or an online version of the Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments from your state unemployment insurance agency, which shows how much in unemployment payments you received in 2020. It also shows how much you paid in federal taxes .
The IRS requires your state unemployment insurance agency to provide this form before Jan. 31. If you did not receive a form before this due date, check with your state agencyyou may have to log in your states unemployment portal to obtain it.
While the total benefits are reported in Box 1 of the Form 1099-G, you will only need to report a partial amount on your Schedule 1 of the Form 1040 tax return if you qualify for the new tax break.
First, you report the full amount of unemployment benefits on Line 7 of Schedule 1. Next, you would include the amount of benefits you qualify to exclude on Line 8 of Schedule 1.
- Where you enter your unemployment compensation on your Schedule 1. This image is for informational purposes only.
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Need Help With Your Taxes
- Code for Americas Get Your Refund website: Visit Get Your Refund to connect with an IRS-certified volunteer who will help you file your taxes. First, you will upload your tax documents online. Then, an IRS-certified volunteer will call you to discuss, prepare, and review your tax return for filing.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax-Aide sites: VITA and Tax-Aide sites are IRS-sponsored programs that provide free tax preparation for those who earn less than about $56,000.
The deadline to file your taxes this year is May 17, 2021.
New Exclusion Of Up To $10200 Of Unemployment Compensation
If your modified adjusted gross income is less than $150,000, the American Rescue Plan enacted on March 11, 2021, excludes from income up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation paid in 2020, which means you dont have to pay tax on unemployment compensation of up to $10,200. If you are married, each spouse receiving unemployment compensation doesnt have to pay tax on unemployment compensation of up to $10,200. Amounts over $10,200 for each individual are still taxable. If your modified AGI is $150,000 or more, you cant exclude any unemployment compensation. If you file Form 1040-NR, you cant exclude any unemployment compensation for your spouse.
The exclusion should be reported separately from your unemployment compensation. See the updated instructions and the Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet to figure your exclusion and the amount to enter on Schedule 1, line 8.
When figuring the following deductions or exclusions from income, if you are asked to enter an amount from Schedule 1, line 7 enter the total amount of unemployment compensation reported on line 7 and if you are asked to enter an amount from Schedule 1, line 8, enter the amount from line 3 of the Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet. See the specific form or instructions for more information. If you file Form 1040-NR, you arent eligible for all of these deductions. See the Instructions for Form 1040-NR for details.
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Eligibility For Unemployment Benefits
The first big question to tackle is to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Though the Department of Labor administers the guidelines, each state has its own separate requirements to qualify.
There are generally two requirements youll have to meet:
Contact your State Unemployment Insurance agency to look at the other requirements and also to file a claim.
Information Needed For Your Federal Income Tax Return
Each January, we mail an IRS Form 1099-G to individuals we paid unemployment benefits during the prior calendar year. The 1099-G form provides information you need to report your benefits. Use the information from the form, but do not attach a copy of the 1099-G to your federal income tax return because TWC has already reported the 1099-G information to the IRS. You can file your federal tax return without a 1099-G form, as explained below in Filing Your Return Without Your 1099-G.
A 1099-G form is a federal tax form that lists the total amount of benefits TWC paid you, including:
- Unemployment benefits
- Federal income tax withheld from unemployment benefits, if any
- Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance payments
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Note On Special Benefits
The EI repayment requirement only applies to regular benefits, including regular fishing benefits.
It does not affect special benefits such as those for:
- Parents of critically ill children
If you receive only special benefits, you do not have to worry about repaying benefits if your net income surpasses the threshold. Similarly, special benefits received in the previous decade do not trigger the repayment requirement.
If you receive both special benefits and regular EI benefits in the same year, you may be required to repay a portion of your regular benefits.
For example, if you received both unemployment and maternity benefits in 2019, your net income for that year was over $66,375 and you received regular EI benefits in one of the 10 previous years, you would be required to repay a portion of your benefits. However, you would only be required to repay regular benefits rather than special maternity benefits.
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.
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Filing Form 940 With The Irs
IRS Form 940 is due on January 31 of the year after the year of the report information. For example, the 940 for 2020 is due January 31, 2021. The best way to file by IRS E-file.
The calculations for FUTA tax are complicated. A payroll processing service can help you figure out how much to pay and when.
Penalties For Not Claiming
If you opt to not let the state do withholding for you and you don’t send in quarterly tax payments, you could be charged a penalty for not paying the taxes. However, in most cases, you’ll be forced to pay taxes on the entire amount on your tax return.
This means that if you collected $2,000 a month in unemployment for six months, you could owe taxes on $12,000. At a 10 percent rate, this could mean a bill of $1,200 and could take a bite out of any refund you might have been receiving from other credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Or worse, you could owe the entire amount. This is why it is highly suggested that you allow the state to set up withholding for your unemployment.
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How Do I Get My Unemployment Tax Form
to request a copy of your 1099-G by mail or fax. If you havent received your 1099-G copy in the mail by Jan. 31, there is a chance your copy was lost in transit. Your local office will be able to send a replacement copy in the mail then, you will be able to file a complete and accurate tax return.
Contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 to request a copy of your wage and income information. You can also use Form 4506-T to request a copy of your previous years 1099-G. You can download Form 4506-T at IRS.gov or order it from 800-TAX-FORM. Mail the completed form to the IRS office that processes returns for your area. If you are not sure which office it is, check the Form 4506-T instructions.
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 …
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Other Factors Youll Need To Consider:
I am collecting unemployment will that impact my income tax?
- Unemployment benefits are taxable.
- Unemployment compensation is not considered earned income for the Earned Income Tax Credit , childcare credit, and the Additional Child Tax Credit calculations and can reduce the amount of credits you may have traditionally received.
Deductions At Hartz 4 Through Tax Refunds
If you receive ALG 2 and receive a tax refund from the tax office, this will be offset against your earnings. According to § 11 SGB II, everything that you receive in addition to income replacement benefits counts as income . With the judgment of December 16, 2008 by the Federal Social Court, the tax refund can be offset against the remuneration.
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Payments To Employees Exempt From Futa Tax
Some of the payments you make to employees are not included in the calculation for the federal unemployment tax. These payments include:
- Fringe benefits, such as meals and lodging, contributions to employee health plans, and reimbursements for qualified moving expenses,
- Group term life insurance benefits,
- Employer contributions to employee retirement accounts accounts), and
- Dependent care payments to employees.
You can find the complete list of payments exempt from FUTA Tax in the instructions for Form 940. The type of payments to employees that are exempt from state unemployment tax may be different. Check with your state’s employment department for details.
If you pay employee moving expenses and bicycle commuting reimbursements to employees, you must include the amount of these payments in the FUTA tax calculation.
In some states, wages paid to corporate officers, certain payments of sick pay by unions, and certain fringe benefits are also excluded from state unemployment tax. If wages subject to FUTA aren’t subject to state unemployment tax, you may be liable for FUTA tax at the maximum rate of 6%.
How Taxes On Unemployment Benefits Work
Unemployment benefits are income, just like money you would have earned in a paycheck. Youll receive a Form 1099-G after the end of the year, which will report in Box 1 how much you’ve received in the way of benefits. The IRS will receive a copy as well.
You would have paid taxes on the full amount of your unemployment benefits if you filed your taxes before the ARPA was passed. The IRS issued a statement on March 31, 2021, urging taxpayers who had already filed not to file an amended return related to the new legislation. The IRS will recalculate and adjust all tax returns received prior to the ARPA that report unemployment income during the spring and summer of 2021 and will issue any resulting refunds.
You’ll have to pay taxes on the remaining amount if you received more than $10,200 in unemployment compensation. Your 1099-G will have the information you’ll need to transfer to your tax return.
Unemployment compensation has its own line on Schedule 1, which accompanies your 1040 tax return. Youll transfer the amount in Box 1 of Form 1099-G to Line 7 of Schedule 1, and then the withholding amount in Box 4 of the 1099-G goes directly onto your 1040 tax return on Line 25b.
The amount that was withheld will appear in Box 4 if you asked to have income tax withheld from your benefits.
You must still report your unemployment compensation on your tax return, even if you dont receive a Form 1099-G for some reason.
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Exceptions To Ei Repayment Requirements
In some cases, you may earn above the threshold and still not be required to repay any of your benefits. Most significantly,if you have not earned any EI income during the 10 previous years, you do not have to repay any of your benefits. For example, if you report EI payments for the 2020 tax year and have not reported EI payments for any of the 10 previous years, you do not have to repay any of your EI payments, regardless of how high your income.
However, if you reported EI payments in any year between 2009 and 2019, as well as 2020, you are required to repay a portion of your benefits if your net income exceeds the threshold.