Millions Still In Line For Unemployment Tax Refunds
Since May, the IRS has issued more than 8.7 million unemployment compensation tax refunds totaling $10 billion. More than 4 million taxpayers are still in line.
The Internal Revenue Service is delivering a fourth round of special tax refunds this week to 1.5 million taxpayers who paid taxes on unemployment benefits when they filed their 2020 tax returns. For this round, the average refund is $1,686 direct deposit refunds started going out Wednesday, and paper checks today.
Still waiting for your refund? An estimated 13 million taxpayers are due unemployment compensation tax refunds. Since May, the IRS has issued more than 8.7 million unemployment compensation tax refunds totaling $10 billion. That means more than 4 million taxpayers are still in line.
Why the special unemployment benefits tax refunds? In the March 11th Covid-relief American Rescue Plan, Congress made up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits nontaxable for individuals and married couples whose modified adjusted gross income was less than $150,000. Generally, unemployment benefits are taxable, including basic state benefits as well as the extra $600 weekly CARES Act federal pandemic benefits. The unemployment tax break was welcome news to many folks. The problem: A lot of taxpayers already had filed their 2020 tax return before Congress put in the retroactive tax break. Thats made things messy.
Unemployment Federal Tax Break
The latest COVID-19 relief bill , gives a federal tax break on unemployment benefits. This means that you dont have to pay federal tax on the first $10,200 of your unemployment benefits if your adjusted gross income is less than $150,000 in 2020. The $150,000 income limit is the same whether you are filing single or married.
For paper filers, the IRS published instructions on how to claim the unemployment tax break: New Exclusion of up to $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation. For online filers, the IRS has stated that tax software companies have updated their systems to reflect the unemployment federal tax break. If you file your taxes online and havent filed for 2020 yet, you may want to make sure your tax software is updated before filing your tax return.
If you filed your 2020 tax return before this new law change, the IRS is asking you not to file an amended return and not to take any additional steps. The IRS will automatically issue refunds starting in May and into the summer to those who qualify. If you claimed tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit , the IRS will also automatically issue refunds if you qualify for a higher amount because the tax break changed your income level.
If your state decides to give you a state tax break and you already filed your state return, you should check to see if you are newly eligible for any state tax credits.
Federal Income Taxes On Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Although the state of New Jersey does not tax Unemployment Insurance benefits, they are subject to federal income taxes. To help offset your future tax liability, you may voluntarily choose to have 10% of your weekly Unemployment Insurance benefits withheld and sent to the Internal Revenue Service .
You can opt to have federal income tax withheld when you first apply for benefits. You can also select or change your withholding status at any time by writing to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Unemployment Insurance, PO Box 908, Trenton, NJ 08625-0908. for the “Request for Change in Withholding Status” form.
After each calendar year during which you get Unemployment Insurance benefits, we will provide you with a 1099-G form that shows the amount of benefits you received and taxes withheld. This information is also sent to the IRS.
Identity theft/fraud alert: If you receive a 1099-G but did not receive Unemployment Insurance compensation payments in 2021, you may be the victim of identity theft. Please report your case of suspected fraud as soon as possible online or by calling our fraud hotline at 609-777-4304.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR TAX YEAR 2021:
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How To Check Your Irs Transcript For Clues About Your Refund
The IRS says eligible individuals shouldve received Form 1099-G from their state unemployment agency showing in Box 1 the total unemployment compensation paid in 2020. Some states may issue separate forms depending on the jobless benefits for example, if you received federal pandemic unemployment assistance, or PUA.
One way to know if a refund has been issued is to wait for the letter that the IRS is sending taxpayers whose returns are corrected. Those letters, issued within 30 days of the adjustment, will tell you if it resulted in a refund or if it was used to offset debt. The IRS says not to call the agency.
An immediate way to see if the IRS processed your refund is by viewing your tax records online. You can also request a copy of your transcript by mail or through the IRS automated phone service by calling 1-800-908-9946.
Heres how to check your tax transcript online:
1. Visit IRS.gov and log in to your account. If you havent opened an account with the IRS, this will take some time as youll have to take multiple steps to confirm your identity.
2. Once logged in to your account, youll see the Account Home page. Click View Tax Records.
3. On the next page, click the Get Transcript button.
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.
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Problems With The Irs
- Low-Income Taxpayer Clinics : LITCs are programs at law schools, accounting schools, or legal services offices that provide assistance and legal representation to lower-income taxpayers who are in disputes with the IRS.
- Taxpayer Advocate Service : TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that can help people navigate through their tax problems and find solutions. Contact your local office.
- Community Legal Aid: Local legal aid services can provide free or low-cost legal help for people with tax problems.
All information on this site is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. The Center on Budget & Policy Priorities is not liable for how you use this information. Please seek a tax professional for personal tax advice.
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
What Should You Do
If you filed electronically and received an acknowledgement, you do not need to take any further action other than promptly responding to any requests for information.
If you filed on paper, check Wheres my refund? If it tells you the IRS has received your return or are processing or reviewing it, the IRS says its processing your return, but it may be under review.
The IRS states its working hard to get through the backlog.
Its asking to not file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return.
Are Amended Returns Worth The Effort
Because tax rates are much lower in Arizona than at the federal level, it remains to be seen if people eligible for modest refunds will bother to amend their returns.
Most Arizonans who received unemployment were probably in the 2.59% tax bracket, said Bob Kamman, a Phoenix tax-return preparer. If they reported the maximum exclusion amount of $10,200, their overpayment could have been as much as $264, or $528 on a joint return many would want to claim those amounts.
But others who received much less in jobless benefits might not bother, especially if they must pay a tax preparer an additional fee to file an amended return.
Nevertheless, as noted, the department is advising everyone affected by this to file an amended Arizona return.
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Reporting Unemployment Benefits At The Federal Level
- In Box 1, you will see the total amount of unemployment benefits you received.
- In Box 4, you will see the amount of federal income tax that was withheld.
- In Box 11, you will see the amount of state income tax that was withheld.
In certain states, you will not automatically be mailed a Form 1099-G. You will have to access your Form 1099-G online through your unemployment portal or call your state unemployment office to request that they mail your Form 1099-G. In other states, you will only be mailed a Form 1099-G if you selected that as your delivery preference.
|States that will not mail 1099-Gs at all
|Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin
|States that will mail or electronically deliver 1099-Gs depending on which option you opted-into
|Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah
If you received Form 1099-G, but didnt file for unemployment benefits, this may be a case of identity theft and fraud. Contact your state unemployment office immediately for additional information and how to report the potential fraud.
What Is My Filing Status
It depends the filing statuses are single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, and qualifying widow. If you support a child or relative, they may qualify as your dependent. There are different requirements for qualifying children and qualifying relatives, but both types of dependents must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien. You must be the only taxpayer claiming them, and they must be filing single or married filing separately if they’re required to file their own return. For more, see Who Can I Claim as a Dependent?
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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 April 18, 2021.
The Tax Break Is Only For Those Who Earned Less Than $150000 In Adjusted Gross Income And For Unemployment Insurance Received During The Pandemic In 2020
Refund for unemployment tax break. The $10,200 is the amount of income exclusion for single filers, not the amount of the refund. The child tax credit checks began going out in july and will continue monthly through december for eligible families. How to calculate your unemployment benefits tax refund.
The $10,200 is the amount of income exclusion for single filers, not the amount of the refund. The amount of the refund will vary per person depending on overall income, tax bracket and how. Recipients may not get a tax break this year, which means they should take.
Refunds will go out as a direct deposit if you provided bank account information on your 2020 tax return. The tax break is only for those who earned less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income and for unemployment insurance received during the pandemic in 2020. The tax break is only for those who earned less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income and for unemployment insurance received during the pandemic in 2020.
Heres a quick recap of what we know: If the irs determines you are owed a refund on the unemployment tax break, it will automatically correct your return and send a check or deposit the payment in your bank account. The $10,200 tax break is the amount of income exclusion for single filers, not the amount of the refund (taxpayers who are married and filing jointly could be eligible for a $20,400 tax break.
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What Are The Unemployment Tax Refunds
The American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed on March 11, included a $10,200 tax exemption for 2020 unemployment benefits.
The exemption, which applied to federal taxes, meant that unemployment checks sent during the pandemic weren’t counted as earned income.
But because the change happened after some people filed their taxes, IRS is issuing refunds for overpayments or it may use it to pay other taxes owed.
It’s important to note that the $10,200 figure is the amount taxpayers can exclude from their earnings, not the amount of the refund.
The latter will vary between households, depending on overall income, your tax bracket and how much of your earnings came from the benefits.
Standard Vs Itemized Deductions
To visualize the difference between standard and itemized deductions, take the example of a restaurant with two options for a meal. The first is the a la carte, which is similar to an itemized deduction, and allows the consolidation of a number of items, culminating in a final price. The second option is the standard fixed-price dinner, which is similar to the standard deduction in that most items are already preselected for convenience. Although it isn’t as simple as it is portrayed here, this is a general comparison of itemized and standard deductions.
Most people that choose to itemize do so because the total of their itemized deductions is greater than the standard deduction the higher the deduction, the lower the taxes paid. However, this is generally more tedious and requires saving a lot of receipts. Instead of painstakingly itemizing many of the possible deductions listed above, there is an option for all taxpayers to choose the standard deduction – which the majority of the population opts to do. Some people go for the standard deduction mainly because it is the least complicated and saves time. The annual standard deduction is a static amount determined by Congress. In 2022, it is $12,950 for single taxpayers and $25,900 for married taxpayers filing jointly, slightly increased from 2021 .
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Modified Adjusted Gross Income
The IRS details the MAGI calculation in online instructions posted Friday. They’re titled “New Exclusion of up to $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation.”
“I think what was cool is they were able to adopt an existing form that allows people to get the exclusion,” Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said of the IRS. “They didn’t have to come up with a new form.
“That’s really very efficient.”
The IRS is working with online tax preparers to update current tax software so taxpayers can determine how to report their unemployment income on their 2020 tax return, the agency said Friday.
It appears digital tax preparers need some more time before their software can account for the new rules.
“We are awaiting additional guidance from the IRSon how the unemployment exclusion will be implemented,” said Lisa Patterson, a spokeswoman for H& R Block.
TurboTax expects updates to be available to taxpayers later this week, according to a spokeswoman.
Unemployment Benefits And 2020 Tax Returns
Without this new tax exemption, many people who claimed unemployment benefits in 2020 could have faced an unwelcome tax bill.
Generally, unemployment benefits are taxable income. That includes standard state unemployment benefits as well as 2020 federal benefits expansions, like PUA, PEUC, and other federal relief measures.
But millions of claimants did not have federal taxes withheld from their benefits last year, whether because they didnt know they were taxable or because they couldnt afford to have some amount of benefits withheld, according to analysis by the Century Foundation.
To further complicate things, while state unemployment offices are supposed to offer standard 10% federal tax withholding, not all states offered withholding consistently across different CARES Act programs.
Researchers estimate fewer than 40% of unemployment insurance payments issued in 2020 had taxes withheld.
The average unemployed worker received $14,000 in unemployment benefits in 2020, the Century Foundation estimates. Now, with $10,200 of that income tax-exempt, the average claimant will owe taxes on just $3,800 of the money they took in.
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