What Does The American Rescue Plan Do For Me If Im Unemployed
If you lost your job during the pandemic, the American Rescue Plan extends certain pandemic-related programs through September 6, 2021. Here are some of the ways that you could benefit.
- Federal unemployment benefits , at $300 per week, on top of state benefits.
- If you have exhausted state unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation will be extended to 53 weeks. These are for the long-term unemployed who were initially eligible for state benefits but exhausted them before finding employment.
- If you are typically ineligible for state unemployment benefits, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program will be extended to 79 weeks . You may be eligible for PUA if you lost work for specific COVID-related reasons but are ineligible for normal state benefits. This includes self-employed people and gig workers.
- If you earned both self-employment income and other wages, you might be eligible for an additional $100 per week from the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation program.
For more details about all of these programs, check out this guide from The Century Foundation.
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.
Withholding Taxes From Unemployment Compensation
The IRS views unemployment compensation as income, and it generally taxes it accordingly. You can elect to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment compensation benefits, much like income tax would be withheld from a regular paycheck.
Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice as to how much you want to be withheld. Federal income tax is withheld from unemployment benefits at a flat rate of 10%. Depending on the number of dependents you have, this might be more or less than what an employer would have withheld from your pay.
You can use Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, to have taxes withheld from your benefits. Complete the form and give it to your unemployment office.
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Money Monday: How To Get Taxes Back On Michigan Unemployment Payments
Michigan residents who paid taxes on unemployment benefits in 2020 must file an amended tax return with the state in order to get that money back.
During the pandemic, federal law was changed so that Americans receiving unemployment benefits did not have to pay taxes on the first $10,200 received.
But what if you already did pay taxes on those benefits?
In Michigan, residents have to file an amended tax return in order to get that money back.
Watch the video above to learn more.
How Do Unemployment Benefits Work
Unemployment is a benefit paid by state or federal governments to help people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It doesn’t apply if you quit or were fired for cause.
You would contact your state’s unemployment insurance program to apply for unemployment benefits. Certain limitations apply as to the amount you’re eligible to receive, and they can vary by state. For example, New Jersey provides benefits of up to 60% of your average pay, capping out at $713 a week as of 2020, not including the extra $600 provided for under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the $300 provided for under the American Rescue Plan Act.
Unemployment taxes are paid by employers and these taxes go into a state fund to aid workers who have lost their jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor monitors the system.
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How To Prepare For Your 2021 Tax Bill
You have the option of having income tax withheld from your unemployment benefits so you dont have to pay it all at once when you file your tax returnbut it wont happen automatically. You must complete and submit Form W-4V to the authority thats paying your benefits. Withheld amounts appear in box 4 of your Form 1099-G.
Federal law limits the amount you can have withheld from benefits to 10%. This may not be enough to adequately cover taxes on the benefits you received. If youve returned to work, you can opt to have extra tax withheld from your paychecks through the end of the year to help cover taxes owed on your unemployment benefits as well as your regular pay.
Your other option is to make advance estimated quarterly payments of any tax you think you might owe on your benefits. You have until Jan. 15, to make estimated tax payments on any benefits you receive between September and December the prior tax year. In fact, you must do so if sufficient tax wasnt withheld from your unemployment benefit payments. You could be charged a tax penalty if you dont pay as you go through either additional withholding or estimated payments during the tax year.
The tax you owe on your unemployment benefits might be minimal depending on how much you received. This is because unemployment doesn’t replace 100% of your previously earned compensation.
Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet Schedule 1 Line 8
a. Yes. Stop You can’t exclude any of your employment compensationb. No. Go to line 8
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Unemployment Benefits Are Taxable
The United States has a pay-as-you-go tax system, which means you must pay income tax as you earn income during the year. And while it may feel like unemployment benefits are not considered earned income, they actually are. You do not have to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on the money like you do normal wages, but unemployment benefits are taxed by the federal government and possibly by your state depending on where you reside.
When you signed up for benefits, you may not have realized taxes could be withheld from your payments. Or maybe you opted to not withhold taxes and take home the full benefit amount instead. Either way, its important to understand your current situation now so you arent surprised with a large tax bill or a significantly smaller refund when it comes time to file your return. Thats because if you havent paid enough tax throughout the year, not only will you have to pay the amount you owe by the filing deadline, but youll also be subject to an underpayment penalty.
Unemployment $10200 Tax Exemption
Unemployment $10,200 Tax Exemption: If you have an annual income of less than $150,000, regardless of filing status, recently enacted legislation exempts up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits from both federal and state income tax for tax year 2020.
If you received unemployment benefits in 2020, Maine Revenue Services has put out information and instructions on how you may be eligible to claim this exemption from both Maine and federal income tax: . If you are using a smartphone to view the website, you may need to zoom out to see the complete set of instructions.
Information from the IRS: IRS sending more than 2.8 million refunds to those who already paid taxes on 2020 unemployment compensation: .
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What To Know About Taxes If You Got Unemployment
Even once that happens, however, it will take some time for the IRS and Treasury Department, as well as tax preparers and companies, to implement and give guidance on the new rules.
This means that if you had unemployment income in 2020, it’s best to wait to submit your tax return to the IRS, even though it’s already the middle of the filing season. It also means that if you already filed for 2020, you will need to send in an amended return but should also wait to do that until the bill is law.
I Paid Too Much Tax On My Unemployment Benefits Now What
Now that the extended tax deadline of May 17 is behind us, it appears the IRS is planning to play catch-up on issuing refunds to eligible taxpayers this week including for taxes paid on up to $10,200 of 2020 unemployment compensation which, under the American Rescue Plan , was eventually excluded from taxable income. The $10,200 per person exclusion applies to taxpayers who are single or married, filing jointly, with modified adjusted gross income of less than $150,000.
Whether you receive a full refund, a reduced balance after your freelance tax obligations are met or no refund at all on this amount of unemployment income depends on your individual tax situation. The IRS is currently working to look at returns from individuals claiming unemployment income and calculating any refunds owed as they make corrections based on the change in taxation for unemployment income in this special circumstance.
Another positive: the IRS is using direct deposit for refunds.
Incorrect or no tax refund? Make sure you have accurate freelance tax records to substantiate your claim.
1) In general, any documents you need to substantiate tax deductions, expenses or other situations affecting your tax return should be kept for a minimum of three years. However, when it comes to employment taxes you should keep those records for at least four years.
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If You Owe Tax That You Can’t Pay
If youre receiving unemployment benefits, its likely because youre out of work, and that could cause a hardship if you realize you have a lump sum of tax due when you file your return. For some taxpayers, this could mean deciding between paying the rent and buying groceries, or sending estimated tax payments to the IRS. If you find yourself in this situation, there are some options.
You can apply for a short-term or long-term installment agreement with the IRS to satisfy your tax debt in monthly payments made over a period of time, up to 72 months. Just file Form 9465 with the IRS.
You can also file Form 2210 with the IRS to ask the agency to waive any underpayment penalty thats been assessed against you if you feel it would be inequitable to require you to pay the penalty. You might also qualify for a waiver if you became disabled during the year you collected unemployment, or you retired during that year and were at least 62 years old.
Don’t File An Amended Return
The IRS has stressed that taxpayers shouldnt 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 IRS, for instance, can adjust returns for taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, a refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working individuals and couples, particularly those with children.
Because the exclusion changed the income level, those people may now be eligible for an increase in the EITC amount which may result in a larger refund. Taxpayers, however, would have to file an amended return if they didn’t originally claim the EITC or other credits but now are eligible because the exclusion changed their income. These taxpayers should review their state tax returns as well.
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Some Will Get Refunds On Taxes They Paid On Unemployment Benefits Eventually
Sometimes it doesnt pay to be an early bird. Millions of Americans filed their taxes before Congress changed the rules, making a big chunk of unemployment benefits tax free. Now the IRS says it will recalculate their tax returns for them. But theres a catch theyll have to wait for their refunds.
Josh Gannis, a teacher in Tacoma, Washington, was laid off a year ago and received about $15,000 in unemployment benefits. He filed his taxes a few days before Congress passed the latest COVID-19 relief bill, which surprise! made the first $10,200 of 2020 unemployment benefits tax free for households with adjusted gross income below $150,000.
Im a good citizen, Gannis said. Im diligent, I get my stuff in on time and then bam! I find out that, you know, $10,000 of my income is now not taxable I got a tax break. Didnt know it was coming.
Neither, apparently, did the IRS. Initially it told taxpayers like Gannis to sit tight as it figured out what to do. Then, a few days ago, the IRS announced it would recalculate their returns for them. Gannis prefers to do it himself.
Id rather have a process where its not all on them, where theres action by me and a response by them, he said.
Its hard for Gannis to wait for his refund. Hes planning to use it to help pay down $10,000 worth of medical debt.
Its a mess, frankly, right now, and people are trying to sort this out, and it will take time to sort this out, she said.
What Else To Know About Unemployment Tax Refunds
The IRS has provided some information on its website about taxes and unemployment compensation. But we’re still unclear on the exact timeline for payments, which banks get direct deposits first or who to contact at the IRS if there’s a problem with your refund.
Some states, but not all, are adopting the unemployment exemption for 2020 state income tax returns. Because some get full tax unemployment benefits and others don’t, you might have to do some digging to see if the unemployment tax break will apply to your state income taxes. This chart by the tax preparation service H& R Block could give some clues, along with this state-by-state guide by Kiplinger.
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Most Don’t Have To File An Amended Return
Most taxpayers don’t need to file an amended return to claim the exemption. If the IRS determines you are owed a refund on the unemployment tax break, it will automatically correct your return and send a refund without any additional action from your end.
The only reason to file an amended return is if the calculations now make you eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on your original tax return, like the Additional Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS said it will be sending notices in November and December to people who didn’t claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit but may now be eligible for them.
If you think you’re now eligible for deductions or credits based on an adjustment, the most recent IRS release has a list of people who should file an amended return.
The average IRS refund for those who paid too much tax on jobless benefits is $1,686.
Should I File An Amended Return
Although the IRS says there’s no need to file an amended return, some early filers may still need to, especially if their recalculated AGI makes them eligible for additional federal credits and deductions not already included on their original tax return.
The IRS, for example, can adjust returns for those taxpayers who claimed the earned income tax credit and, because the exemption changed their income level, may now be eligible for an increase in the tax credit amount which may result in a larger refund. That said, most taxpayers will need to file an amended return if they didn’t originally claim the tax credit, or other credits like the additional child tax credit, but now are eligible because the exclusion changed their income, according to the IRS.
There are two exceptions to this general rule. First, you don’t need to file an amended return to claim the recovery rebate credit, earned income tax credit with no qualifying children, or the premium tax credit even if it wasn’t claimed on your return. If you’re suddenly eligible for these credits when the unemployment exemption is applied, the IRS will calculate the credit for you and include it in any overpayment. Second, don’t file an amended return to claim the additional child tax credit or earned income tax credit if you reply to a notice from the IRS stating you may be eligible for one of these credits and you’re not requesting any other changes to your 2020 tax return.
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