Due to the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, which became law in March, up to $10,200 in 2020 unemployment compensation was excluded from taxable income for individuals and married couples with modified adjusted gross income under $150,000 last year.
However, many taxpayers had already filed their tax returns before the legislation was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. For taxpayers who overpaid due to the exclusion, the IRS will either refund the overpayment or apply it to other outstanding taxes or other federal or state debts owed.
The IRS already issued a round of refunds related to the exclusion in May and June. The agency said it plans to continue issuing refunds throughout the summer. The average refund is $1,265 for this tranche. Refunds by direct deposit will start July 14 and those delivered via paper check will begin July 16, the IRS said. The IRS said in June that it had identified 13 million taxpayers that may be eligible for an adjustment or refund.
The Century Foundation has estimated that about 40 million people collected jobless aid last year. Some would have gotten a bigger tax bill, or a surprise one, for 2020 without the federal tax break.
Most taxpayers who collected unemployment last year do not need to take any action. However, the IRS said that if the exclusion was not claimed on your original return and the new calculation would mean you’re now eligible for deductions or credits not claimed, you should file a Form 1040-X, which is the amended U.S. individual income tax return, the agency said.