IRS to Send More Unemployment Tax Refund Checks in July

Unemployed beautiful young woman looking for a job online from home using a laptop and her smart phone, trying to decide what to do.
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The IRS is starting to send out unemployment benefits to those who filed their taxes last year before the American Rescue Plan was signed into law. If you received unemployment benefits last year and filed your 2020 tax return early, you might not have received the unemployment benefits that are now available to you as a result of the coronavirus stimulus relief bill.

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Many taxpayers were worried that they would miss out on new unemployment benefits if they had filed early, but as promised, the IRS has automatically adjusted taxpayers’ incomes from last year and taken into account how it would affect their eligibility for benefits after March 2020, when the bill became law. It began issuing automatic tax refunds to eligible unemployment recipients in May. While it has already sent millions of checks, the IRS states that it will continue to do so through the end of the summer.

The American Rescue Plan made it so that up to $10,200 ($20,400 for married couples filing jointly) of unemployment benefit received in 2020 are tax exempt from federal income tax. The income threshold for being eligible is an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 on your 2020 tax return. Only the first $10,200 is exempt from tax — any dollar above that amount is subject to tax.

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Important to note: This exemption applies to federal income taxes, not state taxes. Although many states do not tax unemployment benefits regardless of the stimulus relief bill, some states do, so it is important to check to see what rules apply in your state of residence.

The IRS says there is no need to take further action if you are one of the people affected by this change because the agency will automatically amend tax returns for those who are eligible.

That being said, if you filed early and your recalculated adjusted gross income now makes you eligible for additional unemployment benefits not included on your original tax return, you might need to file an amended return anyway.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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