Here's What You Need to Remember:
The Internal Revenue Service recently announced that tax refunds on 2020 unemployment benefits—part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan—are slated to start landing in eligible bank accounts this month.
But with only a week left in the current month, millions of eligible Americans are still left on the sidelines—and the IRS has provided few updates on the matter.
Know that these potentially generous payments are from the waiving of federal tax on up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits—or $20,400 for married couples filing jointly—that were collected last year. Unemployment benefits are generally treated as taxable income, the IRS says.
The agency has noted that as many as ten million Americans likely overpaid on their unemployment taxes and could be in line for the refunds.
According to a recent Treasury report, more than seven million tax returns already processed by the IRS appear to qualify for the tax refunds. “Of the 7.4 million tax returns, nearly 7.3 million—or 98.6 percent—had modified adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 and would likely qualify for the exclusion,” the report’s authors wrote.
Current refund estimates are indicating that for single taxpayers who are eligible for the $10,200 tax break and fit into the 22 percent tax bracket, they could be potentially refunded more than $2,200. That monetary figure would double for eligible married couples.
The agency also recently confirmed that it will automatically adjust tax returns if individuals qualify for a refund.
“Because the change occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund,” the IRS stated.
“The first refunds are expected to be made in May and will continue into the summer. Any resulting overpayment of tax will be either refunded or applied to other outstanding taxes owed,” the agency added.
For those who are still waiting for these funds to arrive, perhaps late summer is the better timeline for getting their hands on the checks. Do also take note that married couples who file a joint tax return may have to wait longer than individual taxpayers due to the higher complexity of calculating their respective refunds.
The IRS is expected to disburse the refunds in two separate phases—and currently, it appears that most married couples who filed jointly will be part of the second phase. No details have been released regarding when the second phase will start.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn. This article first appeared earlier this year.