The IRS this week is sending 2.8 million refunds to those who received unemployment benefit money in 2020 and then paid taxes on the money this year. The $10,200 unemployment tax break (or up to $20,400 for married couples filing jointly) is part of the The IRS said it has identified 13 million taxpayers so far who paid taxes and may be eligible for an adjustment.passed in March that also authorized the and more money for the .
The unemployment tax refunds will be sent in waves, with the first to receive them being single filers. Joint filers and others whose tax returns were a bit more complicated will get them in the coming weeks and months. The IRS said it’s calculating the refunds and is handling the simpler returns first — so far it has evaluated more than 3.1 million returns. The refund announcement followed Thursday’s news that first-time unemployment claims dropped for the week ending May 29 to 385,000, from 406,000 for the week before.
We’ll continue to follow the details around the unemployment tax exemption. You may also want to know about the states opting out ofand some states are offering. If you’re a parent, here are details about the enhanced , for your family and how to use the . This story was recently updated with new information.
What to know about the unemployment tax break and refunds
The IRS has started sending refunds to taxpayers who received jobless benefits last year and paid taxes on the money. More single filers began seeing deposits in their checking accounts from May 28, with 2.8 million refunds going out the first week of June. The IRS said the next set of refunds will go out in mid-June.
Here’s what to expect:
- The tax break is for those who earned less than $150,000 in .
- Refunds started going out the week of May 10, according to the IRS, and will run through the summer as the agency evaluates tax returns. More complicated returns could take longer to process.
- The IRS is doing the recalculations in two phases, starting with single filers who are eligible for the up to $10,200 tax break. It will then adjust returns for those married-filing-jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 tax break.
- If the IRS determines you are owed a refund on the unemployment tax break, it will automatically send a check.
- Not everyone will receive a refund. The IRS can seize the refund to cover a past-due debt, such as unpaid federal or state taxes and child support.
- You don’t need to . (Here’s how to .) Some who used tax software such as TurboTax said they have seen their refund amount change due to the unemployment refund, although they have yet to see a check.
- Refunds will go out as a direct deposit if you provided bank account information on your 2020 tax return. Otherwise, the refund will be mailed as a paper check to the address the IRS has on hand.
- The IRS will send you a notice explaining the corrections within 30 days of when a correction is made.
- You won’t be able to track the progress of your refund through the Amended Return Status tool or another IRS portal. , the , the
What we don’t yet know about unemployment tax refunds
The IRS has provided some information on its website about taxes and unemployment compensation. We are still unclear as to how to contact the IRS if there’s a problem with your tax break refund. (Here’s what we know about contacting the IRS for .) We’ve reached out to the IRS for clarification.
Where can I check to see how much my unemployment tax refund will be?
To find out where the IRS processed your refund and for how much, you’ll need your tax transcript.
Here’s how to find it:
1. Visit IRS.gov and log into your account. If you haven’t opened an account with the IRS, this will take some time as you’ll have to go through multiple steps to confirm your identity.
2. Once logged into your account, you’ll see the Account Home page. Click the View Tax Records link.
3. On the next page, click the Get Transcript button.
4. Here you’ll see a drop-down menu asking the reason you need a transcript. Select Federal Tax and leave the Customer File Number field empty. Click the Go button.
5. The following page will show your Return Transcript, Records of Account Transcript, Account Transcript and Wage & Income Transcript for the last four years. You’ll want to select the 2020 Account Transcript.
6. This will open a PDF of your transcript, and you want to focus on the Transactions section. What you’re looking for is an entry listed as Refund issued, and it should have a date of either sometime in late May or June.
If you don’t see that listing, it likely means the IRS hasn’t gotten to your return yet.
For more, here is information about theand .