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IRS now sends first unemployment tax refunds to $2.8 million. When could you expect yours?



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Americans who received unemployment benefits in 2020 and paid taxes early this year could get money back from the IRS.

Angela Lang/CNET

Did you receive unemployment benefits in 2020? And then pay income tax earlier this year on the money you received? If you did, you could be one of the first group of 2.8 million taxpayers to whom the IRS refunds money. Below the American rescue plan, those who have paid taxes on unemployment benefits may qualify for a tax break and may receive a refund. The IRS has so far identified 13 million taxpayers who may qualify and is sending the first batch of refunds.

Whether you qualify for the refund depends, among other things, on your income and how much income tax you paid on an unemployment benefit last year. Individual taxpayers can exclude up to $10,200 (up to $20,400 for married couples filing jointly). The unemployment benefits are sent in batches: the first round goes to singles without next of kin. Couples and taxpayers with dependents should see their IRS money later this summer.

We explain all the details we know, including how to check your refund online. You may want to know which states are opting out? $300 Unemployment Benefit Bonus and which states offer? return to work bonuses. If you are a parent waiting for your first payment of the enhanced child tax credit on July 15, calculate how much you could get for your family and how to Upcoming IRS Child Tax Credit Portals. We will continue to update this story.

What You Need to Know About the Unemployment Tax and IRS Refunds?

The IRS has begun sending refunds to taxpayers who received unemployment benefits and paid taxes on the money last year. After some frustration with the rollout, more single filers started seeing deposits in their checking accounts as of May 28, with 2.8 million repayments in the first week of June. The IRS said the next set of refunds will take place in mid-June.

Here’s what to expect:

  • The tax break is for those who made less than $150,000 adjusted gross income.
  • The $10,200 is the amount of income exclusion for single filers, not the amount of the refund. The amount of the refund will vary per person.
  • Not everyone gets money back. The IRS may seize the repayment to cover past-due debt, such as unpaid federal or state taxes and child support.
  • Refunds began in May and will continue through the summer as the agency reviews tax returns. More complicated returns may take longer to process.
  • The IRS performs the recalculations in two phases, starting with single filers eligible for the tax break up to $10,200. It will then adjust the returns for those married taxpayers who jointly qualify for the tax benefit of up to $20,400.
  • If the IRS determines that you owe an unemployment tax refund, it will automatically send a check.
  • You do not have to submit an amended declaration to claim the exemption. (here’s how to) track your tax return status and refund online.) Some who used tax software like TurboTax said they’ve seen their refund amount change as a result of the unemployment refund, though they haven’t seen a check yet.
  • Refunds will be issued as a direct deposit if you provided your 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 message explaining the corrections within 30 days of a correction being made.






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How do I check the status of my unemployment benefit refund?

The IRS says that eligible individuals must have received Form 1099-G from their state unemployment office with box 1 showing the total unemployment benefits paid in 2020 (if you didn’t, you would have to apply for one online). Some states may issue separate forms depending on unemployment benefits, such as if you received federal pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA).

The IRS online applications, such as the Where is my refund? tool and the tool Changed declaration status do not provide information about the status of your unemployment benefit refund. The IRS also says not to call the agency.

As far as we know, the easiest way to find out when the IRS processed your refund (and for how much) is by looking at your tax statement. Here’s how you find it:

1. Go to IRS.gov and log in to your account. If you have not opened an account with the IRS, it will take some time as you will need to take several steps to confirm your identity.

2. After logging into your account, you will see the Account Home page. Click View tax information.

3. On the next page, click on the Get transcript button.

4. Here you will see a drop-down menu asking you why you need a transcript. Select federal tax and let the Customer file number field empty. Click on the To go button.

5. The next page shows your Return Transcript, Account Transcription Records, Account Transcript and Wage & Income Translation for the last four years. You want the Account Transcript 2020.

6. This will open a PDF of your transcript: Focus on the Transactions section. What you’re looking for is a listing listed as Refund issued, and it should have a date at the end of May or June.

If you don’t, it probably means the IRS hasn’t reached out to your return yet.

Still to be determined on the IRS tax break

The IRS has provided information on taxes and unemployment benefits on its website. We still don’t know how to contact the IRS if there is a problem with your tax credit refund. If a refund has been made, you should expect a letter from the IRS within 30 days of the adjustment, stating whether it resulted in a refund or if it was used to settle debts.

Here’s what we do know about contacting the IRS for: stimulus control problems. For more information on incentive payments and emergency relief, here’s information about the: child discount for up to $3,600 per child and details about who is eligible?.


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