IRS issues new batch of 1.5 million unemployment tax refunds

·3 min read

Another round of extra tax refund cash began hitting bank accounts Wednesday as the Internal Revenue Service sent money to taxpayers in the middle of an abrupt change in the rules relating to jobless benefits.

About 1.5 million people received an average of $1,686 this week after the IRS adjusted their federal income tax returns. Refunds by paper check will begin July 30.

The IRS has been rolling out these special refunds in batches as it makes adjustments for early filers who paid more than they owed in taxes on their jobless benefits for 2020 during the pandemic.

Taxpayers will generally receive letters from the IRS within 30 days of the adjustment detailing the reason for the refund or change.

When the Internal Revenue Service pushed back tax filing deadline to May 17, it altered several other deadlines as well.
When the Internal Revenue Service pushed back tax filing deadline to May 17, it altered several other deadlines as well.

So far, the IRS has issued 8.7 million unemployment-related refunds totaling $10 billion.

The IRS continues to review and adjust tax returns and will likely issue more refunds in the future. The IRS is recalculating taxes for 13 million taxpayers who filed their tax returns in February and early March before they could benefit from an important change relating to taxable unemployment benefits.

The new, temporary tax break applies only for those with modified adjusted gross incomes of less than $150,000 in 2020 and those who also received unemployment benefits last year.

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Some extra refunds will show up by direct deposit; other people will receive a check in the mail. Yet not everyone will see more money in their wallets.

Some will see the extra refund amount applied to taxes due or other debts. For some, the IRS said, there will be no change.

For this round, the fourth in this particular effort, the IRS said it identified approximately 1.7 million taxpayers due an adjustment. Of that number, 1.5 million taxpayers are expected to receive a refund. The average refund amount is higher for this round because the IRS included an adjustment to the Advance Premium Tax Credit relating to health care coverage.

The American Rescue Plan, signed into law March 11, allowed taxpayers to exclude up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 for a single person from taxable income — or exclude as much as $20,400 from taxable income for married couples filing jointly if both people lost work in 2020.

The IRS has not broken down how many of the extra refunds will be headed to people who live in Michigan.

The IRS has discouraged most people in this situation from filing an amended federal return, saying the agency will recalculate tax obligations.

But some taxpayers should file a federal amended return if they:

  • Did not submit a Schedule 8812 with the original return to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit and are now eligible for the credit after the unemployment compensation exclusion.

  • Did not submit a Schedule EIC with the original return to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (with qualifying dependents) and are now eligible for the credit after the unemployment compensation exclusion.

  • Are now eligible for any other credits and/or deductions not mentioned below. Make sure to include any required forms or schedules.

In late April, the Michigan Department of Treasury encouraged taxpayers who filed their state individual income tax returns and collected unemployment benefits in 2020 to consider filing an amended state income tax return if they haven't yet received their entitled tax relief for state income taxes.

Follow Detroit Free Press personal finance columnist Susan Tompor on Twitter @tompor.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Tax refunds issued: IRS delivers 1.5 million unemployment tax payouts

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