While Millions Wait To File Tax Returns, Some Early Filers Will Get Unexpected Refund

Monday is the deadline for filing your 2020 state and federal tax returns.

Video Transcript

- While many do wait until the last minute, millions of others have already filed. As money editor Jon Delano reports, some of those could be getting a surprise refund.

JON DELANO: With the pandemic and economic uncertainty, there's been a lot of procrastination in filing tax returns this year.

AIMEE PICCHI: About 33 million people have yet to file their taxes.

JON DELANO: That's worse than last year says, Amy Picchi from "CBS Money Watch." Anyone expecting a quick refund, especially from a paper filing, may have to wait, as many 2019 returns filed during the pandemic are still being processed.

AIMEE PICCHI: And they actually just loaded the tax returns into tractor trailers and just let them sit until the people, the IRS employees were able to get there, open up the returns and start processing them. As of March, I think they still had about two or three million of those paper returns from 2019 to go through.

JON DELANO: Bad news for many. But here's some good news for those who collected unemployment benefits last year and filed their 2020 tax returns before mid-March.

AIMEE PICCHI: There were, I think about 10 million people who filed their taxes before the American Rescue Plan was passed and signed into law by President Biden, and those people paid their taxes on the unemployment benefits.

JON DELANO: The new law exempts from federal taxes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits, which means millions are owed an extra refund.

AIMEE PICCHI: IRS is going back and their checking tax returns. And if you paid taxes on that unemployment income, they're going to refund you that money, refund you the tax that you paid.

JON DELANO: It may take a while to get this special refund.

AIMEE PICCHI: They're starting with the tax returns that are the easiest for them to process. So these are single filers with no tax credits. They're going to go through the process first.

JON DELANO: While the first checks are going out this week, it may take until Labor Day to get all the refunds out. But for a change, the taxpayer doesn't have to do anything. The IRS is supposed to send a refund without any additional paperwork. Jon Delano, KDKA News.