The IRS announced that it had started issuing refunds to eligible taxpayers who paid taxes on 2020 unemployment compensation that was excluded from taxable income by the recently enacted American Rescue Plan (ARP) ( P.L. 117-2).
Unemployment compensation is taxable income, but the ARP excludes $10,200 in unemployment compensation from the income used to calculate the amount of taxes owed. The $10,200 per person exclusion applies to taxpayers who are single or married filing jointly, with modified adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. The $10,200 is the amount of income exclusion, not the amount of the refund itself.
The IRS has identified over 10 million taxpayers who filed their tax returns prior to the ARP becoming law in March, and is reviewing past returns to determine the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax. This could potentially result in a refund, reduced balance due, or with no refund being owed.
The first phase of adjustments is being made for single taxpayers who had the simplest tax returns, such as those filed by taxpayers who did not claim children or any refundable tax credits. Notices explaining the corrections will be sent to taxpayers, and are expected to reach them within 30 days of the correction being made.
The IRS stated that it will issue refunds by direct deposit to taxpayers who provided their bank account information on their returns. Alternatively, refunds will be mailed as a paper check to the taxpayer’s address of record.
These refunds will be subject to normal offset rules, such as past-due federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debts, child support, spousal support or certain federal nontax debts, such as student loans. The IRS will send separate notices to those taxpayers whose refunds could be offset to settle unpaid debts.
Further, corrections to any Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) without qualifying children and the recovery rebate credit are being made automatically as part of this process. However, some taxpayers may be eligible for certain income-based tax credits that were not claimed on their original return. The IRS also reminded taxpayers to file an amended tax return if the revised adjusted gross income amount makes them eligible for additional benefits.