From the National Society of Accountants (NSA)

The IRS has announced that it will automatically refund money to taxpayers who reported unemployment compensation in their tax return before the recent changes made by the American Rescue Plan Act signed on March 11, 2021.

The American Rescue Plan Act allows taxpayers earning less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income to exclude unemployment compensation up to $20,400 if married filing jointly and $10,200 for other taxpayers. The legislation only applies to 2020 unemployment benefits.

The news release clarifies that those who filed before the legislation was signed will have the appropriate changes made to their returns, which may result in a refund. For taxpayers who have already filed, the IRS will recalculate the correct taxable amount of unemployment compensation and tax. Any tax that has been overpaid will be refunded or applied to outstanding taxes owed. Taxpayers can expect refunds to be issued in May and continue into the summer months.

“For those who have already filed, the IRS will do these recalculations in two phases, starting with those taxpayers eligible for the up to $10,200 exclusion. The IRS will then adjust returns for those married filing jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 exclusion and others with more complex returns.”

New Exclusion of up to $10,200 of Unemployment Compensation

From IRS.gov

If your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is less than $150,000, the American Rescue Plan enacted on March 11, 2021, excludes from income up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation paid in 2020, which means you don’t have to pay tax on unemployment compensation of up to $10,200. If you are married, each spouse receiving unemployment compensation doesn’t have to pay tax on unemployment compensation of up to $10,200. Amounts over $10,200 for each individual are still taxable. If your modified AGI is $150,000 or more, you can’t exclude any unemployment compensation. If you file Form 1040-NR, you can’t exclude any unemployment compensation for your spouse.

The exclusion should be reported separately from your unemployment compensation. See the updated instructions and the Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet to figure your exclusion and the amount to enter on Schedule 1, line 8.

When figuring the following deductions or exclusions from income, if you are asked to enter an amount from Schedule 1, line 7 enter the total amount of unemployment compensation reported on line 7 (unreduced by any exclusion amount) and if you are asked to enter an amount from Schedule 1, line 8, enter the amount from line 3 of the Unemployment Compensation Exclusion Worksheet. See the specific form or instructions for more information. If you file Form 1040-NR, you aren’t eligible for all of these deductions. See the Instructions for Form 1040-NR for details.

  • Taxable Social Security benefits (Instructions for Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Social Security Benefits Worksheet)
  • IRA deduction (Instructions for Form 1040 or 1040-SR, IRA Deduction Worksheet)
  • Student loan interest deduction (Instructions for Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Student Loan Interest Deduction Worksheet)
  • Nontaxable amount of Olympic or Paralympic medals and USOC prize money (Instructions for Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Schedule 1, line 8)
  • The exclusion of interest from Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds issued after 1989 (Form 8815)
  • The exclusion of employer-provided adoption benefits (Form 8839)
  • Tuition and fees deduction (Form 8917)
  • The deduction of up to $25,000 for active participation in a passive rental real estate activity (Form 8582)

If you have already filed your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR, you should not file an amended return. The IRS will automatically refund money to people who already filed their tax return reporting unemployment compensation. See IR-21-71  for more details.

If you have questions about any business or individual tax issue, contact Pinnacle CPA Advisory Group for help. Reach us by phone at (614) 942-1990, by sending an email to info@cpaagi.com, or by filling out our Contact form at cpaagi.com/contact.