Some workers should amend 2020 tax returns if still waiting for $1,189 unemployment tax refund

Some workers are still waiting for that $1,189 unemployment tax refund they paid taxes on this year.

Around 430,000 refunds were sent out this week with an average worth of $1,189 per check.

Unemployment benefits are normally considered taxable income, but for the year 2020 the American Rescue Plan made the first $10,200 of unemployment tax free.


This works for taxpayers earning less than $150,000. If you earn over that then you may not exclude any amount of unemployment benefits.

If filing a 1040-NR unemployment for your spouse cannot be excluded.

The exclusion should be reported separate from unemployment compensation.


The IRS’ advice was to not amend a return but to wait for a refund. Some have done that and received around $1,600.

Others may have filled a form out wrong which is causing a delay.

How do I check my unemployment benefits for a tax refund?

The IRS offers an Unemployment Compensation Exclusion worksheet that can help you figure out how much to exclude.


On the sheet taxpayers needed to enter UCE in the description field of line 8 but some forgot to do this. Double check your return.

If this happened, it may be better to just amend your return because the IRS will need to do a manual review of the whole return.

Some states consider income community property between a husband and wife, and this means you may be getting a bigger refund.

If this is the case, that means both parties can exclude $10,200 each.

States considered community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Related: 413,000 families will be getting unemployment tax refunds worth $1,189, are you eligible?


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