IRS unemployment refund: The latest on funds, tax transcripts and more

The IRS has despatched 8.7 million unemployment compensation refunds thus far.

Angela Lang/CNET

The IRS is not completed sending refunds for taxes overpaid on 2020 unemployment advantages. While it has been a month because the final batch was disbursed, totaling 1.5 million refunds, funds are anticipated to reach till the tip of summer time. Some individuals have reported on social media that they’ve obtained IRS updates displaying pending dates for the tip of August on their tax transcripts. But many other taxpayers say that they have not obtained any cash or updates in any respect. If that is you, we’ll clarify how one can entry your tax transcripts to see the standing of your refund.

Why are refunds coming, anyway? The first $10,200 of 2020 jobless benefits, or $20,400 for married {couples} submitting collectively, was made nontaxable earnings by the American Rescue Plan. Taxpayers who filed their returns earlier than the invoice was handed in March can be eligible for an adjustment and a attainable refund, which the IRS is meant to situation robotically someday this summer time. The common refund quantity is $1,686, although it may very well be more or much less, relying on earnings and different elements. 

Keep a watch out for an IRS TREAS 310 transaction code on your financial institution assertion. It might imply your tax return was already reviewed and your refund deposited. Or for those who’re a mother or father, it could be in your August child tax credit payment. For different unemployment information, take a look at the latest on $300 weekly bonus payments ending in September. And this is how the kid tax credit score could affect your taxes in 2022. This story will get updates on a frequent foundation.

10 key particulars to find out about IRS unemployment tax refunds 

With the latest batch of funds, the IRS has now issued more than 8.7 million unemployment compensation refunds totaling over $10 billion. In late May, the IRS began sending refunds to taxpayers who obtained jobless advantages in 2020 and paid taxes on that cash earlier than the American Rescue Plan went into impact. That regulation waived taxes on as much as $10,200 in unemployment insurance coverage advantages for people incomes lower than $150,000 a yr.

The first batch of those supplemental refunds went to these with the least sophisticated returns (single taxpayers with no dependents), and batches are speculated to proceed all through the summer time for more sophisticated returns. On July 13, the IRS mentioned it despatched out 4 million more funds by way of direct deposit and paper verify, and one other 1.5 million went out beginning July 28. According to an forum and one other dialogue on Twitter, some taxpayers who filed as head of family or as married with dependents began receiving their IRS cash in July or getting updates on their transcript with dates in August. 

Here’s a fast recap of what we all know:

  • The tax break is just for many who earned lower than $150,000 in adjusted gross income and for unemployment insurance coverage obtained through the pandemic in 2020. 
  • The $10,200 is the quantity of earnings exclusion for single filers, not the quantity of the refund. The quantity of the refund will range per particular person relying on total earnings, tax bracket and how a lot earnings got here from unemployment advantages.
  • Most taxpayers don’t need to file an amended return to say the exemption. But for those who assume you are now eligible for deductions or credit primarily based on an adjustment, verify the recent IRS release for the listing of who ought to file an amended return. 
  • If the IRS determines you might be owed a refund on the unemployment tax break, it should robotically right your return and ship a refund with none further motion out of your finish. 
  • Not everybody will obtain a refund. The IRS can seize the refund to cowl a past-due debt, akin to unpaid federal or state taxes and youngster assist. 
  • Refunds started going out in May and will exit in batches via the summer time because the company evaluates tax returns. More sophisticated returns might take longer to course of.
  • The IRS is doing the recalculations in phases, beginning with single filers who’re eligible for the up-to-$10,200 tax break. It will then modify returns for these taxpayers who’re married and submitting collectively, who’re eligible for the up-to-$20,400 tax break.
  • Refunds will exit as a direct deposit for those who supplied checking account data on your 2020 tax return. A direct deposit quantity will possible present up as IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF. Otherwise, the refund will probably be mailed as a paper verify to no matter handle the IRS has on hand.
  • The IRS will ship you a discover explaining the corrections inside 30 days of when a correction is made.
  • Some states, however not all, are adopting the unemployment exemption for 2020 state earnings tax returns. 

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Check your tax transcript for answers about your refund

The IRS says eligible individuals should’ve received Form 1099-G from their state unemployment agency showing in Box 1 the total unemployment compensation paid in 2020. (If you didn’t, you should request one online.) Some states may issue separate forms depending on the jobless benefits — for example, if you received federal pandemic unemployment assistance, or PUA. 

One way to know if a refund has been issued is to wait for the letter that the IRS is sending taxpayers whose returns are corrected. Those letters, issued within 30 days of the adjustment, will tell you if it resulted in a refund or if it was used to offset debt. The IRS says not to call the agency. 

You can try the IRS online tracker applications, aka the Where’s My Refund tool and the Amended Return Status tool, but they may not provide information on the status of your unemployment tax refund. 

An immediate way to see if the IRS processed your refund (and for how much) is by viewing your tax records online. You can also request a copy of your transcript by mail or through the IRS’ automated phone service by calling 1-800-908-9946. 

Here’s how to check your tax transcript online:

1. Visit and log in to your account. If you haven’t opened an account with the IRS, this will take some time as you’ll have to take multiple steps to confirm your identity.

2. Once logged in to your account, you’ll see the Account Home page. Click View Tax Records.

3. On the next page, click the Get Transcript button.

4. Here you’ll see a drop-down menu asking the reason you need a transcript. Select Federal Tax and leave the Customer File Number field empty. Click the Go button.

5. The following page will show a Return Transcript, Records of Account Transcript, Account Transcript and Wage & Income Transcript for the last four years. You’ll want the 2020 Account Transcript

6. This will open a PDF of your transcript: Focus on the Transactions section. What you’re looking for is an entry listed as Refund issued, and it should have a date in late May or June. 

If you don’t have that, it likely means the IRS hasn’t gotten to your return yet. 


The average IRS refund for those who paid too much tax on jobless benefits is $1,686. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re still waiting on your unemployment tax refund, do this

It’s best to locate your tax transcript or try to track your refund using the Where’s My Refund tool (mentioned above). The IRS says that you can expect a delay if you mailed a paper tax return or had to respond to the IRS about your electronically filed tax return. The IRS makes it clear not to file a second return: You should call if it’s been more than three weeks since your last update.

Keep in mind that the IRS has limited live assistance because the agency is juggling the tax return backlog, delayed stimulus checks and child tax credit payments. Even though the chances of speaking with someone are slim, you can still call. Here’s the best number to call: 1-800-829-1040. 

Some things we don’t know about IRS unemployment tax refunds 

The IRS has only provided limited information on its website about taxes and unemployment compensation. We’re still unclear on the future timeline for payments during the summer months (they’re a bit sporadic), which banks get direct deposits first or who to contact at the IRS if there’s a problem with your tax break refund. 

Some taxpayers who have accessed their transcripts have reported seeing the tax code 290 along with “Additional Tax Assessed” and an amount. Since this code could be issued in a variety of instances, it’s best to consult the IRS or a tax professional. 

Also, since some states fully tax unemployment benefits and others don’t, you might have to do some digging to see if the unemployment tax break will apply to your state income taxes. This chart by the tax preparation service H&R Block could give some clues, along with this state-by-state guide by Kiplinger

Here’s how to track your tax return status and refund online and what we know about contacting the IRS for stimulus check problems. For more on stimulus payments and relief aid, here is information about the child tax credit for up to $3,600 per child and details on who qualifies.

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