IRS Sends More Refunds for Jobless Benefit Adjustment

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The IRS will send 1.5 million more people refunds this week as it continues wading through the tax returns of those who overpaid last year because they filed too early to take advantage of a tax exclusion on jobless benefits.

Refunds by direct deposit began Wednesday, and refunds by paper check will start July 30. This is the fourth round of refunds related to the unemployment compensation exclusion provision, the IRS said in a release.

When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan in March, it included an exclusion of up to $10,200 in 2020 unemployment compensation when figuring taxable income. The provision was  for individuals and married couples with modified adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. But because the plan was passed after tax season had begun, early filers missed out on claiming the exclusion. To minimize the burden on taxpayers, the IRS has systematically been reviewing those filings, from the simplest to the most complex, to determine who is due an adjustment. 

For taxpayers who overpaid, the IRS is either issuing a refund or applying the overpayment  to other outstanding taxes or debts. In this latest round, the agency said it identified approximately 1.7 million taxpayers due an adjustment. Of that number, about 1.5 million taxpayers are expected to receive a refund. The refund average is $1,686, up from $1,265 in the last round earlier this month, due to an adjustment to the Advance Premium Tax Credit, the IRS said. For 2020 the American Rescue Plan suspended the requirement to repay excess advance payments of the premium tax credit, which is an advance payment to help people pay for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Since May, the IRS has issued more than 8.7 million unemployment compensation refunds totaling more than $10 billion. It is finished with the simplest returns and will continue to review the more complex filings and issue adjustments this summer. 

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