UNEMPLOYMENT TAX FUND: Compensation, Overview & All You Need To Know

unemployment tax fund
image credit: H&R block

After paying too much tax on unemployment benefits received last year, millions of Americans are still waiting for refunds. Many people who claim unemployment benefits were suddenly due refunds as a result of adjustments made as part of Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan. However, these tax returns are taking a long time to arrive. Simply put, there is a significant lag. The first refund payment was made in late May, and more payments have been made throughout the summer. Despite this, some people have yet to receive a penny or any indication that a refund is on the way. To further bring clarity on this, we have designed this article to answer questions pertaining to unemployment tax fund, compensation, refund and all you need to know.

What Are the Unemployment tax fund?

In a word, if you received an unemployment task fund in 2020 and paid taxes on them, you’ll receive a portion or all of your taxes returned either direct deposit or the mail.

On March 11, Congress enacted the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which President Joe Biden signed into law. Taxes on up to $10,200 in the unemployment tax fund would be eliminated for workers earning less than $150,000 per year, according to one of the plan’s provisions.

The IRS has already distributed nearly $10 billion in refunds to 8.7 million taxpayers, but another 1.5 million will receive returns in August. Throughout the year, more taxpayers will receive money.

The amount you will receive is determined by the amount of taxes you paid on your unemployment tax fund income in 2020. The average refund, according to the IRS, is $1,686.


To begin, taxpayers who got unemployment tax fund benefits last year and paid taxes on that money before the provision in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 would be eligible for refunds. The tax relief is for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000, as well as those who got unemployment assistance in 2020. Unemployment benefits receive this calendar year will be tax on 2021 tax returns at this time.

The $10,200 tax cut for single filers is the amount of the income exclusion, not the refund (taxpayers who are married and filing jointly may be eligible for a $20,400 tax break). The refund amount varies by person, depending on overall income, tax bracket, and the number of earnings from unemployment benefits. The refunds have totalled more than $1,600 so far.

Not everyone, however, will be eligible for a return. The IRS has the authority to seize a return in order to pay a past-due debt, such as unpaid federal or state taxes or child support. Wait for the letter that the IRS sends to taxpayers whose returns have been amended to see if a refund has been granted. These letters, which are out within 30 days of the adjustment. This will tell you whether the adjustment results in a refund.

If the IRS continues to issue refunds if you supplied bank account information on your 2020 tax return. They will be sent via direct deposit. IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF is a common name for a direct deposit amount. Otherwise, the refund will be mail as a paper check to the IRS’s current mailing address.

Nine things you need to know about tax refund

The IRS says it started sending unemployment tax refund to taxpayers who treated their benefit payments as income starting earlier this month.

Here’s what you can expect.

  • The tax break is for those who earned less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income.
  • Refunds started going out the week of May 10 according to the IRS and will run through the summer. As the agency evaluates tax returns. More complicated returns could take longer to process.
  • If the IRS determines you are a refund on the unemployment tax fund break, it will automatically send a check.
  • You do not need to file an amended return to claim the exemption.
  • Refunds will go out as a direct deposit if you provided bank account information on your 2020 tax return. Otherwise, the refund will be mail as a paper check to the address the IRS has on hand.
  • The IRS is doing the recalculations in two phases, starting with those who are eligible for the up to $10,200 tax break. It will then adjust returns for those married-filing-jointly taxpayers who are eligible for the up to $20,400 tax break.
  • The IRS will send you a notice explaining the corrections within 30 days of when a correction is made.
  • You won’t be able to track the progress of your refund through the IRS Get My Payment tracker, the Where’s My Refund tool, the Amended Return Status tool, or another IRS portal.
  • The IRS can seize the refund to cover a past-due debt, such as unpaid federal or state taxes and child support.

IRS schedule for unemployment tax refunds

The IRS has already sent more than 8.7 million unemployment compensation refunds totalling more than $10 billion. The most recent wave of payouts coming in July. . Beginning with single taxpayers without dependents and progressing to married couples filing jointly. Early this summer, the first batch of these extra refunds was distributed to individuals with the simplest returns. Also, batches are expected to continue for more sophisticated returns, which may take longer to process.

Some taxpayers who filed as head of household or married with dependents began receiving IRS money. In July or receive updates on their transcript with dates in August and September.

How to track your refund and check your tax transcript

The first way to get clues about your refund is to try the IRS online tracker applications: The Where’s My Refund tool can be accessed. If you filed an amended return, you can check the Amended Return Status tool. 

If those tools don’t provide information on the status of your unemployment tax refund. Another 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.

Here’s how to check your tax transcript online:

  •  Visit IRS.gov 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.
  •  Once logged in to your account, you’ll see the Account Home page. Click View Tax Records.
  •  On the next page, click the Get Transcript button.
  •  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.
  • 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. 
  • This will open a PDF of your transcript: Focus on the Transactions section. What you’re looking for is an entry list as Refund issues. Also, it should have a date in late May or June. 

How to call the IRS if you’re waiting on a refund

It’s advisable to look for your tax transcript or use the Where’s My Return tool to search for your refund (mentioned above). If you mailed a paper tax return or had to answer to the IRS about your electronically filed tax return. You can expect a delay, according to the IRS. The IRS makes it plain that a second return is not necessary.

The IRS advises against calling since it only offers limited live assistance. IRS is dealing with a backlog of tax returns, delay stimulus checks, and child tax credit payments. You can still try, even if your chances of speaking with someone are minimal. The ideal phone number to call is 1-800-829-1040.

Refunds for Unemployment Compensation

If you are due a refund, the IRS will deposit it directly into your bank account if you supplied your bank account information on your 2020 tax return. The IRS will mail a paper check to your address of record if acceptable bank account information is not available. (If your account is no longer active or closed. Your refund will be returning to the IRS, and a check will be to the address on file with the IRS.) The IRS says it will keep sending refunds until all of the tax returns have been examined. If there are any corrections, the IRS will issue you notice.

Keep any notices you get for your records and double-check your return after receiving an IRS notice. Normal offset rules apply to the refunds as well. If you owe federal tax, state income tax, state unemployment compensation debt, child support, spousal support, or certain federal non-tax debt, the amount you get maybe (perhaps to zero) (i.e., student loans).


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes certain tax and unemployment compensation information on its website. However, we don’t know when payments will be, which banks will receive direct deposits first. Or who to contact at the IRS if there’s a problem with your refund.

The unemployment exemption is implementing in certain states, but not all, for state income tax returns in 2020. Because some people receive full tax unemployment benefits while others do not. You may need to do some research to determine whether the unemployment tax cut will apply to your state income taxes. Along with this state-by-state breakdown from Kiplinger, this chart from tax preparation provider H&R Block could provide some insight.


How do I know if I get unemployment tax refund?

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.

Are unemployment benefits taxable?

Yes. Unemployment insurance benefits are subject to both federal and state taxes. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (which most people call the stimulus bill) exempted some of that money from federal income taxes for the tax year 2020.

Does unemployment count as income for SNAP?

If you and your household have monthly gross income (income before taxes) below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, you should apply for SNAP. While most Unemployment benefits count as income, the extra $300/week you receive does NOT count as income for SNAP.

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