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Do i enter 2019 w2 in wages and income? And did anyone else see a big difference by using last year's w2?

2 Replies
Level 15

Do i enter 2019 w2 in wages and income? And did anyone else see a big difference by using last year's w2?

You may have become confused by hearing something about a 2019 "lookback"  --- but do NOT enter your 2019 W-2 's into your 2020 tax return.    Enter ONLY your 2020 income---whatever that income was.


Many people had lower incomes during the pandemic in 2020 due to reduced work hours, layoffs, etc.  Or they received unemployment benefits.   These factors affect how much earned income credit and additional child tax credit you can get on your 2020 tax return and affect your 2020 refund.


There is a “lookback” option that allows you to use your 2019 amounts for earned income credit or child tax credit.   You can choose whether to use your 2019 amount or your 2020 amount.  Choose whichever amount gives you a better tax refund for your 2020 refund.


You can see this and choose in the earned income credit section  in Deductions and Credits. 


You still MUST enter all of your 2020 income into your 2020 tax return, including any unemployment you received.


Please follow these steps in TurboTax:

  1. Login to your TurboTax Account 
  2. Click on the Search box on the top and type "EIC"
  3. Click on “Jump to EIC”
  4. Answer the questions until you reach the screen "Do you want to use last year’s earned income?"
  5. Note your current refund amount using your 2020 earned income at the top of the screen.
  6. Click "Yes", enter your "2019 Earned Income" if the field is blank and click "continue".
  7. Compare the new refund amount using your 2019 earned income with the previously noted refund amount using your 2020 earned income.
**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
Level 15

Do i enter 2019 w2 in wages and income? And did anyone else see a big difference by using last year's w2?

What?  No you do not enter 2019.  Online is only for 2020.  Why are you asking about 2019?  Do you need to file a 2019 return?


You can use 2019 info to get the EIC credit.  The special lookback rule will allow lower income individuals to use their earned income from 2019 to determine their Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit in 2020, since their lower 2020 income could reduce the amount they are eligible for.



You can look back and use your 2019 income for the EIC credit instead of 2020.  See this post

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