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How do you know if you get a unemployment refund?

2 Replies
Level 15
Level 15

How do you know if you get a unemployment refund?

You will get a federal income tax refund for the unemployment exclusion if all of the following are true.


  • You reported unemployment benefits as income on your 2020 tax return, on Schedule 1 line 7.
  • You did not get the unemployment exclusion on the 2020 tax return that you filed. The unemployment exclusion would appear as a negative amount on Schedule 1 line 8, with the abbreviation UCE on the dotted line to the left of the amount.
  • Your tax on Form 1040 line 16 is not zero.
  • Your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), not including unemployment, is less than $150,000. In other words, Form 1040 line 11 minus Schedule 1 line 7 is less than $150,000.


If all four of those conditions are true, The IRS will recalculate your tax return and send you the refund. It might be a couple of months before you get it. For more information see the following IRS announcements and FAQ.

IRS to recalculate taxes on unemployment benefits; refunds to start in May

IRS begins correcting tax returns for unemployment compensation income exclusion

IRS continues unemployment compensation adjustments, prepares another 1.5 million refunds

2020 Unemployment Compensation Exclusion FAQs


Level 15

How do you know if you get a unemployment refund?

Q. How do I know if I should be expecting additional refund based on the (up to) $10,200 unemployment exclusion? 

A. Prepare a test return with $10,200 less income  and compare the result to the original return.  You can use this tool


If your tax liability was already zero (line 16 of form 1040), it's unlikely that you will be getting more.  But, it's possible, particularly if you become eligible for more EIC. 

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