Yes. The IRS is aware that many people had a rough 2020. The rules were changed for 2020 so that you can use your 2019 income to receive the Earned Income Credit. See our full answer Do I Qualify for Earned Income Credit While on ... - TurboTax
Please read this IRS document for more information on release of refunds. First week of March 2021 is earliest for those who e-file.
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Not helpful at all. Obviously if it asked to use last years income they are allowing it. My question was in regards to not working at all in 2020 and only receiving unemployment. I am concerned that this is an error and will hold up any refund that I should actually be receiving.
Unemployment is not considered “earned income” so you would not qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) if your only income in 2020 was unemployment. The IRS specifically says unemployment does not count for EITC.
As @AmyC said, the IRS allows you to use 2019 income if it was lower than 2020 income.
Earned income includes all the taxable income and wages you get from working for someone else, yourself or from a business or farm you own.
Types of Earned Income
- Wages, salary or tips where federal income taxes are withheld on Form W-2, box 1
- Income from a job where your employer didn’t withhold tax (such as gig economy work) including:
- Driving a car for booked rides or deliveries
- Running errands or doing tasks
- Selling goods online
- Providing creative or professional services
- Providing other temporary, on-demand or freelance work
- Money made from self-employment, including if you:
- Benefits from a union strike
- Certain disability benefits you got before you were the minimum retirement age
- Nontaxable Combat Pay (Form W-2, box 12 with code Q)
- If you claim nontaxable combat pay as earned income, it may increase or decrease the amount of your EITC. For more information, see Publication 3, Armed Forces Tax Guide.
Earned income does not include:
- Pay you got for work when you were an inmate in a penal institution
- Interest and dividends
- Pensions or annuities
- Social Security
- Unemployment benefits
- Child support