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Thread: Taxes on Unemployment

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    Taxes on Unemployment

    Just an fyi for anyone who had received unemployment, including the bonus $600 per week, I got an email about filing. It says, in part:

    You are responsible for paying federal income taxes on any < my state> Unemployment Insurance benefits you received in 2020. The attached file (1099-G) includes the amount of unemployment benefits you collected and what amount, if any, was withheld from your benefits for tax purposes.

    If you received Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or Extended Benefits, you may have chosen to withhold 10% of your benefits for tax purposes. That option was not available for the supplemental $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) or $300 FEMA Lost Wages Assistance payments. You are responsible for paying any required federal taxes on any unemployment compensation payments you received in 2020.


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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Yeah, when DS applied for unemployment I advised him to select the option of having a portion deducted for taxes so he wouldn't have to worry about it if things were still tight for him in April 2021. Even though he also saved a good bit of the money and would be able to pay his taxes, he feels better knowing he still gets to keep the stash he's got. He may even get a refund.
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    I had withholding on the regular, but it is the "bonus" payments - where there was no option for withholding - that I worried about. That really did end up being a lot of money, so I'm not quite sure if I'll owe or the regular withholding will be sufficient coverage.
    To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer." Mahatma Gandhi
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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happystuff View Post
    I had withholding on the regular, but it is the "bonus" payments - where there was no option for withholding - that I worried about. That really did end up being a lot of money, so I'm not quite sure if I'll owe or the regular withholding will be sufficient coverage.
    Oh, I'm not quite sure what DS did about that. I never thought it made much sense to tax unemployment benefits anyway.
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    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Anyone who is smart about it, will have the taxes taken out from each unemployment check. Thatís what I did.

    Ugh. Just read it was for the extra $600. Which I got for every week I was out of work. Yuck.

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    When I collected unemployment I had taxes taken out of most of the unemployment checks, sometimes I just wanted the extra $100. I got all the money back anyway, so that was kind of pointless to withhold in the end it turned out. That's what happens when you are unemployed 11 months and only end up working like 2 1/2 months a year (that year), you get all the taxes you paid back anyway.
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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    When I was on unemployment in NY state 20 years ago they were very upfront about the fact that it was federally taxable income. I still chose to not have tax withheld because at the end of the day being able to pay my rent currently was a bigger concern than having a small tax bill eight months down the road.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
    Anyone who is smart about it, will have the taxes taken out from each unemployment check.
    If they withhold income tax on your unemployment checks, you're giving the government an interest free loan.

    If you're really worried about having enough money to pay the income tax when it comes due, set aside 10%-15% of your unemployment check in a savings account as each check arrives. That way you have the cash available for emergencies and you're earning interest on the savings account instead of lending your money to the government for free. {Your income tax withholding rate may be higher or lower. Base it on a recent paycheck.}

    I was always baffled by my co-workers who would brag about getting a $300-$500 income tax refund. Especially if they knew they could reduce the amount being withheld from their paycheck but wouldn't do it because they were treating income tax withholding like an automatic savings account.

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    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeParker View Post
    If they withhold income tax on your unemployment checks, you're giving the government an interest free loan.

    If you're really worried about having enough money to pay the income tax when it comes due, set aside 10%-15% of your unemployment check in a savings account as each check arrives. That way you have the cash available for emergencies and you're earning interest on the savings account instead of lending your money to the government for free. {Your income tax withholding rate may be higher or lower. Base it on a recent paycheck.}

    I was always baffled by my co-workers who would brag about getting a $300-$500 income tax refund. Especially if they knew they could reduce the amount being withheld from their paycheck but wouldn't do it because they were treating income tax withholding like an automatic savings account.
    Really? Here in IL, my state unemployment was $384/week. I was very fortunate to get the $600/week.

    If all you’re getting is $384/week, do you really think people are going to put aside money for taxes if they’re worried about paying rent and such?

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
    If all you’re getting is $384/week, do you really think people are going to put aside money for taxes if they’re worried about paying rent and such?
    Exactly. Of course it's the sensible idea, but having been in the crapper and on unemployment myself, I know that you need every scrap of money that falls into your lap. Then when you get on your feet and are maybe better off at tax time, the tax bill can be a real burden. That's why I feel the government should just send you the money tax free, even if it's a reduced amount. Yes, some will feel it's treating adults like children and being NannyG, but when you are unemployed, you are desperate, and when you are desperate you don't always make the "wise" decision. You make the decision that is going to fill the greatest needs of the day.
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