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Are You Married? You May Have a Longer Wait for the Unemployment Refund.

Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the 2020 Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) Legislative Conference at the Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel in West Des Moines, Iowa. Credit: Gage Skidmore.

Ever since spring, the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department have been working around the clock to quickly issue coronavirus stimulus checks that were approved under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

While nearly 90 percent of all checks have been sent out so far, it hasn’t been nearly as smooth sailing for the refunds from the 2020 unemployment benefits, which are from the waiving of federal tax on up to $10,200 of jobless claims—or $20,400 for married couples filing jointly—that were received by taxpayers in 2020.

After weeks of worrying and waiting, the IRS finally came through earlier this month when it began disbursing nearly three million refunds to eligible individuals. And its most recent release even confirmed that the second batch is slated to head out sometime in mid-June.

“The IRS plans to issue the next set of refunds in mid-June,” the agency writes, adding that roughly ten million Americans likely overpaid on their unemployment taxes last year and are in line for the funds.

However, for married couples out there, it appears that they won’t be included in either of the first two batches. According to the IRS, married couples who file a joint tax return will likely have to wait longer than individual taxpayers due to the higher complexity of calculating their respective refunds.

“The review of returns and processing corrections will continue during the summer as the IRS continues to review the simplest returns and then turns to more complex returns,” the agency says.

Still, for most individuals still relegated to the sidelines, the best course of action is to wait patiently—as the IRS has already asserted that it will automatically adjust tax returns if they indeed qualify for a refund.

“Because the (approval of the refund) occurred after some people filed their taxes, the IRS will take steps in the spring and summer to make the appropriate change to their return, which may result in a refund,” the IRS noted.

The agency added that “taxpayers will receive letters from the IRS, generally within thirty days of the adjustment, informing them of what kind of adjustment was made (such as refund, payment of IRS debt payment or payment offset for other authorized debts) and the amount of the adjustment.”

However, do be warned that these refunds might never reach some eligible Americans because they could be seized by the government for overdue federal and state taxes, child support, or student loans. Others waiting to jump in are third-party creditors who could garnish the money for unpaid private debts, such as overdue medical bills and credit card debts.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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