What you need to know about this year’s tax returns with stimulus checks, unemployment benefits

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – If you’re one of the millions of Americans who has received both of their stimulus checks from the IRS, then filing your taxes for the 2020 season will be simple.

However, if you’re waiting on that $600 relief check, you might be waiting a little bit longer.

“If you have not gotten those checks, there’s a worksheet on the form for 2020 that you can complete and get those checks,” said George Brock with Brock Tax Settlements.

The IRS won’t start re-issuing checks until February 2. So, if you’re waiting for your stimulus payment, this could happen as early as mid-February.

As for getting your tax returns, processing will also be delayed.

“This year’s been pushed to February the 12,” Brock said. “So, it’s a delay in getting your refund this year of an additional two weeks.”

If at any point the pandemic put you out of a job and you claimed unemployment, you still have to pay taxes.

“You’ll get a 1099 from the state that gives you an amount of what you received, and you’ll have to pay taxes on it like interest income or dividends,” said Brock.

While unemployment creates taxable income, it does not create Earned Income Credit. This is credit designed to help low-income workers get a tax break. Collecting unemployment could change that.

“It’s unearned income,” said Dan Thomas, an IRS Enrolled Agent. “So their earned income for 2020 is substantially less. “

But there is help for those affected.

“If you’ve had less earned income and your earned income credit went down, you qualify for the lookback provision,” said Thomas.

This is when the IRS allows you to substitute your 2019 Earned Income Credit for your 2020 Earned Income Credit.

“If you’re a victim of that situation then yes, you have the ability to go back and lookback at the prior years of earned income credit and take that as the 2020 amount, ” said Thomas.

When you do that your refund will go up.

The IRS will begin processing returns with an Earned Income Credit beginning February 15.

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