Millions of Americans took unemployment in 2020 but filed their taxes before the American Rescue Plan was enacted in March 2021. The American Rescue Plan excluded up to $10,200 in unemployment compensation per taxpayer paid in 2020 and applied to taxpayers who earned less than $150,000 in modified adjusted gross income. The exemption for married couples filing jointly is $20,400 of unemployment benefits from their earnings.
The IRS has identified at least 13 million taxpayers that may be eligible for the refunds because the unemployment exemptions were not applied to their 2020 tax filing. Some of the refunds will be issued periodically and some will have the overpayment applied to taxes due or other debts.
The next set of refunds will be issued later this month with 2.8 million Americans already receiving a refund payment. If the IRS has the right banking information, refunds will be made by direct deposit. If not, a paper check will be mailed out to the taxpayer.