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You Received Unemployment Benefits in 2021. What Does That Mean for Your Taxes? Thumbnail

You Received Unemployment Benefits in 2021. What Does That Mean for Your Taxes?

Losing a job is tough, especially when it's by no fault of your own. In the event that you find yourself unexpectedly without a stream of income, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The application process, criteria and benefit amount will vary state-by-state, but this benefit is designed to help out-of-work individuals cover basic expenses. However, it's important to note that unemployment benefits are federally taxable and may also be taxed by your state.1 Rather than facing an unwelcomed tax burden during the 2022 tax season, we're reviewing three options to help you prepare for this upcoming tax season.

Option #1: Request Tax Withholdings 

Since federal income tax is paid in real-time as you earn income, employers are required to withhold a certain amount from your pay throughout the year that goes directly to the IRS. This eliminates the need to monitor your salary and make regular payments to the IRS. When it comes to unemployment compensation, though, tax is not automatically withheld. However, the amount received is still taxed federally (and may be taxed in your state as well) — so you may end up owing at the end of the year.2

To avoid this, you can opt to have federal income tax withheld by submitting a request to the IRS using Form W-4V.2 There may be additional steps necessary to complete depending on your state of residency. You can check with your state’s requirements through the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop

Option #2: Make Estimated Tax Payments

In fact, the IRS recommends doing so if you don’t elect to have taxes withheld or if a portion of your income is not automatically withheld.3 Not only does this save you from owing a hefty amount during tax time, but it can help you avoid or fix any issues that may come up, such as underpaying on taxes unintentionally. The IRS states that you can typically avoid any penalties by paying nine percent of your tax throughout the year.4

To estimate your payments, the IRS advises using your previous year’s tax return as well as Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals. The payment considers your expected income and tax credits.4

Option #3: Put a Portion into Your Savings Account 

In some dire cases, it might not be possible to make consistent tax payments or to have a portion of your benefits withheld. If this is the case, whenever possible, put away part of your benefits compensation into a savings account. If you already have at least a small emergency fund accrued for the year, delegating this portion for your taxes can help you prepare for the 2022 tax season. 

For those who have experienced economic hardship and have needed to collect unemployment compensation, there are still proactive ways to ease your financial future. Saving for taxes, paying them as you go or requesting withholdings are three avenues to do so.

  1. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/employees/unemployment-compensation
  2. https://www.irs.gov/individuals/employees/tax-withholding
  3. https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/heres-how-and-when-to-pay-estimated-taxes
  4. https://www.irs.gov/payments/pay-as-you-go-so-you-wont-owe-a-guide-to-withholding-estimated-taxes-and-ways-to-avoid-the-estimated-tax-penalty

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.