Unemployment numbers show that a lot of people lost their jobs last year. This means that a lot of people need to know exactly what they need to file their taxes during this difficult time. If your tax situation is simple or you are in the military, you may even be able to file free with TurboTax or H&R Block Free Edition.
If you were unemployed for part or all of last year, here’s what you need to file your Federal and State tax return.
Unemployed Last Year? Forms Needed to File Your Taxes:
Being unemployed is usually a difficult and uncertain time. It’s likely that your income has dropped, but the silver lining is that you may qualify for unemployment benefits.
To receive unemployment compensation you have to apply through your state program, and eligibility differs from state to state. Also, because nothing is certain except death and taxes, the IRS considers unemployment payments to be taxable income.
Tip: You can pay quarterly If you believe that you will owe the IRS money, you can choose to pay quarterly taxes to avoid penalties.
Your state unemployment office will issue you a Form 1099-G, and your total amount of compensation will be reported in Box 1.
Compensation usually depends on these 3 things:
- The length of your unemployment
- Your total earnings
- The maximum benefit allowed in your state
When filing your Federal taxes, report your unemployment compensation on your tax return in the additional income section.
In Form 1099-G the total Federal tax withheld will be in box 4, and any State tax withheld will be in box 11.
Tip: You can choose to have taxes withheld to reduce the amount of money you’ll owe when filing your tax return! For a voluntary withholding request, you’ll need to fill out a Form W-4V here
Free Tax Software for Unemployed?
If you are unemployed and have a simple tax situation you may be able to file your Federal and State taxes free. The top names in online tax software have a “free” version for those who qualify.
You do have to meet certain requirements like a maximum income which are outlined by each brand with their free tax software.
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