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Here’s What You Should Know About Unemployment Tax Refund

Unemployment Tax refund

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is usually considered as a taxable income. But the American Rescue Plan that was announced in March 2021 waived the federal tax on up to $10,200 for individuals or up to $20,400 for married couples filing jointly.

Since the Rescue Plan was signed into law, millions of Americans have filed their taxes, mostly without or little knowledge of the new tax break. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has identified people and announced that it would automatically start issuing unemployment tax returns. 

The Internal Revenue Service stated that it is currently issuing unemployment tax refunds in less than 21 days. But in some cases, the process may take longer. The IRS also said that issuing refunds for tax returns that require determining Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), recovery rebate credit amounts may take longer than 21 days.

Reasons For The Delay In Unemployment Tax Refund

As stated above, some refunds may take longer than 21 days. The IRS has listed the top reasons for the delay in unemployment tax. They include:

  • Your refund is incomplete 
  • Your tax return has errors
  • Your return needs further review
  • Your tax refund has been affected by fraud or identity theft 
  • You filed for the Additional Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Tax Credit 
  • Your tax return includes Form 8379 (PDF), injured spouse allocation, which could take 14 weeks to process

When Can You Expect To Receive Your Refund? 

Usually, the IRS issues tax refunds within 21 days, except for people who filed a claim for an EITC and ACTC. The date you get your unemployment tax refund also depends on how you filed your tax return. 

For instance, if you are receiving your refunds through your bank account via direct deposit, then it could take an additional 5 days for your bank to put the money into your account. This means you would have to wait for up to 26 days to receive your refund (21 days for the agency to process your money + 5 days for your bank five days to post it). If you had sent your tax return by mail, it could take about 6 to 8 weeks to process and receive your tax refund. 

If you haven’t received your refund within the given timeline, you can track its status online. Below, we will tell you how to track the status of your tax refund. 

How To Track The Status Of Your Refund Online?

You can use IRS trackers to check the status of your unemployment tax refund. Note that you will need certain information to check the status. They include your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your filing status (single, married, or head of household, and your refund amount (in whole dollars). 

Once you gather all the information, go to “Where’s My Refund” in the IRS tool. Then enter your SSN or ITIN, your filing status, your refund amount, and then click Submit. 

Note – If your entered information is correct, you will be redirected to a page that shows your tax refund status. If not, you will be asked to verify your personal information and tax data and try again. 

IRS2Go App

You need not worry if you don’t have access to a computer and cannot use IRS tools to track the status. The IRS has a mobile app called IRS2Go, using which you can track your tax refund status. 

What Do The Messages mean?

The IRS tools (online and mobile app) show one of three messages to explain your unemployment tax return status. The meanings of those messages are as follows:

  • Received: The Internal Revenue Service now has your tax return and is working to process it
  • Sent: Your tax refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check to your mailbox
  • Approved: The Internal Revenue Service has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund (if you are owed one)

Alternatively, you can call the IRS to check your status. Note that the agency’s live phone assistance is currently limited, so we recommend you to wait on hold for a while to talk to a representative. 

Closing Thoughts

Do not worry if you haven’t received your unemployment tax refund yet. The IRS is sure to send refunds to all eligible Americans within the given time frame. However, if it has already been more than 21 days, you can contact the IRS representative at 800-829-1040 and inquire about the reason for the delay. 


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  1. My claim has been in the review stage for about two months now if not longer. Ive tried emailing unemployment, no replies. I do the online chat and all they say is “It is waiting to be reviewed by an Adjudicator “. They say there are no issues, I’ve received two monetary determination letters, since its been in review but nothing else. Its been well past the 2-6weeks and I haven’t heard anything.

    • Rodneika,

      Please see if you can visit an office in the vicinity for faster resolution (you may need a prior appointment on the website).

  2. I’m in Hawaii. My benefit year has ended but I have a nice chunk of benefits left. How can I claim those benefits

    • William,

      I recommend you log in to your account online and check for available options to claim them. Alternatively, you can also call the Unemployment Office.

  3. One of the three claims I have filed for in Oklahoma on December 27th of 2020 still says pending on the OESC website. I contacted OESC several days ago and was told that my case was in adjudication. How is it legal for a state agency to mismanage, disregard and outright ignore a claim for such a ridiculous amount of time? It’s bad enough that our so-called state leaders and directors opted out of FEDERAL benefits early and are fighting the very tax paying citizens in the Oklahoma Supreme Court to deny said benefits which is deliberately injuring their own people by causing financial hardship and increasing depression and emotional stress; it’s just as bad to have claims pending for almost a year now. Again, how is any of this legal?

    • Tricia,

      I can understand your situation. Due to the pandemic, the number of claims has risen manifold and there is a huge pendency. I suggest you consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity for faster resolution.

  4. I’ve filled for over 3weeks now and it’s not approved yet,please what do you think the solution will be?

    • Lauren,

      There might be a slight delay due to the pendency. Make sure to follow up at regular intervals until you have a concrete update.

  5. Hi,
    I was working part time and I was receiving partial unemployment but now I am not working anymore. When I certify it asked if I worked any of the following weeks I said no because I didn’t. Now I’m wondering if I did it wrong. Thanks for letting me know!

  6. I set up an Illinois IDES account online but now it refuses to let me back in … says the answer to the challenge question doesn’t match their records … how can I resolve that?

  7. Jeff,

    I am about to go from my 5 year job with a government subcontractor job (JOB A) to a part time job (JOB B) which is only 8 hours a week. My time will be used for building a business which I won’t be receiving any money most likely for the first 4-6 months. The 8 hours will be enough to pay my rent. However If possible I would like to get unemployment to makeup the difference for my other bills. I will be let go by JOB B after 3 months.

    1.) Will I receive unemployment while I’m working the part time job (outside of the money made would this qualify me?)
    2.) Who will be responsible for paying the unemployement? Will this be job A or B or a mixture depending on if I’m working part time or not?
    3.) How long would I receive WA state unemployment benefits? Is it six months or 1 year?

    Thank you very much,


    • Hi Jose,

      Thank you for the note and regret the delay in response. Hope the below helps.

      1.) Will I receive unemployment while I’m working the part time job (outside of the money made would this qualify me?) – There will be a monetary impact due to the part-time earnings. Make sure to let them know about your income.
      2.) Who will be responsible for paying the unemployement? Will this be job A or B or a mixture depending on if I’m working part time or not? – I am not sure of this.
      3.) How long would I receive WA state unemployment benefits? Is it six months or 1 year? – It depends on your eligibility

  8. We just relocated from CT to FL 8 weeks ago. My husband had been able to collect UC while his gym was closed due to Covid. When reopened he stopped. We closed his gym to relocate and he has been working here the last 4 weeks in FL. He contracted Covid and is now unable to work for 10 days. Can we file for benefits here in FL (lower!) or CT again?

  9. My wife is working in Reno Nevada as a dental assistant for 3 months, she is pregnant and lives alone, and expecting delivery by January 2022. Can she take any benefits or paid leaves after her delivery so that she can manage her rents ?

  10. someone in Detroit, MI contacted unemployment and told them that I lied on my claim. and I didn’t get my benefits, I did not lie. It’s people who are jealous and they will lie and call the fraud line to stop me from collecting my benefits.

  11. I have exhausted my regular unemployment and then the extended benefits stopped on the 11th, am I just out of options or is there any way I can continue to get anything? I am honestly searching for employment but as an over 50 year old woman that just has not happened yet :(

    Iam 64yrs old lam not going back to work. My first check falls nov.17 2021. My last unemployment check June 26 2021.
    Do I still have to look for work to get unemploment.

  13. Hi, I am Terry and had to resign from my government contractor job of 4 yrs. I have worked for the federal government as a federal employee for over 20 Years. I had to leave because of a brain tumor and went through surgery along with radiation treatments. I am not able to work, drive, pulse my memory is very bad. I have many other symptoms. I had to use all my investment money to pay my Hospital bills and survive such as food clothing and shelter. Can I get unemployment benefits since I have not worked since Feb 2021? I have applied for SSDI and waiting on the decision. I am told it takes 5 months to hear back on the pending case. Thanks for your time.

    • Terry,

      Your case seems to be complicated. UI benefits are generally offered to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  14. I need help please. I have claimed 12 weeks of unemployment from Tn. I have called the help lines associated with Tn. unemployment, and keep getting the same answers , they are backed up, they have everything they need from me for my claim they are just waiting on an adjudicator to be assigned and then issue my payment. I have called over 10 times, and have been on the phone with them for over an hour on numerous calls. I have kept records on every person I have conversed with and more than one has assured me they were expediting my claim due to financial difficulties. It has been over 2 1/2 months I have been waiting for my unemployment, that’s over $2000.00 that i have been waiting for, that’s 2 months past due on my rent, and all my other bills. yes i have to wait for my money, however they do not. i just received my eviction notice. thank you

  15. I work remote from Florida, I moved here from California in March 2020. Now I have been laid off or placed on furlough as of 9/30/2020. Can I file for unemployment in California since I have more wages earned in California than in Florida?

  16. i have not got my 8 digit pin and can not get thru on phone or emails without it this is making me lose my mind and my family will be homeless what is going on this is just a big run around i need advise its not as simple as enter a new 8 digit number that doesn’t work help me get my 8 digit number and claim this is scary i’m going to be homeless

  17. The EDD website shows my PUA has ended on sep 4, but I don’t have any income for the last 18 months, so do I need to reapply for the regular UI or should I just wait?

  18. I am a freelancer, who had a baby 4 months ago. Can I collect unemployment benefits in the state of NY since I am not getting a paid maternity leave and have no income while taking care of my child? If not, what are other options I have available to me.

    thank you

    • Sallie,

      If you can fulfill the criteria, you can be eligible. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website for more.

  19. I need someone’s help. I am not able to get in contact with anyone from the IRS, and I have not gotten any of the 3-4 Stimulus Checks, Golden State Checks or whatever other bonuses California/Stimulus Checks there are out there because I was {claimed on another’s person’s Taxes as an Independent without my knowledge nor Consent. What do I do????

  20. I have been trying to get on the Connect system since 8/30 and could not need assistance. This is not fair to people who need this money

  21. I am coming to the end of my term appt as a civilian federal worker. Not a Gov’t shutdown, not a furlough. They are just not extending again the term appt I’ve been on for the last 2 1/2 years. Can I get unemployment?

  22. Wrong the Gary, Indiana Dolese Catholic, pay into the State unemployment ever since the 1930″s, and are still covered as of today!

  23. I am on a contract job out of state. When the contract period is over I may get an offer for another contract of the same terms and conditions. If I decide not to renew a contract and go home will I be eligible for unemployment?

    • Mark,

      Contract workers are generally not eligible to claim UI benefits since employers do not remit Unemployment Taxes into the system.

      • Hi My name is Tracy and my unemployment got shut on the sixth of this month and i still have benefits left can i reopen my unemployment case

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