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If you filed for unemployment in 2020, then you may be eligible for a tax break

A new tax break in the American Rescue Plan Act makes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 non-taxable.

Stimulus payments are on the way. The White House says direct deposits could come as soon as this weekend. 

As millions of Americans wait, experts say, the already complicated tax season could get even more confusing. With a little more than a month until tax day, experts say don't freak out just yet.

There's also good news for many people who got unemployment benefits last year. 

If you're waiting to file until you get the latest stimulus check, that's OK, but make sure you're staying on top of the tax filing deadline.

"One of the problems that could arise is if you use an outside professional and accountant or somebody to help you prepare your return. If you wait too long and suddenly show up at their door on the 31st of March, they might say, 'Sorry, we have to extend the return,'" said Don DeSantis, principal at CliftonLarsonAllen.

DeSantis says the latest federal stimulus package has made some changes to unemployment, which has traditionally been taxable.

"I think the problem Congress was concerned about, was that there were millions of people who received unemployment last year, who maybe have never gotten unemployment before, and they would have an unpleasant surprise," DeSantis said. 

A new tax break in the American Rescue Plan Act makes the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 non-taxable for households with incomes under $150,000. If you chose to withhold taxes from your unemployment, DeSantis says you'll get your money back.

If you're planning to wait until the last minute to file your 2020 taxes, keep in mind, the IRS said back in mid-February that it had yet to process close to 7 million returns for 2019. 

"Have a lot of patience with the IRS," said DeSantis.

DeSantis says he's thinks next year's tax season will be less complicated.

"I think by, hopefully by spring of 2022, things are going to be pretty much back to normal," said DeSantis. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated only taxpayers who received less than $10,200 in unemployment benefits would be eligible for the tax break.

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