Question: Do I Have to Pay Taxes on Unemployment?
Answer: Unemployment benefits are considered taxable income and the unemployment compensation you receive must be reported when you file your federal and state tax returns.
Taxable Unemployment Benefits
Taxable unemployment compensation generally includes any amounts received under the unemployment compensation laws of the United States or of a state, so both state unemployment benefits and federally funded extended benefits are considered income.
Supplemental Unemployment Benefits
Supplemental unemployment benefits received from a company-financed fund are not considered unemployment compensation. Rather, these benefits are fully taxable as wages and are reported on Form W-2 as income.
Unemployment Tax Withholding
Some states will withhold a percentage of your unemployment benefits to cover taxes - typically 10%. If the option to have taxes withheld is available you will be notified when you sign up for unemployment. It's a good idea to consider having taxes taken out of your checks, rather than having to pay income taxes on all the unemployment you received during the year when you file your tax returns.
Unemployment Compensation Tax Reporting
If you received unemployment compensation during the year, you should receive Form 1099-G, which is a report of income received from a government source, showing the amount you were paid. Any unemployment compensation received must be included in your income and should be reported in the appropriate sections of your federal and state tax returns.
Job Search Tax Deductions
Even though unemployment benefits are taxed, some of the expenses you incurred while job searching last year are deductible. That can help offset the tax liability incurred when receiving unemployment.
If you looked for a job in the same line of work you're currently in, many of your expenses like phone calls, the costs of preparing and copying your resume, and career counseling are deductible.
These job search tax deduction tips will help you make sure that you get all the tax benefits you're entitled to.