Unemployment Compensation

If it's later (like in a subsequent year) determined that a person who
received Unemployment Compensation was actually ineligible, and the
person returned the money, how is it fixed on tax returns?
If the return hasn't yet been filed, should the person wait until a
final determination is made and then just not declare the income on
the 1099-G?
If the return has been filed, should an amended return be filed?
Reply to
Stan K
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You can either deduct the repayment on this year's return; or take a credit by amending your prior year return, calculating the difference in tax, keep the prior year return in your records, and take the credit on this year's tax return (the credit is refundable).
This procedure is called claim of right. Evidently it you are convicted of criminal behavior like fraud, then you can't utilize claim of right.
The $3000 rule seems to discriminate against low-income taxpayers.
If you had to repay an amount that you included in your income in an earlier year, you may be able to deduct the amount repaid from your income for the year in which you repaid it. Or, if the amount you repaid is more than $3,000, you may be able to take a credit against your tax for the year in which you repaid it. Generally, you can claim a deduction or credit only if the repayment qualifies as an expense or loss incurred in your trade or business or in a for-profit transaction.
Type of deduction. The type of deduction you are allowed in the year of repayment depends on the type of income you included in the earlier year. You generally deduct the repayment on the same form or schedule on which you previously reported it as income. For example, if you reported it as self-employment income, deduct it as a business expense on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) or Schedule F (Form 1040). If you reported it as a capital gain, deduct it as a capital loss on Schedule D (Form 1040). If you reported it as wages, unemployment compensation, or other nonbusiness income, deduct it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040).
Repaid social security benefits. If you repaid social security benefits or equivalent railroad retirement benefits, see Repayment of benefits in chapter 11.
Repayment of $3,000 or less. If the amount you repaid was $3,000 or less, deduct it from your income in the year you repaid it. If you must deduct it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction, enter it on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23.
Repayment over $3,000. If the amount you repaid was more than $3,000, you can deduct the repayment (as explained under Type of deduction , earlier). However, you can choose instead to take a tax credit for the year of repayment if you included the income under a claim of right. This means that at the time you included the income, it appeared that you had an unrestricted right to it. If you qualify for this choice, figure your tax under both methods and compare the results. Use the method (deduction or credit) that results in less tax.
Method 1. Figure your tax for 2010 claiming a deduction for the repaid amount. If you must deduct it as a miscellaneous itemized deduction, enter it on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 28.
Method 2. Figure your tax for 2010 claiming a credit for the repaid amount. Follow these steps.
1. Figure your tax for 2010 without deducting the repaid amount. 2. Refigure your tax from the earlier year without including in income the amount you repaid in 2010. 3. Subtract the tax in (2) from the tax shown on your return for the earlier year. This is the credit. 4. Subtract the answer in (3) from the tax for 2010 figured without the deduction (Step 1).
If method 1 results in less tax, deduct the amount repaid. If method 2 results in less tax, claim the credit figured in (3) above on Form 1040, line 72, and enter ?I.R.C. 1341? in the column to the right of line 72.
An example of this computation can be found in Publication 525.
As for state issues it seems logical that states would let you use claim of right. California does. Of course, unemployment is not taxable in many states so this may not be an issue.
You mean if the prior year return has not been filed, what should they do? It seems logical to file the prior year return counting the amount listed in 1099-G, then file this year's return claiming a credit for that same amount. If you just ignore the 1099-G it's logical to you, but the IRS computers will send you a bill saying you forgot to report 1099-G income and you'll have to create an amended form, so might as well get it right now.
Also, on the prior year tax return you will owe interest. Say you owed $2000 on 4/15/2010. You have about 1 years interest (4/15/2010 to 2/18/2011) if you pay that $2000 now, and besides also the original tax return might have interest too because if you owe more than $1,000 on 4/15 then you made have interest penalty for not withholding sufficient tax during the year, but that's another issue.
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