Some Americans who collected unemployment benefits in 2020 might see their tax refund shrink or disappear this year

Some Americans who collected unemployment benefits in 2020 might see their tax refund shrink or disappear this year
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  • Possible economic troubles loom for some that received unemployment benefits, Axios' Jennifer Kingson reports.
  • Americans will have to declare their unemployment benefits as income on their tax returns, and those who have yet to pay taxes on those benefits will have to pay up when they file.
  • A bigger tax bill means the tax refunds many Americans are accustomed to receiving could shrink or disappear altogether this year, Kingson pointed out. This could have negative economic consequences, as families in the US across all income levels use tax refunds to pay their bills.
  • As the economic fallout from the pandemic continues, many Americans were already finding it hard to get by. For example, In December, The New York Times' Tara Siegel Bernard reported that workers were taking money out of their retirement accounts to cover basic expenses.
  • Leigh Phillips, president, and CEO of the nonprofit SaverLife, told Kingson that half of Americans already struggle to cover financial emergencies such as flat tires and that "tax season is usually the largest infusion of cash that low-income families will get in a year."
  • This is only likely to compound the fact that, as Phillips said, millions of Americans "have had no ability to earn income now for nine months."
  • "You don't recover from that within a year, you don't recover from that within a generation," Phillips told Axios about the financial situation many Americans find themselves in. "We're trading short-term pain for a much worse situation down the road."
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