Michigan Confirms Unemployment Compensation is Taxable for Tax Year 2020

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The State of Michigan has issued a decision on the treatment of unemployment compensation for the 2020 tax year: up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits will tax exempt, in conformity with IRS treatment. President Biden’s recent federal American Rescue Plan Act excludes unemployment benefits of up to $10,200 from income in the 2020 tax year for taxpayers falling within specific income brackets. Since the federal exclusion is applied during the adjusted gross income (AGI) calculation, no further adjustments must be made to receive the exclusion on a Michigan tax return. This new decision offers tax relief on both a federal and state level for Michigan taxpayers.

What If I’ve Already Filed?

Michigan taxpayers who have already filed their 2020 tax returns and did not take the unemployment compensation exclusion on their federal return should pause before updating their Michigan returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed it will recalculate taxpayers’ taxes without the need for amended returns to take the exclusion. However, the Department of Treasury is awaiting confirmation from the IRS to confirm if the Treasury can make a similar calculation for state-level taxes. This determination would remove the need to file an amended state return. Until this decision has been made, taxpayers should not file amended Michigan returns.

What If I Have Yet to File?

Michigan taxpayers who have yet to file their 2020 tax returns and wish to take the unemployment compensation exclusion do not need to wait to file. Total unemployment compensation is reported on Line 7 of the federal Form 1040 Schedule 1: Additional Income and Adjustments to Income, and the exclusion is reported on Line 8. Since the net taxable unemployment compensation from federal Form 1040 Schedule 1 is included in federal AGI and carried over to the Michigan return, Michigan taxpayers are not required to further adjust their state returns.

Calculating Tax Credits

Taxpayers are required to include 100% of their unemployment compensation without deductions when calculating the following tax credits:

  • Total household resources when determining the homestead property tax credit as well as home heating credit
  • Household income when determining the farmland preservation tax credit

These calculations are required since total household resources and household income include a taxpayer’s federal AGI as well as all income excluded or exempt from the federal AGI calculation. If you have questions about taking the unemployment compensation exclusion on your return, contact Doeren Mayhew’s Michigan tax advisors today.

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