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Your 2020 taxes: stimulus money, unemployment taxes & writing off working from home

How to get the rest of your stimulus money by filing taxes and what it means if you received unemployment benefits this year.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — It's time for taxes. It seems like it was just tax day, doesn’t it?
Nine months later, tax day is coming around again.

Tax Day 2021 is April 15 (for now anyway) but you can start filing taxes as soon as the season opens, this year the IRS is expected to start processing returns around January 25.

Why would you want to do your return so early? It may be you didn’t get all the stimulus money you thought you should. Filing is the only way left to get it.

RECOVERY REBATE CREDIT

Line 30 of your tax return is the recovery rebate credit. That is the stimulus.

Even if you don't normally file a tax return, you'll want to do it this year to claim your money. This is key, the IRS confirms you need to e-file to get the Recovery Rebate Credit. It's not a paper filing. Normal non-filers will be able to file for free.

RELATED: Line 30 on your 2020 tax return could be your last chance for stimulus money

STIMULUS MONEY

 Just to be clear one more time, stimulus money is not taxable income. Yes, you will be required to claim how much you received, but that is because you could be getting more on the credit.

 
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

If you collected unemployment benefits, you will be taxed on that income, just as you would a regular paycheck. You need to plan for how that will impact your taxes.

"Especially those who collected unemployment and did not withhold,” said  Jill Schlesinger, CBS News Business Analyst.

If you're getting unemployment benefits now, be aware of withholding. For example, if you withhold “0” federal and state income taxes, you get more money in your benefit check but you'll owe it all in a lump sum at tax time.

If you withhold a percentage of taxes you get less in your weekly check-- but you don't add that to what you owe tax time.

WORK FROM HOME WRITE-OFFS

The pandemic forced millions of Americans to leave the office. In a recent survey, 53% of people working in their house planned to take a home office tax deduction but they may not qualify.

"Only if you are self-employed or have a home business are you allowed to deduct a home office. If you're just working at home for the convenience of your employer like I do many days. That is not a home office deduction, but many taxpayers think it is,” said Mark Steber, Jackson Hewitt's Chief Tax Information Officer.