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Filing your taxes for 2020 could cost you if you claimed unemployment

How much you could end up owing depends on what your income was prior to being on unemployment and if you requested your unemployment checks to have tax taken out.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Unemployment checks, furloughs and layoffs are just a few things that could impact how you file your taxes this year. 

Over the past year, many Americans found themselves benefitting from the additional $600 per week addition to unemployment checks. But those payments will now impact your refund check and could surprise you when file.

"That' what's called 'unearned income,' even though you got it as income, you didn't' earn it. So, when you're looking for those big refunds on your return, they may not be there. As a matter of fact you may actually owe money," Holly-Lynn Palmer-Wright with Owens Community College said.

Palmer-Write said how much you could end up owing depends on what your income was prior to being on unemployment and if you requested your unemployment checks to have tax taken out of them. If not, you could owe anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars.

The best thing you can do if you're in this situation is to go in prepared to owe money and have all your forms available. You could be getting different forms than normal this year because of unemployment benefits. 

Additionally, be sure to honestly record if and how much you received from a stimulus check.

"Just be honest about it. Make sure you have all of your forms. You don't want to lie on it and pay the consequences later," Palmer-Wright said.

For free help with filing your taxes, you can call United Way's 2-1-1 service.