What if I owe taxes but I'm unemployed? Tips for filers who recently lost a job


You lost your job in 2023. And now, to add insult to injury, you have to file a tax return to report all the income you didn’t earn.

After a job loss, oddly enough, a 1040 form can be your friend. In all likelihood, you already paid taxes on the money you earned in your ex-job. Now, you could be looking at a sweet refund check and some timely tax breaks.

Here are eight tax tips for the newly jobless.

File - A help wanted sign is posted in Lansdale, Pa., Friday, April 28, 2023. On Thursday, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File) ORG XMIT: NYPM405

Don’t forget to file

This might sound pretty basic, but losing your job doesn’t mean you don’t have to file a tax return.

If you lost your job in 2023, TurboTax instructs, you’ll still need to file a return in 2024 if your income exceeds $13,850 (for a single filer under 65), or $27,700 (for a joint filer under 65).

File early

If you lost your job in 2023, you have every reason to file your taxes early.

There’s no special tax credit or deduction for losing your job, Jackson Hewitt reports.

Nonetheless, the jobless tend to sink into lower tax brackets, meaning that your income will be taxed at a lower overall rate. What’s more, the taxes withheld from your paychecks may be more than enough to cover your tax liability. Those factors point to a likely refund, which you’ll want to get your hands on, because, again, you are jobless.

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