Are your unemployment benefits or stimulus checks taxable income?

Local finance expert answers KSAT viewer questions about taxes on government benefits

SAN ANTONIO - – The coronavirus pandemic has triggered record unemployment levels, meaning many people are receiving government assistance for the first time.

Several KSAT viewers have sent in questions recently, asking if unemployment benefits and stimulus checks are taxed.

Dionelle Rucker, the assistant vice president at Torres Financial Services in San Antonio, answered those questions.

“A few of my clients have been affected. The ones that were hit really bad, it’s definitely heartbreaking,” Rucker said.

He wants people to know unemployment benefits are taxable income.

“I would suggest withholding some amount, whether that’s 5%, 10% -- whatever you can manage, so you won’t get hit with any surprises at the end of the year when you do file your taxes,” Rucker said.

The good news is that the government stimulus checks and direct deposits will not be taxed.

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Rucker said that is good information to have, so people can avoid mounting scams.

“A lot of my clients, they’ll let me know, ‘Hey, somebody just called me and said they’re part of the IRS. They’re looking for this money and I owe all this money.’ The IRS is not going to call. They do not call. They’ll send letters,” he said.

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When it comes to the legitimate taxes you will have to pay, Rucker suggested looking into current IRS programs you may qualify for.

“For business owners, individuals as well, they did just release information about certain tax credits that are applicable to this tax year,” Rucker said.

Rucker is pointing people to the IRS website, where they can find information about those tax credit programs and incentives.

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