By Jessica Mathews /

The Michigan Department of Treasury is encouraging Livingston County taxpayers and others to not delay filing their returns as they could see unexpected refunds.

Taxpayers who think they owe taxes typically wait to file right up to the filing deadline, which is May 17th this year for both state and federal taxes. However, the Michigan Department of Treasury is encouraging taxpayers who collected unemployment benefits and have not yet filed to do so as soon as possible. Thanks to the Federal American Rescue Plan Act, aka the third stimulus package, has changed the dynamic of the 2020 tax year and those who might have anticipated owing taxes could actually now be entitled to a refund. The Act excludes unemployment benefits up to $10,200 from income for 2020 for those who fall under certain income brackets, which could provide some relief on both federal and state income taxes.

Michigan Department of Treasury Spokesperson Ron Leix tells WHMI Taxpayers who collected unemployment benefits and were quick to file their returns ahead of the changes may now be entitled to a larger refund or a refund period.

The Department was initially asking those taxpayers to basically sit tight as they were in a waiting game at the state level and had sought guidance from the IRS to determine if changes would be made administratively or if amended returns required.

New guidance was issued Thursday, which can be found through the provided web link. In the press release, State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said those who have already filed returns should wait to file an amended return to receive the American Rescue Plan Act benefits. It says the IRS will be adjusting received returns and begin processing them in May without the need for taxpayers to file an amended federal return. States are awaiting guidance from the IRS as to whether they can provide the information needed to do a similar calculation at the state level – which would alleviate the need to file an amended state return.

More information about the changes is also available in the initial attached press release.