Illinois lawmakers introduce unemployment benefits tax relief bill

WASHINGTON (WLS) -- Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Congressional Representative Bill Foster introduced legislation to provide tax relief for anyone who used unemployment benefits last year.

Called the Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Tax Relief Act, the bill would waive federal income taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits collected in 2020. That relief is applicable for workers who received benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, as well as anyone who received traditional unemployment benefits through their state unemployment insurance fund.

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The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, provided an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits through the end of July. The relief provided in the bill would cover 17 weeks of that enhanced benefit.

The bill's authors said it is based on similar tax relief provide in the 2009 American Recover and Reinvestment Act, which included up to $2,400 in tax relief to cover unemployment provided in the last recession.

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It's estimated more than 18 million are still receiving some form of unemployment, the U.S. Department of Labor estimated. In May 2020, more than 25 million Americans claimed some form of unemployment benefits.

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