I received an IRS tax bill showing I received unemployment benefits for the year of 2021. I was a student athlete during this time, and not able to work due to restrictions as a scholar/athlete. The bill was for $32, 920. I am asking for any information that show that I applied for any unemployment benefits

A) There seems to be a misunderstanding. Here’s why:

  • Student-athletes typically don’t qualify for unemployment benefits: Being a student-athlete usually doesn’t meet the criteria for unemployment. Unemployment benefits are for people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are actively seeking new employment.
  • Tax bill for unemployment benefits: If you received unemployment and it wasn’t reported to the IRS, you might get a tax bill. However, the amount seems very high for a student-athlete.

Here are some next steps:

  1. Contact the IRS: It’s best to reach out to the IRS directly to understand the reason for the tax bill. They can be reached at 1-800-829-1040.
  2. Review your tax documents: Double-check your tax return and any related documents for 2021. See if there’s anything related to unemployment benefits you might have missed.
  3. Look for scholarship documentation: Some scholarships might be reported as taxable income. Check your scholarship paperwork to see if this applies.

Here’s why you might not have applied for unemployment:

  • Financial aid: Financial aid packages often have restrictions on outside income, including unemployment benefits. Applying for unemployment might have jeopardized your scholarship.
  • NCAA rules: The NCAA might have restrictions on student-athletes receiving benefits outside of their scholarship package.

If the IRS confirms it’s an unemployment benefit mistake, explain the situation as a student-athlete with scholarship limitations.

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