More than 30% of Americans 'don't know if they'll get a tax refund or if they owe IRS this year'

ONE-third of Americans don't know whether they'll get a tax refund or if they'll owe the IRS money this year.

Even though the deadline for most Americans to file their taxes has been pushed back from April 15 to May 17, 32 percent of taxpayers are still unsure whether they'll be entitled to a rebate, a new survey found.

The survey, carried out by NORC at the University of Chicago, polled 1,076 adults online and over the phone from February 25 to March 1.

"The complexities just continue to unfold,” said Angela Fontes, vice president of the economics, justice and society department at NORC to CNBC.

"To me it says there’s a lot of folks who potentially had some extenuating circumstances that make it so they’re not sure they’re getting that refund.”

Despite the concerns, most Americans do typically receive refunds from the IRS after filing their returns.

In 2020, nearly 170 million people filed tax returns, including traditional non-filers who submitted information to get their economic impact payments.

Of that number, nearly 126 million refunds were issued by the IRS, accounting for 74 percent of all filers.

The average refund in 2020 was $2,549 – around $321 less than the average in 2018, which was $2,870.

So far this year, the IRS has received about 76 million individual tax returns through March 19 and has issued nearly 50 million refunds.

For 2021, the average refund size far $2,929, CNBC reported.

Taxpayers receive fund from the IRS when they overpay what taxes they owe on their annual adjusted income.

Typically, this happens because employers withhold more than needed to pay taxes from their employee’s pay.

At the close of the year, once taxpayers file, the IRS hands them a check for the amount they've overpaid by.

However, on the other hand, an individual may end up owing the IRS money at the year if they underpaid on any income they made.

This can happen if someone selected the wrong withholding amount, has more than one form of income, or isn't making estimate tax payments across the course of the year.

Because of the pandemic, extra confusion has been caused among taxpayers in 2021.

Millions who lost jobs as coronavirus decimated the economy realized as filing season began that unemployment income was taxable and could lead to a tax bill if funds hadn’t been withheld throughout the year.

Then, after the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in March, the first $10,200 of unemployment income was made tax free for those with adjusted gross income of less than $150,000 in 2020.

Additionally, anyone who picked up a side gig last year may have to file their taxes differently than they're used to.

Selling stocks or other investments, such as cryptocurrency, must also be reported to the IRS and will be taxed.

If you're unsure whether you'll owe the IRS at the end of the year, or if you're due a refund, the IRS has a calculator where taxpayers can enter their filing information for free.

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