GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tax time is fast approaching meaning those who were unemployed in 2020 soon need to report their benefits.
But several people tell us that the tax withholdings on their 1099s are incorrect.
It’s the same story we’ve heard most of 2020; unemployed workers fighting for their benefits.
The phones are still kicking them off, the online chats aren’t working, and they have questions that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency just will not answer.
“And I was either put back in the queue line or just cut off completely,” said Cara Stanton of Shelbyville.
When she signed up for benefits she chose to have taxes withheld.
But when she got her 1099 it showed $0, meaning nothing was withheld for state or federal taxes.
Which is strange considering her payments into her checking account were the same payments as what were shown on her online MIWAM account.
Each week showed the withholdings from every payment. More than $2,000 worth over all the weeks she collected which ranged from $30 to about $150.
“I was not happy because I figured you’re trying to double tax me on this when I already paid the taxes,” said Stanton.
She says she called the UIA and waited on hold. Hours later, someone finally connected.
“The lady that I spoke with said, ‘yea it shows in our system that taxes were taken out so you have to go here and request a correction 1099-G form and you mail it in with a brief description of why you need it corrected and they’ll fix it’”.
After Stanton did that, she got another letter back from the agency saying, in fact, the previously issued 1099 is complete and accurate.
But her MIWAM account shows it’s not and she can’t file her taxes until it’s fixed.
Which can be hard on her family as she’s caring for her six -year-old son.
She calls the process “beyond frustrating.”.
“It’s literally mentally and emotionally exhausting. It takes a toll, I mean, I already deal with anxiety and stuff like that and it was at an all-time high,” said Stanton.
“After two weeks, I called every day, they kept saying that it’s pending there’s nothing they could do,” said Jenna Engberg.
She’s dealing with similar struggles but her 1099 doesn’t even have the right social security number.
It was off by one digit. An issue she says that was her fault, but that the UIA says it fixed multiple times.
Her 1099 also shows no taxes were taken out. But every time she gets ahold of someone it’s another story with another excuse.
“And it’s the same thing for months and months,” said Engberg. “It was, you know, your case is pending there’s nothing we can do about it.”
Reporter: “How frustrating is that for you?”
“Very,” said Engberg. “I mean, thankfully I have great parents that have helped me out. I have tried to do whatever I can on the side.”
A struggle for all still navigating the system who constantly post questions to Facebook groups asking for help, hoping that someone will eventually listen.
“I felt trapped,” said Stanton. “I felt like everything was piling on top of me.”
The UIA tells fox 17 it is not aware of any system issues with 1099 or their tax calculations.
If yours is wrong, you can request a new one by clicking here.
Multiple people have emailed FOX 17 saying that even their corrected 1099 is still wrong, but when I asked the agency what people can do and why that’s happening, I’ve never been given an answer.