What Taxes Do You Pay on California Unemployment?

You have to pay federal but not state income taxes on California unemployment benefits.
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As of 2015, unemployed people in California who meet eligibility requirements can receive up to $450 a week in unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. California does not require recipients to pay state income taxes on their unemployment benefits, but they must pay federal income taxes.

Paying Federal Income Taxes

When you apply for unemployment benefits in California, you can request to have 10 percent deducted from your check for federal income taxes. In January of the year following the year in which you got unemployment benefits, the Employment Development Department will send you a Form 1099-G, which reports how much you received in benefits. You report the income from this form on line 19 of Internal Revenue Service Form 1040, line 13 of Form 1040A or line 3 of Form 1040EZ. If you had taxes withheld, report that in Box 4 on line 64 of Form 1040, line 40 of Form 1040A or line 7 of Form 1040EZ. Your federal tax liability will depend on your overall income for the year.

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