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Tax Tip: IRS Sending Interest Payments to Some 2019 Refund Recipients

Over 13 million taxpayers who have received or will receive federal income tax refunds for 2019 will also receive an interest payment from the IRS. The 2019 filing and payment deadline change from April 15 to July 15, 2020 due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) was classified as a disaster-related postponement. Therefore, the federal tax code requires the IRS to pay interest starting from April 15 on refunds issued to taxpayers who filed their 2019 returns by July 15.

These interest payments will average about $18, and will usually be issued separately from tax refunds. If you provided the IRS with banking information and received your refund by direct deposit, any interest payment you are owed will most likely be automatically deposited to the same account. However, some taxpayers will receive a check in the mail, which can be identified as a refund interest payment by the notation “INT Amount” on the official U.S. Treasury check.

Unlike IRS tax refunds themselves, these interest payments are generally taxable and must be reported on the recipient’s 2020 federal tax return. Anyone who receives an interest payment of $10 or more will receive Form 1099-INT from the IRS in January. Only individual taxpayers and joint filers are eligible to receive these interest payments, not businesses. Note also that the IRS is not required to pay interest on refunds that were issued before the original April 15 filing deadline.