If the taxpayer had to repay more than $3,000 that was included in their income in an earlier year because at the time they thought they had an unrestricted right to it, the taxpayer may be able to deduct the amount they repaid or take a credit against their tax in the year that they repaid it. When a repayment occurs the taxpayer may (subject to the dollar limitations discussed below),
- reduce their income in the current year,
- deduct the amount repaid as a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A, Form 1040 in the year in which it is repaid, or
- take a refundable credit against tax on Form 1040 for the year that repayment occurs.
The prior year return cannot be amended. (See "Repayments" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.)
Whether the repayment is deemed a reduction in income, a miscellaneous itemized deduction, or a tax credit depends upon the amount of the repayment and the type of income that was included in the previous year.
If the amount repaid was $3,000 or less, a Claim of Right under IRC Section 1341 does not apply. In some cases, the amount repaid is deducted in the year of repayment on the same form or schedule on which it was previously included. This effectively reduces the income of the taxpayer in the current year by the amount which they repaid. For example, if in the prior year it had been included as self-employment income on Schedule C, the repayment is deducted on Schedule C by reducing income in the year it was repaid. (See "Repayments" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.)
However, if the income was previously reported as wages, taxable unemployment compensation, or other nonbusiness ordinary income, it cannot be used to reduce current wages, taxable unemployment or other nonbusiness income. Instead it is deducted on Schedule A. (See "Repayments" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.)
When dealing with the repayment of Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits, only the repayment amount that exceeds the gross benefits received in the current year are considered. Specifically, on the SSA-1099, Box 3 will reflect the Gross Benefits, Box 4 will reflect the repayment amounts, and Box 5 will reflect the net benefit that the taxpayer received. It is the amount in SSA-1099, Box 5 (or 1099-RRA, Box 5) that a taxpayer uses to determine the taxable amount of social security benefits or railroad retirement benefits. (See Publication 915 - Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.)
If a taxpayer receives an overpayment of social security (or railroad retirement) benefits in a previous year, and then repays the benefits in the current year, any repayment of benefits that are made (SSA-1099, Box 4) will be subtracted from the gross benefits that the taxpayer received in the current year (SSA-1099, Box 3) and reported on Form SSA-1099, Box 5. If the amount repaid is more than the gross benefits that were received in the current year, a negative amount will be shown in Box 5 of the total Form SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. This negative figure represents benefits that were included in gross income in an earlier year.
If this negative amount is $3000 or less, it is considered a miscellaneous itemized deduction and can be claimed on Schedule A (Form 1040). (See Publication 915 - Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits and "Repayment of Benefits" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.) To add this deduction, from the Main Menu of the tax return (Form 1040) select:
- Itemized Deductions
- Other Miscellaneous Deductions
- Repayment under Claim of Right
If the negative amount in SSA-1099, Box 5 is greater than $3000, it will be considered a Claim of Right under IRC Section 1341. A Claim of Right occurs when a taxpayer reported income as being taxable in one year, but then has to repay more than $3000 of that income back in a future tax year. If the amount repaid was more than $3,000, it is either deducted as a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A or it is used to determine a credit that can be entered on Schedule 3 (Schedule 5 in 2018), whichever method results in less tax.
To determine which methodology is most beneficial to the taxpayer, the user must calculate the return using both methods and then utilize the method that is most favorable to the taxpayer. First, figure the tax with a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A for the amount repaid. Once the result of this methodology has been determined, remove the entry and calculate the return using the credit on Schedule 3, as follows:
- Figure the tax for the current year without deducting any amount repaid.
- Refigure the tax for the earlier year (the year the income was included on the tax return) without including in income the amount that was repaid in the current year.
- Subtract the refigured tax under step (B) from the actual tax for the earlier year. The difference is the amount of the credit.
- Enter the amount of the credit on Schedule 3 (Form 1040), Line 13. To make this entry, from the Main Menu of the tax return (Form 1040), select
- Payments, Estimates & EIC
- IRC 1341 Repayment Amount - enter the difference. This will carry the credit amount to the return along with the annotation "IRC Section 1341".
Use whichever method that provides the most favorable result.
Note: This is a guide to entering the Section 1341 Repayment/Claim of Right into the TaxSlayer Pro program. This is not intended as tax advice.