A Claim of Right Repayment is a deduction that you may be able to take in the current tax year. If you reported income in a previous year but had to repay the income due to it being paid in error, you may be able to take a credit against the year it was repaid in.
This repayment must have been in excess of $3,000 to qualify for the deduction. This repayment may reduce your income for the current year, allow a refundable credit against the tax on Form 1040 for the year that repayment occurs, or allow the taxpayer to deduct the amount repaid as a miscellaneous deduction on Schedule A, Form 1040 in the year of repayment.
If you do have a Claim of Right Repayment you do not do an amended return for the prior year. Please see "Repayments" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.
The amount of the repayment and type of income that was included in the previous year will determine if the repayment is a reduction in income, a tax credit, or a miscellaneous itemized deduction.
What if I paid less than $3,000?
If the amount that you repaid was $3,000 or less, the Claim of Right under IRS Section 1341 will 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, subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limitation. See: "Repayments" in Publication 17 - Your Federal Income Taxes.
What if my repayment is from Social Security Benefits or Railroad Retirement Benefits?
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 (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, subject to the 2% of AGI limitation and can be claimed on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 23. 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, Log into your account then:
- Click Federal from the left side menu
- Click Deductions from the left side menu
- Click "Select My Forms" and then Continue
- Click Begin on "Itemized Deductions"
- Click Begin on "Miscellaneous Deductions"
- Scroll down to the "Repayment Under Right of Claim" and enter the amount
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, Form 1040 or it is used to determine a credit that can be entered on Schedule 3 (Form 1040), Line 13 (for 2018, Schedule 5, Line 74), whichever method results in less tax.
How do I know what deduction to use?
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 log into your account then:
- Click Federal from the left side menu
- Click Payments & Estimates from the left side menu
- Scroll down the menu and select begin under "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.