NBC 6 Responds

Woman Says She Had to File Her Taxes While Applying for Unemployment Benefits

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NBC 6 Responds first interviewed Spring Rice, who is self-employed, in early May. That’s when she said she kept getting the same error message every time she tried to upload documents for her PUA application.

On Friday, she told NBC 6 Responds that issue had been resolved.

"I’m hanging in there,” she said.

So far, Spring said she had received about $1,300 in unemployment benefits. But her troubles were not over just yet.

“A very tough situation,” she said.

Spring said she gave the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity copies of her business license and three months’ worth of invoices and client checks from 2020 to show her income but was told in an email those documents were not enough.

“I still had to do my taxes and provide my schedule C,” she said.

She said she shouldn’t have to file her taxes to prove her income during the process of applying for unemployment benefits after providing the documents she gave.

“And especially because the pandemic, all of this happened prior to taxes being due and an extension was given to the entire United States to filing their taxes,” she said. “So why are they requiring self-employed to now go back to file your taxes to get your money? It’s completely unbelievable to me. I just don’t understand. I think it’s wrong.”

The DEO did not respond to NBC 6 Respond’s questions about the documents required for verifying the income of independent contractors like Spring. But on the PUA guide posted on the DEO site, it says in part: “For self-employment income, you will need to provide your tax return including a copy of the appropriate schedule forms to verify the profit and loss statement.”

Spring said she had filed for an extension on her taxes before the pandemic started. She said she was going to have to figure out how she was going to pay those taxes a few months earlier than she had originally planned.

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