6 stimulus check pitfalls you need to know now that tax season is hereFebruary 20, 2021
Does the? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans will use their to claim a payment. If you didn’t receive the , you can file for a as part of this year’s tax cycle.
The IRS is now, but you’ve got until April 15 to file (here’s what to know about ). Just 24 hours after you , you can begin (the IRS is asking taxpayers to avoid filing paper returns this year, if possible, to keep the process moving quickly).
It sounds simple, but there are some important ways that the rules changed between the IRS sending out checks proactively and you having to claim your payment as part of a tax rebate. The new situation could potentially keep you from getting your missingon time — or even at all. Here’s what you need to know right now about exceptions that could trip up your claim. (And here are details about a for , including , and how .) This story was recently updated.
The IRS has to process your tax return before you get any money
Once you file your taxes with your Recovery Rebate Credit form, you’ll have to wait for the IRS to process your tax refund. If you file for the credit and are owed money, you’ll either see the amount of your tax refund increased or the amount of tax you owe reduced, depending on the amount of.
The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within 21 days, but many people will get theirs far sooner. We’ve gotbased on your situation.
Recovery Rebate Credit claims take extra work. Especially for nonfilers
Unfortunately, your missing stimulus money won’t just show up on your tax return. You have to file a form to claim your money as a Recovery Rebate Credit. We’ve got, but the basics are:
3. If you’re filing for a partial check rebate, you’ll need the IRS’ calculated amount from. This was called Notice 1444 for the first payment and Notice 1444-B for the second payment.
If you don’t usually have to file taxes — for example, if you receive, or if you’re — you should have automatically received a first and second stimulus check. But if your check never arrived (there were ), you will still have to file a 2020 tax return this year and claim your Recovery Rebate Credit to claim your missing stimulus money. We’ve got instructions on .
Filing for a tax extension? Prepare to wait longer for your money
You can file your tax return anytime before the. However, if you need more time, you can , which would move your deadline to Oct. 15.
You can still claim missing stimulus money through a Recovery Rebate Credit if you file your taxes with an extension, but keep in mind that this means your refund will arrive correspondingly later. For example, if you wait until Oct. 15 to claim it, the earliest you would get the money is Oct. 22.
You may not get a check if you owe money to the IRS
Under the cover past-due child support. That rule changed with the second stimulus check, which couldn’t be taken if you .from March 2020, your first stimulus check could be seized by state and federal agencies to
However, these rules are different when you file for missing stimulus money on your 2020 tax return. For certain outstanding debts — including past-due child support and unpaid student loans — the IRS can withhold some or all of your unpaid stimulus payment issued as a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your taxes. An independent taxpayer advocacy group within the IRS is working with the agency to address this issue. (Find out .)
If you do owe the IRS money, you may be wondering: Should I bother filing for a Recovery Rebate Credit if the agency is going to take my money away? It likely still makes sense for you to do so, because it will help you pay down your debt — even if you won’t be able to access those funds as the laws intended.
Your stimulus check could be garnished, even if you’re claiming it due to an IRS error
There wereeven though you were eligible, including IRS errors, closed bank accounts or changed addresses. Unfortunately, even if there was an IRS error, if you did not get the money as a , or , the IRS can claim it to cover your debts when you file for it on your tax return.
This is due to a limitation that subjects Recovery Rebate Credits to regular rules for unpaid federal taxes and certain other debts, so the credit is treated differently than the stimulus checks paid up front.
Any error in your third check means you’ll have to wait until tax season next year to claim missing money
Much like the first and second checks, you’ll be able to claim any missing money from the third check owed to you or your dependents during tax season next year, 2022. That’s a long way away. The best thing to do right now to make sure your third check does arrive on time is to.
4 ways you might be able to get your refund faster
If you’re filing for a, the IRS probably last fall. , which the IRS suggested, you’ll need the amount of the payment listed in the letter when you file this year.
If you’re able to the latest proposal (PDF)– which isn’t law yet., it can mean quicker turnaround for your refund, if one is due to you. In addition, any potential missing stimulus payments are also tied to your taxes this year, so as well as a stimulus check in one payment. It’s also more likely you’ll get your full payment with the because the IRS would base your on your 2019 and 2020 taxes, according to
If you don’t have avoid filing paper returns if possible as well, to safeguard against further delays., setting it up when you file your taxes can mean seeing your refund sooner — especially if you combine it with electronic filing. The IRS has actually asked taxpayers to
If you’ve moved recently or you’re planning to move, you’ll need to, even if it’s temporary. Keeping your address information up to date helps to ensure that you receive all your stimulus checks — the potentially missing ones too — as well as your tax refund.
For more details, check out everything we know so far about a, and .