You need this IRS letter to claim stimulus money on your taxes. Here’s the deal

March 2, 2021 0 By boss



You may not be able to claim your missing payment during tax season without these details.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you didn’t receive a stimulus payment you were eligible for by Feb. 16, you’re likely among the group who will need to claim it as a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return. The IRS officially closed stimulus check season on that date, saying it had finished sending out the first and second stimulus checks — Jan. 15 was the final day it could send them out, per the December law. However, when you go to file for your missing money, you’ll need the letter you received in the mail from the IRS.

On that notice, you’ll find information about your stimulus check money for up to $1,200 from the first round and $600 from the second. You can use our stimulus check calculator to determine how much you should have received from both checks. But what should you do if you never received that letter, or maybe you lost it? We can tell you how to get a copy of the IRS letter you’ll need to claim the missing stimulus money when you file your taxes.

Additionally, we can tell you how to file for the stimulus rebate credit, why you should consider filing your taxes early, as well as set up direct deposit when you do. Plus, here’s everything a new stimulus bill could include when it’s finalized, including a third stimulus check for up to $1,400 per person. Here’s a timeline for when that payment could arrive, and how tax season could complicate the matter. This story was updated recently.

IRS Notices 1444 and 1444-B — what they’re for and why you need them to claim stimulus money

Within 15 days of the IRS issuing your first and second payments — if you qualified for stimulus money — the agency would have mailed a notice to your last known address with your information on the payment. For the first payment, the IRS would have sent you Notice 1444 and for the second, Notice 1444-B. 

The IRS said you’ll use the information from these notices to claim money you were eligible to receive, but didn’t, when you file your taxes this year. Here’s more information on using the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet to figure out the credit you can claim on your taxes. You’ll essentially enter the total amount you determine you’re owed on line 30 of the 2020 1040 or 1040-SR tax forms.

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Where else can I find the IRS notice if I can’t find the physical letter?

If you don’t have the IRS confirmation notice, you can find the information in your federal tax account, using the IRS website. 

If you don’t have an account set up with the IRS, head to the IRS account page and tap the blue button that says Create or view your account to get started.

You’ll need to have some information on hand to set up your account, including tax and financial information, plus an email address and a mobile phone number to receive activation codes.

The IRS said for married couples who are filing jointly, each spouse will need to log into their own account.


The IRS has sent out two rounds of stimulus payments.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Is there anything else I can do if I can’t complete the IRS registration?

The online registration process can take about 15 minutes. During the setup process, the IRS will first email and then text two activation codes. If the codes don’t come through, the agency will mail you a letter with an activation code, which can take five to 10 days to get to you. If you want to track the letter, you can use this free service from the USPS.

Once you’ve set up your online account with the IRS, you can check your account for the information contained in the notice. If your stimulus payment information is not available when you check, the IRS said it should be in the coming weeks.

For more information on tax season and your stimulus check, here’s what you need to know about tax deadlines, why you want to file early and how to estimate the size of your second check. (You can also estimate the size of your next stimulus check.)


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