The US government has sent billions of dollars in stimulus checks to Americans since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yet some people may still ask, “Where’s my money?”
If you think you may have been left in a bind, there is a way to claim the missing funds.
Filing a return this tax season can help if you are still owed the recent stimulus payment of $ 1,400. It can also help resolve the situation if you miss one or both of the first two checks for up to $ 1,200 or $ 600.
The deadline for filing federal tax returns has been extended to May 17 of this year.
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If you miss that date, you can still claim any missing stimulus check amount by depositing the funds before the October 15 tax return extension deadline, an IRS spokesperson confirmed.
However, there are advantages to submitting earlier.
On the one hand, the sooner you invest in the missing stimulus money, the sooner you can receive it. However, it is important to remember that even though you are entitled to a stimulus check, you may owe more than that amount in taxes.
If you decide to take a tax return extension, you only have more time to submit your return, and not to pay the amounts you owe. Interest and penalties could accumulate on any balance you owe the IRS.
Who could still be eligible for stimulus checks
Stimulus checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images
You are generally eligible for each stimulus check, as long as your adjusted gross income does not exceed $ 75,000 if you are single, $ 112,500 if you are reporting as head of household, or $ 150,000 if you are married and reporting jointly.
However, each stimulus check comes with its own set of eligibility rules, especially with regard to phase-outs above these income thresholds and the eligibility of dependents.
To learn more about why you may or may not qualify for the money, the IRS has information on the first $ 1,200, the second $ 600, and the third $ 1,400 payments on its website.
As the IRS processes tax returns this season, each week it is rolling out additional money in the form of new checks to people it did not previously have, as well as “over-up” payments to. those with insufficient previous checks.
You may be entitled to a top-up payment if the return you submit this tax season shows that your income has declined since last year, or if you have added another dependent to your family, for example.
If you are receiving federal benefits and typically don’t file a tax return, you may have received your payment automatically. However, the IRS has urged federal beneficiaries to file a return to ensure their eligible dependents are included.
On Tuesday, the Social Security administration announced that all Social Security or Supplemental Security Income recipients who have not received their checks should file tax returns to ensure they receive their payments. .
The government is also encouraging people it has not registered to file income tax returns in order to get their stimulus checks, especially the homeless or the rural poor.
If you used the IRS’s online non-filer tool last year, you generally shouldn’t have to resubmit your information through a tax return. The non-filing tool was not reopened this year.
Instead, the IRS encourages people to file income tax returns, which also helps the tax agency assess whether or not you qualify for additional tax credits, such as the tax credit for enhanced children or the earned income tax credit.
How to claim your missing payments of $ 600 or $ 1,200
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Stimulus checks are generally advance payments of a tax credit.
2020 tax returns now offer a section where you can claim the recovery refund credit for the first $ 1,200 stimulus check or the second $ 600 payment if that money is owed to you – line 30 of Forms 1040 or 1040 – SR.
On this part of the return, filers can start with the amount of stimulus money they have already received and calculate what other funds are owed to them. This can be done either through a spreadsheet that comes with the tax form or through tax preparation software.
Once the IRS receives the return, the tax agency also records your recovery refund credit, which means they can correct the amount you are claiming.
If there is a discrepancy, it could cause a “slight delay” in processing the return, according to the tax agency.
However, for people who still don’t understand why they received less money than they thought, or no money at all, the process might help resolve the confusion.
The IRS will send letters to filers in this situation explaining what caused the correction.
Some reasons the IRS might correct the credit amount include failure to provide a valid Social Security number or if you have been declared a dependent on a 2020 income tax return. If a dependent was aged 17 years or older on January 1, 2020, she will not be eligible for any of the first two checks.
Mathematical errors in the refund calculation could also result in a correction.
The IRS offers more information on its e-filing website, including free filing and tax preparation services.