With tax season in full swing, those who have not received their stimulus payments or think the IRS deposited the wrong amount can finally take action to get the money they’re owed. The IRS has already distributed the majority of economic impact payments to households without issue. But some people either fell through the cracks or received the wrong amounts. Those people can claim their missing money on their 2020 tax returns. If you believe you’re owed money from the IRS, here’s what you should know about stimulus payments and your taxes.

How do I claim the payments on my taxes?

You won’t see “stimulus checks” or “economic impact payment” on your tax return. To get the money you’re owed, look for the Recovery Rebate Credit. This will be on line 30 of your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. On this line, you will list the difference between what you are owed and what you received (you can find the amount the IRS paid you in your IRS.gov account). Then, either your refund will increase or the amount you owe the IRS will decrease.

How much should I have received?

The first economic impact payment was worth $1,200 per adult earning up to $75,000 in 2019 ($2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000) and $500 per child under age 17. The second was valued at $600 per adult earning up to $75,000 ($1,200 for couples earning up to $150,000) and $600 per child. After those income limits, the payments phase out. If you received the proper payment amounts for each check, then you don’t need to do anything on your tax return.

What if my income or household size changed from 2019 to 2020?

The payments were based off 2019 (and in some cases 2018) income and household size. If your income and/or household size changed in 2020, then you might qualify for more money. (If you received a payment but your income increased from 2019 to 2020, you won’t owe any of the money back to the IRS.)

Here’s an example: A single person made $150,000 in 2019, but lost their job at some point in 2020 and only made $50,000 for the year. They wouldn’t have qualified initially for either payment, but can now claim the full amount on their 2020 tax return, and expect a total of $1,800. This also applies to people who received a partial payment, but their income fell enough in 2020 that they became eligible for the full $1,200 and $600.

Finally, many low-income individuals who do not normally file taxes may not have received their payments. While they can file a return in 2020, President Biden has directed the Treasury Department to take additional measures to finally deliver payments to anyone who has not received them yet.

I was claimed as a dependent on someone else’s 2019 return, but was on my own in 2020. Do I get a payment?

The short answer is yes. If you were a dependent on someone else’s tax return in 2019, but were not in 2020, then you can claim the payments on your own return this year. Assuming you meet the income limits and don’t have dependents of your own, you can expect $1,800.

However, adult dependents age 17 and older do not qualify for either payment and cannot claim them. This includes many college students, disabled Americans and elderly dependents.

A Third Stimulus Package

It is possible a third stimulus will be approved by the time you read this article. I encourage you to visit IRS.gov to see if you qualify for this payment.

Please consider consulting a tax advisor to help ensure you receive the proper amount of your stimulus payments this tax season.

Pat McGonagle

Pat McGonagle

Vice President & Chief Financial Officer