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IRS plus-up payment: what is it, how much is it and who gets it?

Just before Easter, the Internal Revenue Service started sending out the third batch of stimulus checks, including "plus-up" supplement payments.

IRS plus-up payment: what is it, how much is it and who gets it?

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service, US Department of the Treasury and the Bureau of the Fiscal Service announced that a third batch of Economic Impact Payments from the American Rescue Plan is scheduled to be sent out to those who have not received their checks. The third batch of payments began processing on Friday 26 March with the official payment date on the morning of Wednesday 31 March – just before the Easter holidays.

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What is a plus-up payment?

This latest batch includes the first of ongoing supplemental payments called "plus-up" payments. These plus-up payments will be going out to people who may have already received the third stimulus check. Basically, plus-up payments will go out to individuals who received a third stimulus check based on information taken from their 2019 income tax return but who qualify for a new or larger payment based on this year’s return.

For example, you will be eligible for a plus-up payment if you suffered a drop in your annual income from 2019 to 2020, or married couples who file jointly and have a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return who can be claimed for. Couples who filed separately for 2019 but who have since married and file jointly may also be due a supplement payment as long as their joint income is below the phase-out threshold for joint filers, $150,000.

Others who could be in line to receive a plus-up payment include those who were not required to file a tax return for 2019 and used the IRS non-filers tool to claim the first stimulus check under the CARES Act. Those whose personal situations might have changed since then, for instance, they may have dependents who were not included in their claim for the first stimulus check but who will qualify for the third round of payments. In that case, they would receive an additional $1400.

Similarly, US military veterans who receive disability compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and who were not required to file a tax return for 2019 could also find that they are due a supplemental plus-up payment. In such cases, the IRS would have received an individual’s income details and information directly from the VA but any qualified dependents that were omitted the first time around will be eligible for a stimulus payment this time. These "plus-up" payments will continue to be sent out on a weekly basis. If you still haven’t filed your 2020 return, you have until 17 May to get it done – all tax returns must be in before the 17 May deadline and processed by the IRS by 16 August.

The third batch includes over 4 million stimulus payments, with a total value of more than $10 billion. It brings the total distributed so far to more than 130 million payments worth approximately $335 billion.


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