CORONAVIRUS STIMULUS CHECKS

Third stimulus check: who is eligible for the IRS plus-up payments?

Even though you received your third stimulus payment already, another plus-up stimulus payment might be on its way as the IRS processes 2020 tax returns.

Third stimulus check: who is eligible for the IRS plus-up payments?
HANNAH MCKAY REUTERS

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began sending out the third round of stimulus payments just days after the American Rescue Act was signed. The agency has sent out around 130 million of the third stimulus payments based on the latest taxpayer information on hand.

Since the payments began in the middle of processing 2020 tax returns, the IRS had to go off of 2019 tax returns in some cases. So tax filers who saw a new addition to the family or saw their income adversely affected in 2020 and already received a stimulus check might not have received the full amount due to them.

Who is eligible for a plus-up payment from the IRS?

The IRS announced last week that it included in the third batch of payments, that began processing 26 March, the first ongoing supplemental, or “plus-up”, payments. The tax agency said that people who received the third stimulus payment based on their 2019 tax return but are now eligible for a new or larger payment based on their 2020 tax return could expect to see the supplemental payments.

These payments will be directed to individuals and couples who saw their incomes drop in 2020 compared to 2019 making them newly eligible for a payment. As well, some people were eligible for larger payments than they originally received if their incomes came in below the thresholds for a full $1,400 per adult and dependent.

Taxpayers in addition to being eligible for more stimulus money due to their income, may have had a new child or dependent that they claimed on their 2020 tax return. The American Rescue Plan for the first time made all adult dependents with a Social Security number eligible for the full $1,400 direct stimulus payment if the person who claimed them on a tax return met the financial restrictions. This meant that around 26 million people who are claimed as adult dependents on someone else’s tax returns will get the direct support for the first time.

What are the income eligibility requirements to get a third stimulus check?

As with the previous two rounds of direct stimulus payments, in the third round there was a threshold to qualify for the full amount per person. Above which the payments phase out but in the third round this was much faster than before.

The thresholds were $75,000 adjusted gross income (AGI) for individuals, $150,000 for married couples, and $112,500 for heads of household. Below these taxpayers, plus their children or adult dependents, would each receive $1,400. Above those income thresholds, the payments would be smaller until an individual with an AGI of $80,000, a couple making $160,000, or a head of household earning $120,000 wouldn’t see any stimulus money.

What do you need to do to get the “plus-up” payment?

The IRS says that no action is needed by most people to receive the third round of stimulus payments. The tax agency recommends checking the IRS Get My Payment tool. The portal updates once per day, usually at night so the agency advises against checking it throughout the day. Furthermore, the system only allows each user to log in to the system a maximum of 5 times within a 24-hour period, after which the user will be locked out for 24 hours.