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Third stimulus check: until when will the new "plus-up" payments be sent?

The IRS will send out stimulus checks on a weekly basis to eligible Americans, as the agency processes tax returns additional payments could be on the way.

The IRS will send out stimulus checks on a weekly basis to eligible Americans, as the agency processes tax returns, additional payments could be on the way.

With the first stimulus checks the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent out payments using the most recent information the agency had on file, from either 2018 or 2019 tax filings, to determine eligibility. Because of this, some Americans missed out on some or all the money they had coming their way and had to wait until they filed in 2021 to see that money.

The agency has now sent out more than 156 million stimulus payments in the third round, again based on the most recent tax return on file, either for 2019 or 2020. However, this time the agency is in the second week of sending out “plus-up” payments as it processes 2020 tax returns.

“Plus-up” payments to go out weekly until the end of the year

The IRS has been given an out-sized task this year with the passing of the American Rescue Plan. The law not only sent a new round of stimulus checks to Americans, this time for up to $1,400 per adult and dependent, but also expanded tax provisions to help low- and middle-income households, as well as a $10,200 waiver on jobless compensation for individuals that claimed unemployment benefits in 2020. The legislation was passed in the middle of the 2021 tax filing season, giving more work to an under-staffed agency.

This has forced the IRS to push back the filing deadline until 17 May to give the agency more time and "help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic." The agency has currently processed nearly 84 million tax returns but still has close to 9 million waiting their turn. As those returns and new 2020 filings are received and processed the IRS will send out supplemental “plus-up” payments for people who earlier in March received payments based on their 2019 tax returns but are now eligible for a new or larger payment.

The fourth batch of stimulus payments included more than 1 million “plus-up” payments worth more than $2 billion. The agency will continue to send out payments on a weekly basis as it continues processing tax returns from 2020 and 2019. Taxpayers whose income dropped in 2020 compared to 2019, had a new child or dependent on their 2020 tax return, and other situations can expect to receive one of these “plus-up” payments.

Taxpayers need to file a tax return in 2021 in order to get a stimulus check

Last year the IRS set up a “Non-Filer” online tool to allow low-income people who aren't usually required to file tax returns claim their stimulus check. However, a spokesman for the IRS told CNN that the agency does not expect to restore the tool. Even with the tool some 8 million eligible Americans never received their stimulus payments. The IRS is encouraging everyone to file a 2020 tax return to claim the money coming to them and the additional tax provisions set out in the American Rescue Plan, such as the enhanced Child Tax Credit and expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.


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