What has the IRS said to do to claim a missing stimulus check and when it's coming?

If you have missed out on a previous stimulus check or are still waiting for the third, time is running out to take action so you can get the money.

What has the IRS said to do to claim a missing stimulus check and when it's coming?

The IRS has been sending out the third round of stimulus checks at a blinding pace. The agency has so far sent around 161 million payments for a total of $379 billion to eligible Americans.

However, if you never received the $1,200 or $600 stimulus checks and were eligible, the IRS urges you to file a 2020 tax return to claim the missing money. Likewise, if you think you didn’t get the right amount the only way the agency can correct it is to have the most current information on your economic and family situation, but time is running out.

Changes to your filing status, family size or income will need to be reported to get a $1,400 stimulus check

The IRS needs the most up-to-date information in order to send out the correct stimulus payment to eligible taxpayers. Take for example, you were no longer declared as a dependent last year on your family’s tax return. The IRS would need to receive your 2020 tax return for any money from the three rounds of stimulus checks you can claim to be paid to you, even if you’re income is zero.

This also goes for people who don’t normally file, or “Non-Filers”, because their income is too low. Getting any funds from the Economic Impact Payments, or stimulus checks as they are commonly called, will depend on filing a tax return this year. Although the IRS pushed back Tax Day to 17 May this year, the date is fast approaching. No payments can be sent until the IRS has processed your return.

The amount you receive could change if you saw your income reduced or lost your job in 2020. The limits to receive the full amount for all three stimulus checks was $75,000 for individual taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. So, if you got married and your joint earnings together were under the threshold, that could also mean a larger payment headed your way.

Note that payments in the third round of stimulus checks phased out to zero much faster above the threshold to get the full amount. Individuals earning $80,000 or more and married couples earning $160,000 or more wouldn’t receive any stimulus money from the third Economic Impact Payment. For those filing as head of household, the phaseout begins at $112,500 and stops at $120,000.

Furthermore, if you had a child in 2020, by filing this year you will be able to inform the agency and claim a $1,400 stimulus check for the newborn, if you meet the eligibility requirements. You will also be eligible for the enhanced Child Tax Credit due to start sending monthly checks, if you choose, in July for $300 for children under 6 and $250 for each child up to 17 years old.

How to claim missing stimulus checks

As stated, in order to get any money that may be missing from the Economic Impact Payment (EIP) program it is absolutely necessary to file a tax return. The first two EIPs were an advanced payment on the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, which you can claim on a 2020 tax return. The third EIP is an advanced payment on the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit. The IRS will calculate what you are eligible for based on your 2020 tax return and if you are eligible for a larger payment based on your 2021 income, you’ll be able to claim that next year.

You can track your third stimulus check payment using the IRS Get My Payment tool. To see what you have received from the first two stimulus checks you will have to create and check your online account with the IRS. If you haven’t filed yet the IRS urges taxpayers to do so online and using direct deposit to get your refund and payments faster. The agency offers a Free File service that any taxpayer can use who has earnings of less than $72,000.

Why you might be eligible for a bigger stimulus check

The IRS began sending out up to $1,400 per adult, child and dependent to taxpayers days after the American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March. The agency used the information on hand at the time, either a 2019 or 2020 tax return as the law was enacted in the middle of the 2021 tax season. This meant that some taxpayers received a smaller third stimulus check than they were expecting since their 2020 tax return probably hadn’t been processed yet.

If this is the case the IRS will automatically send you a “plus-up” payment after they have adjusted the amount due based on your 2020 tax returns. If you think that you were entitled to a larger stimulus check but got a smaller-than-expected payment, the agency will send a letter explaining any discrepancies.