Fourth stimulus check news summary: Sunday 16 May 2021
US stimulus checks live updates: Sunday 16 May 2021
- IRS has now sent out 165m third stimulus checks in nine batches, at a total cost of $388bn
- Agency continues to distribute 'plus-up' checks, with 460,000 in the latest payment run
- IRS deadline for filing 2020 taxes on Monday 17 May (more info)
- One million stimulus-check payments sent to recent tax returns filers
- $600 and $1,200 stimulus checks going out in California as part of Golden State Stimulus scheme (when to expect your payment)
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes expanding Golden State Stimulus payments program
- IRS set to begin sending expanded Child Tax Credit monthly payments in July
- Three House Dems table bill seeking to raise CTC income eligibility cap for heads of household
- IRS paying out unemployment-tax-break refunds (find out more)
- You can track your third stimulus check by using the IRS' online Get My Payment portal
Take a look at some of our related articles:
Make sure to get your tax returns filed promptly to avoid being hit with financial penalties from the IRS. If not, make sure to request an extension from the tax authority.
Tax deadline day today!
Today (17 May) is the last day to file 2020 taxes despite the IRS extending the window last March...hurry, hurry !
Earlier this year the IRS announced that they would be extending the federal tax return deadline, giving individuals until Monday 17 May to get those filings completed. However the picture is much more varied when it comes to state taxes, which are organised and administrated on a state level.
A total of 35 states have also adopted the 17 May date for their state taxes deadline, but there are numerous variations. One state has extended the deadline into June while some allow extra time for those affected by the winter storms that struck southern parts of the United State recently.
How to get an IRS tax refund quickly
If you are still yet to file your IRS tax returns you have left it pretty late, but you have until the end of Monday 17 May to complete your filing and avoid facing late penalties. If you are looking for some last-minute tips to make the process a bit easier, check out the IRS' Taxpayer Advocate.
The online helper shows you the best way to file your taxes quickly and easily, and how to ensure that you receive any tax refunds that you are owed as swiftly as possible. Bear in mind that any missing stimulus check payments could be included in that refund.
Don't file taxes? Here's how to get a missing stimulus check
The IRS estimates that there are around 1.2 million Americans who will receive their stimulus check once they have filed a tax return to update their information. However if you are not required to file then the process is less clear, but you can still claim the direct payments.
The IRS' non-filer tool allows you to submit all the information needed to receive all three rounds of stimulus checks. Here's everything you need to know...
The federal stimulus checks have been one of the main forms of economic support offered by the government to help those struggling as a consequence of the pandemic. The three rounds of direct payments have seen over $800 billion sent out by the IRS, with roughly half of all Americans receiving at least one payment.
The stimulus checks have been extremely popular but how much was each of the three rounds of payments worth? We take a look back at the last 15 months...
Report suggests stimulus checks benefitted low-income households
The efficacy of the stimulus checks has been disputed by some by new data suggests that they did succesfully concentrate federal resources towards those most affected by the pandemic. This will strengthen calls for a fourth stimulus check, something that President Biden has been reluctant to comment on so far.
The new study from the JPMorgan Chase Institute claims: "Stimulus saving and spending among those disproportionately impacted was bigger and faster than in other socioeconomic groups."
In February the California state legislature passed a $9.6 billion relief package, known as the Golden State Stimulus bill, to provide assistance to residents struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Included in the package was a state-wide version of the nationwide federal stimulus checks.
These direct payments are known as Golden State Stimulus checks and are being paid out by the state’s Franchise Tax Board (FTB); they are worth $600 or $1,200 depending on eligibility. Here's the latest update on the distribution effort...
How to get an IRS tax return extension
Anyone who feels they will be unable to file their 2020 tax returns by the end of Monday 17 May should consider getting an extension from the IRS. The six-month extension will not save you from all the penalties, but will prevent you being charged from a late filing.
The IRS website advises:
- An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes.
- You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties.
- You must file your extension request no later than the regular due date of your return.
Over one million people have not yet claimed a stimulus check
For the vast majority of Americans all three rounds of stimulus check payments will have arrived automatically, based on the information submitted in your last tax return filing. However in some cases the IRS did not have sufficient information to make the payment, meaning that they are missing out on potentially thousands of dollars worth of stimulus check money.
This report says that there are currently an estimated 1.2 million payments yet to be claimed, worth a total of $2.1 billion of financial relief.
Earlier this year the IRS announced that they would be extending the tax return deadline to 17 May 2021, to allow filers to reconcile the various forms of financial relief distributed during the course of the pandemic. However failure to meet the new deadline will see you face financial penalties if you don't get it in on time.
If not, you can apply for a tax return extension which will give you until 15 October 2021 to file your 2020 returns. Here's everything you need to know...
The IRS confirmed this week that it has sent out another one million stimulus checks as part of the third round of direct payments. That batch took the total amount distributed to an estimated 165 million stimulus checks and the process is set to continue for the rest of the year.
For many, however, attention is already turning to the prospect of a fourth stimulus check, something that has garnered support both in Congress and across the country. The White House is reportedly considering one proposal for an automatic fourth stimulus check but Biden been tight-lipped in public.
File tax returns to get your Child Tax Credit entitlement
You have until Monday 17 May to file your tax returns on time and avoid being hit by penalty fines for late filings. But filing on time will also ensure that you receive your full allocation of Child Tax Credit when the new programme comes into play in July.
The new system will provide monthly direct payments for payments, based on the information given in the latest tax returns. Get yours in now to ensure that you don't miss out.
Are you eligible for free tax filing assistance?
The IRS offers a completely free tax preparation service for filers who satisfy certain criteria. Their IRS Free File is available for those whose adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less, proving expert advice for your 2020 filing.
Not only that, but there are a range of other service that you may be able to take advantage of. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) services provide basic tax return preparation to those aged 50 and above who also meet certain income requirements. For more information, read on...
Retail spending slows after stimulus check boost
The first few months of 2021 saw record-breaking increases in consumer spending as two rounds of stimulus checks, worth a combined total of $2,000 per person, landed in bank accounts across the country. These direct payments were credited with a resurgence in consumer confidence but the report for April suggests that it was short-lived.
There are suggestions that many chose to save their stimulus money this money, assuming that the fourth stimulus check may not materialise for some time. The White House is reportedly considering introducing legislation that would see payments automatically sent out whenever certain economic conditions are triggered.
Worried you may miss the tax return deadline? File an extension
The deadline to submit your 2020 tax returns to the IRS is Monday 17 May, giving you just one day to get your financial affairs in order to avoid facing financial penalties. However, if you are not able to complete your filing by then you can always file for an extension, which will mean you are not subject to some of the penalties.
Here's everything you need to know about applying for a tax return extension...
ICYMI: New bill bids to make more single parents eligible for Child Tax Credit
Earlier this week, three progressive House Democrats introduced a bill that seeks to ensure more single parents are eligible for the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC).
Representatives Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley and Don Beyer tabled the Single Parent Penalty Elimination Act on Thursday, which proposes raising the CTC income eligibility cap for Americans who file taxes as heads of household, a status commonly used by single parents.
While married joint filers who earn up to $150,000 a year qualify for the full CTC, only heads of household with an annual income no higher than $112,500 are eligible for the total amount.
“No child should receive less nutritious food or less secure housing just because their parent isn’t married,” Porter said.
“There’s no discount for single parents at grocery stores, child care centers, or doctors’ offices, yet the child tax credit gives less help to single parent families. I’m proud to introduce legislation today that would eliminate this unfair penalty and give relief to kids in need, regardless of their parents’ marital status.”
The expanded CTC sees eligible parents get up to $3,600 a year per child under six, and up to $3,000 per child aged between six and 17. Recipients can opt to be paid their CTC as a lump sum in 2022, or get the first half of their total amount in monthly payments this year.
Monthly payments of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which will see qualifying households get up to $3,600 per child per year, are slated to begin in July, according to the IRS.
Eligible parents can opt to get the first half of their CTC in monthly instalments of up to $300, or claim the full amount next year.
See also: Do you need to work to get the CTC?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit program gives qualifying Americans a discount of up to $50 on their monthly internet bills.
IRS sends out 1m more Economic Impact Payments
In its latest weekly payment update, the IRS said it had sent out nearly one million more third stimulus checks, taking the total number of checks disbursed to around 165 million and the overall cost of the scheme to $388 billion.
The latest batch of third stimulus checks included 460,000 'plus-up' payments, for Americans who have already received their check but now qualify for a larger amount based on their recently-processed 2020 tax return.
(Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP)
Get your missing stimulus check by claiming a Recovery Rebate Credit
If you qualified for the first or second stimulus check but weren’t given one, you can get the money you’re owed by claiming a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return - which, unless you’ve been granted an extension, you must do by tomorrow, Monday 17 May.
You can also seek a Recovery Rebate Credit if you didn’t receive the full first/second-stimulus-check amount that you were entitled to.
The agency has also put together an explanatory video:
To receive a Golden State Stimulus check you must also be eligible for the CalEITC, but what is it and how much is the Californian tax credit worth?
As the Golden State Stimulus payments go out, California Governor Gavin Newsom this week announced plans to expand the scheme to a greater number of residents of the state, as part of the $100bn California Comeback Plan.
Newsom also proposes giving extra payments of $500 to qualifying families with children.
As part of a $9.6bn statewide coronavirus relief bill passed in February, California's franchise tax Board is sending out $600 and $1,200 direct payments, known as Golden State Stimulus checks, to qualifying Californians.
If you're in line to receive a check, find out more about when you can expect yours to arrive
One of the lesser-known provisions of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was a substantial tax break for recipients of unemployment benefits, which offers a considerable tax exemption.
The stimulus bill ensured that the estimated 40 million Americans who received unemployment benefits during 2020 would not be taxed on the first $10,200 of assistance they received from the federal government.
However, as the legislation was only passed in March, the IRS estimate that over 10 million unemployment benefits recipients had already filed their taxes; meaning that had missed out on the relief. However, the IRS is now in the process of sending out tax rebates to rectify that.
The IRS has extended the tax return deadline by a month, but failure to complete your filing by Monday could see you face various financial penalties.
The IRS is continuing to make the direct payments as more Americans file their tax returns. Could you be eligible for more than you have received so far?
As the IRS continues to send out the third round of direct payments, President Biden is reportedly considering introducing economic triggers for further checks.
Track your third stimulus check with Get My Payment
If you haven't received your third stimulus check yet, you can get information on its status by visiting the Internal Revenue Service's online Get My Payment portal.
US stimulus checks live updates: welcome
Welcome to our live US stimulus-checks blog for Sunday 16 May. We’ll be bringing you updates on a possible fourth direct payment and updates on the third stimulus check, which the IRS has been distributing since the $1.9tn American Rescue Plan was signed into law in early March.
We'll also provide information on other economic-aid schemes such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, which gives qualifying households up to $3,600 per child per year, and the Golden State Stimulus payments going out in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom has announced plans include more residents of the state in the program.
And as Monday’s IRS tax-filing approaches, you’ll find information here on submitting your 2020 return.