How much money has IRS sent in stimulus checks since 2020?
Since the onset of the pandemic and the economic crisis three rounds of stimulus checks have been approved, but not all the money slated has gone out.
Every eligible adult over the past year could have received $3,200 in stimulus money and every eligible child $2,500 in the three rounds of stimulus checks. Not everyone who is eligible though has received the stimulus money that was budgeted for them.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the three Economic Impact Payments (EIP), or better known as stimulus checks, will cost the US government around $867 billion in total. So far, the IRS has sent out the vast majority of those funds but there is still over nine percent that has yet to be disbursed.
The first stimulus check
The first stimulus checks were approved with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed in March 2020. Under the CARES Act each eligible adult received up to $1,200 and children up to $500 each. In total it was calculated that those stimulus checks would cost $292 billion. As of 16 February, the IRS said that it had sent out all the legally permitted first round EIPs. Since April 2020 more than 160 million payments went to taxpayers across the US totaling over $270 billion.
The second stimulus check
Not long after the first payments were made calls were made for additional stimulus payments, including recurring stimulus payments until the end of the pandemic. After much deadlock in Washington the second round of direct payments was finally authorized in December with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This saw every eligible adult and child receiving a $600 check as part of the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020.
When the IRS finished sending the second round of EIPs, the agency had sent over 147 million worth a total of $142 billion. However, the total cost is calculated to be $164 billion if all the funds are sent to those eligible. Now, the remainder of the money from the first and second round of stimulus check can only be claimed through the Recovery Rebate Credit when taxpayers file a 2020 tax return.
The third stimulus check
The latest and largest round of payments were approved slightly less than a year after the first round, included in the American Rescue Plan. In March Democrats pushed through Congress the third round of stimulus payments of $1,400 to every adult, child and this time dependent regardless of age. The total cost of the payments is estimated to be around $411 billion.
The latest report from the IRS said that as of 12 May the agency had sent out around 165 million payment since 12 March 2021 to the tune of $388 billion. The IRS will continue to send payments through the end of 2021 as it processes 2020 tax returns, either as “plus-up” payments or to taxpayers who the agency didn’t previously have information to issue an EPI but who recently filed a tax return.
Who hasn’t received their stimulus check yet?
There are a number of reasons that not all the money slated has been sent yet. It is estimated that around 4.8 million US citizens live abroad and if they haven’t filed a tax return since 2017 the IRS most likely didn’t send them a check. In the first round of payments according to a US Treasury inspectors report just under 28,000 payments were sent to foreign addresses and some of those by mistake to non-American pensioners who had worked in the US at some time in the past.
Another group that has been having difficulty receiving their stimulus checks even though they qualify are the homeless. Part of the problem is access to computers during the pandemic to use the online “Non-Filer” tool that the IRS set up to help those that don’t normally file a tax return send their information to the agency so that it could issue a payment. Another problem that arose was that the addresses where those very payments were to be sent were flagged due to the high number of payments going to a single address. Homeless could have their checks sent to a homeless shelter or a church among other recommendations from the IRS.
Then there are those who just didn’t feel right accepting the money. It was reported that about 1.25 million payments from the first round of stimulus checks have never been cashed or were returned or paid back to the US Treasury. Those accounted for around $2.1 billion.