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6 stimulus check pitfalls you should know during tax season


Stimulus control rules can get complicated and fast.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If it The IRS still owes you incentive money From the first two checks, you are one of the millions of Americans who make the payment on theirs 2020 taxes this year. Whether the first or second stimulus payment that you never received, you must have one Credit for chargeback discount when you file your tax return

The IRS is accept tax returns until April 15th – unless the request for push back tax day is approved, or if you an individual tax extensionIf you file your taxes online, you can start tracking the status of your tax refund 24 hours later. Keep in mind that the IRS is asking the taxpayer not to file paper returns this year if possible to help speed up the process.

While it may seem simple up front, there are important ways the rules have changed, between the IRS proactively sending checks and having to claim your payment as part of a tax credit. These circumstances can cause you to not get your missing incentive money on time, or to not getting it at all. Here’s what you need to know about exceptions that could affect your claim. (And here are details on one third stimulus check in front of up to $ 1,400, including how soon yours could come, and how tax season can totally affect your third check.) This story was recently updated.

The IRS must process your taxes before you get any money

After you submit your taxes with your Recovery Rebate Credit form, you will have to wait for the IRS to process your tax refund. If you apply for the credit and owe money, you will see either the amount of your tax refund increased or the amount of tax you owe reduced, depending on the amount of incentive money for which you are eligible

The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within 21 days, but many people will receive theirs much sooner. We have different timelines for when to expect your tax refund based on your situation.

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Recovery discount Credit claims require extra work. Especially if you are a non-finder

Unfortunately, your missing incentive money doesn’t just show up on your tax return. You must submit a form to claim your money as a recovery credit. We have full instructions on how to apply for a Recovery Rebate Credit here, but the basis is:

1. Confirm your payment status online through the IRS

2. When you receive your Tax return 2020 (check out our list of the best tax software), claim your Recovery Rebate Credit on 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR. The IRS provides recovery discount instructions to help you determine if you are missing a payment and for how much.

3. If you are applying for a partial check discount, you will need the calculated amount from the IRS of the letter the IRS sent to confirm your paymentThis was called Notice 1444 for the first payment and Notice 1444-B for the second payment.

If you don’t usually have to file taxes, for example, if you receive SSI or SSDI, or if you retired – you should have automatically received a first and second stimulus check. But if your check never arrived (there were many reasons why this could have happened), you must file another 2020 tax return this year and claim your Recovery Rebate Credit to claim your missing incentive money. We have instructions on this how non-affiliates can claim this credit

File a tax deferment? Prepare to wait longer for your money

You can cancel your tax return at any time before April 15 deadlineHowever, if you need more time, you can file for an extension with the IRS, moving your deadline to October 15th.

You can still claim missing incentive money through a Recovery Rebate Credit if you file your tax return with an extension, but keep in mind that this means your refund will be made later accordingly. For example, if you wait until October 15 to claim it, the earliest money you will get will be on October 22.

You may not get a check at all if you owe money to the IRS

Below the CARES Act As of March 2020, your first incentive check by state and federal agencies can be used to cover child support arrears. That rule changed with the second stimulus check, which couldn’t be done like you owed money for child support

However, these rules are different when you are filing for missing incentive money on your 2020 tax return. For certain outstanding debts – including child support arrears and unpaid student loans – the IRS may withhold some or all of your unpaid incentive payments issued as a chargeback credit when you file your taxes. An independent taxpayer advocacy group within the IRS is working with the agency to address this issue. (Find out more about your stimulus check rights

If you owe the IRS money, you may be wondering, Should I go through the trouble of applying for a Recovery Rebate Credit if the agency is going to take my money? It probably still makes sense for you to do this, as it will help you pay off your debt – even if you won’t be able to access those funds the way the laws intended.


The IRS may be able to decorate some of your incentive money, if you claim it on your tax return.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Your stimulus check can be garnished even if you claim it because of a mistake made by the IRS

There were many reasons why you did not receive your first or second stimulus check even though you were eligible, including IRS errors, closed bank accounts, and changed addresses. Unfortunately, even if there was an IRS error, if you don’t have the money as one direct deposit paper check or EIP card, the IRS can claim it to cover your debts when you file it on your tax return.

This is due to a restriction that makes Recovery Rebate Credits subject to the regular rules for unpaid federal taxes and certain other debts, so that the credit is treated differently from prepaid stimulus checks.

Any mistake regarding your third check means you will have to wait until next year’s tax season to claim the missing money

Like the first and second checks, during next year’s tax season, 2022, you can claim any missing money from the third check owed to you or your family members. That is far away. The best thing to do now to make sure your third check arrives on time is to file your tax return as soon as possible

4 Ways You Can Get Your Refund Faster

If you Credit for chargeback discount, probably the IRS sent you a letter last fall. If you kept the letter, which the IRS has suggested, you will need the amount of the payment stated in the letter when you apply this year.

If you can File your taxes by the April 15 deadline, it can mean a faster turnaround time for your refund, if you have to pay for it. Plus, any missing incentive payments are also tied to your taxes this year, so filing earlier would mean a tax refund as well as a stimulus check in one payment. You are also more likely to receive your full payment with the new stimulus check in 2021 because the IRS your third stimulus check on your taxes for 2019 and 2020, according to the latest proposal that is not yet law.

If you don’t have that direct deposit set up with the IRSSetting this up when you file your tax return could mean you see your refund sooner, especially if you combine it with electronic filing. The IRS has even asked taxpayers not to file paper returns as well, if possible, to avoid further delays.

If you have recently moved or are planning to relocate, this is what you should do notify the USPS and the IRS of your new addresseven if it is temporary. Keeping your address information up to date will ensure that you receive all of your incentive checks – the possibly missing ones too – and your tax refund.

For more information, check out everything we know about a third stimulus check when it could come and how much money you could get

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