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Home / Tips and Tricks / Filing a tax return to claim incentive money? You need your AGI. Here’s what it is and how to find it

Filing a tax return to claim incentive money? You need your AGI. Here’s what it is and how to find it


Your AGI is crucial to your stimulus control. We’ll show you where to find it on your taxes.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Tax season is now underway, and you want your 2020 return as soon as possible for a number of reasons. If you have any incentive money from the first or second round of payment, you can claim it as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your return even if you don’t usually have to file taxes Submit early and set up a direct deposit with the IRS can also potentially speed up how fast you use a third stimulus check, which Congress is trying to approve by the end of the month (here is what it would mean for you if a third check comes in during tax season, and what else can you do to speed up the delivery of your third check?

The key to understanding your tax returns and your past as well totals for future stimulus checks is your adjusted gross income, or AGI. Here we help you find out what your AGI is, how to find it, and how it helps determine how much you might owe or due in taxes, and how much you are eligible to receive with the child tax credit, and the other tax breaks for parents and older adults that the last incentive bill includes. We also break down how your AGI gets in your incentive payments, including a possible third checkYou may also want to keep other details in mind, such as what happens if you receive SSI or SSDI, or if you are older than 65 or retired

CNET also has guides for what happens with your stimulus payment like you have dependents, as you are a young adult or if you pay or receive child supportIf your first or second check did not arrive, you will probably have to claim it as a chargeback discount on your taxes this year, or, in certain cases, contact the IRS to locate your missing money

What is my AGI? What does it mean for stimulus checks?

Your AGI, or adjusted gross income, is the amount calculated from your total income that the IRS uses to determine how much the government can tax you. Your gross income is the sum of all the money you earn in a year, including wages, dividends, alimony, capital gains, interest income, royalties, rental income and retirement benefits.

After you deduct allowable deductions from your gross income (such as interest on student loans, alimony payments, or retirement contributions), the result is your AGI, or taxable income, which is used to calculate your income tax. Your AGI is reported on IRS tax form 1040, which you can find on line 11 on this year’s form.

Since it is a rough estimate of how much money you will bring in after deducting all of your income streams, the IRS has your AGI to calculate how much of the first stimulus check of up to $ 1,200 you could get, as well as how much of the second incentive check of up to $ 600 you could get.

Congress is currently considering President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion incentive proposal, including one $ 1,400 payment for the third stimulus check, So Knowing the IRS calculation formula can help there too. However, it is possible that the formula will change this time could yield more or less money for your family with a third check. The answer largely depends on how a debate about making the next audit round ‘more focused’ turns out.

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How can I use my AGI to find out how much money I could get in a stimulus check?

A the third stimulus check could net $ 1,400 per qualified person, but change is crucial eligibility rules that help determine how much your family gets, that is, when one last bill has been acceptedHowever, your AGI will likely still be the determining factor for how much the IRS will owe you, along with your filing status (singular versus joint) and how many dependents you have

This was also the case with the first and second checks. You can read our story at how to calculate how much money you should receive from a second stimulus check for some examples of how it will diminish for you depending on your situation. For that round of payment, as long as you’ve met the other stimulus check qualifications, some taxpayers with a Social Security number and an AGI under $ 75,000 received the full $ 600 amount. As your AGI increased, the amount for which you were eligible decreased. If your AGI was $ 87,000 or higher, you as a single taxpayer were no longer eligible for the stimulus check (this is less than a cutoff of $ 99,000 for the first check).

For the third round of payment, Congress is currently debating whether or not to change income limits make a third check more “targeted” to families below a certain threshold, but again, we won’t know for sure until an invoice is approved.

How can my AGI change on my taxes for 2020, and how can that affect my third stimulus check?

Since your AGI is calculated based on all your sources of income for the year, it can fluctuate based on a wide variety of factors, including whether you got a raise or lost a job; if you have sold a house, received a bonus or received an inheritance; or if you have lost or gained money in the stock market.

Your eligible for income for a third stimulus check (if one is approved) will be based on either your taxes for 2019 or 2020 – what the IRS has on file more recently. The IRS used the most recently filed tax return to distribute the first incentive check (2018 or 2019), so there’s a precedent there.

This can have several implications. For example, if you made more in 2020 than in 2019, but the IRS uses your return for 2019 (and gives you more incentive money than you may qualify for), then you don’t have to return that money. (Read more about how the tax season could affect a third check here, and possible incentive check tax pitfalls to avoid

How can I find my AGI on my 2020 tax return?

When you file your 2020 tax return, enter your AGI on line 11 on Form 1040 and 1040-SR.

How can I find my AGI if I filed my taxes in 2019?

If you’ve filed your 2019 federal tax return, pull out your printed documents or PDF. If you have tax filing software such as TurboTax or H&R Block, you should be able to log in to those accounts to find a copy of your return.

You can find your AGI on line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax form.

How can I find out my AGI if I did? not Would you like to file a tax return in 2019?

If you did not file federal taxes in 2019, you can find your AGI on your 2018 federal tax return. On the 2018 federal tax form 1040, it is on line 7. It is on line 11 on the 2020 form.


An IRS 1040 individual income tax form for the 2018 tax year. You can find your AGI on line 7.

Daniel Acker / Bloomberg / Getty Images

What if I can’t find my federal tax return?

If you just can’t find your tax return, you can find your AGI one of two ways:

Method 1 Go to the IRS ‘ Get transcript portal and choose Get transcript onlineYou will need your Social Security Number, date of birth, filing status and mailing address from your latest tax return. You also need access to your email; your personal account number from a credit card, mortgage, mortgage loan, mortgage line or car loan; and a cell phone with your name on the bill. Once your identity has been verified, select it Tax return transcript and use only the Adjusted gross income line feed. You can view or print your data here.

Method 2: If you don’t have Internet access or the necessary identity verification documents, you can use the Get transcript portal and choose Receive a transcript by emailor call 1-800-908-9946 to request a copy of the tax return. It will take about five to 10 days for it to be delivered to you.

How will my AGI affect my family members?

If your AGI qualifies you for an incentive check and you claim dependents on your taxes, your first stimulus check should have included a maximum of $ 500 per qualified dependent, and your second stimulus check should have included a maximum of $ 600 per qualified dependent, since they unable to claim a stimulus check for herselfThere was no limit to the number of dependents you could claim under the age of 17.

The third stimulus check could change the rules, with Biden’s proposal expanding the definition of a dependent person for stimulus controls for persons over 16 years of age, as well older adult relativesThe proposal also allocates up to $ 1,400 per dependent, added to the household’s total.

For more information, read it key facts about stimulus checks now and to know what has happened to a third stimulus check so far?

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