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Incentive Control: How to Claim Missing Money with the Recovery Rebate Credit



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If the IRS owes you money from the first or second stimulus check, you can still claim it this year.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The first wave of second stimulus controls goes out this week, while the IRS and the Treasury work quickly to send tens of millions payments for economic impact to Americans before Jan. 15. Why? That’s the cutoff stated in December’s Incentive Act. After that time new incentive vouchers up to $ 600 per person – sorry, the $ 2,000 stimulus checks are a non-starter – cannot reach out to people by direct deposit or the mail. (Here’s how follow your second stimulus check.)

So what happens if you are one of the many people who have the IRS can’t get to it in about two weeks until then? Your second stimulus control won’t be forfeited, don’t worry, but you’ll have to put in some extra legwork – and maybe dig into a deeper well of patience – to wait for your check.

What happens is that when you file your taxes this year (or at least during tax time), you file your second stimulus check money – or even a catch-up payment from the first check – in the form of a Recovery Rebate Credit from the IRS. This rebate would either increase the amount of your tax refund or decrease the amount of tax you must pay by the amount of incentive money the government owes you on the first and second payments. We break down what you need to know. This story was recently updated with new information.

When and how to file a claim for a missing stimulus check this year

If you belong to one of the groups below, or estimated your total for the first incentive payment or used our calculator to get an idea of ​​your payment for the second and think the IRS has not sent the full amount for which you were eligible, you have another chance this year to claim missing stimulus check money through an IRS Recovery Rebate Credit.

You can apply for this credit when you file your federal tax return this year; if the normal schedule is correct, your federal tax return should be paid on April 15 (although in 2020 the IRS extended the deadline to July 15th due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

While the IRS doesn’t yet have definitive instructions for every personal situation (more on this below), the agency does say that people filing taxes can use what’s called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or the 1040-SR form to claim a catch-up fee. The IRS will provide a recovery discount worksheet to help you determine if you are missing a payment and for how much.

To begin, you will need the calculated amount from the IRS from the letter named Notice 1444 for the first payment and Notice 1444-B for the second payment when you file this year.

If you apply for the credit and you 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 you qualify for.


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If you don’t normally file a federal tax return, here’s what you do

Last fall, the IRS sent letters to 9 million Americans who may be eligible for a payment but may not have known they had to register to claim it. This group – which the IRS categorizes as “non-affiliates” – includes people who are did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, such as older adults, retirees, SSDI or SSI receivers and individuals with an income of less than $ 12,200. Those in this group were required to file a claim using the Non-Filers tool by November 21. The IRS said if you missed the deadline, you can claim the payment, which again this year calls a Recovery Rebate Credit if you file. a federal income tax return 2020:

When you submit a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Keep your IRS letter – Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment – with your 2020 tax information. You will need the amount of the payment in the letter when you apply in 2021.

Know this if you miss a payment for a dependent child

Each qualifies under the CARES Act child dependent – those 16 and under – were eligible for a $ 500 check. But some people pay were $ 500 short for each eligible dependent.

If you claimed it before November 21, 2020, you should receive payment in December of last year. You can use our stimulus check calculator to get an idea of ​​how much you might owe.

As with the non-affiliates, the IRS said that if you missed the deadline, you can claim payment on your 2020 federal tax return this year by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Note that in some cases, where parents are divorced or divorced and share custody of a dependent, each parent can receive a payment of $ 500 per eligible child, so you may not even know you are eligible for the payment.

Was your stimulus check garnished accidentally?

Although there are a few instances where the federal government or a debt collection agency could seize your first payment to cover an outstanding debt, in general, if you are eligible for a check, it is up to you to spend or save as you wish. One area in which the federal government can garnish the first check is for child support backlog. You cannot confiscate your second check for overdue support. If it parents are divorced or divorced, only the spouse who owes child support may have the check seized.

According to the IRS, the parent who does not owe child support should receive their share of the initial payment without taking any action. If you haven’t received your check, the IRS said it works to send the missing payments. While you can’t rely on IRS decisions much, you can also try the Non-Filers tool to make a record of your claim.

If you used our stimulus check calculator and think your check amount is incorrect

Finally, if you use our first stimulus check calculator or second payment calculator and notice that you may be eligible for a larger payment than you received, you can use the IRS Get My Payment tool to see if a check is in the works. If the IRS is waiting for information from you that it needs to make your payment, you can still claim your money this year.

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There are still unclaimed stimulus controls.

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you are a US citizen abroad, in US territories, or not a citizen

The IRS has rules that determine the terms of payment for US citizens living abroad and non-US citizens who work in the US – along with spouses of non-resident aliens. We have a guide running through the different eligibility scenarios along with what to do if you qualify but did not receive a check.

People in prison or prison are eligible for a court order

Since April, when it started sending payments, the IRS has been going back and forth on whether those in US prisons and prisons are eligible for an incentive check.

A ruling last fall by a federal judge in California appeared to have provisionally resolved the matter and required the IRS to contact those in prison who can file a claim for a stimulus check. The deadline for submitting a claim in 2020 – by mail or online – has passed. As with others who miss a payment, the IRS said that if you don’t receive a payment by December 31, 2020, you may be able to claim it this year by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

To know everything about the first payment, see our guide to the first round of checks. We also have an idea of ​​how soon the IRS could be send out the second stimulus check, what priority group you would be in to receive a second check, and what other benefits you can expect another economic aid package.


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