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It’s true, your second stimulus check could be smaller, if …


If a second check goes through, you may not get the full $ 1,200 per adult.

Angela Lang / CNET

After several months of negotiations with almost no progress, three new proposals for incentive law arrived on Tuesday, each try to address some pressing issues towards the American economy and people. Two another direct payment is omitted from up to $ 1,200 per person. One, a private proposal from Democrats to the top Republicans, has not been made public.

However, if Congress has one new incentive payment this year or early 2021 – which is still possible – the eligibility rules can change in ways that can bring in bigger or smaller checks for tens of millions of people (although some may not be eligible at all). Until qualifications for a possible new round of payments are finalized, it’s a matter of it how much incentive money your household can receive stays in the air.

Either way, if you count on the next immediate payment, you want to start with a realistic picture of it when the next stimulus check might come. With that in mind, we’ve gone through several scenarios that could result in you getting a smaller second payment in your pocket. And if you had to wait for the first payment, follow these steps to get the next one faster. We recently updated this story.

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Following stimulus checks: what to expect


Your Possible Next Stimulus Check: 1 important thing to know

In the first round of stimulus controls, the IRS, for the most part, used your most recent federal tax return (2019 0r 2018) when calculating your total payment (people who do not normally file tax returns were also eligible in many cases). But some people who were eligible for a check went through personal or financial changes after filing that could affect a future payment in one way or another.

New job? Or have you earned more in total?

Your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is a term normally used for the IRS annual tax return to describe your total income, including assets (such as stock sales, credits and deductions or an inheritance, for example) that are beyond your usual salary. The first stimulus check, and most likely the second, will cut you off if your AGI goes above a certain income limit.

There is a huge correlation between them your tax status and incentive checks, and any change to your AGI can increase or decrease the size of your check.

For example, if you received the full $ 1,200 per qualified adult with the first incentive check because your AGI was below the income limit, but then you got a promotion or a new job that pays more (congratulations) then your check may be smaller next time – as the IRS pays out on a sliding scale – or maybe you’ve reached the threshold and no longer qualify. All things considered, this is a “good” problem to have.


Kids grow up and you could cost $ 500 per child.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Did you have more dependent children earlier this year than now?

Age is an important factor in how much stimulation money a household receives, but perhaps not in the way you think. In many cases, the elderly are entitled to a stimulus check. In the first round of direct payments, households were awarded an additional $ 500 for each “dependent child.” This is a legal minor who is 16 years of age or younger.

Interestingly, the IRS definition of a child dependent for your taxes (23 years or younger, and financially dependent on the tax bearer) is not the same set of terms used for incentive controls.

If the rules stay the same (and there is an indication that they may not be), any older dependents you claimed for the initial check may be outdated, meaning you could get $ 500 less if the rules stay the same.

Do you owe child support or have you changed the way your dependents are?

For the most part, any stimulus check you receive, you have the full rights to use it however you want. However, there is one exception in it CARES Act of March was child benefit. If you owe child support to your child’s other parent, your stimulus check may be garnished in whole or in part. If you received an additional $ 500 for the way you and the other parent filed a dependency claim (it’s complicated), and then changed how you filed your 2019 tax reserve (for example, if the other parent was given full custody) , you shouldn’t do that. get the extra $ 500. Here it is more information about child support situations.

Are you in debt to creditors or private banks?

Normally, your incentive money cannot be garnished to pay rent or federal taxes. However, there are a few exceptions, including the above child benefit situation. If these rules don’t change on the next incentive account, there are two groups: private creditors and banks – who could legitimately seize all or some of your money from the first and probably second check.


A few entities may seize your incentive money.

Sarah Tew / CNET

You may be disqualified if some incentive laws change

Because the conditions of the second stimulus check has not yet been completed – and won’t be until the incumbent president signs a bill – it’s not clear how they can or can’t change. There is also the way the IRS can interpret the law and act or withhold incentive money. For example, after the CARES Act was signed in March, the IRS sent first people in prison and prison have a stimulus check, then asked for it and stopped issuing new checks. A recent ruling by a federal judge has put them back in motion.

Like this law, and others related to citizenship in the US, US territories or abroad, would change, someone who was eligible for the first payment may be disqualified from a second check.

If you’ve moved, have you provided the IRS with your new address?

If you have moved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and you have not moved a change of address form filed with the USPS or IRS (a good measure to take), the agency may not know where to send a paper check or EIP card. If you’ve received your first direct deposit stimulus delivery, the IRS will likely follow that route again. If you have changed bank account, you can get caught in a robbery or must contact the IRS to file a new claim.

You probably have to file a claim if there are IRS errors or steps are missing

It happened with the first check and could easily happen with the following. Written mistakes and complex rules can result in your household getting less money in a future second stimulus check than you are actually entitled to – for you and your family members. Or maybe you don’t normally have to file a tax and are missing a rare extra step to take. You may have moved (see above).

Whatever the reason, if a problem prevents you from receiving some or all of your incentive money, you should be able to claim a rebate. The IRS is currently searching these omissions of stimulus payments now for a wide variety of groups, and will likely do this again if a second check is coming.

Has anyone in your family died since your last tax return?

Our sincere condolences. If your household received a stimulus check with a spouse or dependent child who died between your last tax return and the receipt of the second stimulus check, the IRS will likely send a smaller amount if your tax filing status, deductions, credits, or AGI changes. If the person has recently passed away (by the time the next check arrives), the IRS will request a refund of the payment.

For more information on incentives, here’s what President-elect Joe Biden might do if another incentive account is canceled by the time he becomes president, and everything you need to know about stimulus controls.

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