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Missing Check Money Stimulus: How to Claim the Recovery Credit on Your Taxes


If you missed the deadline to claim your first stimulus check in 2020, you have one more option to get that money.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The second stimulus control starts to take shape thanks to progress on another stimulus account, but you still miss some or all of you economic stimulus check that went out earlier this year? It is too late to apply for the money in 2020, since the deadline to file a loss claim incentive payment of up to $ 1,200 per adult or $ 500 per child depending was November 21. But as long as you are qualified to receive that first paymentyou can still apply for all the money you owe in early 2021.

When you file your tax return in 2021, you can get your stimulus control money in the form of a Recovery Rebate Credit from the IRS. This credit would either increase the amount of your tax refund or decrease the amount of tax you have to pay by the amount of incentive money you still owe. You can claim this money whether or not Congress has one second stimulus control as part of another economic aid package this month or next year.

We explain how to find out if you are eligible for more money from the first round of payments (you can also find out why you may not be eligible for a second payment, if one succeeds), and how to claim that money in 2021. This story was recently updated.

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When and how to file a claim for a missing stimulus check in 2021

If you belong or have tried one of the groups below estimating your total stimulus payment and think the IRS has not sent your check in full, you still have a chance to claim your stimulus check money through an IRS Recovery Rebate Credit. You can apply for this credit during the 2021 tax season; 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 specific instructions for each personal situation (more on this below), the agency does say that people filing taxes can use 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR to claim catch-up. If you received a partial payment, you will need the amount calculated by the IRS from the letter named Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment when you apply in 2021.

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 decreased, depending on the amount of incentive money you qualify for.

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

As of September, 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, again called a Recovery Rebate Credit, in 2021 when you file a federal income tax return 2020:

When you file 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.

If you miss a payment for a dependent child, do so

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, you can receive payment in December. 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 in 2021 by filing a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR.

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.

If your check was garnished by mistake, here’s what to do

Although there are a few instances where the federal government or a debt collection agency could seize your 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 cash a check is for child support backlog. 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 payment without taking 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 stimulus check 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 may still be able to claim your money next year. Otherwise, you will have to wait until 2021.


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 by 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 this fall from a federal judge in California appeared to have provisionally resolved the question and required the IRS to contact those in prison who can file a claim for a stimulus check. The deadline to file a claim – by mail or online – this year has passed. As with others who miss a payment, the IRS said that if you don’t receive a payment by December 31, you may be able to claim it in 2021 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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