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Sorry, you could get less money in a third stimulus check. Here’s how

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If the rules or your living conditions have changed, your next stimulus check may feel the pressure.

Sarah Tew / CNET

New qualifications, an increase to $ 1,400 per person and an extension to include all dependents, not just kids. Some top-line proposals for the third stimulus check could send the total payments up, if the new rules make it the next stimulus package. On the other hand, Democrats – who have a majority in the Senate and can force the $ 1.9 trillion bill when the time comes – also look for ways to limit the number of people who can benefit from a potential check for $ 1,400 per person.

“I’m not going to cut the size of the checks. They’re going to be $ 1,400. Period. That’s what the American people were promised,” President Joe Biden said at an event at the White House on Feb. 5. But he also said this: ‘We have to use that money. So people make $ 300,000 no windfall. (Not everyone agrees.)

The result of a higher maximum per person mixed with new qualifications on income that could “target” a third stimulus check maybe enough to lower the total for some people this time. But there may also be additional life changes that can shrink your third check. We’ll explain everything you need to know about what could lead to a smaller one third stimulus check this time. This story has been updated with the latest details.

$ 1,400, but maybe not as you’d expect

For the first and second incentive check, Congress used one similar formula to determine payment amounts, with the same income limits and the same rate at which payments are phased out. We have calculators to help you calculate the second payment of $ 600 and the first check for $ 1,200 – and even the third checkdepending on how things are going.

Here are the income limits that Congress has set, using your adjusted gross income, or AGI, to receive the first and second payment in full:

  • Single taxpayer earning less than $ 75,000
  • Head of household earning less than $ 112,500
  • Couple filing jointly that earns less than $ 150,000

For the third check, Biden and Congress are reportedly considering reworking the formula to better route payments to people within a certain salary range, based on their annually adjusted gross income.

According to the Washington Post, here are the income caps Congress is considering receiving a full third payment:

  • Single taxpayer earning less than $ 50,000
  • Head of household earning less than $ 75,000
  • Couple filing jointly that earns less than $ 100,000

What that could mean for you is that while you may be eligible for a first or second check, at the same income level, you may receive a much smaller fee this time – if you qualify at all. Here’s a graph that looks at the differences that lowering the income threshold could cause.

Upper income limit to receive 1st, 2nd and 3rd payment

AGI to phase out the $ 1,200 initial payment AGI will phase out the second payment of $ 600 AGI to phase out the third “targeted” payment of $ 1,400
One tax file

$ 99,000

$ 87,000


Head of a household

$ 146,000

$ 124,500


Married, filing jointly

$ 198,000

$ 174,000


Congress is also reportedly considering changing the rate you’d get rid of from a payment to exclude higher earners from receiving a payment, Jeff Stein, a Washington Post reporter, tweeted. For the first and second checks, Congress set a phase-out rate of $ 50 for every $ 1,000 in income above the baseline.

For example, a change that would phase out the amount you would get at a rate of $ 100 instead of $ 50 for every $ 1,000 in income could quickly put some individuals and families out of reach of a payment. fall.

What if you made more money in 2019 than in 2018?

Your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is a term normally used on the annual federal tax return to describe your total income, including assets (such as stock sales, credits and deductions, or an inheritance) that are beyond your usual salary. You didn’t get the first stimulus check, sent after the CARES law was passed in March, if your AGI exceeded a certain income threshold. There was an even lower number with the $ 600 stimulus check, and Congress is weighing in on a limit on a third that could be even lower.

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Stimulus Check # 3: What You Need to Know


The first stimulus check was based on your 2018 or 2019 taxes, if you had filed them. The second check, approved by Congress in December, only looked at your 2019 taxes. Congress is reportedly considering using your 2019 taxes for the third round of stimulus checks as well. That means if you got a new job or made more money between 2018 and 2019 (congratulations), you can race to the upper limit faster and only receive a partial check.

However, any dependent children you could still contribute to the total amount – and the same could be true with a third check. Again, our second stimulus check calculator and third stimulus calculator can help estimate the sum. Here’s more about the relationship between your tax status and any incentive check.

What if you have fewer dependents than before?

For the first two checks, age has been an important factor in how much stimulus money a household receives. Older adults in many cases are entitled to their own stimulus check. In the first round of direct payments, households received an additional $ 500 for each “child dependent, “which Congress defined as a legal minor who is 16 years of age or younger.

Interestingly, the IRS definition of a child dependent for your taxes (Age 23 or younger, and financially dependent on the tax bearer) is not the same one used for the first two incentive checks.


Kids grow up and you could cost $ 600 per child.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the third check, Biden proposed opening the definition to any dependent you can claim on your taxes. This time, Biden is throwing a payment of $ 1,400 to each eligible dependent. It was $ 600 for the second round.

But if for some reason you don’t have the same number of dependents, you may not get their share of your final check. For example, if someone died, the IRS expected you to return any money you paid on their behalf.

A math error can produce a smaller check initially

It happened with the first check and with the second. Written mistakes, depositing errors and complex rules can result in your household getting less money on the third stimulus check than you might be entitled to – for you and your family members. Or you may not normally need to file a tax and as with the first two checks, you should take the extra step to claim your money.

For the first two checks, for any reason, if a problem prevented you from receiving all or part of your incentive money, you can claim it as a chargeback discount this tax season. Without a new law, we don’t know how those who would owe a third payment but didn’t receive it will claim a missing check.

Has someone in your household passed away recently?

If your household receives a stimulant check with a spouse or dependent child who died between your last tax return and the receipt of the incentive check, the IRS may have sent you a smaller amount than your tax return status, deductions, credits, or AGI changed. In some cases it is IRS has asked for the payment to be refunded.

Congress has not said how it will deal with this if it approves the third payment.

Do you owe tax?

If so, the protections under the Consolidated Appropriations Act that prevented the IRS from clearing your unpaid tax incentive check don’t apply to people who claim their missing stimulus controls on their tax returns. “If you are an eligible person who has not yet received your full EIP and you have certain outstanding debts, some or all of your unpaid incentive payments will be withheld to offset those debts,” the Taxpayer Advocate Service said in a blog post .

However, the government agency says the IRS is investigating this problem to help taxpayers so their stimulus payment is not garnished. Congress and the IRS have not discussed how they will address this situation with a third party audit.

For more information about incentive money, click here Most Important Facts You Should Know About Stimulus Controls and what else could be in it Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus bill.

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