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Stimulus Check: 12 Things You Should Know Before the End of 2020


A second stimulus check is at stake, with less than a month to go in 2020.

Sarah Tew / CNET

With heating up negotiations on a new stimulus law, the situation with a second stimulus check takes on a different nuance and tone. It’s complicated and still in flux, but we’ll walk you through the most important facts you need to know now and what could come next.

Even if another instant payment for a whopping $ 1,200 per person won’t appear in 2020 – and maybe not – there is still one there is a good chance that it will arrive in 2021. We will inform you about the latest proposal for a new incentive law, and where to find more information about stimulus controls you should know, such as who could be eligible and who not, and which priority group you are in, which can affect how quickly you receive your future check. This story is often updated with new information.

A second stimulus check looks more likely for 2021

Most promising stimulus proposal for 2020 is not yet an account. It is currently a $ 908 billion framework expected to pass into law on Monday. After that, it could become the basis for negotiations on which Congress could vote.

The framework is currently ruling out a second stimulus check, likely in the interest of approving a small bill now before President-elect Joe Biden and his team tackle a larger stimulus package in 2021, a this may include a second stimulus check.

“A packet passed during a lame-duck session is probably a start at best,” Biden said Tuesday. “My transition team is already working on what I will bring forward in the next conference to address the many crises we are facing, especially for economic and COVID crises.”

The direct payment has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats, as well as many top economists.

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Following stimulus checks: what to expect


This is how quickly you can get a second check based on your IRS grouping

Eligible Americans got the first incentive money at different times, based on five de facto priority groups. For example people who have set up direct deposit – a wire transfer of money to their bank account – with the IRS, their checks could get weeks earlier than those who receive a paper check or prepaid EIP card in the mail. Here’s a more detailed one definition of the payment groups.

You may get a smaller or larger incentive payment this time

If the eligibility requirements change at a second check, you and your family can access more money in your payment, or less. For example, a new line could potentially earn you a higher amount. But there may also have been changes in your living conditions – such as a birth or death in the family, starting a new job or becoming unemployed – that can also make your second stimulus check smaller. Here is how to estimate how much you would likely get, and here it is how the IRS determines how much money You get.


Do you get a second stimulus check? Not everyone is eligible.

Angela Lang / CNET

You can receive the next payment faster than the first

With the first check, the IRS learned how to mobilize and provide incentive money, and said it resolved many of the difficulties in the process. If a second check is approved, the agency can likely speed up the process of sending the first set of payments. The tracking tool is already running, the system is in place, and it’s likely that the majority of people who qualified for an initial check would get another one.

The timeline is constantly changing, but we have mapped possible dates when a check could be sent if approved before – or after – the January 20 inauguration.

You need to prepare now to get your second check faster

If a second stimulus check is approved, the IRS is expected to act quickly to send them out. There are steps you can take now to get your payment faster. We’ve found ways to make sure you are in one of the first waves to get your stimulation money, not the last.

Some people don’t qualify for a check next time

With the first round of checks, Congress established income limits based on your adjusted gross income that was one rule that separated who did and was not eligible for a stimulus check. But that’s just the beginning. Your status as a dependent or grown up, your citizenship and more also helped decide whether you had all or part of the first check – and those things will likely affect the second as well. Read more about qualifications for incentive payments here.


You have a few more weeks this year to claim a stimulus check.

Angela Lang / CNET

The IRS still owes millions of people to catch-up checks

Guess? The IRS may still owe you money from the first stimulus control. It could be that some money was left out in front of dependent children, or that one interpretation of a rule changed (this actually happened), that you went through the gap with your personal situation, that you didn’t think you were qualified, but that you do and have to go the extra mile, or that some other mistake was holding you back total amount were entitled to. The deadline of November 21 to submit your claim has passed; now you have to wait until 2021 tax season to register for a payment from the IRS.

A formula determines how much incentive money you will receive

It’s not easy to predict what your payment might be. The IRS used one formula to determine how much incentive money you have received for the first check and something similar for a second payment would determine whether you want the full amount, or a partial payment much more than $ 1,200 if you have kids.

It also explains how you may still be able to get some incentive money even if your family’s annual income is higher than the limit set by the CARES Act in March. The calculation starts with the total of your household adjusted gross income, adds to the money allocated to eligible dependents, then subtracts from the total based on your income group (as defined by the CARES law).

You don’t have to file a tax to get a stimulus check

While taxes and incentive controls are interrelated, you don’t need to have a tax return to be eligible for a check. For example, if you are over 65 and receiving Supplemental insurance for income or social security disability insuranceyou can still qualify for a stimulus check on the basis of the CARES law. You may need to take an extra step to request your payment (you had until November 21 for the first batch) to get your check.

In 2021, you will not be taxed on incentive money received

Theirs does not regard incentive money as income. That means that a payment you receive this year will not lower your 2021 refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return. Also, you don’t have to refund part of your stimulus check if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021. The IRS said if you haven’t received everything you owed this year, you can claim it as a credit on your federal income tax return by filing in 2021.

Rules and exceptions are key to how much you get

If a second stimulus check is approved, there will be many small details, rules, and exceptions that can be confusing. While some situations are easy to understand, others that concern you and your family members can make it unclear whether you qualify and how much money you could receive – there are many secondary cases.

For example:

Certainly problems can slow your control, for example if you have recently moved.

Here’s who can take your incentive money from you

In most cases, your check is yours to spend or save as you wish; it is not taxable. But there are a few situations where the federal government or a debt collection agency can taking all or part of your check to cover a debtlike when you child benefit.

For more information on incentive payments, here’s what happens with stimulus negotiations now, what Biden is planning an incentive law and which federal benefits expire at the end of the year.

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