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Home / Tips and Tricks / The $ 1,400 stimulus check formula determines your total payment. Here’s what that means

The $ 1,400 stimulus check formula determines your total payment. Here’s what that means



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The stimulus check formula can change, and that can change the amount you receive in a third payment.

Sarah Tew / CNET

By the end of this week, House Democrats are hoping for the COVID-19 relief proposal to the floor for a vote. A final version of the third stimulus check may look different from the first two rounds of stimulus checksWhile you are a larger payment this time – it’s over $ 1,400 per eligible adult and dependent – the final IRS formula determines how much money you and your household could get. More precisely, the dollar amounts and income limits used by the IRS in the equation will determine whether you get a big payment a partial amount or no stimulus control at allThis is how different the payment could look

Until Congress approves the last $ 1.9 trillion emergency bills, we will not know the exact formula used to determine the size of a third stimulus check per individual. However, we do expect targeted income limits that exclude some people who have received stimulus money in the first two rounds.

For example, under the new plan, a family of four could get $ 5,600, up from the maximum of $ 2,400 offered by the $ 600 second check spread in December and January. Below we explain how it works. Meanwhile, here are the The Most Important Things To Know About Incentive Payments now, including when a payment might arrive and what happens if one third check comes in the middle of tax seasonThis story is regularly updated.

Important things that make up the stimulus control formula

Before we get into how a possible third stimulus check could change the equation and what the outcome would mean for you, here’s how it works. In general, your tax return is one of the most important factors in determining your stimulus check total. The other factors include your adjusted gross income, or AGI, and the stimulus control formula. You can qualify for a stimulus check if you have a non-applicant who does not pay tax to.

The main variables that the IRS puts into the stimulus formula are:

  • Your AGI per your 2019 or 2020 federal tax returns
  • Upper limits for single taxpayers, heads of household (for example, a single person with at least one child) and married couples filing jointly.
  • The number of eligible dependents you claim.
  • “Decrease” or “Phase Out” – the amount that your total would decrease for every $ 1,000 you earn above the income threshold that would qualify you for the full amount of the check. In other words, this part of the equation calculates a partial payment if you don’t qualify for the full amount.


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The comparison could still change with the third stimulus check. This is what we know

The recent proposal to “target” the $ 1,400 incentive check would deter the highest earners from receiving a partial payment. If the proposal is passed, the qualifications will be:

  • The full amount of $ 1,400 if you earn below $ 75,000 (single taxpayer); $ 112,500 (householder); $ 150,000 (married)
  • Disqualified for $ 100,000 (Single); $ 150,000 (householder); $ 200,000 (married)
  • The phase-out percentage has been increased to maintain this upper limit
  • These high earners wouldn’t receive partial checks, even if they have dependents

It’s important to know the fine print for dependents

With the previous two incentive checks approved in March as part of the CARES Act and then in December, it was possible to get a partial payment even if you exceeded the maximum income limit – as you had dependents. For example, say a married couple with one AGI of $ 200,000 claims two dependents. With a $ 1,400 stimulus check using the previous formula, that family can still get a $ 600 check.

That’s because the previous formula starts with the largest amount you would be eligible for (say, $ 1,400 per single taxpayer or $ 2,800 for joint filers) and adds $ 1,400 for each eligible dependent. Then it lowers the total possible amount according to your AGI and the reduction percentage.

It’s a bit like starting a test with a perfect score of 100 points and subtracting every point you “miss”, instead of starting with zero points and adding them all up at the end of the test.

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Measuring your stimulus check payment is not an easy task.

Angela Lang / CNET

But in this case, the dependents you mention can start you with a higher value, say 110 points in our class example. So by the time you subtract “points”, you can still get more than people who have no dependents – even if your AGI is above the maximum limit. The more dependent children you have, the higher your starting value and the higher your ending value.

The proposal to target stimulation checks would trigger a solid cut-off, meaning it would start evaluating your AGI. If you exceed the limit, it doesn’t matter how many family members you have. You still don’t qualify for a check.

On the other hand, a family with a large number of dependents and an AGI within limits can still potentially receive a large partial payment, as long as they fall below that absolute upper limit. You can experiment with our stimulus calculator

Phasing Out and Reduction Rate: What You Need to Know About a Targeted Payment

This is a sliding scale. For example, during the second check whether you AGI was less than $ 75,000 as a single taxpayer (i.e. no kids), you should have received the entire amount stimulus check total $ 600If you made more than that, the size of your check would decrease to $ 87,000, after which you would no longer be eligible.

For the $ 1,400 stimulus check – note that this is subject to change – you can receive the full $ 1,400 if you earn less than $ 75,000 per year (your AGI as the sole taxpayer), with a decreasing return to close of $ 100,000. You would receive a partial check for an AGI between $ 75,000 and $ 99,900. Again, you can see the differences in our $ 1,400 stimulus check calculators

For heads of household and married couples with dependents, these other members of the household are an important part of the equation – to some extent (see above).

To learn more, here are the top things to do know about stimulus controlsAnd watch how SSDI Recipients and Checks older adults and retirees and people who are not US citizens or Americans who do not live in the US may also qualify, including families with citizenship of mixed status


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