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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Stimulus Check Alert: Who Might Be Among The Unfortunate Few To Not Receive It

If the third round of stimulus checks has not arrived yet, it is normal to wonder about the date. The IRS has been reportedly mailing batches of payments worth $1400. However, about 16 million individuals who had received the stimulus check in the second round face disqualification for the latest round.

Close to 125 million stimulus checks have been sent out by the IRS in less than a month, but there are still millions who have not received them. Many will get it in due course, as some checks have been sent through the US postal services. 

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Others, including federal beneficiaries like those under the SSI and SSDI, should be getting their Economic Impact Payments even as you read this article. The veterans and retired railroad employees are also among this group of beneficiaries. But there still will be millions who will not be among the beneficiaries of the third stimulus check.

The Stimulus Check And Income Limits

stimulus check
stimulus check

Many who have not received their stimulus check are confused about whether their income entitles them to the stimulus check. And around 16 million of them, who received the second stimulus check, will not get one for the third time. The income limit is lower under the new bill passed by President Biden. 

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But another factor that plays a huge role this time around is your taxes, or more specifically your Adjusted Gross Income plus the year the IRS uses to compute your stimulus payment. It could be 2019 if you have not filed the tax returns this year for 2020.

So you need to compare the AGI for both years to know if you qualify for the same.

The Tax Calculation Is Important

If your income is right up there touching the limit for qualification for the stimulus check as set down by the government, the time when you file your tax returns could be the deciding factor. This is because the tax season and the period of issue of the third stimulus check have overlapped. If your income is way above in 2020 than in 2019, it could be to your advantage to fall back on your previous returns.

Recent tax returns, however, are facing a delay in getting processed according to the IRS. For individuals who have earned more this year than the last one, the recent deadline extension is in their favor. Filing taxes will also not work to your advantage because the IRS is concentrating on processing the stimulus payments more than the tax returns.

And if you have already received your stimulus check based on your 2019 returns, you could still get a ‘push-up’ payment if your 2020 returns entitle you to a bigger amount. These add-ons have already reached some citizens and will continue going out till December 31 of this year.

The Cutoff For Individuals

$75,000 is the maximum AGI when you revive the maximum amount of $1,400 in your stimulus check. It begins to phase out after that with every increase in income and completely phases out at $80,000. So you will still receive a check if your AGI is between $75,000 and $80,000, though it will be less with every increase in income.

People who do not file their returns jointly, but still claim one or more dependents will see a decrease in their stimulus check if the income crosses the $112,500 mark and will phase out completely once it crosses $120,000.

If you and your partner are married and file jointly, you will be eligible for the full check if your income is below $150,000 combined. It will decrease with each increase in income above that level and phase out totally if it crosses the $160,000 mark.

The Rules Have Changed 

You will not qualify for the stimulus check if you happen to be a non-resident alien as defined by the IRS. They are those who have not passed either the substantial presence test or the green card test. This includes people who are studying abroad in America.

The rules have been different for all three stimulus checks. For the first check, non-citizens who held a Social Security number and lived and worked in the United States qualified for a payment.

For the second stimulus check, families where one of the spouses was a non-citizen qualified for the check even if they held just the ITIN (the taxpayer identification number), and not the Social Security number. 

But under the new bill, every mixed-status household where at least a family member has a Social Security number will get the third stimulus check if they meet other eligibility rules, including the income limits.

US Citizenship Does Not Guarantee A Stimulus Check

Stimulus Check
Stimulus Check

In the first two rounds of the stimulus payments, residents of the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, or residents of the Northern Mariana Islands may have qualified for the stimulus checks. The eligibility was determined previously by their respective tax authorities.s the rules are expected to be the same for the third stimulus payments.

Rules For Non-Filers

You still qualify for the third stimulus check if you’re a nonfiler. But you need to go that extra mile if you have missed out on any or both of the two previous checks. You will have to file the tax returns for 2020 by May 17 and claim it under the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Similarly, you will have to file your tax returns for 2021 in 2022 to claim any amount under the Economic IMPACT Payment scheme if you miss out this year. The RRC can also be used to recover money if your stimulus payment was calculated under the 2019 returns and you made less in 2020 and so qualified for a bigger stimulus check this year.

Losing A Family Member

If you have received a stimulus check calculated based on your 2019 returns and you have lost a household member recently, you will receive more than you are entitled to under the stimulus payments.

 The IRS may even request you to refund the amount. But it depends on the year that the IRS went by to compute your stimulus check. If it is 2019, you will in all likelihood get to keep the stimulus check.

Losing Stimulus Money To Private Debt Collectors

Under the new bill, only private debt collectors are allowed to garnish any part of or the whole of your stimulus check. But there are steps you can take if you get information from the bank that your payment is liable to be garnished. You can contact your bank to get all the details about the garnishment. The bank will inform you of the time you have to file an appeal at a local court to prevent your stimulus check from being garnished.

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