What to Know About the Third Stimulus Payments

The US House of Representatives Wenesday passed the Senate’s amended version of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which authorizes direct payments of $1,400 for eligible Americans. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Biden on Friday.

Who is Eligible for Stimulus Payments?

Single individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000 are eligible for the full payment. However, the payments begin phasing out for income over $75,000 per person, and partial payments will only be made to single individuals with incomes up to $80,000 and $160,000 for couples. Individuals making over $80,000 and couples earning over $160,000 will not receive any payment.

Unlike the two previous checks, adult dependants are eligible for payments. Adult dependents include college students, disabled adults, and elderly relatives under your care. In the previous two direct payments, only dependents under the age of 17 were eligible for payments.

What Year’s Income Is Payment Eligibility Based On?

Under the just-passed bill, the IRS is instructed to base payments on people’s 2019 tax returns, or their 2020 returns if they filed their taxes already. People who do not qualify based on their 2019 returns but would qualify under their 2020 returns should file taxes immediately so as to have that information on file before the IRS begins processing the payments so you can receive the stimulus as soon as possible. However, if you are unable to file your 2020 taxes before payments begin, the IRS will make payments later this year for those who now qualify but did not under their 2019 returns.

If you receive a stimulus payment but not the amount you should be entitled to, you will be able to claim the unreceived stimulus funds as a credit when you file your 2021 taxes.

If you were eligible for the past direct stimulus payments but never received them, such as if your income declined in 2020 or you had a child in 2020, speak to your accountant about claiming a “recovery rebate credit” on your 2020 return.

When Will You Receive The Payment?

The IRS and Treasury Department are expected to begin sending out payments almost immediately after the bill is signed into law by President Biden, with “a large number of Americans” receiving the payments by the end of March, according to the White House. As noted above, if you qualify for payments based on your 2020 income but not based on your 2019 income, and you have not yet filed your 2020 taxes, you will receive the direct payment later this year.


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  1. What if you are eligible under 2019 tax return and receive the stimulus but your 2020 puts you just over the eligibility ? Will they later take back the money?

  2. #2, then the smart (and legal) thing to do, is wait for the stimulus and then file. You will not be asked for the money back. If you don’t want the money, please reach out to TLS for my email, I’ll be happy to have it.

  3. The payments for children/family members is generous. How will this new income impact eligibility to other income based programs like HUD, SNAP et al?

  4. The notion that a couple making $149k with no dependent children gets the full payment but a couple making 160k with many dependents gets no payment is lunacy at its best. Classic government stupidity!

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