Is your coronavirus stimulus check the wrong amount? That’s just one potential problem Americans are facing with their economic impact payments. Here’s what to do if your coronavirus stimulus check is the wrong amount or if you are facing one of the other big problems with the payments.
If your coronavirus stimulus check is the wrong amount
Some people who discovered that their coronavirus stimulus check was the wrong amount say the extra $500 per child wasn't included, so they only received the $1,200 per adult. The payment amount is based on your 2019 taxes unless you haven't filed them yet.
If you haven't filed your 2019 taxes, then the amount is based on your 2018 return. This would affect taxpayers who had a child in 2019 and didn't file their 2019 taxes yet. Unfortunately, in this scenario, you will have to wait until you file your 2020 taxes to claim the additional $500 payment per child.
Other Americans who are missing the extra $500 per child may be those who receive SSI, Railroad Retirement or VA benefits from the government. U.S. officials are using form 1099s in addition to tax returns to determine who is eligible to receive a coronavirus stimulus check.
However, form 1099s do not state how many children those receiving benefits have. As a result, those who receive these benefits may find that their coronavirus stimulus check is the wrong amount. The good news is that if you haven't received your payment yet, there is still a little bit of time to tell the Treasury how many children you have if you receive these benefits.
Tuesday is the deadline to use the IRS' tool for non-filers to report how many children you have. If you don't report this using the tool by today, you will have to wait until you file your 2020 taxes to receive the additional amount per child. In some cases, those who use the tool for non-filers are still finding that their coronavirus stimulus check is the wrong amount.
Once again, those who are missing the $500 per child will have to wait until they file their 2020 tax return. The downside is that those who receive SSI, VA or Railroad Retirement benefits typically don't file taxes, which means they may be unable to claim the extra money. The IRS will send a letter about the economic impact payment with instructions about what to do if you don't receive your coronavirus stimulus check or if it is the wrong amount.
Other reasons your coronavirus stimulus check is the wrong amount
One other reason your coronavirus stimulus check might be the wrong amount is if your income has changed. Since the amount of the payment is based on your 2018 or 2019 taxes, you could end up receiving too much or too little if your income has changed. In this scenario, you will receive the extra amount when you file your 2020 taxes.
In some cases, you may receive more than what you were supposed to receive. This can happen because you have a child who turns 17 this year, and dependents ages 17 and up are not eligible for the extra $500 per child. If this happens, the IRS said you won't have to repay the extra money.
If you received a payment for a spouse who has passed away, it's unclear whether you will have to repay the extra money. Tax professionals don't believe it will have to be repaid, but officials have said they want this extra money back. It may be a while before we find out whether that money will have to be returned.
If you haven't received your economic impact payment
If you still haven't received your coronavirus stimulus check, there are several reasons it could be held up. The most common reason is that the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information, and you're on the list of Americans who are slated to receive a paper check.
To find out why you haven't received your economic impact payment, you can use the IRS' tool for taxpayers here. Those who don't file taxes should use the tool for non-filers here. The tools will not only tell you whether you are eligible to receive the economic impact payment but also what the status of your payment is.
If the IRS doesn't have your direct deposit information, then you will be able to enter it into the tool to receive your payment electronically. It could take up to 20 weeks for the agency to send out all the paper checks, so it's a good idea to receive it via direct deposit. If you enter your information by Thursday of a given week, you should receive your payment the following week, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.
You may not receive a payment because you made too much money in 2018 or 2019, whichever year the IRS is using to calculate your payment. To determine whether you should be eligible based on your income, you can check the IRS' chart here.
If your income dropped this year because you were laid off due to the pandemic, you may be able to receive your payment when you file your 2020 taxes. Unfortunately, that doesn't help very much right now, but the increased unemployment benefits should hopefully help.
Others who may not be eligible include Americans who are married to immigrants and those who were claimed as dependents on others' tax returns if they were age 17 or older.