Despite assurances from lawmakers over the past few months, there are still no signs of the second stimulus checks. In case Congress does approve another round of coronavirus stimulus checks, the total amount you get would depend on your income, as well as the number of dependents you have. If you don’t know who counts as dependents and whom you have listed as dependents, then read on.
Who counts as dependents?
A general definition for a dependent as per the tax law is that the person needs to be either younger than 19 years old, or be a student younger than 24 years old to qualify as a dependent. Also, if the child is "permanently and totally disabled," then one can claim them as a dependent irrespective of their age, according to the IRS.
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Under the tax law, one can also claim a qualifying relative, be it a child or an adult, as a dependent. Usually, such a dependent is an elderly relative.
It is, however, possible that a person claimed as a dependent on your tax return didn’t qualify for the dependent payment under the CARES Act. This is because the CARES Act had its own eligibility criteria as to who qualified as a dependent. The CARES Act considered only those aged 16 and younger as dependents for the purpose of the $500 dependent payment.
Talking of who will count as dependents for the next coronavirus stimulus checks, the answer is there is no confirmation yet. Things will only be confirmed once Congress passes the next relief package.
Several proposals have been put forward for the next relief package. These proposals have different criteria and payments for dependents. For instance, both the Republican-backed HEALS Act and Democrat-backed Heroes Act promise payment to all dependents irrespective of age, including college students and adult dependents, as well as elderly relatives.
However, the two proposals differ on the amount they promise to pay the dependents. The HEALS Act promises $500 per dependent with no limit on the number of dependents who can get coronavirus stimulus checks. On the other hand, the HEROES Act proposes a payment of $1,200 per dependent, but for up to three people.
Thus, to get an idea on the amount of coronavirus stimulus check you would get, in case there is a second round, it is important for you to know who all you have listed as dependents. You can get this answer from your tax return, specifically form 1040, US Individual Income Tax Return.
On the middle of the first page of the form 1040, there is a box labeled Dependents. It will include all the details regarding the dependents, including their name, social security number, how they are related to you, and if they qualify for a child tax credit or other credit for dependents.