How to claim missing coronavirus stimulus checks as Recovery Rebate Credit on taxes in 2021

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How to claim missing coronavirus stimulus checks as Recovery Rebate Credit on taxes in 2021
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Congress is close to striking a deal on the next stimulus package and possibly stimulus checks as well. However, there are many who still haven’t even received their first stimulus check. Such people, however, can still claim their coronavirus stimulus checks as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 taxes in 2021.

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Claim coronavirus stimulus checks as Recovery Rebate Credit

Those who were eligible for the first stimulus check, but were unable to claim it, have now missed the deadline to claim the money this year. Such people, however, can still claim their money as a Recovery Rebate Credit next year.

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This credit, if you are eligible, could either raise your tax refund amount, or reduce your tax liability by the amount of stimulus you’re eligible for. You can claim this money whether or not Congress approves another round of stimulus checks. Moreover, you can also claim this credit if you got the first check, but the money you got is less than what you are eligible for.

Those eligible would be able to claim the credit during the 2021 tax season. Generally, the federal tax return due date is April 15. In 2020, the IRS extended the deadline to July 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of now, the IRS hasn’t come out with specific instructions, but it does say those eligible can use 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR to claim their stimulus payment. Those who didn’t get the full amount would need the IRS letter (Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment) at the time of filing taxes.

How can non-filers claim their stimulus check?

Those who don’t normally file a federal tax return, but were eligible for the stimulus check, can also claim the money as a Recovery Rebate Credit. The IRS made several efforts to reach such people, called “nonfilers.” This group usually includes older adults, retirees, SSDI or SSI recipients, and those with income less than $12,200.

People in this group also need to claim the check when they file their 2020 federal income tax return next year.

“When you file a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR you may be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit. Save your IRS letter – Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment – with your 2020 tax records. You’ll need the amount of the payment in the letter when you file in 2021,” the IRS says.

Those whose stimulus check didn’t include the $500 dependent payment can also claim it as a Recovery Rebate Credit. People who didn’t get $500 for a qualifying child dependent and missed the deadline to claim it this year, can claim the payment on their 2020 federal tax return in 2021 using a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR.

In case the parents are separated or divorced and jointly share the custody of the dependent, then each parent is eligible for the $500 payment.

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