Economic Impact Payments and Tax Credits

Thank you for visiting our web page about economic impact payments (EIP) and tax credits. We tell you how to get any missing EIPs, also referred to as stimulus payments. You will also find information about various tax credits – like the Child Tax Credit – that you and your family may be eligible to get. We encourage you to read both sections carefully. Both could mean additional money for you and your family.

How Can I Get Missing Economic Impact Payments?

Do you receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? Make sure you get EIPs for your eligible spouse and dependent(s), in addition to yourself. Read below to see if you may need to file a 2020 tax return with the IRS to receive missing EIPs as soon as possible. If you already filed your 2020 tax return, no further action is needed.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 authorized a third round of EIPs for eligible individuals. Most eligible people won’t need to take additional action to get a third payment. If you didn't get a first and second EIP or you got less than the full amount, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. You must file a 2020 tax return even if you don't usually file. For more information about all three rounds of EIPs, visit www.irs.gov/eip.

Situation #1: You filed a 2019 tax return, or you used the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool to get the first EIP, and you had a new eligible child in 2020. Action: File a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC).

If you filed a 2019 tax return, or you used the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool last year to receive a previous EIP, the IRS sent you an EIP for you and for each eligible child under age 17 you listed. If you had a child in 2020 — such as by birth or adoption — you must file a 2020 tax return with the IRS and claim the RRC to receive the full payment you’re eligible for, even if you have no income to report for 2020.

Example: You previously provided information about yourself and your two eligible children using the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool. In 2020, you had another child. You now have three eligible children. The IRS sent you EIPs for you and your first two children. You may be eligible for an RRC for your third child and must file a 2020 tax return to claim it. The RRC pays you any missing first and second EIPs you and your children are eligible for. When your tax return is processed, the IRS will pay the RRC as a tax refund. The IRS will send you any additional third EIP amount you are eligible for in 2021 separately.

Situation #2: You did not file taxes in 2019 and you did not use the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool to get the first EIP. Your spouse or dependents have not gotten all the EIP money they are eligible for. Action: File a 2020 tax return and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) to receive the full amount your family is eligible for and to potentially qualify for the Child Tax Credit. If you do not have family members eligible for an EIP, and you’ve received your full amount, no action is required.

If you did not file a 2020 or 2019 tax return, and you did not use the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool to receive a previous EIP, the IRS will send (or sent) the third round of EIPs to each eligible person who receives Social Security or SSI benefits based on Social Security’s records. If you have family members eligible for an EIP, you must file a 2020 tax return to claim an RRC.

Example: You receive Social Security or SSI but did not file a 2019 or 2020 tax return and you did not use the IRS’ Non-Filer Tool to receive a previous EIP. You have a spouse and two children; all three do not receive Social Security or SSI. The IRS has not sent you an EIP for your spouse and two eligible dependents because they are not on IRS’ records as being your dependent. The IRS will send you (or sent you) an EIP for yourself because you receive benefits and Social Security provided your information to the IRS to pay you. You may be eligible for an RRC for your spouse and eligible dependents and must file a 2020 tax return to claim it. The RRC pays any missing first and second EIPs. When your tax return is processed, the IRS will pay the RRC as a tax refund. The IRS will send you any additional third EIP amount you are eligible for in 2021 separately.

Missing Economic Impact Payments?

Some federal benefits recipients may need to file a 2020 tax return, even if you don’t usually file, to provide information the IRS needs to send payments for your eligible spouse and dependents. You’ll need to file a 2020 tax return and claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) if you didn’t get the full amount of the first and second EIPs. See the special section on IRS.gov: Claiming the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you aren't required to file a tax return. When your 2020 tax return is processed, the IRS will pay the RRC as a tax refund. The IRS will send you any additional third EIP amount you and your dependents are eligible for in 2021 separately. Some eligible people may get more than one payment.

Remember to file your 2020 tax return with the IRS to be considered for the additional EIP amount.

Anyone with income of $72,000 or less can file their Federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program.

File Your Federal Taxes for Free

Need help filing your tax return for free? Visit the IRS’ webpage: Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers

The IRS’ deadline to file a tax 2020 return by May 17, 2021 only applies to you if you are required to file a federal tax return. Not sure? Check out Do I Need to File a Tax Return? on IRS’ website. Even if the deadline does not apply to you, the sooner you file your tax return, the sooner the IRS can process your tax return and pay any money owed to you and your family.

If you have a new dependent in 2021, you cannot include that dependent on a 2020 tax return. You will need to file a 2021 tax return next year to claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, if eligible.

Please remember only the IRS can answer questions about tax-related topics and economic impact payments. Please do not contact the Social Security Administration.

What Other Tax Credits are Available to Me?

There are several refundable tax credits available to individuals and families, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and others. To see if you qualify for the Child Tax Credit or other refundable tax credits, visit the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant page and refer to the Credits section to learn more. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant is a convenient, online, interactive tool that answers your questions and can help you see if you qualify for tax credits.

Visit the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant!

The IRS’ deadline to file a 2020 tax return by May 17, 2021 only applies to you if you are required to file a federal tax return. Not sure? Check out Do I Need to File a Tax Return? on IRS’ website. If the deadline does not apply to you, you have more time. The sooner you file your tax return, however, the sooner the IRS can process your tax return and tax credits if you qualify.

Please remember only the IRS can answer questions about tax-related topics and economic impact payments. Please do not contact the Social Security Administration.

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