Back Taxes, Previous Year Return(s) and Stimulus Checks

The following information for 2020 and 2021 returns only. However, you can no longer file a 2020 return and claim the Stimulus 1 and 2 payments as this expired on May 17, 2024. Find forms if you still need to file a 2020 return for other reasons. See below if you still need to file your 2021 return for the third stimulus payment - you have until April 15, 2025 to do this.

The IRS currently only allows e-filing for the current year tax return. They will not accept e-filing for previous year tax returns, so you can no longer prepare and e-file a 2020 or 2021 tax return online. However, you can prepare paper returns for previous years and mail them to the IRS. Thus, the only way to claim any federal stimulus payments is by mailing in a tax return.

File for Stimulus or COVID Checks

Expired, informational only - claim Stimulus 1 and 2: If you did not receive stimulus 1 and/or 2, did not claim them on a 2020 Return, and were in fact owed them, then you would have had to have e-filed a 2020 Return by October 17, 2021 or filled out and mailed in a 2020 Return on paper. Since May 17, 2024, you are no longer be able to claim the first two stimulus payments. The only way to claim Stimulus 1 and 2 was by filing a 2020 Return. Estimate your stimulus 1 and 2 amounts here:

Stimulus 1 Calculator

Stimulus 2 Calculator

Once you have these amounts, you would combine them and report this on the Form 1040, Line 30, Recovery Rebate Credit: 2020 Form 1040.

Find any other required 2020 Forms here. If you are a non-filer and/or are only filing to get the payment(s), then all you need is the Form 1040.

Claim Stimulus 3: If you did not receive some or all of Stimulus 3, you will need to claim it by mailing in a 2021 Return. After April 15, 2025, you will no longer be able to claim the third stimulus payment. You can claim this by manually filling in the forms and claiming the credit on the Form 1040, Line 30, Recovery Rebate Credit. Estimate your stimulus 3 eligibility and amount here:

Stimulus 3 Calculator

Note: If you are only filing to claim this payment (non-filer, Social Security recipient, SSI recipient, etc.), then you only need to fill in 2021 Form 1040 with your personal information, add the amount from the calculator, and total it on Lines 34 and 35.

If you are also claiming the 2021 Child Tax Credit, follow these instructions. Add both your Stimulus 3 and CTC amount to Lines 34 and 35.

Find any other required 2021 Forms here.

If you claim dependents, be sure to add their information in the dependents section. Add your other information on the Form 1040 - name and address, wages, retirement, standard deduction, etc.

Your return is not completed until it is signed and dated.

Prepare and e-file your current year taxes on - the eFile platform handles all the forms and calculations for you so you do not have to handle any complicated forms. The IRS and states only allow current year returns to be filed electronically. Important: you can not claim any stimulus payments by filing this year's return online.

See information on stimulus checks as they apply to 2020 and 2021.

For 2021 and all other previous year resources, see back taxes.