Stimulus Payment Two, 2020 Taxes

Important: the information below applies for 2020 Tax Returns only as the IRS is no longer issuing this stimulus payment. If you did not receive the full amount of stimulus one or stimulus two, you will need to file a previous year, 2020 Return as back taxes can no longer be e-filed. You can claim your third stimulus payment on your 2021 Tax Return; prepare your 2021 taxes on eFile.com and claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit.

Second Stimulus Payment

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On January 8, 2021, the IRS announced that millions of stimulus payments or Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) went to the wrong taxpayer accounts. As a result, many taxpayers did not receive their stimulus payment(s), many for stimulus two. Here are further EIP details on this as issued by the IRS.

Attention: If you did not receive your 1st and/or 2nd stimulus payments, you can claim these payments on your 2020 Tax Return via the Recovery Rebate Credit.

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Real Life Stimulus Payment Scenarios

Below, find a summary of taxpayer related stimulus questions and answers that may relate to your situation. Many taxpayers faced difficulties getting the right amount of their payments in 2020 and early 2021. Some of the problems and their solutions below may be helpful in understanding the stimulus payments, what you are owed, or why you did not receive one.

Your Situation
Stimulus Payment
A: I was a dependent on a 2019 tax return and did not get the 1st stimulus payment. I am not a dependent on a 2020 tax return, how will I get the second stimulus payment?
Fact: The 2nd stimulus payment was based on your 2019 status - in this case, a dependent. Thus, you did not get the 2nd Stimulus Payment. However, if you do file a 2020 Tax Return and are not being claimed as a dependent by somebody else, you can claim your 2. Stimulus Payment via the Recovery Rebate Credit.
B: As a Social Security income recipient, a railroad retiree, or one with veterans’ benefits income, what do I do to get the 2nd Stimulus Payment?
Fact: Since you generally don't have to file a tax return, you stimulus payment should have been sent the same way your benefits, etc. are normally paid. If you, however, did not receive the first or second stimulus payment, file a 2020 Tax Return and claim or adjust your stimulus payment via the Recovery Rebate Credit.
C: Can I claim my 1st and/or 2nd Stimulus Payment via my 2020 Tax Return if I have not received any stimulus payments?
Fact: Yes, on your 2020 Tax Return, you can claim both your stimulus payments via the Rebate Recovery Credit.
D: I didn’t file a 2019 tax return nor a 2019 non-filer return and have not received my 1 or 2 stimulus payment. Am I eligible for a 1 and/or 2 stimulus payment?
Fact: Check your eligibility first: 1st Stimulus Calculator and 2nd Stimulus Calculator. If you are eligible, claim your payments via the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file a 2020 federal income tax return. If you had no income in 2020, enter "1" as income on your 2020 tax return. This is a work-around that we recommend.
E: Somebody else, e.g. my ex-spouse, claimed my children or dependents incorrectly on his/her 2019 or 2020 tax return. How do I get the second stimulus payment? See also below the criteria to claim a dependent or child for the additional stimulus payment.
Fact: Disputes between taxpayers on who did and who should have claimed a dependent can get very complex. Read the page on what to do when another person claimed my dependent incorrectly. The dependent dispute is not going to be resolved via a tax return, but by the procedures outlined on this page. If you do regularly not file a tax return, you will have to file a tax return in order to claim a dependent. As stated earlier, claiming a dependent on a tax return is not the same as being eligible to claim this dependent.
F: Where will the IRS send my 1st or 2nd stimulus payments?
Fact: Taxpayers with direct deposit information on file with the IRS should have been paid that way. All others will have gotten a check or debit card in the mail. If you DID NOT get payment, claim or adjust the stimulus payments via the Recovery Rebate Credit option on your 2020 Tax Return.
G: How to track my stimulus payment?

You can no longer track your stimulus payment as the IRS is not issuing stimulus payments anymore. The links below are archived IRS pages for informational purposes only.
Get Your Stimulus Payment Status

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Stimulus Payment Overview

Second stimulus payments were sent out from the IRS and the Treasury Department in late 2020 and early 2021. To see if you were eligible for this payment and to see what your second stimulus payment amount might be, use the free eFile.com Second Stimulus Calculator below and get your personal answer. You don't have to read complicated Tax Mumbo Jumbo to find this out!

Start 2. Stimulus Calculator

  • If you did not receive the first and/or second stimulus payment - paid during 2020 or early 2021 as a result of COVID-19 - or even the full amount you believe you were entitled to, you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit by filing a previous year return.
  • The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 includes checks for millions of American citizens and resident aliens. Following the CARES act for COVID-19 relief, taxpayers can expect a similar process for the second stimulus payments.
  • Learn more about changes to unemployment benefits as a result of this stimulus package that affected the 2020 return via the Unemployment Compensation Exclusion. Note: This was a temporary act for 2020 which has since expired.
  • Are you self employed? Learn about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program and unemployment benefits for self employed, freelancers, and gig-workersNote: This was a temporary program for 2020 and part of 2021 which has since expired.
  • Rental Assistance and Tenant Eviction Moratorium: As a result of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act the moratorium on tenant evictions had been extended until January 31, 2021. It was designed to protect tenants or renters from eviction from their home. In addition, families who can't pay rent or have past due rent could be able to get assistance with paying past due rent, future rent payments, as well as utility bills.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit update: A special "lookback" rule enabled lower income taxpayers to use the earned income amount from tax year 2019 to determine their tax year 2020 Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit, since the reduced or lower 2020 income could reduce the amount they are eligible for. This assisted wage earners with a lower 2020 income to increase their EIC credit and thus their tax refund.

How to Claim the Second Stimulus Check

Taxpayers with regular Tax Returns: Like the first check, the second stimulus payment was to be delivered by the IRS using data from a taxpayer's 2019 Tax Return. This means that payments would have been delivered via bank information entered on the return electronically or mailed to the address that is on the tax return. These payments began to arrive the last days of December 2020 and were issued through the middle of January 2021.

Because the check was delivered based on previous data on your filed 2019 return, taxpayers should not have had to file anything additional to claim the check. If a taxpayer had not yet filed a 2019 IRS tax return, it is encouraged to do so as soon as possible. 2019 returns can no longer be e-filed and must be mailed to the IRS. Find all the 2019 IRS and State tax forms and calculators here. Here are the IRS mailing addresses for 2019 tax returns.

Non-Filers: You may have used the IRS Non-Filers tool or filed a simple return during 2020 on eFile.com to claim the first stimulus payment. If this is the case, your second stimulus payment would have been delivered based on the information from the original claim. If no stimulus payment was ever received, prepare a simplified 2020 return. Contact eFile.com here if you have specific questions about this.

Social Security Recipients: If you receive only Social Security Benefits, the second stimulus payment works the same as the first stimulus check did. Most citizens with Supplemental Security Income or SSI, regular Social Security, Disability, Railroad Retirement, and Veterans Administration or VA income are generally not required to file an income tax return.

As with the first round, the IRS would use the same information to generate your second stimulus payment.

For US Citizens or resident aliens who are eligible for the payment, but did not receive the first or second, they can file a 2020 Tax Return in order to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Note: The IRS lists the first and second payments - classified as Economic Impact Payments or EIPs - as advanced payments of the new for 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. In other words, these payments are paid ahead of time to taxpayers and those who do not receive the rightfully owed check will be able to claim it on their 2020 Tax Return.

Payment Amounts, Criteria, and Additional Questions

Note: The IRS is no longer issuing any stimulus checks and the IRS Get My Payment tool is no longer relevant. Claim a missing stimulus payment by filing a return for the year it was issued. The rest of this page is informational only.

You may be wondering:

  • How much should I get for the second stimulus payment?
  • Who is eligible for the stimulus package?
  • Do I need to do anything to receive my money?
  • What if I moved? What if I changed my bank?
  • Can anyone take my second stimulus check?

Without any more guessing, simply use this free eFile.com second stimulus payment calculator. Answer a few simple questions and find out your eligibility as well as the payment amount you can expect.

Here is how the second stimulus eligibility and payment is determined:

  • The payment was based on your 2019 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), your tax return filing status, and the dependents you claim or your dependency status. If you are claimed as a dependent for 2019 or 2020, you will not receive the payments. However, if you are not claimed as a dependent on the 2020 Tax Return, you may be eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate credit.

Single taxpayers with an AGI of $75,000 or less for 2019/2020 are entitled to the full $600 payment while married filing jointly taxpayers can get $1,200 for AGIs under $150,000. Additionally, $600 will be given per dependent. The payment will phase out when a taxpayer's AGI exceeds the limit, lowering the amount by 5% for income over the set amount.

You will receive an additional $500 Payment as part of the 1. Stimulus and $600 as part of the 2. Stimulus for each qualifying child you claimed on your tax return. Here's the eligibility criteria:

  • Relationship to the individual or taxpayer who is eligible for the payment: The dependent or child is the son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  • The dependent or child was under age 17 at the end of the taxable year.
  • The dependent or child is claimed as a dependent on the 2018, 2019, 2020 tax return or entered on the Non-Filer tool.
  • The dependent or child is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien.
  • The dependent or child must have lived with the individual eligible for the payment for more than half the tax year.
  • The dependent or child must not provide over half of own support for the tax year.
  • The child or dependent has a valid work eligible Social Security number or an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN).

US Citizens and nonresident aliens are eligible for the package if their adjusted gross income or AGI is within the limit or phaseout threshold. Those on Social Security income are also eligible for a stimulus payment. Unlike the first payments under the CARES Act, the criteria for receiving payments is even more lenient, including couples filing a joint return where only one member had a Social Security number.

In order to receive the owed payment, both Social Security recipients and taxpayers who filed or e-filed a 2019 Tax Return should not have had to do anything. If you did not e-file or file your 2019 Return, then you must file your 2020 Tax Return to claim the amount as a tax credit.

The IRS will attempt to deposit the check into the account used for the first payment or they will try to mail the check to the same address.

If you changed your bank or address since the CARES Act fund was distributed:

The attempt will be declined and your payment will not go through. Instead, the IRS will mail your check or prepaid debit card in the mail to the address on file. Keep your address current with the IRS to avoid any delays for receiving the payment or future tax refunds, if owed. If you moved between the first stimulus payment and the second one, be sure to report this change as soon as possible. Complete Form 8822, Address Change Request, and FileIT as soon as possible. The payment should still be deposited normally as long as you received the first payment as a direct deposit.

If you received the check via mail for stimulus 1, the payment should have come the same way. The delivery attempt will be forwarded to your new address as long as you have USPS mail forwarding. Otherwise, it will be returned to the IRS where they will hold it until you inform them of your new address.

If the payment was not received for the above reasons or any other reason, you should claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return.

Stimulus checks and changing bank accounts:

Since the IRS will attempt to directly deposit the payment based on the bank account used to file a 2019 Tax Return or Non-Filer tool, the attempt will be rejected if you change your bank. Instead, you will be mailed a check based on the address used to file or e-file. Once received, you can deposit the check safely into your new account.

Your stimulus check cannot be taken or seized

Important: this information only applies for the advance payments of the stimulus payments. If you claim the payment on a 2020 tax return, the following may not apply.

Unlike the first check under the CARES Act, your second EIP can not be claimed or taken by any person or organization. This applies to the following:

  • Landlords cannot claim your stimulus payment if you owe rent. The eviction moratorium had been extended through January 31, 2021.
  • If you are behind on any loans, such as a car loan, your money will not be taken.
  • Overdue child support payments will not result in your check being seized and put towards them.

After receiving the second stimulus payment, you will receive an IRS notice, Notice 1444-B, indicating the payment amount and confirmation. This letter should be kept with your tax records. If, for example, the amount was less than what you should have received, it must be reported when claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit in order to get the full, correct amount.

The same applies for the first EIP; you may have received a version of IRS Notice 1444. The information on this letter may be used when claiming additional owed credit on the 2020 Return.

For specific questions regarding your change in financial questions, you can contact an eFile Taxpert or call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or 1-800-919-9835 for stimulus-specific questions.

How to Claim a Stimulus Payment I Never Received

If you never received a directly deposited Economic Impact Payment or were never mailed a check, you must claim the amount owed by filing a 2020 Tax Return. The payment comes in the form of a refundable tax credit called the Recovery Rebate Credit. This credit applies for the first CARES Act payment as well as the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act payment.

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