Non-Filer or Social Security Income Recipient

Generally, social security income (SSI) recipients or individuals with little or no income do not have to file a tax return. This also includes those whose only income is Social Security. As a result of the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, many individuals qualified for stimulus check payments. Find out if you qualified for one or all stimulus payments and what you need to do to claim them if you did not receive them. Important: the IRS is no longer issuing stimulus checks as of December 31, 2021. Claim Stimulus 1 and 2 by filing 2020 Taxes; claim Stimulus 3 by filing 2021 Taxes via the Recovery Rebate Credit.


Stimulus Checks, Non-Filers

To claim a stimulus check, the IRS instructed citizens to file a tax return in order to claim missing payments. However, those who do not normally file or at not required to are left to figure this out on their own - these include those with only nontaxable income. On, we have provided instructions for the last two years to e-file 2020 and 2021 Taxes to claim these payments. However, the time to e-file these has passed and stimulus payments cannot be claimed by e-filing 2022 Taxes. Non-filers and taxpayers will need to prepare and mail 2020 and 2021 Taxes if they are missing these payments: see how to claim missing IRS stimulus checks.

Here is a brief history of the stimulus checks for non-filers:

During 2020: A misconception was created that a non-filer, stimulus, or simple tax return was required by every taxpayer to receive a stimulus check. That was not so as a regular 2019 Tax Return and/or 2018 Return on file with the IRS was sufficient to receive the Economic Impact Payment. Most SSI, SSDI, and Social Security recipients were supposed to have received these payments without having to file anything. However, many taxpayers filed non-filer returns prior to filing regular tax returns.

During 2021: 2020 Tax Returns were due in 2021. On the 2020 1040 tax form, the IRS added a line item - line 30 - called the Recovery Rebate Credit as well as the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet. If you did not receive your 1st Stimulus Payment or EIP during 2020, you can claim this through the Recovery Rebate Credit. In addition, if you did not receive the 2nd Stimulus Payment during late 2020 or early 2021, this is also claimed through the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return. Note: if you did not receive a portion of either payment, you can also claim this. For example, if you were supposed to receive an additional $500 or $600 for a qualifying dependent, indicate this on your return. File 2020 Taxes to claim these two payments.

During 2022: 2021 Tax Returns had similar implications from the 2020 Form 1040 in order to claim any missing payments for Stimulus 3. Again, the 2021 Form 1040 used Line 30 to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. This was all done through the eFile Tax App - sign up for a free account if you need to file 2022 Taxes. You can not claim stimulus payments on a 2022 Return, but eFile helps claim and add currently valid tax credits owed to your tax refund.

In 2022, 2023, and future years, there is no federal stimulus program - see the details on the rumored fourth stimulus check that never passed. Use these resources to file a non filer return to claim a missing stimulus check from 2020 or 2021:

  • Non-Filer, Zero Income: If you have zero or no income and are not normally required to file a tax return, you can file a 2021 Tax Return to claim the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit plus the 2020 Credit for Stimulus 1 and 2. These returns need to be mailed into the IRS:
  • Social Security, Disability, Veterans' benefits, etc. Income: Generally, if you only have this type of income, you do not have to file a tax return. See details on Social Security Income and tax returns. However, if you want to claim your missing stimulus payment, you have to decide between a non-filer return, zero income return, or whether to also list the income type listed here. If you have other taxable income, you would have to list that. Do not file a simplified return if you have taxable income.

Filing Requirements

It can be difficult to determine if you have to file based on your income. There is taxable and nontaxable income which, when you have both, can get tricky. Do you have to file taxes if your only income is Social Security? Disability or SSDI? Veterans' benefits? Find out now:

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The filing requirements vary by tax year in terms of age, filing status, type of income, and other factors. Because of this, it can be difficult to know whether or not you should file or if you are required to file.

There are also many state stimulus check programs which you may need to file a non-filer state income tax return. States issued stimulus programs throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022. States with income tax codes required residents to send in a tax form or fill out an online form in order to claim this payment. Non-filers can use the federal Form 1040 to claim IRS stimulus checks; they can use state tax forms for their state in order to claim any state stimulus credits. 

Confused? Discuss your situation with a Taxpert first for free. Only at will you have a free personal tax support page, not on TurboTax® or H&R Block®.

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