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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Claim a ‘recovery rebate credit’ if you missed out on a full stimulus payment

  • The IRS authorized two stimulus payments: A $1,200 payment last spring and a second round of $600 that began going out on Dec. 29, 2020.
  • Not all households received the full amount they were entitled to. This could be due to several factors, including the taxman basing the payment on a tax year with higher income.
  • If you didn’t get what you’re owed, you’ll need to claim the "recovery rebate credit" when you file your 2020 federal income tax return this year.

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If your stimulus payment came in below what you expected, you may get a second shot at claiming the money when you file your 2020 tax return.

In the waning days of 2020, the federal government began sending out its second round of stimulus checks to millions of Americans. These payments are worth up to $600 for individuals.

The rollout has already met speed bumps: For instance, people who've changed banks may not get their money right away.

Rather than reissue those second payments to households, the IRS is recommending that people file their 2020 returns electronically and claim a recovery rebate credit, according to an updated set of "frequently asked questions" from the agency.

The recovery rebate credit is a new addition to the federal income tax return. Filers who didn't receive the full amount of stimulus they're entitled to can claim it here.

In general, this credit will lower the amount of tax you owe or it will boost your tax refund for 2020.

"If you didn't get the full payment, you'll need to claim the credit," said Dina Pyron, global TaxChat leader at Ernst & Young.

"If you were overpaid on the payment, you get to keep it – and there's no tax or clawback," she said. "If you were underpaid on the stimulus, claim that credit and get the money back."

Three scenarios for calculating the credit

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