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IRS data shows just who got $1,400 stimulus payments. Some people with higher incomes received checks

Key Points
  • Data shows just how many third stimulus checks of up to $1,400 per person have been sent.
  • While you generally had to meet certain income thresholds to qualify, it turns out that people with $200,000 or above in adjusted gross income also received money.
  • The IRS is continuing to send out the third stimulus checks as it processes tax returns.
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Figures from the IRS show who has received money from the third stimulus checks for up to $1,400 per person — and there are some surprises.

In fact, some people with adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 received a cut. The IRS reports 127,751 payments went to taxpayers in that category, for a total of $392.3 million.

That is out of a total of 163.5 million third economic impact payments that totaled $389.9 billion.

The fact that taxpayers in that bracket received any money is a surprise due to the eligibility requirements for that third batch of checks authorized when Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March.

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The payments included up to $1,400 per adult, plus $1,400 per child or adult dependent. However, individuals and families must meet certain income requirements to qualify.

Full payments went to those with adjusted gross incomes up to $75,000 for individuals, $112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for those who are married and filing jointly.

The checks were phased out for incomes above those thresholds. Individuals with $80,000 or more in adjusted gross income, heads of household with $120,000 and married couples with $160,000 were not eligible for any of the money.

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Part of the reason why some people with incomes above those thresholds received checks could be because payments were sent out based on 2019 returns, while their 2020 filings showed higher incomes, said Erica York, an economist at the Tax Foundation. If that were the case, they would not be required to return the stimulus check money.

It is possible that a family with enough qualifying dependents and adjusted gross income over $200,000 would still not have their third stimulus checks reduced to zero, an IRS spokesman said.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the first stimulus checks showed that couples with children still qualified for payments at higher income thresholds compared to those who did not have dependents.

While the formula is complicated, the BLS analysis showed that the bigger the family, the more dependent pay they are potentially eligible for, even those payments still phase out for everyone at the same rate. Consequently, the more children a family had, the higher the threshold before they received no payment at all.

Based on the data, average stimulus checks can be calculated based on adjusted gross income levels. Those who came in with under $200,000 in adjusted gross income stood to receive the biggest average payment, at $3,853.41. Meanwhile, those who had under $10,000 in incomes received the smallest average payment, at $1,777.39.

The numbers also show just how many payments went out by state. States with bigger populations like California, Texas, Florida and New York received the highest number of checks.

The IRS is continuing to send stimulus check money to individuals and families as it processes tax returns. That includes people who it did not previously have on record, as well as so-called plus-up payments for those whose 2020 tax returns show that they now qualify for more money.

Those who do not typically file tax returns are urged to submit their paperwork in order to qualify for money.

Free tax help will be available during the weekend of July 9-10 in 12 cities. They include Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

In addition, the IRS online non-filer sign-up tool allows people to register for the child tax credit payments and missing stimulus checks.

The agency's Free File program also lets those who have incomes of $72,000 or less file their federal tax return for free online.