If you didn't get the last stimulus check, don't despair.
You still have time to claim the money if you're eligible.
A third round of stimulus payments was distributed as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March 2021. Starting that month, millions of Americans and their dependent children were sent up to $1,400 each.
As of July, the IRS had sent more than 171 million payments to Americans totaling $400 billion.
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The IRS had until Dec. 31 to complete sending the checks to eligible recipients.
If you still haven't received your payment, or got less than you were eligible for, you can claim the money on your 2021 tax return by using the Recovery Rebate Credit.
"If you're eligible, you'll need to file a 2021 tax return, even if you don't usually file a tax return," the IRS said in a statement.
Stake your claim
If you think you are eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, you'll have to indicate the stimulus money received this year, if any, and how much you should have been sent.
To help with this calculation, the agency will be sending out a notice, Letter 6475, to people who received 2021 economic impact payments. The letter will include a record of the money sent, plus notice of additional payments due for eligible recipients.
This information will be necessary to determine how much money you will receive using either the IRS Form 1040 Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet, or an online tax software program.
Because eligibility for the 2021 stimulus checks was determined using either 2020 or 2019 tax returns, you could get more money if you had a drop in income and didn't receive the full amount you were owed. The additional funds will either be applied to taxes owed, lowering your bill, or will be returned in your refund.
If you had a child born in 2021, you can also claim their stimulus check by using the Recovery Rebate Credit. You may also be able to claim the full child tax credit if you were not getting the monthly advance payments that began in July.
Who is eligible?
The income amounts to receive a stimulus payment changed in 2021.
For the last stimulus check, the full amount went to those with adjusted gross income of $75,000 or $150,000 for those married and filing jointly.
If you made more than that in 2021, you would still be able to claim some of the money if your income was less than $80,000 or $160,000 if married and filing jointly.
Of course, some people got stimulus money based on a 2020 return and then made more in 2021. Even if you made more than the phase-out amounts in 2021, you will not have to pay back the money you received.
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