All third-round stimulus checks have been sent out, the IRS announced Wednesday. If you haven't received all of the money you are eligible for, you will need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2021 tax return.
The third stimulus checks were technically advance payments of that credit. The agency began disbursing them in March of last year, after President Joe Biden signed off on the American Rescue Plan. The last of the payments were sent in December.
But there are a few categories of people who will need to claim the credit to get their stimulus money, for a variety of reasons. The main group is parents of children born in 2021, or families who added another eligible dependent, such as a parents or grandchild, to their 2021 return. Assuming the parents or guardians were eligible for stimulus money, their dependent is, as well.
Most other eligible taxpayers have already received the full amount they are entitled to and won't need to claim the credit, according to the IRS. That said, some people who qualified for the payments may not have received them at all, or may have received less than they are eligible for.
That could have been a miscalculation on the part of the IRS, or your income could have fallen between 2020 and 2021, making you eligible for more. If that's the case, they can claim the remainder of the payment on their tax return.
The 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit is based on the income and number of dependents on a taxpayer's 2021 return, which can be filed now. Filers will need to know the total amount of their third-round stimulus payments, including any Plus-Up Payments. This total can be viewed on their IRS account, or in a physical letter from the IRS. The IRS notes that some third-round stimulus checks may still be in the mail.
If you're using tax preparation software, it should ask you questions to determine how much you can claim, if anything. Otherwise, you can use this Recovery Rebate Credit worksheet.
In addition to the third stimulus payment, parents of children born in 2021 can likely claim the enhanced child tax credit on their return. That can be worth up to $3,600 per child born last year.
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