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IRS stimulus update: Didn’t get the first or second payment? You need to file this

No, you don’t need to endure the IRS phone lines.

IRS stimulus update: Didn’t get the first or second payment? You need to file this
[Photo: Courtney Corlew/Unsplash]
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If you did not receive one of the first two stimulus payments last April or December—or if you got the wrong amount—now is your moment to collect them, without spending hours of your life that you’ll never get back on hold with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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What to do: File a claim with the IRS for a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit. It’s confusing AF, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

How: File a 2020 tax return, even if you aren’t otherwise required to file. No return, no rebate. Make sure to fill out Line 30 of your Form 1040 or 1040-SR, which is where you claim the credit.

How do I know how much to claim? Do the rebate math on this hella confusing worksheet. (Search “Line 30”.)

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What information will I need? You’ll need to know the amounts of any payments you’ve already received. You can get these numbers from two notices that the IRS mailed to eligible recipients: Notice 1444 (for the first stimulus check) and 1444-B (for the second stimulus check). If you lost or shredded these notices, you can find the info by signing up for or logging in to your IRS tax account.

What if I’m using tax software or an accountant? Major tax software, such as TurboTax, includes the credit in its workflow. IRS Free File, which is gratis for people with incomes under $72,000, also includes the claim. If you’re working with an accountant, make sure to tell her you want to claim the credit—otherwise she has no way of knowing that you’re missing money.

How will I receive the credit? As a tax refund. If you want it swiftly, make sure that your 2020 tax return includes up-to-date direct deposit information for receiving any refunds.