Eligible taxpayers who missed the payment or are owed more money than they initially received can claim a tax credit on their 2021 federal income tax return before the April 18 deadline.
The vast majority of third stimulus payments were delivered automatically to taxpayers’ bank accounts or via check in the mail last spring. The payments were authorized by the American Rescue Plan in March 2021 and were intended to help people experiencing financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the payments were calculated last year based on the most recent federal tax return on file at the time. If a taxpayer’s income or family size changed in 2021, the person may be eligible for more money.
Other people may have missed out on the stimulus payment entirely. Those with incomes so low that they don’t have to file taxes may never have received their payment because the Internal Revenue Service didn’t have their information.
How much are the payments worth?
The third round of stimulus payments are worth up to $1,400 per person. A married couple with two children, for example, can receive a maximum of $5,600.
Families can receive up to $1,400 for each dependent of any age. Previous rounds limited payments to dependents under the age of 17.
In general, low- and middle-income US citizens and US resident aliens are eligible for a full or partial third-round stimulus payment.
Individuals earning less than $75,000 AGI, heads of households (such as single parents) earning less than $112,500, and married couples earning less than $150,000 are eligible for the full amount of $1,400 per person.
But the payments phase out as household income increases. People who make at least $80,000 a year in adjusted gross income, heads of households who make at least $120,000, and married couples who make at least $160,000 are not eligible for any money, regardless of how many dependents they have.
Undocumented immigrants who do not have Social Security numbers are not eligible for the payments. But their spouses and children are eligible as long as they have Social Security numbers.
Who may be eligible for more money?
Taxpayers who earned less money in 2021 than the previous year may be eligible to receive more money than they initially received from the third round of stimulus payments.
Those include single filers who had income greater than $80,000 in 2020 but less than this amount in 2021; married couples who filed a joint return and had income greater than $160,000 in 2020 but less than this amount in 2021; and head of household filers who had income greater than $120,000 in 2020 but less than this amount in 2021, according to the IRS.
Individuals and families who added a child in 2021, whether through birth, adoption or foster care, may be eligible for additional money. Families who added another type of dependent, such as an elderly parent or grandchild, may also be eligible.
Here’s how to claim the payment on your tax return
Those who believe they are owed more money should file a 2021 tax return, even if they don’t usually file taxes, and claim what’s called the Recovery Refund Credit. If a taxpayer is eligible to receive more money, it will reduce any tax the person due by 2021 or be included in a tax refund.
To claim the Recovery Refund Credit, a taxpayer will need information sent to them in a letter from the IRS in the last few months. Known as Letter 6475, it confirms whether a taxpayer was sent a third stimulus payment and the amount. Alternatively, that information can be obtained by accessing your IRS online account.
For most taxpayers, the federal tax filing deadline is April 18, though it’s a day later for residents of Maine and Massachusetts. Taxpayers who are having difficulty meeting the deadline can request an automatic six-month extension using Form 4868.