Terry’s Columns Get the Original Stimulus AND the New One!

Get the Original Stimulus AND the New One!

By Terry Savage on December 28, 2020

The second round of stimulus checks will soon be on the way. Here’s what you can do to make sure you receive yours – and what to do if you never received the first stimulus check that was distributed earlier in 2020.

Yes, many people who didn’t qualify for the original check back in 2018 when they were first distributed can get it now – along with the new stimulus of $600. Here are the details.

The New Stimulus

The new stimulus amount is only $600, and you must qualify based on either 2019 or 2020 income. Individuals earning less than $75,000 and those filing jointly with income under $150,000 qualify for the full stimulus. If you earned more than that amount, the stimulus check is lowered by $5 for every $100 of earnings.

Dependents under age 17 also receive a $600 check (up from $500 in the first round). But those over 17 do not get a check if they are declared a dependent on someone’s tax return. That eliminated many older Americans claimed by their adult children, and many young adults still claimed on their parents’ return. For 2020 they can file their own returns if they have income, and may claim the new credit as well as the original $1200 credit.

You don’t have to “do anything” to get your stimulus. If the government has your direct deposit information from a tax return, you may receive the money in your account in the coming days. If no direct deposit, the check will come by mail. If you receive any government benefits, such as Social Security, SSDI, or SSI, you’ll get your $600 stimulus the same way. Or if you registered for the previous stimulus, the government has a way to get money to you.

Getting the “Old” Stimulus

There is a simple way to get your initial $1200 stimulus check (and the new $600 check) if you didn’t get yours on the first round, or if 2020 will be your first year filing a tax return, creating your stimulus eligibility for the first time.
Most people who qualified for the first round of stimulus have already received their checks. But some people missed out. The government may have relied on their 2018 tax return, which showed too much income. But if your income was below the levels listed above in either 2019 or 2020, you still deserve a check.

The IRS says: “Eligible individuals can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. These forms can also be used by people who are not normally required to file tax returns but are eligible for the credit.”

That means that when you file your 2020 tax return in the coming weeks, there will be a special line to apply for a REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT of $1200 for the initial stimulus. And to apply for the new $600 stimulus if you are eligible and not on record with the government. That includes those who were listed as a dependent on their parents’ return in 2018 and were over 16, but who now have some income for 2020 and would thus qualify for both the original AND new stimulus!

If you don’t owe any taxes on your 2020 return, this rebate recovery credit will create a tax refund – money that will come back to you in a check or direct deposit from the government.

That means many people who wouldn’t ordinarily be required to file a tax return because of low income should plan on filing for 2020 – just to get the stimulus money, if they did not get it already. The 2020 tax forms will be available in the next few weeks.

A bit of advice: There will be free filing advice from the IRS as well as from established, well-known tax preparation firms, or online using Turbo-Tax. Make sure you do your own filing either online or on paper. Avoid local storefront independent “tax preparers” who might charge fees to process your stimulus credit, or misdirect your refund to their own cards, delaying your refund.

And a reminder: These stimulus checks are NOT taxable income. This is truly a gift from American taxpayers, who will be paying the interest bill on our national debt for decades to come. And that’s The Savage Truth.



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