tax tips — December 21, 2020

Here’s Who Qualifies for a $600 Stimulus Check with the New COVID-19 Relief Package

by Susannah McQuitty

$600 could be available for taxpayers as early as December 28.

More COVID-19 financial help is on the way, as Congress reached a deal in late December on the next economic relief package.

The new package includes stimulus payments to many taxpayers again, though the amounts and limits have changed from the CARES Act relief in early 2020. Here’s who qualifies, how much your payment could be, and when you might get it.

How much will my stimulus payment be?

In the new deal, stimulus checks will be worth up to $600 per individual ($1,200 for couples filing jointly).

That $600 goes for your dependent children too, as long as they are age 17 and younger. The new stimulus package still does not apply to adult dependents like college students and elderly parents.

Does the $600 stimulus amount phase out depending on how much I make per year?

Yes, the $600 begins to phase out if you make more than $75,000 per year ($150,000 for couples), and phases out completely at $87,000 ($174,000 for couples). It’s not clear whether this applies to the $600 per dependent, but it's likely.

Can mixed-status households with members who are not citizens qualify for the stimulus payments?

Yes: In the new bill, you can now receive a stimulus payment if you file a joint return with a non-citizen. Your non-citizen spouse still will not qualify for a payment of their own, but you and any eligible dependents who are US citizens will receive the $600 amount provided by the relief bill.

In addition, you can retroactively claim the first economic impact payment (EIP1) of up to $1,200 (and additional $500 per child) with the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return.

Note: If a married taxpayer is in the military and at least one spouse has a Social Security Number, the couple will qualify for the full EIP1 and EIP2 payments for couples who file a joint return. If you haven’t received the full amount, you can claim the difference with the Recovery Rebate Credit.

What other relief measures does the new bill cover?

The new COVID-19 bill provides other financial relief, including an additional $300 for unemployment benefits, rental assistance for housing, and the option to use your 2019 income to qualify for, or increase the amount of, the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit.

When will I get my stimulus payment?

Individuals who receive their stimulus payments by direct deposit could get their money as early as the last week of December 2020, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The official payment date is January 4, 2021, and payments must be delivered by January 15. Payments via direct deposit began on December 29, 2020, and checks began to be sent in the mail on December 30.

Should I wait to file my taxes until I get my stimulus payment?

Yes, but only until January 15, 2021. If you still haven’t gotten your stimulus payment by that date, you can file and claim the amount you’re eligible for with the Recovery Rebate Credit on your tax return.

Ready to see how COVID-19 may affect your taxes this year? Use 1040.com’s free Tax Calculator

With tax documents headed your way in January, now is a great time to get a sneak peak at what your tax situation may look like when you file next year. Estimate your refund and see if you’ll have any taxes owed by using 1040.com’s Tax Calculator, and don’t forget to create an account if you haven’t yet—we’ll keep you updated with everything you need to know about how the Coronavirus affects your taxes in 2021.

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