Tax guide

Recovery Rebate Credit

What is the Recovery Rebate Credit?

The Recovery Rebate Credit, as part of the CARES Act, makes it possible for any eligible individual who did not receive an Economic Impact Payment (or EIP) to claim the missing amount on their tax return.

Note: The Recovery Rebate Credit claimed on your 2020 tax return can’t be used to receive missing EIP3 funds—the third EIP was distributed in 2021, so any reconciliation of those funds will be included on your 2021 tax return filed in 2022.

Do I qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit?

The Recovery Rebate Credit is figured like the EIPs, except that the credit eligibility and the credit amount are based on your 2020 tax information on the return you file in 2021.

Generally, you are eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit if:

  • You were a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien in 2020.
  • You are not a dependent of another taxpayer for tax year 2020.
  • You have a Social Security Number valid for employment that is issued before the due date of your 2020 tax return (including extensions).

You won’t qualify for the Recovery Rebate Credit if you already received your full amounts for the first and second EIPs (the first in 2020 and the second in early 2021). Those amounts are listed below:

  • Economic impact payment one (EIP1):
    • For single filers: $1,200 plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020
    • For married filing jointly: $2,400 plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020.
  • Economic impact payment two (EIP2):
    • For single filers: $600 plus $600 for each qualifying child you had in 2020
    • For married filing jointly: $1,200 plus $600 for each qualifying child you had in 2020.

Can I claim the Recovery Rebate Credit if I only got part of my EIP?

Most likely. You may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit if:

  • You are eligible but were not issued an EIP1 and/or EIP2
  • Your EIP1 was less than $1,200 ($2,400 if married filing a joint return) plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020
  • Your EIP2 was less than $600 ($1,200 if married filing a joint return) plus $600 for each qualifying child you had in 2020

When you file with 1040.com, we’ll guide you through that process automatically.

Claiming the RRC on your taxes can delay your refund if the IRS has issued your stimulus payment. This is because the IRS must sideline the return and adjust the refund as necessary—they can’t pay the money out twice.

If you haven’t received your stimulus money, check to see if it was issued through the Get My Payment tool or Get My Transcript tool. You can also sift back through your mail to look for Notices 1444 and 1444-B, which are payment confirmations mailed by the IRS roughly 15 days after it issues an economic impact payment. Your payment may be lost or just taking its time—here’s what to do if that’s the case.

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Where can I find the amount of my EIP in 2020?

If you received an EIP1 in 2020, you should have also received a Notice 1444 detailing the amount of your EIP. To double check, you can request an account transcript on the IRS.gov site.

This notice is especially important for taxpayers who receive less than they qualify for in their EIP1—your Notice 1444 shows that you did not receive the entire payment amount for which you qualified.

There will likely be a similar notice for EIP2, so keep an eye out for physical mail from the IRS.

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