Your friends have received the second stimulus check. Many of your family members have received it. But you haven’t, and you’re likely wondering what gives?
In fact, you probably have a lot of questions, including: Will there be a third stimulus check?
To get up to speed on the latest stimulus payments, here are some answers to common questions.
Why Am I Getting a Second Stimulus Check?
The first stimulus package, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, costing $2 trillion, was signed into law on March 27. That provided taxpayers with $1,200 if their adjusted gross income was $75,000 or less. If you and your spouse filed jointly and earned up to $150,000, you received $2,400. If you filed as head of household, you received $2,400 if you earned $112,500 or less.
There was a lot of talk over the summer about a second stimulus check. That didn’t pan out until the waning days of 2020. On Dec. 21, Congress passed a $900 billion bipartisan economic stimulus bill, which includes a new round of stimulus checks for individuals and families. It was designed to offer financial assistance to families hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 27.
How Much Is the Second Stimulus Check, and How Will I Receive It?
Taxpayers who are eligible for the stimulus check have received – or will eventually receive – a maximum of $600. If you’re part of a married couple, you’ll receive $1,200. If you have children, you’ll receive $600 per child, as long as your child is under 17.
While many people are receiving stimulus checks through direct deposit, others are receiving them through paper checks in the mail, or via an EIP card.
What Is an EIP Card?
EIP stands for economic impact payment, and if you get one of these cards in the mail, it’s a prepaid debit card.
(Courtesy of U.S. Department of the Treasury Media Relations)
If you get one, it will come in a white envelope featuring the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal. On the card, the Visa name will be on the front, and on the back, the issuing bank name, MetaBank, N.A. You’ll also have instructions on how to securely activate and use the EIP card.
Again, some taxpapers will receive a paper check. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why someone receives money in the form of a debit card while others get it in the form of a check.
Why Have Some People Not Received the Second Stimulus Payment?
Approximately 13 million Americans who filed their taxes through companies like Turbo Tax, Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block had their stimulus checks deposited into the wrong bank accounts.
Who Ended Up Receiving My Stimulus Money?
Nobody, fortunately. These were temporary bank accounts set up by tax-preparation companies for banking products like refund loans that the Internal Revenue Service sent your money to. The accounts are all inactive.
The good news is that there are reports that many of these 13 million Americans have had their stimulus check redeposited into the right account.
What if I Still Haven’t Received My Stimulus via Direct Deposit?
Try to not panic. That’s the first piece of advice from Anil Grandhi, founder and CEO of AG FinTax, a tax-preparation service headquartered in Seattle that provides tax planning and other services to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“We are telling our clients not to worry if they haven’t received their stimulus money yet because this is a process, and they are working as hard as they can to get these out,” Grandhi says.
In the meantime, Grandhi recommends checking your payment status on the IRS website’s “Get My Payment” portal. “Be sure to also update your address and bank account details,” he adds.
The IRS is supposed to have all stimulus checks sent out by Jan. 15, and if they don’t, you’ll likely have to claim your money when you file your federal tax returns later this year.
I Didn’t Use One of Those Tax Preparing Services. Why Don’t I Have My Stimulus Payment?
There could be other reasons a direct deposit hasn’t arrived in your bank account. Did you change banks in the last year after the first stimulus check? Perhaps the IRS doesn’t have your newest bank information.
You might also make too much money to receive a stimulus check. If you earned more than $87,000 on your 2019 tax return, you’re part of a couple that brought in more than $174,000, or you’re the head of a household who made more than $124,500, you may not be eligible for a second stimulus check.
What if My Income Dropped Significantly During the Year? Does That Mean I’m Eligible for a Stimulus Check?
It’s possible. If you are eligible and haven’t received a stimulus check, you should be able to get a refundable tax credit or credits (if you also didn’t get the first stimulus check) when you file your taxes this year.
If that’s your situation, Grandhi says that you can receive your stimulus payment through the recovery rebate credit when filing your Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR tax return for 2020.
What if I Didn’t Receive the Full Stimulus Amount I’m Entitled To?
In that case, Grandhi says, “If you did not receive your full stimulus payment, you can claim the recovery rebate credit for the difference in the amount of your 2020 tax return based on Notice 1444 received from the IRS, which was shared with you by the IRS after payment was made.”
Will There Be a Third Stimulus Check?
Nobody knows. But if it makes you feel any better, Christopher Ball, associate professor of economics at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, says it’s likely.
“I do think there will be a third stimulus check,” Ball says. He points out that the Democrats, who will soon control the presidency, House and Senate, have announced that one of their first acts will be to get $2,000 stimulus checks to households.
“That means they’ll debate this around the end of January and early February. Cases and deaths are still rising, shutdowns are in place in some states. California, for example. And the global economy is still on hold, especially as Europe continues to recoil from this new U.K. faster-spreading strain,” Ball says.
He also cites the vaccinations that are moving more slowly than hoped in America and Europe. “So all that tells me that by the time the American government is seriously debating the next wave of checks and a support bill, economically we’ll be deep in the dark winter we’ve been warned about,” Ball says. “That means politicians and voters will all support more checks. So I think there’s a very good chance we’ll see a third check.”
And if that happens, with any luck, you won’t have to spend a bunch of time and energy wondering when that third stimulus check will arrive.