Alexandra Sabalier
March 29, 2021
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772
8 min

What You Want to Know About All the COVID-19 Stimulus Payments

Since Spring of 2020 the U.S. Government has worked tirelessly to make available to U.S. Citizens and U.S. residents, numerous payments to stimulate the economy and help individuals, families, and businesses thrive through the Covid-19 pandemic. During the year 2020, the federal government approved two payments, often referred to as Stimulus Checks, and Economic Impact Payments , to eligible families to help during the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. In early March of 2021, Congress passed a third relief package, which included more relief payments.

In this post, you will learn everything you want to know about each of these payments: How much is each payment? Whether you qualify to receive them, and what you have to do if you are qualify to receive these payments but have not gotten any of them or part of them.

Are you eligible for a stimulus check and how much money should you receive?

CARES Act: First Stimulus Payment

Under the CARES Act, the first direct payments were sent to individuals and families. 

Under this legislation, the payments are as follow:

$1,200 for individuals who make up to $75,000

$2,400 for Married couples who make up to $150,000.

$500 additional for each dependent child under the age 17.

But it’s important to note that not everyone is entitled to receive a check. You are eligible to get a stimulus check and will receive the FULL amount if you filed taxes and have an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 if single or you filed taxes married filing separately, up to $112,500 if you filed as head of household, and up to $150,000 if you filed taxes as married filing jointly.

Will I still get a stimulus check if I made more than $75,000 (single) or $150,000 (married)?

Yes, your payment will be reduced by $5 for each $100 that you made above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000. But, if you made more than $99,000 (single filers), $136,500 (head of household filers) or $198,000 (married filers) and do not have children, you are not eligible for the stimulus check.

Qualifying income levels were based on your 2019 federal tax returns if you already filed taxes in the U.S. Otherwise, they were based on the 2018 tax returns. If you did not file any of these years, you will have to claim this payment as a "recovery rebate" tax credit when you file your 2020 taxes.

In total, almost 90 percent of Americans will be eligible to receive full or partial payments under this Act. Don't miss out!

Who is eligible for this payment based on U.S. Immigration Status?

With the first stimulus check from the CARES Act, only those Americans with a Social Security number qualified for a payment. This eligibility requirement could include resident aliens who had a Social Security Number. However, non-resident aliens weren't eligible. Married couples filing joint tax returns were excluded from checks if one spouse didn't have a Social Security number, and dependents in a mixed-status family were also excluded from receiving payment. This resulted in families with mixed immigration status, where one family member filed tax returns with an ITIN, being completely disqualified from receiving stimulus payments. For married couples who filed their tax return separately, only the spouse with the Social Security number qualified for the stimulus payment.

Consolidated Appropriations Act: Second Stimulus Payment

The second stimulus package includes Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) of:

$600 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year.

$1,200 for Married couples who file their taxes jointly and earn up to $150,000 per year.

$600 in addition for dependent children who are 16 years old and under.

These payments began being deposited into taxpayers' bank accounts within a week after the bill was signed into law (December 21, 2020). Those taxpayers whose bank information was already with the IRS got paid first.

However, it is important to remember that not all taxpayers qualify to receive this payment. The payments under this economic relief package begin to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000, and phase out completely at $87,000. This means that any individual taxpayer who earns $87,000 is not eligible to receive any part of this payment. Individuals who file their U.S. tax return as Head of household, their payments start to phase out at $112,500 and phase out completely at $124,500. On the other hand, for married couples who file their U.S. taxes jointly, their payments start to phase out at $150,000 and phase out completely at $174,000.

Will I still get a stimulus check if I made more than $75,000 (single) or $150,000 (married)?

Yes, your payment will be reduced by $5 for each $100 that you made above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000. But, if you made more than $87,000 (single filers), $124,500 (head of household filers) or $174,000 (married filers) and do not have children, you are not eligible for the stimulus check.

Under this legislation, the IRS was prohibited from disbursing stimulus payments after Jan. 15, 2021. This ultimately means that if you didn't receive your payment by then, you will have to claim it as a "recovery rebate" tax credit when you file your 2020 taxes.

Who is eligible for this payment based on U.S. Immigration Status?

For the second stimulus check, some changes were made in the legislation that was approved at the end of December 2020. This time around, Congress opened up the opportunity to married couples who file their taxes jointly where one spouse has a Social Security number and the other spouse doesn't. A couple in a mixed-status household filing jointly would be eligible for a second payment of $600, as would each eligible dependent with a Social Security number. If the couple filed their taxes separately, only the spouse who has a Social Security number would be eligible for this second payment.

This December stimulus bill also made the mixed-status qualification retroactive for the first payments. This means that an eligible family filing a joint tax return can now claim the missing first-round payments of up to $1,200 per couple and $500 for each qualifying dependent on their taxes. These amounts are to be claimed this year 2021, in your U.S. 2020 tax return as a Recovery Rebate Credit.

American Rescue Plan Act: Third Stimulus Payment

The American Rescue Plan Act is a continuation to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which became law in late March 2020, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 in March 2021 to provide further economic relief to Americans.

Under this Act, the recovery payments are in amounts of:

$1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000,

$2,800 for Married couples who filed their taxes jointly and earn up to $150,000

$1,400 additional for each qualifying dependent. Eligible qualifying dependents include full-time students under the age of 24 and adult dependents.

However, it is important to remember that not all taxpayers qualify to receive this payment. The payments under this economic relief package begin to phase out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of more than $75,000, and phase out completely at $80,000. For married taxpayers who file jointly, the phaseout will begin at an AGI of $150,000 and end at AGI of $160,000. And for heads of household, the phaseout will begin at an AGI of $112,500 and be complete at AGI of $120,000.

Will I still get a stimulus check if I made more than $75,000 (single) or $150,000 (married)?

Yes, your payment will be reduced by $5 for each $100 that you made above the $75,000/$112,500/$150,000. But, if you made more than $80,000 (single filers), $120,000 (head of household filers) or $160,000 (married filers) and do not have children, you are not eligible for the stimulus check.

These payments are based on your 2019 tax return income reported. However, if you have not filed your 2019 tax return, you will have to claim it as a "recovery rebate" tax credit when you file your 2020 taxes.

Who is eligible for this payment based on U.S. Immigration Status?

For the third check, even more changes were made, and the eligibility to receive the stimulus payments was broadened. This time around, nonresident aliens who are in a mixed- status-family, where at least one member has a Social Security number, are likely be eligible for a stimulus payment.

So that you have an idea of what a mix family is, in terms of the IRS. I will list some examples of mixed-status families that would qualify for a stimulus check, where at least one household member has a Social Security number:

  • One spouse is a lawful permanent resident with a Social Security number and the other isn't a citizen and doesn't have a Social Security number.
  • One spouse is a US citizen with a Social Security number and the other spouse isn't a citizen and doesn't have a Social Security number.
  • Neither parent is a US citizen or "lawful permanent resident" with a Social Security number, and a child is a US-born citizen with a Social Security number.

KEY NOTE: To receive any of these payments in most cases, you must file a U.S. tax return!

Didn’t file a Tax Return? 

  • If you need to file your 2020 tax return: Contact me now to get your tax return filed and submitted to the IRS so that you can get tax compliant and take advantage of these stimulus payments that you have the right to receive!
  • If you live abroad and didn’t file U.S. taxes for previous years (2019 and before): You have a wonderful option to get compliant with the Streamlined Procedure package. Once you’re tax compliant, the IRS will send you your payments if you qualify.
  • If your worldwide income was lower than the tax filing threshold: You may still need to file a tax return this year (2021) to claim the payments that you missed by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit.

If you need help filing your taxes this or any other year, contact me for an Initial Consultation to start working on your tax return and claim all the tax credits, refunds, and benefits that you qualify for!

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