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11 Things to Know About the Stimulus Check Round 3

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By Karen CherettApril 26, 2021

What’s ahead:

  1. Who qualifies for 3rd stimulus check 2021?
  2. Who is not eligible for a stimulus check?
  3. What is the 3rd stimulus check based on?
  4. Why haven’t I received my stimulus check yet?
  5. What is an Economic Impact Payment Card and how do I use it?
  6. How do I find out where my stimulus check is?
  7. Where to cash your stimulus check?
  8. Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?
  9. Is the stimulus check taxed?
  10. How to claim your stimulus check on taxes
  11. Who can I call about my stimulus check?

Stimulus check round 3 may have come as a surprise to a number of people.

Where did your mind go when you heard that Congress had passed the distribution of the third stimulus check?

Did you imagine the great things you could buy that you’ve wanted and haven’t had the cash for? Or perhaps like someone on Twitter you would use it to pay off your car loan.

Biden’s Stimulus Package means that with the $600 check distributed in December, most American’s will have been given $2000 in stimulus payments.

It brings the total amount of money distributed via an american stimulus check to a very large $335 Billion. That’s a lot of extra money to spend or put in the bank.

Or maybe even to make a small donation to a worthy cause like Backpacks For Life, or donate to families hurting from COVID-19, or even Celebrity-Founded Nonprofits. 

Spiral, a new ethical banking¹ service, can help to make these types of charitable donations easier because not only does it allow you to save some of what you received but also easily donate some of it, in one simple click.  

There are a few things you need to know about getting this third stimulus payment though.

1. Who qualifies for 3rd stimulus check 2021? 

Naturally, US citizens and Green Card holders with a valid social security number are qualifiers, but of course the biggest element of qualifying relates to your income.

There are different criteria depending on your family situation.

The IRS explains that if you and your spouse file taxes jointly and are not a dependent of another taxpayer then you are eligible.

They also then look at your adjusted gross income, and if it fits within these additional guidelines you are eligible:

  • $150,000, if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower.
  • $112,500, if filing as head of household.
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing statuses, such as single filers and married people filing separate returns.

That means that a lot of people are eligible for this covid stimulus check of $1400. Are you one of them?

2. Who is not eligible for a stimulus check? 

Naturally, there are the defined limits that apply to income that means you may not be eligible for this corona virus stimulus check.

For example, if you are married and filing a joint return and your adjusted gross income is $160,000 you won’t see a check. That same qualifying amount applies to widows or widowers too.

If you are the head of your household and earn more than $120,000 in adjusted gross income, then you are ineligible too.

Others that don’t qualify are single filers and married people filing separate returns who have adjusted gross income of $80,000.

So, you might be thinking, “well I don’t meet one or more of those criteria” so am I still eligible?

There may be other circumstances that mean you might not have been eligible to have received the automatically calculated stimulus payment, but that could mean you might be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your tax return.

For example, if you had a new child in 2020. That child couldn’t possibly have been named on your previous years tax return. It is worth checking with a tax accountant if you think you may be eligible.

If you owe taxes will you get a stimulus check? Most likely not, as the amount you would have received as a corona stimulus check will be offset against the outstanding taxes.

3. What is the 3rd stimulus check based on? 

These stimulus payments are given to people based on the information in their 2019 or 2020 tax returns.

So, if you filed your return for either of those years you don’t need to do anything, as your eligibility was automatically determined. 

That makes the whole process of receiving this third payment easy. It means you don’t have to fill out forms or make any claims.

If you didn’t complete those returns, the Treasury Department has nothing to base your eligibility calculation on. Whether a full payment or partial payment, it is still worth looking at all of the eligibility criteria.

4. Why haven’t I received my stimulus check yet?

There may be a couple of reasons why you haven’t yet received your stimulus check.

The Treasury Department used information from 2019 Tax Returns to determine eligibility initially. Therefore if you did not submit your Tax Return for that year, you will not have been issued with a corona stimulus check automatically. 

The smart thing to do is to check that you lodged that 2019 return and if not then look into your filing options.

The other reason you haven’t yet received your stimulus check round 3 is that it has been held up in the mail. If the IRS didn’t make the payment into your bank via direct deposit, they would have sent either a paper check or an Economic Impact Payment Card. 

Either the check or the card were sent in a white envelope with a Department of Treasury seal. That is the letter you are looking for.

5. What is an Economic Impact Payment Card and how do I use it?

An Economic Impact Payment Card is a payment card issued by the Treasury Department as a way of paying out the third stimulus payment. 

The Economic Impact Payment (EIP) Card is a prepaid debit card that can be used to make payments at most outlets where debit cards are accepted. You would use this card just as you would any other prepaid debit card.

With the card you can purchase groceries, clothes, visit a restaurant or café or even purchase products online.

6. How do I find out where my stimulus check is?

You can check on the status of your payment by going to the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website. It is regularly updated with information. 

Direct deposits were made into bank accounts beginning on March 17th so the first thing to check is whether you had your bank details listed on your last tax return.

If you did then that will most likely be the way your payment will be made, via your registered bank.

If you really aren’t sure if you supplied your bank details, the best thing to do is register on the IRS site.

By registering with ‘Get My Payment’ you will see a message that tells you the status of your stimulus payment. One message you would see is ‘payment status’, and the IRS website explains this as:

“Your payment has been processed and it will be sent on the date shown by direct deposit or mail. If your payment is by mail, you will receive an EIP Card (debit card) or a check. The amount of your third Economic Impact Payment is not shown.”

or

“You’re eligible, but a payment has not been processed and a payment date isn’t available yet.” 

If the site says ‘Payment Status Not Available’ or ‘Need More Information’ then the payment hasn’t been made and you will need to look into what you need to do to obtain it. 

7. Where to cash your stimulus check

Don’t worry if you don’t have a bank account and received a paper corona virus stimulus check. There are a number of places that will cash your covid stimulus check.

Look around in your local area for a Kroger family supermarket, for example. These supermarkets go by different names depending on which state you are in but here is the list:

  • Kroger
  • Fry’s
  • King Soopers
  • Smiths
  • City Market
  • QFC
  • Ralphs
  • Gerbes
  • Bakers
  • Dillons
  • Pay Less
  • Fred Meyer
  • Pick ‘N’ Save
  • Metro Market

You want to be sure that your local Kroger family supermarket has a ‘Money Services’ desk.

If they do, then this is one of the best available options. They will charge you a small fee and there are pieces of ID you will need to take with you in order to cash your check, but it is easy to do.

There are other service providers who will cash checks too, like PayPal, for example who don’t charge a fee, so if you don’t have a Kroger supermarket close by don’t worry. 

8. Do you have to pay back the stimulus check?

No, you don’t have to pay back the stimulus check unless you received it in error.

Some people were incorrectly sent the second stimulus payments. These people were not eligible for the payment due to not meeting the eligibility criteria.

The Treasury expects the people that received these payments to recognize they did not meet the eligibility criteria and return the payment. Here are the key criteria to check:

  • Did you make more than the income limit required?
  • Were you a nonresident alien for part or all of the year?
  • The check you received was for someone who is dead.
  • You received a check but don’t have a social security number.
  • Someone else claimed you as a dependent on their tax return.

If you received the second payment and one of these applies then you may want to consider sending the payment back.

9. Is the stimulus check taxed?

The IRS sees these checks as “an advanced payment of the tax year 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit.” What does that mean in layman’s terms? It means that your stimulus check is not taxed. 

When the CARES Act was signed off at the end of 2020, these payments were viewed as payments you would otherwise be due based on a tax rebate or social security benefits you were due to receive.

So, you need not be concerned with owing taxes on it. In fact, there is a special place for the payment amount on your tax return so it is identified correctly as income, but not as eligible to be taxed.

Remember to save the letter you are due to receive from the Treasury Department detailing your payment as this will help you correctly complete your tax return. 

10. How to claim your stimulus check on taxes

If you haven’t received any notification, or a payment in the form of a direct deposit, check or payment card for the third stimulus check payment, and you think you are eligible, you can make a claim on your next tax return.

For your 2020 tax return, on the 1040 Form there is a box titled ‘Recovery Rebate Credit.’  You will want to look into that if you didn’t receive the first or second stimulus check payments or you think the amount you received was less than you should have.  

Because this third stimulus check has been paid in 2021 it will not be accounted for until next year’s tax return.

Tax professionals can always help you determine your eligibility, so reach out to one if you are unsure. You don’t want to miss out on the third payment if you are eligible.

11. Who can I call about my stimulus check?

Whilst the IRS provides a number to call if you have problems and are yet to receive your third stimulus check, they also advise that there are limited resources available to supply you with information.

The Treasury Department is advising that using the ‘Get My Payment’ tool is one of the best ways to interact with them.

If for example a paper check was sent out to you via an address the IRS has and the check was returned to them, by updating your information in Get My Payment to include your bank account details, they will then issue a new direct deposit to that account.

It is not possible to use this tool to check on earlier coronavirus checks, only the third payment.

For change of address information, they are suggesting the same thing. Update your details within the ‘Get My Payment’ tool. 

If you still have difficulties with receiving your payment you can try calling the IRS on 800-919-9835 with the understanding that you may have to wait on the line for some time before connecting with a live representative of the support team.

And of course, also being aware that there is limited information they may be able to provide you with.

As the IRS website states “Our phone assisters don’t have information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.”

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