A new coronavirus relief package totaling some $1.9 trillion and including a third round of stimulus payments has become law. Here's a rundown of how much money you might soon get in a third stimulus check, how that IRS payment will arrive and when.
We're updating this page as new information becomes available.
How much is my stimulus payment?
The U.S. Treasury will disburse up to $1,400 per adult and $1,400 per qualifying tax dependent. A qualifying married couple with two kids could get up to $5,600, for example.
Who qualifies for a stimulus check?
Not everyone. Here's the income criteria:
Single filers whose adjusted gross income does not exceed $75,000 are eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $80,000.
Married couples who file jointly and whose AGIs do not exceed $150,000 are eligible for a full $2,800 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $160,000.
Heads of household whose AGI does not exceed $112,500 are eligible for the full $1,400 stimulus payment. The amount begins to shrink after that and phases out completely at $120,000.
No matter your IRS filing status, the stimulus payment includes up to $1,400 for every qualifying tax dependent you might have.
» MORE: See who can be a tax dependent
When will stimulus checks arrive? And in what form?
You can track the status of your stimulus check (also referred to as an Economic Impact Payment). Here's a summary of where things stand so far on disbursements, according to the IRS.
Official payment date
Mostly people who provided direct deposit information on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns.
Direct deposits, paper checks and prepaid debit cards.
Includes people for whom the IRS previously did not have information to issue a payment but who recently filed a tax return. Also includes "plus-up" payments to people whose 2020 tax returns entitled them to additional 2020 stimulus payments.
Mostly Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file a 2020 or 2019 tax return and didn’t use the Non-Filers tool last year, including SSDI, SSI and Railroad Retirement Board beneficiaries. Also includes 1 million more "plus-up" payments.
Mostly veterans and Social Security beneficiaries who don't normally file tax returns, ongoing "plus-up" payments and people who recently provided needed info to the IRS by filing their tax returns.
If you are eligible but don’t receive your check, you can claim the payment when you file your taxes for the 2021 tax year in 2022.
On February 16, 2021, the IRS said it finished sending out the previous two rounds of stimulus checks.
Here's the rundown of the forms of payment. Keep in mind, the form of payment this time around might differ from the form of payment for your first stimulus check.
The IRS will use the account data in its system to make direct deposits. If you filed your taxes for 2020 and paid or received a federal tax refund with your bank account, that's where the stimulus check would go.
Paper checks and debit cards
If you received the first two stimulus payments but didn't receive them as direct deposit, you may get a paper check or a new debit card in the mail. The IRS will not reload debit cards you may have received for prior stimulus check payments.
Here's what the debit card and mailing envelope look like, so you don't accidentally throw out your money with the junk mail.
Who doesn't qualify for a stimulus check?
People who don't have valid identification numbers. Everybody involved must provide a valid Social Security number (there are special rules for adopted children and members of the military).
Certain dependents. If you are a tax dependent on someone else’s tax return, the person who claims you as a tax dependent claims the payment.
People who died before January 1, 2021.
Do I have to file a tax return to get a stimulus check?
No, but the payment might not be for the correct amount if you don’t. If you haven't filed a tax return, the IRS will use other information it or other federal agencies may have on file to figure out what to send you.
The IRS will automatically send payments to people who didn't file a return but receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Veterans Affairs benefits.
How do I claim my stimulus money if my payment doesn't show up or it's not the right amount?
If your 2020 tax return shows you “made too much” to qualify for this third stimulus check, you may not get a payment now even if you lost your job or income in 2021. However, because these IRS payments are technically an advance on a 2021 tax credit, if your adjusted gross income in 2021 ends up being under the limit or you have another tax dependent, you might be able to claim the tax credit (or more of the tax credit) when you file your 2021 tax return (the one due in April of 2022).
If you were eligible for the first two stimulus checks (also called economic impact payments) but never received them or didn't receive the full amount, you have another chance to get that money by claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on line 30 of form 1040 on your 2020 tax return (the one due by May 17, 2021). Page 58 of the instructions for form 1040 has a worksheet to help you calculate how much to claim.
Is the stimulus check a loan?
Do I have to repay my stimulus money?
No, unless you obtained your stimulus check fraudulently.
Will stimulus checks be taxed as income?
No. It's what's called a refundable tax credit.
What else should I know?
If you owe back taxes or child support, you’ll still get an IRS payment if you otherwise qualify. In this round, if you owe child support, your check will not shrink.
If you haven’t filed a tax return in the last few years, the IRS may not have your current information and bank account details.
If you don't qualify now, you might still get a break later. If your 2020 tax return shows you “made too much” to qualify for this third stimulus check, you may not get a payment now even if you lost your job or income in 2021. However, you might be made whole later (and don’t forget about filing for unemployment in the meantime). That’s because these IRS payments are technically an advance on a 2021 tax credit that’s available all year. So if your adjusted gross income in 2021 ends up being under the limit or you add a dependent, you might be able to claim the tax credit (or more of the tax credit) when you file your 2021 tax return (the one due in April of 2022).
When it comes to the age limit for dependents, the legislation leans on the existing rules for claiming tax dependents. Under those rules, adult parents and college students you financially support might qualify under certain circumstances.
Watch your mailbox and your bank account. For the last two rounds of stimulus checks, the U.S. Treasury sent people letters in the mail after it disbursed money to them. Those letters indicated how the payment was made, how much it was for and provided an IRS phone number for questions.