So far, Americans have gotten three different IRS stimulus checks in order to help financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many Americans, that money made an essential difference. The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy reported that the U.S. lost over 20 million jobs during the height of the pandemic. In April 2020, the unemployment rate was at its highest point since the Great Depression at over 14 percent. A year later, the unemployment rate is now at around six percent.
The very first check was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and was a part of the CARES Act. It was a max of $1,200 and an extra $500 per dependent. Then in January 2021 a second smaller $600 stimulus check was sent out.
Most recently, the IRS issued out a third payment in March 2021. Each eligible person received $1,400 in their bank accounts. The final waves of this stimulus check should be reaching those still waiting. As always, you can check the status of the payment here.
What is a Plus-Up Payment?
The IRS is now sending out what is known as plus-up payments, or catch-up payments. This is available to the individuals whose third payment was less than what they are eligible for. However, it will only apply for the latest round of stimulus money, not the first two.
Due to the pandemic and other factors, the timeline for taxes was pushed back. This year the official Tax Day is instead on May 17. Usually, taxes are due on April 15. This means that the latest IRS stimulus check was based on earnings from 2019 tax return filings for those who hadn’t filed taxes yet for 2020. A lot changed for many people between 2019 and 2020 financially. These plus-up payments bridge that gap.
Many people had faced more financial hardships (losing a job, temporarily out of work, reduced hours) that would not have been visible until filing 2020 taxes.
According to CBS News, these plus-up payments would be the difference between what a person received and what they are entitled to. If you’re wondering if you’re eligible for this plus-up the best course of action is to complete your tax return as soon as possible.
“The most important thing people can do to make sure they receive their proper stimulus amount would be to go ahead and file a 2020 tax return. The IRS will catch up to these returns and make corrections to the stimulus payments,” Bob Probasco, a tax expert from Texas A&M University Law School, told CBS.
Different Stimulus Check Amounts
Although $1,400 was the standard amount for the IRS stimulus check, not everyone received that much. In fact, that was the highest payment a person could receive.
Similar to the other stimulus checks, it all depended on a person’s overall earnings. Anyone who received $80,000 or more based on their latest tax information received no form of payment.
A single person with a gross income of $76,000 would receive $1,120. This total continues to go down by $280 for every $1,000 in income. The latest stimulus check also included dependents over the age of 16.
One of the biggest differences is the addition of a dependent. So, if a family welcomed a new baby in 2020, the government cannot factor that into the stimulus earnings until taxes are filed for that year. While filing taxes properly will give you any missing funds, people can also do the math on their own to determine how much they should receive from the last stimulus check.
According to CNET, people should claim for the missing money before December 31. Otherwise, they may have to wait until next year’s tax season to claim the money. The plus-up payments are sent on a weekly basis.