4 Groups of People Who Can Claim More Stimulus Money When Filing Taxes

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  • Many Americans have expressed a desire for a fourth stimulus check.
  • More COVID-19 relief probably won't come from Washington, D.C.
  • Some people, including many parents, can claim more money when filing their 2021 taxes.

Don't pass up more stimulus money if you're in one of these groups.

The IRS has begun accepting tax returns for the 2021 filing season. This tax season is going to look a little different for many Americans because a substantial number of people may be owed more COVID-19 stimulus money from the federal government.

When the Biden administration passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March of 2021, it provided financial support for millions of people who were hard hit by the ongoing pandemic. While much of this money has already been sent via check or direct deposit into people's bank accounts, not every American has gotten the money they're due. And those who haven't may be able to claim the unpaid funds when filing their taxes.

In particular here are four groups of people who may be in line for an additional stimulus payment from the IRS.

1. Most parents

Many parents can claim more stimulus money in 2022 because the American Rescue Plan Act created an expanded Child Tax Credit.

Prior to 2021, the Child Tax Credit was worth up to $2,000 per eligible child, and up to $1,400 of the amount was refundable. That means if people didn't owe a full $2,000 in federal taxes, they could only get a maximum of $1,400 in refunds exceeding their tax liability.

For the 2021 tax year, however, the American Rescue Plan Act changed the rules. The Child Tax Credit was bumped up to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 for older kids. And the entire sum is fully refundable -- so even those who don't pay much or anything in federal taxes could get up to $3,600 per child from the IRS.

The act also changed when parents could benefit from the tax credit. Instead of having to wait to claim it when filing a tax return, as was the case before 2021, parents received payments of $250 or $300 per eligible child per month from July to December. Using this method, half the money was paid out during 2021.

That still leaves the other half, though, which is why most parents are owed more stimulus money when they file their 2021 taxes. They can claim the unpaid portion of their expanded Child Tax Credit, and this unclaimed stimulus money could reduce their tax bill -- or result in a larger tax refund.

2. Those who added new dependents in 2021

As mentioned above, most parents were entitled to an expanded Child Tax Credit in 2021. The American Rescue Plan Act also provided stimulus payments of $1,400 per adult and per eligible dependent.

The IRS finds out how many dependents taxpayers have by looking at their tax returns. But the agency used returns from prior years to determine how many dependents each taxpayer had when calculating their stimulus check amount and Child Tax Credit.

As a result, anyone who added a dependent who wasn't declared during the 2020 tax year missed out on both the tax credit and the $1,400 payment for that dependent. These parents can claim their new child dependent when filing their 2021 return and get back as much as $5,000.

3. People whose income fell substantially in 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act set income limits for both the $1,400 checks and for the Child Tax Credit. Payments started phasing out at $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for married joint filers.

The IRS used income data from previous returns to determine who qualified for a full or partial payment. The problem is, some people saw their income go down in 2021 -- but the IRS didn't know it if they were looking at old tax return data.

If your income fell in 2021, and you came in below the eligibility limits last year but not in prior years, you may not have received any or all of your stimulus funds. If so, you can claim the unclaimed money when filing your 2021 taxes.

4. Those who didn't file a recent tax return

If you didn't file a recent tax return or submit an online form giving the IRS your information, the agency wouldn't have been able to send you a payment. And that means you may have missed out on all of the stimulus funds you are entitled to.

If you haven't recently filed taxes and you didn't receive the $1,400 check or any Child Tax Credit money last year, make sure to submit a return as soon as you can for the 2021 year to get your cash. And, in fact, anyone who could be owed money will want to submit their return sooner rather than later. That way, if they are owed money, they can put those funds to use in coping with the pandemic now -- or stash the payment in a savings account for another time when it's needed.

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