by Maurie Backman | April 12, 2021
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Here's the latest on stimulus checks and when to expect your money.
For many weeks, the IRS has been busy sending out $1,400 stimulus checks as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that was signed into law in mid-March. And the agency still has work to do.
While more than 156 million stimulus payments have been issued to date as part of the ongoing third round, the IRS plans to send out stimulus checks on a weekly basis beginning now. If you haven't seen your stimulus hit your bank account or arrive in the mail yet, here's what you need to know.
The IRS is limited as to how many stimulus payments it can issue at once -- especially when it comes to physical checks. As such, anyone awaiting a stimulus in the mail may need to sit tight a bit longer. The IRS plans to issue checks every week until the current round of payments is complete. In fact, the agency has until the end of the year to issue stimulus payments for 2021.
The IRS pushed back this year's tax-filing deadline from April 15 to May 17, and so a lot of people haven't yet completed their 2020 taxes. But if your income dropped in 2020 compared to the previous year, it could pay to complete your return sooner rather than later.
In the absence of a 2020 return, the IRS will use your 2019 return to determine what stimulus amount you're owed under the current round, if any. A lower 2020 income could put you in line for more money, but until you file, the IRS won't know to send you that cash. That's why it could pay to get moving on your tax return -- even though you have an extra month to complete it.
Now if you've already received a third stimulus check but you're entitled to more money based on your 2020 taxes, the IRS will send you the difference automatically via a plus-up payment. These payments will continue on a weekly basis as the IRS reviews tax returns. If you received an initial stimulus via direct deposit, that's how you can expect to collect your catch-up payment as well. Otherwise, you'll need to wait for a check in the mail.
If you haven't gotten paid anything under the current stimulus round, you can use the IRS's Get My Payment tool to check on the status of your payment. Keep in mind that you may not be eligible for a stimulus based on your 2019 income, but that once you file your 2020 return, that could change -- at which point the IRS's tool should update to reflect your eligibility.
In addition to expediting your stimulus check, filing your taxes sooner rather than later could also get you your refund more quickly. If you've been sitting on your 2020 return but have all of the information you need to file it, you might as well get it done rather than delay it any longer.
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