Stimulus Update: Got an IRS Letter Saying You're Owed $1,400? It May Be Legit

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  • Financial scammers take advantage of consumers all the time by impersonating the IRS.
  • If you never got a stimulus check, a letter telling you you're entitled to funds may be the real deal.

Some people are actually still owed stimulus funds.

If it seems like financial scams are everywhere these days, well, it's because they are. You never know when you might get a random letter, email, phone call, or text message telling you owe money, are owed money, or have won a prize -- and all you need to do is click on a link or send over your Social Security number and bank account details to get it.

One of the things that makes these scams so scary is that criminals have gotten really good at impersonating different agencies. And so you might end up getting a letter from the "IRS" stating that you owe money and need to wire it ASAP to avoid having your wages garnished.

These letters might seem official, and in many cases, it can be difficult to know when they're real or not (though to be clear, the IRS will never ask you to wire money to a random bank account out of the blue). But in the coming weeks, you might get a letter from the IRS telling you you're owed money. And that letter may be 100% legit.

Are you missing your stimulus check?

Last year, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March, and it allowed for a round of stimulus checks worth up to $1,400 apiece. Many people were able to collect their money in the weeks or months that followed. But to this day, there are people who are eligible for a stimulus payment but have yet to receive that money.

The IRS is trying to make those people aware that they're entitled to that windfall. As such, the agency plans to send letters to more than 9 million households telling them they may be due a $1,400 stimulus payment.

And that's not all. The American Rescue Plan also boosted the Child Tax Credit in 2021, increasing its maximum value from $2,000 per child to $3,000 for children aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 for those under age 6. Parents who never received payments for that credit may now be due those funds.

Why are so many people missing this money? Very low earners are not required to file a tax return. But without that information, the IRS didn't know who to send stimulus and Child Tax Credit payments to last year.

How to get your money

If the IRS sends you a letter saying you may be due stimulus funds, don't ignore it. To get that money, all you need to do is file a tax return for 2021 -- even if you're not required to.

The IRS plans to keep its Free File option open until Nov. 17 this year, which is a month longer than usual, to allow lower earners to submit their taxes electronically at no cost. The service is available to filers with an income of $73,000 or less. Meanwhile, single tax-filers earning under $12,500 for 2021 and married couples earning under $25,000 can sign up for the Child Tax Credit here.

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