Stimulus Update: You Can Still Claim Missing Stimulus Funds From 2021. Here's How

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Missing stimulus money? It's not too late to get your hands on it.

Key points

  • Some people may not have received a stimulus check in 2021 despite being eligible.
  • You have an opportunity to claim that money on your 2021 tax return, which is due this April.

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a huge financial blow to many people. Thankfully, the government intervened with several rounds of stimulus checks, the most recent of which was approved in March of 2021 for up to $1,400.

If that $1,400 check never hit your bank account but you feel you were eligible, don't panic. Even though 2021 is now behind us, you can still claim the money you're owed if you do one thing.

Make sure to claim your stimulus payment on your taxes

Not everyone is required to file a tax return. Lower earners, for example, are often exempt. But even if you're not obligated to submit a tax return, you may want to file one this year if you're missing stimulus funds from 2021.

Between March and December of 2021, the IRS was busy sending out stimulus checks to eligible recipients. But you may not have gotten that money for a number of reasons, such as not having filed a recent tax return and not having registered for a stimulus payment as a non-filer.

Also, if your income changed in 2021, you may have been eligible for a stimulus payment. Eligibility for those checks was calculated by the IRS based on tax return data it had from 2019 or 2020. But if you experienced a drop in your income in 2021, you may have been in line for a payment.

For the last stimulus check, single tax-filers with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, and married couples filing joint tax returns with an adjusted gross income of $150,000 or less, were entitled to a full payment. Singles earning more than $75,000 but less than $80,000, and couples earning more than $150,000 but less than $160,000, were entitled to a partial payment.

If you're single and earned $100,000 in 2020, but your income fell to $70,000 in 2021, it means you were entitled to a stimulus but may have not gotten that money. That's why it's important to file a tax return this year and claim the money you're owed via the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Furthermore, if you had a child in 2021, you may not have received a stimulus payment for your new dependent. And so in that case, you'd want to claim that stimulus on your 2021 taxes.

When to file your tax return

Tax returns typically aren't due until mid-April, but usually, the IRS will begin accepting them at the end of January. If you're missing stimulus funds, it pays to get your return in as soon as the IRS allows for it. The earlier you submit that return, the sooner your stimulus payment can be processed.

Keep in mind that in this case, your stimulus will come in the form of a tax refund. If you owe the IRS money, you may not get your stimulus in full or at all. But if you have no tax liability and were entitled to a full stimulus you never received, there may be a $1,400 windfall coming your way.

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