The first two stimulus checks have been distributed, but the third Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,400 per person is still available to those who have not yet received it.
As of January 2022, the majority of the payments authorised by the American Rescue Plan in March 2021 have already been made to eligible recipients via direct deposit or mailed checks.
However, if you have not received yours or are not eligible for additional funds, your final opportunity to receive these funds is through your 2021 tax return, which is due April 18 for the majority of people.
Technically, the third stimulus check was an advance on the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, even though it was based on your 2020 or 2019 tax return income and dependents. This means that if your income decreased or you added new dependents in 2021, you may owe more money. Similarly, if you did not file a tax return in 2019 or 2020, you may be eligible for the full credit.
How to deduct stimulus funds on your 2021 federal income tax return
The third round of stimulus payments is worth up to $1,400 per person if you have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 as a single filer or less than $160,000 as a joint filer. For dependents of any age, families are entitled to $1,400 per dependent.
Before claiming the funds, verify that they have not already been sent to you. By logging into your IRS online account or the Get My Payment app, you can confirm the amount of the third payment and whether it was sent to you. Additionally, you can refer to an IRS letter titled Notice 1444-C, which will inform you of the amount owed to you.
If you’ve misplaced or suspect that your stimulus check was stolen, you can request that the IRS trace your payment and have the funds automatically refunded to you as a tax refund. If you file your 2021 tax return before your trace is complete, the IRS advises that you omit the payment amount from the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet.
Otherwise, you must complete and submit the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit worksheet with your 2021 tax return. The worksheet will assist you in determining the maximum amount you can claim. Then, claim it on line 30 of your 2021 tax return using Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.
Additionally, tax software will guide you through this process and will automatically populate your tax return with all necessary information.
If you discover later that you calculated the Recovery Rebate Credit incorrectly, do not bother filing an amended return. The IRS will change it for you automatically. They should notify you of any changes in writing, along with a mechanism for disputing the change if you believe it was made in error.
Additionally, if your income is $73,000 or less, you can file your tax return for free through the IRS Free File Program.