by Dana George | Updated July 25, 2021 - First published on Feb. 19, 2021
Many or all of the products here are from our partners. We may earn a commission from offers on this page. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
Here are some things that could get in your way of receiving a third direct stimulus payment.
Congress has yet to put the finishing touches on a third direct stimulus payment to the American public, but enough details have leaked to give us a fair idea of what we can expect this time around. If you're one of the millions of Americans who need a fresh influx of cash to pay your bills, this check matters to you. Take a quick look at these four issues that could prevent you from receiving a direct payment and decide what you want to do about anything standing in your way.
Tips and tricks from the experts delivered straight to your inbox that could help you save thousands of dollars. Sign up now for free access to our Personal Finance Boot Camp.
By submitting your email address, you consent to us sending you money tips along with products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe at any time. Please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.
If you haven't filed your 2020 tax return yet, the only address the IRS has for you is the one listed on your 2019 return. If you opted to have a 2019 tax refund direct deposited into your bank account and still have that account, you should be fine. The IRS will make the next direct payment deposit into the same account. However, if the IRS mailed a paper check or debit card to your old address last time, they're going to mail another paper check or debit card this time -- to the old address. You can rectify the situation by:
If you filed a joint return in 2019, provide all required information and signatures for you and your spouse.
Whether you've moved residences or not, you may have changed banks since the last time the IRS deposited a tax refund. If so, the new direct payment will be sent to the last bank on record. By law, banks must return payments sent to closed accounts back to the IRS.
Your best bet may be to get your 2020 tax return filed as quickly as possible (provided you have all the documentation you need to file an accurate return). If that's not possible, file for a Recovery Rebate Credit when you fill out your 2020 return. If you're owed a refund, the IRS will add the amount of the direct stimulus to your refund. If you owe taxes for 2020, the IRS will deduct the amount of the stimulus check from the total taxes due.
If you and your spouse have separated or divorced since the last time you filed taxes, and now live in separate residences, the IRS needs to know. If your last direct payment was mailed to your home and one of you still lives in that residence, that's where the stimulus check will be mailed. If that's your ex, quickly let the IRS know that you live somewhere new.
Although it's not written in stone, it looks like this round of direct payments will be similar to the first two rounds. Here's a breakdown of who would receive a full stimulus payment of $1,400 per eligible family member:
|Filing Status||Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)|
|Single tax filer||Up to $75,000|
|Head of household||Up to $112,500|
|Married couple filing jointly||Up to $150,000|
Let's say you are single and earned $100,000 in 2019, but COVID-19 caused your business to close for a time and you ended up with an AGI of $60,000 in 2020. If you haven't filed your 2020 tax return yet, now is the time to do it. There's no reason to miss out on a direct stimulus payment if you need it but don't qualify because the IRS is using an older tax return to determine eligibility.
Congress is still hammering out the details, like how much Americans earning more than these limits might receive and at what income they are no longer eligible for any funds. We know that the upper limit will likely be lower this time around than it was when the first two stimulus payments went out, but are still waiting for lawmakers to settle on an amount.
In the meantime, if any of these four issues apply to you, take steps to rectify them before Congress passes the stimulus proposals into law and the IRS begins sending checks out the door. And if your finances were hit hard by the pandemic, visit our coronavirus hardship loan guide to learn if you might qualify for a hardship loan.
If you have credit card debt, transferring it to this top balance transfer card secures you a 0% intro APR into 2023! Plus, you’ll pay no annual fee. Those are just a few reasons why our experts rate this card as a top pick to help get control of your debt. Read The Ascent's full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.