As reported by cnet,

If a second check goes through, you may not get the full $1,200 per adult.


Angela Lang/CNET

After many months of slow-going negotiations to include a second stimulus payment within a larger economic rescue package, the current tide seems to be moving toward passing a shorter-term package and waiting until next year to consider assisting the American people with direct aid, although a growing group of members of Congress are calling for a second check this year.

If the idea of a second stimulus payment is punted to 2021, it will land in the scope of President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. Although there are many variables at play, one thing we can surmise from the first stimulus check rollout is that if and when Congress signs off on another cash payment for individuals and families, not everyone will get the maximum sum.

The first stimulus check was worth up to $1,200 per adult, with additional assistance for eligible dependents. But if the stimulus qualifications change in another bill, or if your life circumstances are different, you could get less money than you did before — or nothing at all. One piece of potentially good news: if another stimulus payment is funded, the first wave of stimulus payments could come quickly

We’ll explain more below. This story is updated often.


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A fact you need to know about stimulus checks

In the first round of stimulus checks sent out starting in March, the IRS for the most part used your most recent federal tax return (2019 0r 2018) when calculating your total payment (people who don’t ordinarily file tax returns were in many cases eligible as well). But some people who qualified for a check have experienced personal or financial changes after filing that could affect a future payment one way or another. 

Read this if you started a new job or earn more money now

Your adjusted gross income, or AGI, is a term normally used for the IRS’ yearly tax return to describe your total income, including assets (like stock sales, credits and deductions or an inheritance, for example) that fall outside your usual paycheck. The first stimulus check, and most likely the second, will cut you off if your AGI goes above a certain income limit.

There’s a direct correlation between your tax status and stimulus checks, and any change in your AGI could increase or reduce the size of your check.

For instance, if you received the full $1,200 per qualified adult with the first stimulus check because your AGI was under the income limit, but then you got a promotion or a new job that pays more (congratulations), your check may be smaller next time — since the IRS pays out on a sliding scale. Or you may have maxed out the threshold and no longer qualify. All told, this is a “good” problem to have.

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Kids grow up, and you could be out $500 per child.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Did you have more child dependents when the last check went out?

Age is an important factor in how much stimulus money a household gets, but maybe not the way you think. Older adults are in many cases entitled to a stimulus check. In the first round of direct payments, households were given an extra $500 for each “child dependent.” This is a legal minor who is 16 years old or younger. 

Interestingly, the IRS’ definition of a child dependent for your taxes (23 or under, and financially reliant on the tax filer) isn’t the same set of terms used for stimulus checks. 

If the rules stay the same (and there’s some indication they may not), any older dependents you claimed for the first check may have aged out of eligibility, which means you could get $500 less.

Do you claim your dependents differently? Owe back child support?

For the most part, you can use any stimulus check you receive as you like. However, one exception spelled out in the CARES Act from March had to do with child support. If you owe child support to your kid’s other parent, you may have some or all of your stimulus check garnished. If you received an extra $500 for the way you and the other parent filed a dependency claim (it’s complicated), and then changed how you filed in your 2019 tax reserve (for example, if the other parent gained full custody), you may not get the extra $500. Here’s more information about child support situations.

Have you fallen behind on payments to private banks or creditors?

Normally, your stimulus money can’t be garnished to pay rent or federal tax. There are a few exceptions, however, including the child support situation above. If these rules don’t change with the next stimulus bill, then there are two groups — private creditors and banks — who could legitimately seize all or part of your money from the first, and likely the second, check.

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A few entities are allowed to seize your stimulus money.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Could a new change to stimulus rules affect you?

Since the terms of the second stimulus check aren’t finalized yet — and likely won’t be until the president signs a bill into law — it isn’t clear how they may or may not change. There’s also the way the IRS may interpret the law and act or withhold stimulus money. For example, after the CARES Act was signed in March, the IRS first sent people in prison and jail a stimulus check, then asked for it back and stopped issuing new checks. A recent ruling from a federal judge has started them up again. 

If this law, and others regarding citizenship status in the US, US territories or abroad, were to change, it could make someone who was eligible to receive the first payment disqualified for a second check. 

Does the IRS have your new address since you moved?

If you moved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and haven’t filed a change of address form with the USPS or IRS (a good step to take), the agency may not know where to send a paper check or EIP card. If you received your first stimulus delivery through direct deposit, the IRS will likely go that route again. If you changed bank accounts, you may run into a holdup or need to contact the IRS to file a further claim.

You may need to file a claim for a catch-up payment if If the IRS goofed

It happened with the first check and could easily happen with the next. Clerical errors and complex rules might result in your household getting less money in a future second stimulus check than you might be entitled to — for you and your dependents. Or maybe you don’t normally need to file taxes and wind up missing a rare extra step you need to take. Perhaps you moved (see above). 

Whatever the reason, if some issue prevents you from receiving all or part of your stimulus money, you should be able to claim a rebate. The IRS is currently sorting through these stimulus payment omissions now for a wide range of groups and will likely do so again if a second check comes to be.

Has anyone in your household passed away since you last filed taxes?

Our condolences. If your household received a stimulus check that included a spouse or child dependent who died between your last tax filing and the receipt of the second stimulus check, the IRS is likely to send a smaller sum if your tax filing status, deductions, credits or AGI changed. If the person is recently deceased (by the time the next check arrives), the IRS will ask for the payment to be returned.

For more on stimulus, read what President-elect Joe Biden could do if another stimulus bill doesn’t go through by the time he becomes president Jan. 20, and everything you need to know about stimulus checks.



Source link: cnet

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