Stimulus check tax credit: Here’s how to get your missing payment on your 2020 refund

Stimulus check tax credit: Here’s how to get your missing payment on your 2020 refund

Did your first or second stimulus check never arrive? You’re not alone — millions of eligible people never received one or both of their stimulus payments in the mail, or didn’t get the full amount they were qualified for. It’s possible the IRS made an error, that you’re missing money for your dependents, your check was mistakenly garnished or you’re a tax nonfiler who needed to take an extra step. But there’s good news: You can claim your full stimulus check amount as a Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return.

The rebate credit combines your stimulus money with your tax return. That means you won’t get a separate check, but you could get either a larger tax refund or pay a smaller tax bill. (You should also be aware, however, that if you have any outstanding debts, the IRS can potentially garnish some or all of your refund to pay them.) Also, if you don’t usually file taxes, for instance, if you’re on SSI or SSDI, or if you’re retired, you’ll need to file this year. We recommend getting your paperwork in order before the IRS starts processing returns on Feb. 12, filing your taxes early and signing up for direct deposit.


The first step to getting your Recovery Rebate Credit is to confirm your payment status online through the IRS. If you see a confusing message or a possible error, you may be a candidate for a rebate or a payment trace. Note there may be additional steps required if you’re filing a tax extension. Here’s everything you need to know about filing for a Recovery Rebate Credit. And this is what we know about a third stimulus check including how much money you could get, the conversation around “targeted” checks and how fast a third stimulus payment might arrive.

How can I claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on my taxes?

If you belong to one of the groups outlined below, estimated your total for the first stimulus payment or used our calculator to get an idea of your payment for the second and think the IRS didn’t send the full amount you qualified for, you have another chance this year to claim missing stimulus check money through an IRS Recovery Rebate Credit.

You need to file for the credit when you submit your federal tax returns this year. The IRS will start processing 2020 tax returns on Feb. 12, and federal tax returns will be due April 15. (In 2020, the IRS extended the deadline to July 15 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.)

While the IRS doesn’t have final instructions yet for every personal situation (more on these below), the agency does say that people who file taxes can use what will be called the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR to claim a catch-up payment. The IRS will provide a Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet to help you work out if you’re missing a payment and for how much.

To start filing for a partial check rebate, you’ll need the IRS’ calculated amount from the letter the IRS sent confirming your payment. This was called Notice 1444 for the first payment and Notice 1444-B for the second payment.

If you file for the credit and are owed money, you’ll either see the amount of your tax refund increased or the amount of tax you owe lowered, depending on the amount of stimulus money you’re eligible to receive…Read more>>