A second round of stimulus checks is on the way. President Donald Trump signed a measure into law late Sunday night that includes a second round of economic impact payments to help Americans who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are some answers to questions you might have about this next round of stimulus payments. If you have a question you don’t see answered here, tweet us @ForbesAdvisor—we’ll update this post as we get more information.
[Use the Forbes Advisor stimulus check calculator to see how much you may qualify for.]
Do I Have To Claim My Stimulus Check?
Generally, no. If you qualify and your banking information and/or mailing information are correct, the stimulus payment will be sent to you either by direct deposit or check.
Visit IRS.gov and use the Get My Payment tool (which is currently under maintenance to prepare for the second round of payments) to find out the status of your stimulus payment. The tool will show if a payment has been issued and whether the payment was sent by direct deposit or mail.
Which Tax Year is Used to Determine Eligibility for a Payment?
Your 2019 tax return will be used to determine whether you’re eligible for a stimulus payment. If you receive Social Security benefits (either retirement or disability) but didn’t file a return in 2019 (because you earn too little to be required to file), you’ll also receive a stimulus check, based on the information sent to the IRS on 2019 forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099.
How Do I Get My Money if I Haven’t Filed a 2019 Tax Return?
If you receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement Benefits and did not file a tax return in 2019, you will not have to file a return in order to receive your payment—the IRS has your information already. If you don’t receive those benefits and did not file a tax return for 2019, you may need to file one to confirm your eligibility. Check your status in the Get My Payment portal for instructions
Will My 2020 Tax Return Affect My Payment Amount?
In some cases, yes. If based on your 2020 tax returns you would be entitled to a larger payment than calculated based on your 2019 returns, you will be eligible to receive the difference as a tax credit. Of course, this additional payment won’t be available until 2020 returns are filed next year.
But if the stimulus payment you are due is lower based on your 2020 income, you get to keep the higher payment that was sent to you based on your 2019 return.
I Changed Banks Since the Last Stimulus Checks Were Distributed. How Will I Get My Money?
When CARES Act funds were distributed, the IRS deposited money directly into the accounts for people who had direct deposit on file from receiving a refund on their 2018 or 2019 tax return. People who owed money in one of those years were required to input their direct deposit information.
If you closed your bank account between your last tax refund and your CARES Act payment, you could not change your bank account information. Instead, the IRS would try to deliver your funds to the old account, the payment would be rejected, and the IRS would mail your check to the address it has on file.
The same setup is likely to apply for this round of payments. If you closed your bank account between the date your CARES Act payment was deposited and now, the IRS will probably try to deliver the funds to your old account, then try mail if necessary.
I moved since the last stimulus checks were distributed. How will I get my money?
If you received a payment electronically last time, you’ll receive your money the same way this time. If you received a check by mail last time but have moved since then, the check will either be forwarded to your new address (if you have USPS mail forwarding) or returned to the IRS. If your payment gets returned, the IRS will hold your payment until you provide a new address. You will need to monitor the payment portal if you haven’t received your check and suspect it’s due to a change of address—you won’t be contacted by the IRS to update your information.
I Missed the Deadline for Getting a CARES Act Stimulus Payment. Can I Still Get This Payment?
Yes. If you didn’t register to get and didn’t receive a maximum $1,200 payment from the first stimulus package, you may be eligible to receive those funds through a tax credit by filing a 2020 tax return when the IRS system opens in early 2021.
You can register for this round of payments by visiting the Get My Payment portal on the IRS website.
Did Biden Hint At A Third Stimulus Check When He’s President?
Yes. President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly expressed interest in another stimulus package that would include more stimulus checks, another unemployment benefits extension, state and local aid, and money for testing and vaccine distribution.
But the potential of future financial aid (including another stimulus payment) may hinge in part on the Senate run-off elections in Georgia in January. Democrats need to win both seats to secure a narrow majority in the Senate.
Democrats in Congress have been more keen to pass more aid and with larger price tags. Without a majority in the Senate, they’ll have a harder time rallying support for additional aid bills.