President Joe Biden made coronavirus stimulus relief his first priority when he took office in January 2021. By March, the Democrats had passed his proposed COVID-19 aid bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, on a party line basis. The American Rescue Plan Act provided several different forms of financial relief, including:
- $1,400 stimulus checks for eligible adults and qualifying dependents
- Special relief for parents in the form of an expanded Child Tax Credit
Parents who qualified for the expanded Child Tax Credit are still owed half the amount of it — with some owed the entire amount. Many others who qualified for the $1,400 stimulus checks may not have received the full funds they were due.
Anyone who didn’t get all of the money they were entitled to can take action starting today to claim it. Here’s how.
You can now claim your unpaid stimulus funds
Both the stimulus check and the expanded Child Tax Credit payments authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act were set up to provide money to qualifying Americans in 2021 to help them during the heart of the COVID crisis.
But both were actually advances on a tax credit. That means anyone who didn’t get their payments can obtain the money due by filing their 2021 taxes and claiming their credit.
This wasn’t possible until the IRS opened up the tax filing season for 2021. The IRS has done this starting today. You can now file your 2021 taxes to request the money you are due from last year by submitting your forms either via mail or electronically.
Electronic filing and requesting direct deposit to your bank account is the fastest way to get your money. In most cases, the IRS will process your return and send you money you’re due within 21 days, with limited exceptions. These could be if you’re claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or the American Opportunity Tax Credit, in which case you’ll have to wait several weeks.
You should strongly consider visiting the IRS website to find out how to file your tax return for free and claim your stimulus money ASAP now that you’re able to do so.
Do you have money coming to you?
Millions of Americans are owed unpaid stimulus money and will want to take swift action. This includes anyone who:
- Hadn’t filed a recent tax return. If the IRS was unaware of your income or the number of dependents you had because you didn’t file a recent return, you may have missed out on both the $1,400 stimulus check and the expanded Child Tax Credit.
- Saw their income fall sharply. There were income limits for collecting both the expanded Child Tax Credit and the $1,400 checks. If you exceeded those limits when filing your 2020 taxes, the IRS wouldn’t have sent you money in 2021 because they had no way of knowing you were owed it. But if your income fell below the eligibility thresholds in 2021, you can get your funds by updating the IRS about your earnings record last year.
- You added new dependents. If you added new dependents to your family in 2021, the IRS wouldn’t have known about them because they wouldn’t have been claimed on previous tax returns. As a result, you’d have missed out on the $1,400 stimulus check for your new dependents as well as the expanded Child Tax Credit for them.
- You’re a parent eligible for the expanded Child Tax Credit. The expanded Child Tax Credit provided for $3,600 per child under age 6 and $3,000 for older kids. Half of this money was delivered at a rate of $250 or $300 per month into parents’ bank accounts from July to December of 2021, but that means parents need to claim the remaining half.
If you’re among these groups or if you didn’t get the full amount of stimulus money owed in 2021 for some other reason, you can act now to get your funds. Don’t wait if you need COVID-19 financial relief.
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