Is It Too Late to Claim the Stimulus Checks? Details Inside

May 2, 2024

Is it too late to get your stimulus check? For many, the answer is no, but the clock is ticking. Whether you’re a U.S. citizen living abroad or someone who hasn’t yet filed, you need to act swiftly to meet the IRS deadline and claim what you’re owed.

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. expats must file their 2020 and 2021 tax returns by June 17, 2024, through the IRS Streamlined Procedure to claim missed stimulus checks without penalties.
  • To be eligible for stimulus payments, individuals must meet criteria such as having a Social Security number, income thresholds, and not being claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
  • Unclaimed stimulus checks can be recovered by filing a tax return with the Recovery Rebate Credit for the relevant tax years and ensuring all personal information matches Social Security records.

Understanding the Stimulus Check Deadline for Expats

The clock is ticking for U.S. expats to claim their stimulus checks. The deadline is June 17, 2024, and with each passing day, the opportunity to claim what’s rightfully yours dwindles. If you’re a U.S. expat and haven’t claimed your stimulus checks yet, it’s time to sit up and take action.

The U.S. government issued three stimulus checks as a part of its COVID-19 relief measures. However, many U.S. expats remained unaware of their eligibility and the process to claim these checks.

The Final Countdown: Six Weeks Left

With just six weeks left to claim your stimulus checks, the need to act promptly has never been more urgent. Leaving stimulus money unclaimed not only means missing out on financial relief but also potentially losing the benefits of the amnesty program.

Amnesty Program Benefits

The IRS’s Streamlined Procedure is a lifeline for American citizens who, due to lack of awareness or confusion about their filing obligations, have fallen behind on their taxes. This amnesty program offers a one-time opportunity for U.S. expats to become compliant without the risk of penalties.

Naturally, there are many U.S. expats living abroad who didn’t even know they were eligible for such a program. If you’re among them, consider this your wake-up call. It’s time to step up, get your tax affairs in order, and claim your stimulus checks.

How to Claim Your Missed Stimulus Checks?

To claim the missed stimulus checks, follow these steps:

  1. For the first and second stimulus checks, file a 2020 tax return.
  2. For the third stimulus check, file a 2021 tax return.
  3. Both tax returns must be filed by June 17, 2024.

It’s crucial to file separate tax returns for the 2020 and 2021 tax years to claim all three missed stimulus payments. If you’ve fallen behind on your tax filings, don’t panic. The IRS offers the Streamlined Tax Amnesty program, which allows expats to become tax compliant without facing penalties for previously unfiled tax years.

Becoming tax compliant requires the following steps:

  1. File a tax return for all past years that have been missed.
  2. Identify and file the applicable tax forms and exemptions.
  3. Claim any missed stimulus checks in the form of recovery rebate credit.

These steps are necessary for expats to become tax compliant and ensure they receive any entitled benefits.

Eligibility Criteria for Stimulus Payments

The U.S. government has set certain criteria for eligibility for stimulus payments. Generally, to be eligible for stimulus payments, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien with a Social Security number
  • Meet certain income thresholds
  • Not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

However, those claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s 2020 tax return do not qualify for the stimulus payment. Also, individuals with an adjusted gross income exceeding certain thresholds were ineligible for the stimulus payments issued in 2021.

Qualifying for Full Payment: Income Thresholds

Full payment eligibility for economic impact payment, also known as stimulus checks, is based on your adjusted gross income (AGI) and filing status. For instance, households with an AGI up to $75,000 for individuals (or married couples filing separately) will receive the full payment.

During the second round of stimulus checks, individuals with an AGI up to $75,000, $150,000 if married filing jointly, and $112,500 if head of household qualified for full payments. However, those with income above these thresholds saw reduced payments.

In the third round, the payment was reduced for married couples filing jointly with an AGI above $150,000, with no payment for those earning $200,000 or more.

Additional Amounts for Dependents

If you have children or adult dependents, you’re in for good news. You may be eligible for an increased amount of money in your stimulus check. This additional amount can provide significant financial relief, helping you cover essential expenses for your dependent.

The U.S. government understands that those with dependents often face increased financial pressures. Therefore, this additional stimulus money is designed to provide much-needed support to households with dependents, helping them navigate these challenging times.

The Economic Impact of Stimulus on Expats

Stimulus checks can have a significant economic impact on U.S. expats. The money can help cover a variety of costs, including the cost of renouncing U.S. citizenship, providing meaningful financial support.

However, it’s estimated that millions of people, including U.S. expats, are eligible for stimulus payments but have not yet received them. That’s why it’s crucial to understand your eligibility and claim your stimulus checks before the deadline.

Steps to Ensure You Don’t Miss Out on Stimulus Money

The first step to ensure you don’t miss out on stimulus money is to check your online IRS account. Access your tax records to determine if you are missing any of the three stimulus checks.

If you received a letter from the IRS alerting you to missed stimulus funds, submit your tax returns as soon as possible to claim your tax refund. Don’t let the fear of high compliance costs or late filing fees deter you from becoming tax compliant and claiming your stimulus money.

How Much Was Each Stimulus Check Worth?

The three rounds of stimulus checks provided significant financial relief to eligible individuals. Here are the details of each round:

  1. The first round, authorized by the CARES Act, provided up to $1,200 for eligible adults and $500 per child.
  2. The second round provided $600 per eligible adult and child.
  3. The third and largest round of stimulus checks provided $1,400 per eligible adult and child.

In total, the three rounds of stimulus checks provided up to $3,200 per eligible adult and up to $2,500 per child.

The Impact of Filing Status on Stimulus Payments

Your filing status has a significant impact on the amount of stimulus payments you receive. For example, couples who filed taxes jointly could receive double the amount compared to single filers for each of the stimulus checks.

For the first stimulus check, eligible married couples filing jointly were entitled to $2,400, for the second $1,200, and for the third $2,800. Eligible individuals who filed as single or head of household received $1,200 for the first round of stimulus.

Direct Deposit vs. Mailed Checks: Retrieving Your Funds

When it comes to retrieving your stimulus funds, it’s crucial to understand the difference between direct deposit and mailed checks. Stimulus checks sent to closed accounts will be returned to the IRS and then reissued as a paper check or a prepaid debit card. You can use the IRS’s ‘Get My Payment’ tool to track the method and timing of your stimulus payments.

Recovery Rebate Credit: Claiming Past Due Stimulus Money

If you missed out on any of the stimulus checks, you can claim them using the Recovery Rebate Credit, a form of tax credit, on your 2020 or 2021 tax returns. It’s crucial to meet the income thresholds and have a valid Social Security number issued before the original tax return filing to be eligible for the Recovery Rebate Credit.

Adjusting Tax Records for Accurate Stimulus Payment

To ensure you receive accurate stimulus payments, it’s crucial that the Social Security numbers and names on your tax returns correspond with those on your Social Security cards. If the IRS adjusts your Recovery Rebate Credit and you agree with the changes, you should retain the notice for your records. If you disagree, you should promptly contact the IRS with supporting documentation to rectify the issue.

In conclusion, claiming your stimulus checks as a U.S. expat involves understanding eligibility criteria, filing status, and tax compliance requirements. It’s crucial to act promptly, gather the necessary documentation, and file your tax returns on time. Becoming tax compliant can help you avoid penalties, claim missed stimulus checks, and access other government benefits. Remember, the clock is ticking, so don’t delay in claiming what’s rightfully yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to claim any missed stimulus checks?

To claim any missed stimulus checks, you need to file a 2020 tax return for the first and second checks, and a 2021 tax return for the third one. Remember to do this to ensure you receive any owed payments.

Who can claim the stimulus check?

You can claim the stimulus check if you are a U.S. citizen, Green Card Holder, qualifying resident alien, or are thinking about renouncing your U.S. citizenship.

Who is eligible for an increased amount of money in the stimulus check?

If you have children or adult dependents, you may be eligible for an increased amount of money in the stimulus check.

What income threshold determines the full payment for the stimulus check?

If you have an adjusted gross income (AGI) up to $75,000 for individuals (or married couples filing separately), you will receive the full payment for the stimulus check.

What are the benefits of becoming tax compliant?

Becoming tax compliant can help you avoid fines and penalties, and make you eligible to receive stimulus payments. It’s important to fulfill your tax obligations to avoid any negative consequences.

Written by

Kasia Strzelczyk, EA

A certified accountant and IRS enrolled agent with over 8 years of experience working with US expats. With a deep understanding of the unique financial challenges faced by expats, Kasia is dedicated to helping clients navigate complex tax laws and regulations.

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