Stimulus check: Eligibility, fine print, income limit and how the first payment could shape the next rescue package


On Thursday, the Senate failed to pass the Republican-backed “skinny” coronavirus package that completely left out a new round of stimulus money to help the American people, but another coronavirus economic relief package or standalone legislation could potentially still earn Americans who qualify a second stimulus check of as much as $1,200 per adult (and potentially more for families).

We can examine how the first stimulus check was handled to predict how a potential second payment might work and offer some guidance on how to claim a payment if you don’t normally file income taxes or if you have dependents who were left out of that first check. If you’re missing the first check, the IRS tracking tool may help you hunt it down, and we’ll show you how to file a missing payment report if you think it’s lost or stolen. Keep reading for more details.

This story is updated often.

Will you be taxed on your stimulus check? What are your rights?

These rules applied to the first stimulus payments issued in March and could serve as a model for a second round of payments, if there is one.


The payment is not taxable: You won’t pay taxes next year on a stimulus payment you receive from the IRS in 2020. The IRS doesn’t consider it income and a payment you get in 2020 will not reduce your refund or increase the amount you owe when you file your 2020 tax return next year. You also won’t have to repay anything if you qualify for a lower amount in 2021.

Overdue debts: Under some circumstances with the first stimulus payment, banks and private creditors could seize your payment for outstanding debts. The current stimulus payment proposals would in most cases prohibit creditors and banks from seizing the payment to pay debts. Likewise, you are not required to hand the check over to facilities, like nursing homes and landlords, to cover expenses.

Overdue child support: With both the CARES Act and the proposed HEALS Act, you wouldn’t receive a check if you owed child support. Under the House of Representatives’ Heroes Act, which the Senate did not take up or veto, you would be eligible for a payment if you owed support.

In some cases, payments do need to be returned: The IRS said people who died before receipt of the payment, nonresidents alien and those who are incarcerated do not qualify for a check. These payments need to be returned if received, the IRS said.

A payment doesn’t affect other government benefits: Your stimulus check will not count toward determining any other benefits you receive from the federal government.

Feel free to spend it: Once you receive your stimulus money, you can spend it (and the hope is that you will, to help keep the economy moving). If you receive your payment on a prepaid debit card, you can transfer the amount to your own account…Read more>>



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