Dear Penny: What if You Got a Stimulus Check for the Wrong Amount?

Dear L.,

It may sound much like your daughter and her husband did everything right: They filed in sufficient time and accomplished it digitally.

But for most people who filed their 2019 returns shortly prior to the coronavirus checks began heading out, the issue of if the IRS would make use of the 2018 return or even the 2019 return came lower to luck. 

Yes, the government stated they’d make use of your 2019 return when they had choice for you — but for many people, much like your daughter and her husband, the government processed the stimulus check before they processed the return.

Unfair? It might appear this way. But bear in mind precisely how rapidly the government was trying to have that much-needed government stimulus money in to the hands of battling Americans. 

When stimulus checks were approved included in the CARES Act, the government had already extended the tax deadline for 2019 returns to This summer 15. Using 2018 returns rather of awaiting a 2019 go back to be processed helped to obtain individuals payments out faster.

Your daughter and her family might get more government stimulus money — but it’ll rely on their 2020 return. That’s since the payments were really funding on the 2020 tax credit. Ordinarily, you need to hold back until you file your return to obtain a tax credit, however, the stimulus payments were created according to 2018 or 2019 returns to ensure that we’re able to obtain the relief money As soon as possible.

Within this situation, it’s victory-win: Suppose your daughter and boy-in-law earned more in 2018 compared to what they will in 2020, which will probably be the situation for most people in this tight economy. 

If their 2020 AGI is below $150,000 — the point where stimulus payments are reduced by 5 cents around the dollar for couples filing some pot return — they’d really be eligible for a a $2,900 payment: $2,400 for the pair of them, plus $500 for the daughter. So they’d get an additional $1,333.40 like a credit once they file their 2020 return, since they’ve already received a combined $1,566.60.

And when their 2020 earnings is greater of computer is at 2018? They’d get to hold to the payments they received, plus they’d be qualified for that $500 credit with respect to their daughter, though bear in mind this credit can also be susceptible to the five cents-on-the-dollar phaseout. 

Many people may have more government stimulus money coming their way once they file their 2020 taxes, whether or not Congress approves another round of checks. They include individuals who were built with a child in 2020 (or 2019 in some instances), people whose earnings has had a success and individuals who can’t be claimed as dependents.

Regrettably, it appears that individuals who received less government stimulus money by mistake will need to hold back until they file a 2020 return to achieve the situation remedied. 

Just realize that this is among individuals cases when the mathematics works to your benefit: You receive more income in case your 2020 return teaches you were compensated not enough. You’re able to keep your money whether it teaches you were technically compensated greater than you ought to have been. And on top of that, you won’t owe taxes on any one of it.

Robin Hartill is really a certified financial planner along with a senior editor in the Cent Hoarder. Send your tricky money inquiries to

It was initially printed around the Cent Hoarder, which will help countless readers worldwide earn and cut costs by discussing unique job possibilities, personal tales, freebies and much more. The Corporation. 5000 rated The Cent Hoarder because the fastest-growing private media company within the U.S. in 2017.

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