Some 130 million COVID-19 stimulus checks have been issued by the federal government, courtesy of Congress. But they may not be the amount you expected.
When my family’s check came in the mail, it was slightly less than I thought. I’m not complaining, although I looked into the IRS guidance on how they determine the check amounts.
“Some Americans may have received a payment amount different than what they expected,” the IRS stated in a press release. “Payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size.”
Ok, let’s break this down. Here are some of the reasons the IRS gives for the size of the stimulus payments:
Claimed dependents are not eligible for an additional $500 payment
“Only children eligible for the Child Tax Credit qualify for the additional payment of up to $500 per child. To claim the Child Tax Credit, the taxpayer generally must be related to the child, live with them more than half the year and provide at least half of their support.”
“Besides their own children, adopted children and foster children, eligible children can include the taxpayer’s younger siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews if they can be claimed as dependents. In addition, any qualifying child must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other qualifying resident alien. The child must also be under the age of 17 at the end of the year for the tax return on which the IRS bases the payment determination.”
This explains why my family didn’t quality for the child payments. Our children are both older than 18.
Dependents are college students
“Dependent college students do not qualify for an emergency payment, and even though their parents may claim them as dependents, they normally do not qualify for the additional $500 payment.”
Claimed dependents are parents or relatives, age 17 or older
“If a taxpayer claimed a parent or any other relative age 17 or older on their tax return, that dependent will not receive a $1,200 payment. In addition, the taxpayer will not receive an additional $500 payment because the parent or other relative is not a qualifying child under age 17.”
Past-due child support was deducted from the payment
“The Economic Impact Payment is offset only by past-due child support. The IRS will send the taxpayer a notice if an offset occurs.
For taxpayers who are married filing jointly and filed an injured spouse claim with their 2019 tax return (or 2018 tax return if they haven’t filed the 2019 tax return), half of the total payment will be sent to each spouse. Only the payment of the spouse who owes past-due child support should be offset.”