You don’t necessarily need the luck of the Irish to find a pot of gold this St. Patrick’s Day. That’s because today – March 17 – is the “official payment date” for the first wave of third-round stimulus check payments. Millions of Americans will be getting a stimulus payment deposited into their bank account today. Plus, people who received a “pending” or “provisional” payment over the past few days should also have access to their funds today.
If you’re not sure whether you’re getting a payment today, you can find out by using the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool. If you’re not scheduled for a first-wave payment today, keep checking – more third stimulus checks will be sent over the next several weeks. The online tool lets you:
- Check the status of your stimulus payment;
- Confirm your payment type (paper check or direct deposit); and
- Get a projected direct deposit or paper check delivery date (or find out if a payment hasn’t been scheduled).
For more information about the tool, see Where’s My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS’s “Get My Payment” Tool to Get an Answer.
How Much Will You Get?
If you’re eligible for a third stimulus check (not everyone qualifies for one), the “base amount” for your payment is $1,400. If you’re married and file a joint tax return, the base amount jumps to $2,800. Then, for each dependent in your family, the IRS will tack on an additional $1,400. So, for example, a family of five could end up with a $7,000 third stimulus check.
But you won’t receive the full amount if the adjusted gross income (AGI)reported on your most recent tax return is above a certain amount. In fact, if your AGI is high enough, you won’t get any third stimulus check money.
Here’s how your stimulus check can shrink. If you filed your most recent tax return as a single filer, your third stimulus check will be reduced – potentially to zero – if your AGI is $75,000 or more. That threshold goes up to $112,500 for head-of-household filers, and to $150,000 for married couples filing a joint return. The reduction (or “phase out”) to zero is quick. Third-round stimulus checks are completely phased out for single filers with an AGI above $80,000, head-of-household filers with an AGI over $120,000, and joint filers with an AGI exceeding $160,000. If your income is above the appropriate amount, you get nothing – regardless of how many dependents there are in your family.
To calculate the amount of your stimulus payment, just go to our Third Stimulus Check Calculator and answer three easy questions. The tool will spit out a customized estimated payment amount just for you.
Information from Your 2019 or 2020 Tax Return
In most cases, the IRS will get the information it needs to calculate your third stimulus check from either your 2019 or 2020 tax return. If your 2020 tax return isn’t filed and processed by the time the IRS starts processing your third stimulus check, it will use your 2019 tax return to get the necessary information. If your 2020 return is already filed and processed, then your stimulus check will be based on that return.
If, however, your 2020 return is not filed and/or processed until after the IRS sends you a stimulus check, but before July 15, 2021 (or September 1 if the April 15 filing deadline is pushed back), the IRS will send you a second payment for the difference between what your payment should have been if based on your 2020 return and any payment actually sent based on your 2019 return.
If you don’t file a 2019 or 2020 tax return, the IRS can get enough information to send you a check from the Social Security Administration, Railroad Retirement Board, or Veterans Administration if you receive regular benefits from one of these other federal agencies. You might not get the full amount, though. For instance, those other federal agencies might not be able to provide the IRS with information about your dependents. So, you might not get the extra $1,400-per-dependent payment added to your third stimulus check.
Recovery Rebate Credits
If you don’t get a third stimulus check, or you don’t get the full amount you’re entitled to, there’s a way to get the money you’re owed – but you’ll have to wait until next year to get it. When you file your 2021 tax return in 2022, you may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate tax credit.
As with the first two stimulus payments, your third stimulus check is simply an advance payment of the credit. So, if your stimulus check (i.e., advance payments) is less than the Recovery Rebate credit amount, you can get the difference back on your 2021 tax return in the form of a larger tax refund or a lower tax bill. On the other hand, if your stimulus check is greater than the credit amount, you don’t have to repay the difference. So you can’t lose with this credit.
For more information about your third stimulus check, see Your Third Stimulus Check: How Much? When? And Other FAQs.
BONUS: A St. Patrick’s Day Limerick About Stimulus Checks
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Kiplinger is holding a limerick contest among its employees. I’ve been covering stimulus checks for almost one year now, so naturally that’s what my entry is about. (I can’t get stimulus checks out of my head!) My limerick also fits in with today’s “payday” for the first wave of third-round stimulus checks, so I thought I’d share it with you. Here goes:
I’m a little bit richer today,
But not from my usual pay.
Whether from Biden or Trump,
To get over the hump,
A stimulus check saves the day.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!