If you were eligible to collect all or some of the first stimulus check of up to $1,200 per person or the second stimulus check of up to $600 per person, but it never arrived (or didn’t accurately reflect your child dependents), you can claim your missing money on your 2020 tax return as a Recovery Rebate Credit. This credit will either increase the size of your total tax refund or lower the amount of taxes you owe.
You’ll file for the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR to claim a catch-up stimulus payment. The IRS’s Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet can help you determine whether you’re missing a payment and, if so, for how much. We’ve got full instructions on how to file for a Recovery Rebate Credit on your taxes here.
If you don’t usually file taxes — perhaps you’re retired, on SSI or SSDI or don’t meet the required income threshold — but believe you’re owed stimulus money, you’ll need to file a 2020 return. Our step-by-step guide explains exactly how nonfilers can claim stimulus money. Note that nonfilers are often eligible for the IRS’ Free File program, and shouldn’t have to pay to file a federal return.