You’ll need to know how much you’ve already received to claim the credit; If you don’t have the notices detailing the amounts (Notice 1444 for the first stimulus payment and 1444-B, for the second), you can find the information by setting up an individual online account. (Spouses filing jointly will have separate accounts.)
The quickest way to receive the credit is by filing a tax return electronically and having the money direct deposited, even if you don’t need to file otherwise. If you earn $72,000 or less, you can do it free through the I.R.S. Free File program.
Could I be eligible for a larger check?
It’s possible, particularly if your financial situation or status changed last year.
The recovery credit on the 2020 return is based on an individual’s 2020 tax year information, while the second stimulus payment was based on the 2019 tax year. (For the first stimulus check, the I.R.S. said, a 2018 return may have been used if the 2019 one was not filed or processed.) So if your income dropped in 2020, and you didn’t receive the full amount, you could potentially receive more.
The same goes for changes in life circumstances. If you had a child in 2020, for example, you may be eligible for more money, or maybe you’re no longer a dependent on your parents’ tax return (and were in 2019), which may make you eligible.
Can families of mixed immigration status now qualify for stimulus checks?
Undocumented immigrants without Social Security numbers are ineligible for payments — and the CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package signed into law in late March, also prevented most spouses and children from receiving checks as well, even if they were U.S. citizens.
The December relief bill changed that, at least in part. Now, married couples filing joint returns may be eligible to recover payments for a spouse who has a valid Social Security number, the I.R.S. said. Each child with a Social Security number is also eligible for payments.
To determine if you qualify, use the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet or tax preparation software.
A third relief check will be coming. How will my 2020 tax return affect my payment?
The latest relief package includes another stimulus payment of up to $1,400. The I.R.S. will calculate payments based on your most recent tax return.