What Was the Recovery Rebate Credit?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established the Recovery Rebate Credit, which was paid in advance to most qualified residents in the form of Economic Impact Payments in 2020 and early 2021.
If you did not get the entire amount to which you were entitled, you might claim it as a refundable credit on your 2020 and/or 2021 tax returns.
- The Recovery Rebate Credit permitted some taxpayers to reduce their taxes by taking a credit for the entire Economic Impact Payment if they did not get it in 2020 or 2021 for any reason.
- If you did not get the whole third Economic Impact Payment, you may be eligible for the 2020 or 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit.
- If you qualified for a credit and did not owe taxes, you would have received a tax refund.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent over 5 million erroneous math error warnings about Recovery Rebate Credits that failed to tell taxpayers that they had 60 days to reply.
Understanding the Recovery Rebate Credit
Economic relief payments, known as Economic Impact Payments or stimulus payments under the CARES Act, were valued at $1,200 per eligible adult, based on household adjusted gross income (AGI), plus $500 for each additional qualified dependent under the age of 17.
The first and second waves of Economic Impact Payments were payments made in anticipation of the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, which was claimed on a 2020 tax return. They were released between 2020 and early 2021. The third set of Economic Impact Payments, which included plus-up payments, were advance payments of the 2021 Recovery Rebate Credit, which was claimed on a 2021 tax return. It was released beginning in March 2021 and ran through December of that year.
You could have claimed the amount due as a refundable tax credit on your 2020 and/or 2021 Form 1040 or 1040-SR if you did not receive one or more of your payments or the full amount due, for example, because your income on your taxes was too high and your lower income would have qualified you—or because the number of dependents changed. Forms 1040 and 1040-SR both had a line for the “Recovery Rebate Credit.”
If you earned a Recovery Rebate Credit, it would have either boosted your tax refund or decreased the amount of taxes you due in those years. Because it was considered as a refundable tax credit, you would have gotten a tax refund for the amount owing for these stimulus payments even if you owed no taxes.
Economic Impact Payments were not taxable.
Qualifying for a Recovery Rebate Credit
You would have had to first ascertain if you were eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit before claiming one. In general, if you got $1,200 in stimulus payments ($2,400 if married filing jointly) and $500 for each qualified dependent kid under the age of 17, you would most likely not be eligible for a Recovery Rebate Credit.
To be eligible for the credit, you must have:
- In 2020 and/or 2021, you must have been a US citizen or a US resident alien.
- For tax years 2020 and/or 2021, you must not have been a dependant of another taxpayer.
- Have you received a Social Security number before the due date of your 2020 and/or 2021 tax returns? (including extensions).
If you meet the following criteria, you may be entitled for a full or partial Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 and/or 2021 returns:
- You were qualified for compensation but did not get it.
- You did not get the whole amount that you were due.
- Your income in 2020 or 2021 qualified you for a rebate.
- You had a kid after receiving your stimulus payment in 2020 or 2021.
If you applied for an Economic Impact Payment but have yet to receive it, use the Get My Payment app to check your progress. More information on the status of your payment, including an explanation of the status that you get from the application, may be found on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)Get My Payment Frequently Asked Questions website.
The IRS sent over 5 million math mistake letters to taxpayers about Recovery Rebate Credit claims, but forgot to notify recipients that they only had 60 days to reply. The IRS said that it was fixing the problem by sending out extra letters with an extended 60-day response time.
What is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) math error notice?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) screens all tax returns using computers. When the computer detects a math mistake, whether in favor of or against the taxpayer, the IRS recalculates taxes, charges interest or penalties, and sends a notice outlining the error to the taxpayer. Taxpayers have 60 days to reply or they will be responsible for any amount levied.
Can I still claim a Recovery Rebate Credit if I already filed my 2020 or 2021 taxes?
If you submitted your taxes for 2020 and/or 2021 and did not claim a Recovery Rebate Credit, you may still file an Amended Tax Return 1040-X. If you did not include an amount on your initial tax return, the IRS will not compute your Recovery Rebate Credit. The taxpayer has three years to submit an updated return.
What if I discover that I made a mistake on my Recovery Rebate Credit request?
According to the IRS, “DO NOT submit an updated tax return.” The IRS will locate and correct the problem before notifying you. There might be a hiccup in the processing of your tax return.
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