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Owed stimulus money? Here is how you can claim a Recovery Rebate Credit

Essentially, the rebate does one of two things: Reduces how much a person owes on their 2020 tax return or increases a person's tax refund.

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The second round of stimulus payments is on its way, according to the IRS.

The agency urges people who have not yet received theirs to keep an eye on their bank accounts.

However, the IRS states some payments have ended up in the wrong accounts. People may have to take matters into their own hands to get the extra cash. They have taken to social media to air their frustrations.

Rich Landis, an accountant with 40 years' experience and CEO of Landis and Associates in Lancaster County, says he has prepared his staff for the many questions and concerns people have.

"The challenge I put out to our team is: I want you to answer the client's question before they know they have the question," said Landis.

Landis says eligible people will receive their money; they will just have to wait. 

People, who do not receive their stimulus or who received less than they are eligible to get, will need to file a 2020 federal income tax return to claim a Recovery Rebate credit. See below.

For example: People who did not receive a child's stimulus will need to pursue this route.

Eligible dependents are listed on the agency's website.

To find the Recovery Rebate Credit line, look for line 30 on the form. Landis says you can make necessary adjustments there.

There are instructions which go along with the form.

It includes a Recovery Rebate Worksheet which details the questions people will need to answer in order to receive their owed stimulus payment(s).

If it all sounds unfamiliar, that's because it is. The credit is authorized by the CARES Act -- meaning it came about during the pandemic. The IRS created this tax credit specifically for people who did not receive their stimulus payments in 2020 or 2021.

Essentially, Landis says the rebate does one of two things: Reduces how much a person owes on their 2020 tax return or increases a person's tax refund.

"You actually have to go through and calculate based on your income level, dependents, age of dependents, etc. what you're entitled to receive based on your 2020 numbers," explained Landis. "Is it difficult? I guess, that's all relative."

If people electronically file a return, they can expect the credit in 2-3 weeks, according to Landis. He urges people to consider this route.

"We have not sent anything to the IRS since it shutdown, and we will not do it because all bets are off if you send a paper return in because they are so back-logged," stated Landis.

For the fastest processing, the IRS also recommends people file their 2020 taxes electronically.

According to the IRS, 2020 tax forms can also be used by people who are not normally required to file tax returns but are eligible for the credit.

People who are U.S. citizens or U.S. resident aliens in 2020, who are not a dependent of another taxpayer during 2020, and have a social security number valid for employment that is issued before the due date on the 2020 tax return, including extensions, are generally eligible to claim the credit.

According to the IRS, you do not need to complete information about the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR if either of the following apply:

  • You received $1,200 plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020, or
  • You're filing a joint return for 2020 and, together, you and your spouse received $2,400 plus $500 for each qualifying child you had in 2020.

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