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Are You Eligible for the Whole $1,400 Stimulus Check? Here’s How to Tell


Over the past couple of days, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have passed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill, and it was officially signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11. Among the many provisions is a third $1,400 stimulus check, which most Americans qualify for.

However, there are stipulations around who gets the full amount and who gets smaller, partial amounts of that money. Are you eligible for the entire $1,400, or will you receive a different number on your check? Here’s what you need to know about stimulus check sizes.

Who’s eligible for a third stimulus check?

When it comes to receiving the full $1,400, individuals must have an income under $75,000, while married couples filing jointly need to have an income under $150,000 to receive their entire $2,800 check. Additionally, an extra $1,400 will be included in your payment for any dependent in the family, regardless of age.

So, what’s this about a phase-out? Currently, individuals earning between $75,000 and $80,000 have a 28 percent phase-out rate, meaning that they get $280 less for every $1,000 over $75,000 and under $80,000 that they earn. Married couples with no dependents also have a 28 percent phase-out rate if their income falls between $150,000 and $160,000, while couples with a single dependent would receive a 42 percent phase-out.

How can I calculate the amount of money I’ll get with my check?

There are two key calculations you need to finalize to see if you qualify for the entire $1,400 stimulus check. First, you need to figure out your adjusted gross income, which is basically how much money you made for the year while taking into account any deductions. Deductions may include things like alimony payments, an IRA retirement account, and more. You can use this Tax Act calculator to do that.

Once you know your income, it’s time to enter your filing status, adjusted gross income, and number of dependents into this simple calculator from Grow to see if you’re likely to receive the full stimulus check.

Is there anything I can do to increase my odds of a getting a bigger payment?

So, here’s where things get a little tricky: The size of your check all comes down to which tax return — either your 2019 or 2020 one — is the most recent one that the IRS has on file. If you made less money in 2020 than 2019 and will therefore have a smaller reported income on your tax return, make sure to file your taxes pronto so the IRS take your 2020 income into account when printing checks rather than your 2019 income.

In contrast, if you made less money in 2019 than in 2020, you might want to hold off on filing your 2020 tax return until closer to the April 15 deadline. That way, the IRS will use your lower reported 2019 income to decide whether you’re eligible for that check in the coming weeks as they start getting printed and shipped out. Here’s to hoping they reach us all soon!

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