Stimulus checks and your 2020 taxes: What to know, whenever you file

Taxes and your stimulus check have a special bond this year.


Angela Lang/CNET

Tax-filing season is just days away — on Feb. 12. This Friday, the IRS will begin accepting and processing federal tax returns. And this year, your stimulus check money may be tied to filling out your tax forms in two different ways. Congress and the IRS linked the first two direct payments to your taxes, and your filing status is equally important for a third stimulus check — even if you’re a nonfiler. For example, knowing how the IRS calculates the amount of money that you’re due can tell you if you should expect to receive a bigger or smaller check than before — or none at all.

We still aren’t totally sure how a third stimulus check will work alongside the timing for 2020 taxes, but there is a new proposal. The IRS also is using this year’s return (for taxes on your 2020 income) to make good on missing stimulus check money. Anyone who didn’t get a first or second stimulus payment can claim the money as a Recovery Rebate Credit, which the agency has built directly into the tax

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