How the IRS Will Calculate Your Tax Return This Year


In some cases, you could also obtain a complementary payment or ‘plus-up’ in addition to your stimulus check.

Photo: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

This year the tax filing period was extended and will end on May 17. So how will the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) calculate how much money it owes you?

The federal agency will calculate your total based on the most recent tax return that you have processed by the time you are ready to calculate the amount of your third stimulus check.

If you know that your tax return has already been processed, your total will likely be based on your 2020 adjusted gross income, not your 2019 AGI. This could present some complications if the difference between the two years disqualifies you from getting a third stimulus check.

On the other hand, if the IRS uses your 2019 taxes and you are owed more money based on your 2020 AGI and the number of dependents you have increased, you could get an additional payment or ‘plus-up’. On the contrary, if you received an amount of money greater than what they owe you, you will only have to return it to the IRS in some cases.

Related: Forget the fourth stimulus check: four ways to get more coronavirus relief money

If you are retired or a beneficiary of Social Security:

Veterans who receive VA benefits and people who get SSDI and SSI benefits are already receiving stimulus checks sent by the IRS and the Treasury after a clerical error that prevented their distribution.

The delivery details of your check should now be available through the Get My Payment tool that the IRS has developed to track your check.

You may receive the stimulus check money by direct deposit using existing Direct Express cards if this is the way you normally receive benefits if you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020. Otherwise, the money could come to you by mail. The SSA has mentioned that Social Security beneficiaries such as SSI and SSDI groups will not receive an EIP debit card.

If you are a non-filing person and used the IRS non-filers tool before November 2020 to submit your information, you may already have your stimulus check in hand before other Social Security recipients.

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