Stimulus checks
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If You Received a Check From the IRS, It Isn't a Fourth Stimulus Check

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Jun. 4 2021, Published 1:21 p.m. ET

Were you recently surprised to receive extra money from the IRS? If you did get another check, it isn’t a fourth stimulus check. Why did some people get extra money?

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The extra payment you received is most likely a “plus-up” payment the IRS owes you from your recently filed 2020 tax return. 

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That’s right, the IRS owes you money. If the income reported on your 2020 tax return makes you eligible for more money from the third stimulus check than you already received, expect another check from the IRS. 

In the third stimulus check issued in March, households with an AGI (adjusted gross income) of up to $75,000 for individuals received the full $1,400 amount. That amount gets smaller for every $100 of income over $75,000 and disappeared entirely if you make over $100,000.

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However, if you made less in 2020 than in 2019 and are now under the $75,000 threshold, then the IRS will send you a “plus-up” payment for the amount it shorted you. 

For example, as an individual taxpayer, if you reported an AGI of $80,000 in 2019 and hadn’t filed your 2020 taxes before the IRS sent out the third stimulus check, your stimulus check would have been less than the full amount of $1,400. Then, you filed your 2020 tax return with an AGI of $60,000. The IRS will send you a check for the difference between what you already received and the full $1,400.

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The IRS started sending the supplemental payments last week. To date, the agency has made about 167 million stimulus payments totaling an estimated $391 billion.

Will there be a fourth stimulus check?

Although Congress is discussing the possibility of a fourth and maybe even fifth round of stimulus checks, there isn't any indication if that will become a reality. 

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In a May 17 letter to President Biden, seven Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee urged him to continue direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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“Direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance (UI) in particular have served as lifelines to families and workers that have had their lives upended by the pandemic. As we continue to Build Back Better, it is imperative that we work to ensure this critical relief remains available when they need it most,” the letter states. “A fourth and fifth check could keep an additional 12 million out of poverty.” 

An online petition calls for monthly stimulus checks.

There's also talk of the possibility of monthly stimulus checks. Over 2 million people have signed an online petition at to support $2,000 monthly stimulus checks until the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

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The idea of recurring payments also has the support of some in Congress. Over 80 members of Congress signed a letter to Biden on the matter. 

“The stunning financial crisis for those at the bottom of the income ladder demands massive relief to those who need it most. Recurring direct payments until the economy recovers will help ensure that people can meet their basic needs, provide racially equitable solutions, and shorten the length of the recession,” stated the letter, which was published by Politico in January.


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