Questions and Answers about the First Economic Impact Payment — Topic C: Calculating My First Economic Impact Payment

This Topic is about the first Economic Impact Payment.
 

A1.Eligible individuals who file a joint tax return generally received up to $2,400 for themselves. All other eligible individuals  received up to $1,200 for themselves. Those with qualifying children received up to an additional $500 per qualifying child.

Eligible individuals don’t need a minimum income for the payment. However, for higher income individuals, the first payment amount was reduced by 5% of the amount that their adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds:

  • $150,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return
  • $112,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $75,000 for all taxpayers using the filing status of single or married filing separately

Update: In December 2020, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 increased the AGI phase out amount for a Qualifying Widow(er) from $75,000 to $150,000.  As a result, widows and widowers whose income was more than $75,000 should complete the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet to determine whether they may claim the additional amounts as a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit. 

The $1,200 first payment for eligible individuals with no qualifying children ($2,400 for married couples filing a joint return) was reduced to $0 once adjusted gross income reaches the following thresholds:

  • $198,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return
  • $136,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $99,000 for taxpayers using the filing status of single or married filing separately

Update: Qualifying widows or widowers whose AGI was more than $75,000 didn’t receive the full amounts of their first Economic Impact Payment. Those individuals may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return. Please refer to the Instructions for Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR for more information.

Each of these adjusted gross income limitation amounts increases by $10,000 for each additional qualifying child.

For example, because families with one qualifying child receive an additional $500 Payment, their $1,700 Payment ($2,900 for a married couple filing a joint return) will be reduced to $0 once adjusted gross income reaches the following thresholds:

  • $208,000 for taxpayers filing a joint return
  • $146,500 for taxpayers filing as head of household
  • $109,000 for taxpayers using the filing status of single or married filing separately

A2. No, the first Economic Impact Payment was not made to married couples filing joint returns unless both spouses had Social Security numbers valid for employment or at least one spouse was a member of the military. In December 2020, the COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 changed this requirement. As a result, a married couple filing a joint return is eligible for a partial 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit when only one spouse has a Social Security number valid for employment. If you and your spouse didn’t receive the first Economic Impact Payment because one of you did not have a Social Security number valid for employment, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a  2020 tax return to claim the credit.

A3. No, your child did  not receive the first  payment because you claimed her as a dependent on your 2019 tax return. She is not allowed a Recovery Rebate on her 2020 tax return if you or someone else can claim her as a dependent on your 2020 tax return.

However, if your child can’t be claimed as a dependent by you or anyone else for 2020, your child may be eligible to claim her own 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit.

A4. You did not receive an additional $500 for your mother because she is not your qualifying child under age 17. Your mother was not eligible to  receive her own payment because you claimed her as a dependent on your 2019 tax return. Your mother may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if she can’t be claimed as a dependent by  you or anyone else for 2020 and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit. Your mother will not be eligible for the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit if you or someone else can claim her as a dependent on your 2020 tax return.

A5. Payment amounts vary based on income, filing status and family size. For more information about eligibility, see  Topic A: EIP Eligibility.

  • If you filed a 2019 tax return, the IRS used information from it about you, your spouse, your income, filing status and qualifying children to calculate the amount and issue your payment.
  • If you had not  filed your 2019 return or it was not processed when the first payment was made, the IRS used the information from your 2018 return to calculate the amount and issue your first payment.

The IRS is not able to correct or issue additional payments, even if there have been changes to your 2018 or 2019 returns, or because your situation changed in 2020. This includes if: 

  • You amend your return by filing a Form 1040-X or Amended EIP return that makes you eligible for a larger amount; and/or
  • Your 2020 income is different than what it was when you filed your 2018 and 2019 tax returns.

If you didn’t receive the full amount of your payment, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return to claim the credit.

We mailed Notice 1444, Your Economic Impact Payment, to the address we had on file for you within a few weeks after the payment was made. Refer to the notice when you file your 2020 tax return to determine if you are eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit.  See Finding the Economic Impact Payment Amount to Calculate the Recovery Rebate Credit. 

A6. If you were claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return for 2019, you were not eligible for a first or second  Economic Impact Payment. If no one can claim you as a dependent for 2020 and you are otherwise eligible, you can claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, and must file a  2020 tax return to claim the credit.