Recovery Rebate Credit — Topic E: Receiving the Credit

A1. If you are eligible for a refund of your 2020 income tax, then, the amount you receive for the Recovery Rebate Credit will be included as part of your 2020 tax refund.  It will not be issued separately. You can check the status of your refund under Where’s My Refund? Generally, you will receive your refund within 3 weeks if you file electronically or 8 weeks if you mail your return. If the IRS identifies an error in your calculation for this (or anything else reported on your return), it could cause a delay while we make any necessary corrections.

A2. As of March 18, 2021, the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit amount will no longer be applied to past due federal income tax debts.

Generally, tax refunds are applied to tax you owe on your return or your outstanding federal income tax liability. If you are eligible for a 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, and your return reflects a tax refund –  the refund amount associated with the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit will not be applied to a federal income tax liability.

A3. Yes, the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit can be reduced to pay debts owed to other Federal government agencies (separate from federal income tax debt) as well as to state agencies. Keep in mind that the credit is part of your tax refund and your tax refund is subject to any offset.

A4. Generally, a credit increases the amount of your tax refund or decreases the amount of taxes owed. The amount you receive for the Recovery Rebate Credit will be included as part of your refund.

The fastest and most accurate way for you is to file is electronically where the tax software will help you figure your Recovery Rebate Credit. Visit IRS.gov/filing for details about IRS Free File, Free File Fillable Forms, free VITA or TCE  tax preparation sites in your community or finding a trusted tax professional.  

Anyone with income of $72,000 or less can file their Federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program. The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and have it direct deposited - contactless and free - into your financial account. You can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or mobile app for your direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers.

A5.  Claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on your tax return will not delay the processing of your tax return. However, it is important that you claim the correct amount. Any errors in the credit amount on your tax return will be corrected.  Your refund may be delayed while we make any necessary corrections.

The fastest and most accurate way for you is to file is electronically where the tax software will help you figure your Recovery Rebate Credit. Visit IRS.gov/filing for details about IRS Free File, Free File Fillable Forms, free VITA or TCE  tax preparation sites in your community or finding a trusted tax professional. The Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet in the Form 1040 and Form 1040-SR instructions can also help  determine if you are eligible for the credit.

Anyone with income of $72,000 or less can file their Federal tax return electronically for free through the IRS Free File Program. The fastest way to get your tax refund is to file electronically and have it direct deposited - contactless and free - into your financial account. You can use a bank account, prepaid debit card or mobile app for your direct deposit and will need to provide routing and account numbers.

A6. You may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit if you can establish in writing that the return was signed under duress, your signature was forged,  the return was filed without your consent, or you were not legally married at the end of the year on which the first or second payment was based. The first and second payments were generally issued based on information from the 2019 return, but were issued based on information from the 2018 return if a 2019 had not been filed or processed by the IRS when the payments were made.  

To show that you could not resist your spouse’s demands and signed under duress, you can provide written documentation to support your claim that the joint election was invalid. You can submit a separate return for the prior year if you had a filing requirement or provide a statement signed and sworn under penalties of perjury that you didn’t need to file a tax return for the prior year or that the return was filed without your consent.

A7. No, there is no provision in the law that would require individuals who qualify for a payment based on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns, to pay back all or part of the payment, if based on the information reported on their 2020 tax returns, they no longer qualify for the payment or would qualify for a lesser amount of the payment.