4 significant reasons to file your taxes as soon as possible

The sooner you file your taxes, the quicker you can see that stimulus money.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Thinking of ready till the April 15 deadline to file your 2020 federal tax returns? Think once more as a result of there are 4 good reasons to cease procrastinating and file your taxes now — aside from vanquishing the stress of getting your taxes hanging over your head. Here’s a touch: Your taxes do way more this yr than decide the scale of your tax refund, if you happen to get one. They’re additionally an enormous think about calculating and receiving your stimulus check money.

Filing taxes could possibly be your ticket to lastly receiving the first or second stimulus payment if you happen to’re one of many tens of millions who qualified for a check but didn’t receive all the money. Or perhaps a clerical error or some other issue precipitated your verify to by no means arrive. Some individuals had issues with custody and child support or lacking cash for child dependents on the whole. Others had funds accidentally garnished. Filing your taxes as soon as possible may help you claim missing stimulus payment money ASAP, no matter why it wasn’t delivered.

About 8 million nonfilers will also have to file a tax return this yr to get their stimulus payment, however there are additionally advantages for the tens of tens of millions of people who’ll be eligible for a third stimulus payment of up to $1,400 per person — a stimulus check that may arrive sooner than you suppose. By submitting now, you can additionally set your self up so you do not have to wait until 2022 to claim any additional stimulus money from check No. 3. We’ll clarify what you want to know. And here is extra details about stimulus checks and your 2020 taxes and when it is time to contact the IRS or arrange a payment trace if your cash would not present up. This story was lately up to date.

4 reasons you will need to file your taxes early in 2021

Benefit 1: The earlier you file your taxes, the sooner you’ll get your tax refund (you’ll be able to estimate the total here). That’s one nice purpose to file early yearly.

Benefit 2: Since any lacking stimulus verify cash can be tied to your tax return this time round, submitting early will imply you get any lacking stimulus cash quicker, too. If you are owed a tax refund and stimulus cash, each will arrive as a part of the identical fee. For instance, as an instance your tax refund was $500 and your stimulus verify allotment was $500. You’d obtain one $1,000 fee from the US Treasury. 

(If you are on the hook for taxes however you are owed stimulus verify cash, the quantity you’ve gotten to fork over can be decreased. So, if you happen to have been to owe $1,000 in taxes and also you’re lacking $500 in stimulus verify cash, you’d owe $500 as an alternative of $1,000.)

Benefit 3: The likelihood to set up direct deposit with the IRS, or repair any errors. People with direct deposit accounts on file with the IRS have usually received their stimulus payments faster than these getting cash within the mail. We suspect the identical can be true with the third stimulus check of up to $1,400 per person (examine why the new check might be “targeted”).

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Stimulus verify No. 3: What you want to know


Benefit 4: You’ll stand a greater likelihood of getting your full fee if, as appears seemingly, there is a new stimulus verify in 2021. According to the latest proposal — which isn’t regulation — the IRS would base your third stimulus payment on your 2019 or 2020 taxes, whichever it has most lately on document. Any cash you aren’t getting as a part of the automated fee you’d have to claim a year from now on your 2021 taxes

So as an instance you made much less cash in 2020 than in 2019, otherwise you had a brand new child within the final yr, if the IRS calculates your sum primarily based on your 2019 life circumstances, you’d miss out on the remainder of the verify for a yr or extra, by the point it is processed.

When your tax refund and lacking stimulus verify may arrive is dependent upon while you file

Though you’ll be able to nonetheless technically file your taxes by mail and request a paper verify, the quickest means to get the cash you are owed is to file electronically and have funds deposited directly into your bank account. This yr, the IRS did not start processing tax returns until Feb. 12, making that the soonest you can have submitted your personal (April 15 is the final day to file). The IRS says 90% of filers will obtain their refunds in 21 days or sooner. 

The IRS says its Where’s My Refund tool will reflect the status of your refund inside 24 hours of submitting, which may embrace a affirmation that your refund has been issued. From there, it may take wherever from one to three days for the cash to seem in your checking account.

When to count on your tax refund

If you file on this date This is the soonest This is the newest
Feb 12 Feb 19 Mar 5
Mar 1 Mar 8 Mar 22
Apr 1 Apr 8 Apr 22
Apr 15 (final day to file) Apr 22 May 6
Oct 15 (final day with extension) Oct 22 Nov 5

Assuming seven days is the soonest you’d get your mixed tax refund-stimulus fee and 21 days is the longest, we have sketched out what a distinction submitting sooner reasonably than later may make. (There’s extra beneath on how to calculate how a lot cash you may get as well as to your tax refund.)

How to discover out if the IRS owes you a stimulus fee

To work out whether or not and the way a lot cash you are owed from a earlier spherical of stimulus checks, first you’ve gotten to decide how a lot you have been owed for every earlier fee, then subtract from that any quantity you already acquired. 

Here’s how to calculate the funds you have been owed:

Next, you will need to verify your checking account the place your funds have been deposited to decide the quantity you acquired. (If you acquired an EIP card, you’ll be able to verify the balance and transaction history here.) The IRS should’ve sent you a letter inside 15 days of issuing your stimulus verify, nevertheless it was issued, and that letter ought to point out how a lot cash you acquired. (Here’s what to do if you didn’t get the IRS notice.)

If you not have that letter, you’ll be able to use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool to assist you determine while you acquired the fee. It’ll additionally present you the final 4 digits of the checking account it was deposited in if it was deposited straight.

There’s additionally a type to assist you determine the quantity you are owed on page 59 of this PDF detailing directions for 1040 and 1040-SR tax kinds, but it surely’s a doozy to comply with.


If one in all your earlier stimulus checks was mistakenly decreased, you’ll be able to declare the distinction as a tax credit score while you file this yr.

Angela Lang/CNET

This is why the IRS may owe you cash, to start with

There are all types of reasons why the IRS may nonetheless owe you stimulus verify cash, together with:

To declare your lacking stimulus fee on your taxes, begin right here

The IRS requires you to fill out both form 1040 or 1040-SR if you happen to’re going to declare a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 taxes. Once you’ve gotten the quantity you are owed labored out, you will enter it on line 30 of both of these kinds. Yes, it is that straightforward.


The quickest means to get your cash is to file electronically and have the funds deposited in a checking account.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Here’s the way you may obtain your lacking stimulus verify cash

If you are due a refund from the IRS, it will embrace each your full refund quantity and no matter you are owed from the Recovery Rebate Credit. In different phrases, it will be greater. If, nevertheless, you owe the IRS cash, your Recovery Rebate Credit can be utilized to the debt. If the tax credit score is greater than you owe, you will obtain the distinction as a refund.

Here’s what to do if you’re a nonfiler, i.e. you will not be submitting taxes for 2020, and you are still owed a stimulus verify. If you’ve gotten youngster dependents, this information about the child tax credit may assist put more cash in your pocket. And here is how to find your adjusted gross income.

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