Stimulus check shake-up for dependents: Why the third payment could change everything

Who Congress thought-about a dependent for stimulus checks could dramatically change. Here’s the way it works.

Angela Lang/CNET

House Democrats are hammering away at President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal this week, with the aim of finalizing a invoice earlier than the finish of the month and sending it off to the Senate and eventually Biden for approval, earlier than federal benefits expire in March. Working on this quick timeline, lawmakers have already settled on the majority of particulars for a third stimulus check for up to $1,400, together with a number of main modifications to what dependents will qualify for money this time round. 

A change in eligibility to affect all various kinds of households, together with these with dependents who’re kids, young adults or older adult kinfolk. If Congress agrees to the modifications on the desk now, the new guidelines could usher in far more money for families with dependents this time round, assuming a third stimulus payment is approved, which appears doubtless. The total your family could receive may even doubtless rely closely on the final result of a current debate to make the third check more “targeted.”

We’ve obtained all of the new particulars to carry you in control on the stimulus check qualifications for your loved ones, together with the best way to receive missing stimulus money if you file your federal taxes this year and who the IRS counts as an adult for stimulus checks. This story is continuously up to date.

Will a third stimulus payment change who counts as a certified dependent? It appears doubtless

For the first and second stimulus checks, certified dependents had been outlined as anybody age 16 or youthful. Each dependent counted towards a flat charge in the household whole, with no cap on the variety of youngster dependents claimed. That was $500 for the first check, permitted in March, and $600 for the second, which was permitted and despatched in December.

The latest proposal (PDF) would earmark an extra $1,400 per youngster dependent, to be added onto the checks of their dad and mom or guardians. For the first time, 17-year-olds and grownup dependents (anybody 18 or older) would even be eligible for a payment as a part of this plan, in accordance with the Post. This group would come with around 13.5 million faculty college students, older adults and youngsters of all ages with sure disabilities. 

The House of Representatives is predicted to start the strategy of bringing a third check to a vote by Feb. 22.

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Stimulus check No. 3: What you’ll want to know


Another means the third stimulus check could change the eligibility guidelines

In addition to opening up the definition of a dependent to all ages, Biden’s $1,400 stimulus check proposal additionally seeks to include all mixed-status families. This could doubtlessly imply that households with noncitizen dad and mom however citizen kids (who had been born in the US, for instance) can be eligible for stimulus cash. 

The second check made it doable for households with one citizen mum or dad to obtain a payment, and the first stimulus check blocked all households with one noncitizen partner in the event that they filed collectively, even when they claimed a US citizen dependent. The identical restriction utilized to a noncitizen head of family who claimed a US citizen youngster as a part of the earlier tax return. Here’s what to learn about citizenship and stimulus checks.

How an replace to the Child Tax Credit could carry your loved ones extra money, too

House Democrats are additionally engaged on a plan as a part of Biden’s proposal that would offer as much as $3,600 per youngster to tens of millions of American households as an enlargement of the Child Tax Credit. The proposal would supply $3,600 per youngster underneath age 6, and $3,000 per youngster as much as age 17 over the course of a 12 months, for households that qualify. Payments would start phasing out for people who make greater than $75,000 and married {couples} who make greater than $150,000. If the enlargement is a part of the invoice, funds would begin getting despatched month-to-month in July, in accordance with the Washington Post


Stimulus check whole could dramatically rise for some folks, with the third payment.

Sarah Tew/CNET

All the methods your dependents could change the quantity of your loved ones’s third stimulus payment

Dependents don’t receive their own stimulus checks, however they will add funds to the family’s whole. Children 16 years and youthful who you claimed in your final tax submitting added a flat charge of $600 to the household’s second check. That’s $100 extra per dependent than in the first spherical of funds. The whole sum of money allotted in any of the three stimulus funds would rely in your adjusted gross income, which you may also discover in your taxes.

If the present proposal turns into legislation, a third stimulus check could add an extra $1,400 per dependent of any age to the family’s whole. It appears doubtless the new stimulus funds will be targeted to households with a sure revenue threshold. 

Under the current proposal (PDF), people with incomes as much as $75,000 would get the full $1,400 payment. Heads of households incomes as much as $112,5,00 would additionally qualify. Married {couples} with earnings as much as $200,000 would get a $2,800 payment. As was the case in the first and second spherical of checks, the extra you make above that threshold, the much less stimulus cash you’d be eligible for, for your self and your dependents. 

However, the means the stimulus check formula presently stands, the quantity you get is probably not so simple as including up everybody in your family — and that is due to that sliding scale simply talked about. But in a change this time, dependents wouldn’t carry some households a partial payment the place they in any other case may not get any in any respect. Read more about that here and see for your self with our $1,400 stimulus check calculator.

What’s the distinction between who counts as a dependent for taxes and for stimulus funds?

In phrases of federal tax laws, a dependent can fall into two classes: a qualifying youngster or a qualifying relative. They do not should be kids, or straight associated to you, however they do have to fulfill sure necessities set out by the IRS. 

To be claimed as a dependent in your taxes, a qualifying child have to be both youthful than 19 years previous, or a scholar youthful than 24 years previous at the finish of the calendar 12 months. If, nevertheless, your youngster is what the IRS calls “permanently and totally disabled,” you’ll be able to declare them as a dependent regardless of their age. 

To declare a qualifying relative — both a toddler or an grownup — as a dependent, they need to meet different IRS standards. This may embody an aged relative who depends on you for care. (Find out extra about what older adults need to know about stimulus checks, together with those that could also be qualifying relative dependents.)

Even if a dependent was claimed in your tax return, solely individuals who meet a particular definition of “child dependent” had been eligible to count toward the household’s money from the first spherical of stimulus checks because of the necessities of the CARES Act. The identical was true for the second spherical underneath the December $900 billion law: The youngster dependent have to be age 16 or underneath as of your 2019 tax return to qualify for any payment. 

However, as talked about, the present proposal into consideration for a third check would make dependents of all ages, together with younger adults and older adults, eligible so as to add as much as $1,400 every to the family’s whole. 

Where are my dependents listed on my federal tax return?

If you filed taxes in 2018 or later, you will discover your dependents listed on form 1040, US Individual Income Tax Return. In the center of the first web page, you will see a field labeled Dependents. Dependents, together with their Social Security quantity, relationship to you and whether or not they qualify for a toddler tax credit score or credit score for different dependents, might be listed there. 


Find your dependent in your 2019 tax kind 1040.


What occurs if I now have extra dependents than I did on my final tax return?

If a toddler was born or adopted into your loved ones in 2020 and subsequently not listed in your 2019 tax return, you’ll be able to claim your child on your 2020 tax return to get the $500 dependent stimulus payment from the CARES Act or the $600 payment from the new invoice someday in 2021. 

You may discover out if you happen to can claim a child or another relative as your dependent in your taxes with this tool from the IRS

What if my partner and I share custody of a dependent however file tax returns individually?

In this case, a toddler can nonetheless solely be claimed as a depending on one return in a tax 12 months. To discover out who ought to declare the youngster on their return, check out the IRS data on Qualifying Child of More Than One Person.

What if I’m divorced or legally separated, however cut up custody of a kid?

Here’s the place issues can get complicated. A toddler can solely be claimed as a dependent by one taxpayer for a tax 12 months. Typically, the youngster counts as the dependent of the custodial mum or dad — the mum or dad who the youngster lived with for the longer time period throughout the 12 months, even when monetary assist got here from the different mum or dad. However, this is not all the time the case. Find out more from the IRS right here.

One case that has cropped up with the first check has been dad and mom who aren’t married and have joint custody and alternate years through which they declare every dependent youngster (or kids) on their tax returns. In that case, both parents were eligible under the CARES Act to receive $500 per child (for a complete of $1,000 per youngster between them each). 

Here’s how that works: If you’re a mum or dad who did not declare your youngster in your 2019 return, if you file your 2020 tax return, you could possibly declare as much as an extra $500 per youngster on that return, if you happen to qualify to say the youngster as your qualifying dependent for 2020. 

Bottom line? A mum or dad with 50/50 custody of a number of kids who did not obtain a $500 payment per youngster as a part of the stimulus package deal can get that cash together with their tax refund after submitting 2020 taxes (in 2021), no matter whether or not or not the different mum or dad obtained that payment for the identical kids in the first spherical of checks. Because these funds are basically tax credit, they do not need to be repaid to the IRS, even when each (once more, not married to one another) dad and mom find yourself with a check for the identical kids. 

We do not but know if these guidelines will change with a third stimulus check. (You can learn our story about how stimulus checks impact child support payments here. And this is more information from the IRS about the qualifying youngster of multiple individual.)

What if I’ve a dependent with a incapacity?

This is one space the place the {qualifications} diverge for stimulus checks and taxes. If you might have a toddler dependent with disabilities whom the IRS defines as “permanently and totally disabled,” they will nonetheless rely as a toddler dependent in your tax return, no matter their age. The IRS says your youngster falls underneath this class if both of the following apply:

  • “They can’t engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a physical or mental condition.”
  • “A doctor determines the condition has lasted or can be expected to last continuously for at least a year or can lead to death.”

The rule has been totally different for stimulus checks to this point. Children who’re disabled and aged 17 years or older will not be eligible for the $600 allotted to youngster dependents, except they had been aged 16 or youthful in your 2019 tax return. However, it seems this rule could change with a third stimulus check. 

What ought to I do if one among my dependents has died?

With the first check, if a toddler dependent who was listed in your final tax return has since died, it is doubtless you had been nonetheless despatched the further $500, and that they’d be included in a second stimulus payment too. However, a payment made to somebody who died earlier than they obtained it needs to be returned to the IRS. You additionally can’t declare a stillborn youngster as a dependent, in accordance with the IRS. 

For extra data, listed below are all the particulars we learn about to this point a few third stimulus check. If you continue to have not gotten your first or second check, discover out how to claim a missing payment and be taught how to report your missing check to the IRS.

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