Did you miss the November 21st Stimulus Check deadline? Here’s How You Can Still Claim $1,200 – Community News
Stimulus Check

Did you miss the November 21st Stimulus Check deadline? Here’s How You Can Still Claim $1,200

Nov. 21 was the IRS deadline for individuals who do not normally file a federal tax return to register for a stimulus check through the non-filer portal. Although the date has passed, those who have not registered should not despair as they will still be able to claim their economic impact payments in 2021.

Here’s how.

9 million non-filers qualify for $1,200 stimulus checks

160 million Americans received their first incentive check months ago, many with little to no effort. Most of these individuals received their payments based on federal income tax returns they filed in 2018 or 2019. For those who do not normally file a federal tax return, the IRS has created a no-filer tool on its website to allow eligible individuals to quickly register and receive their stimulus checks. In a recent report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that as of September 30, 2020, more than 5.4 million non-filers had successfully registered and received stimulus checks; as many as nine million others may have been entitled to an economic impact payment but did not register to receive it.

IRS Created a Non-Filer Stimulus Check Tool

To streamline the process, the IRS has created a no-filer tool that allows individuals to register for their stimulus payments for free. Individuals had to enter information and could choose to receive their payment electronically via direct deposit or as a paper check in the mail. The tool is specifically designed for Americans who normally do not file tax returns because they filed an individual income of less than $12,220, filed a married return with income less than $24,400, or had no income.

The IRS originally set an October 15, 2020 deadline to register using the non-filer tool, but eventually extended the deadline to November 21, 2020 to give individuals more time to apply. It also sends letters to the roughly nine million people urging them to use the tool and receive their stimulus payment. “The IRS has made an unprecedented effort to make sure people are aware of their potential entitlement to an Economic Impact Payment this year,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release. “We have taken this step [sending letters] to give more time to those who have not yet received payment to register to get their money, including those on low incomes and underprivileged communities,” he added.

The GAO report, issued Nov. 30, recommended that the IRS and the Treasury track and publicly report the number of individuals who received a letter and subsequently applied for and received an incentive payment. The report notes that Treasury agreed with the recommendation.

How to claim your incentive payment now

For eligible Americans who missed the November 21 deadline, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that you can still claim your stimulus payment. The bad news is that you will have to wait until 2021 and take extra steps to get your payment.

To claim incentive payments, which the IRS calls Economic Impact Payments or the Recovery Rebate Credit, individuals must file a tax return in 2021. The IRS has specifically stated that people must file a 2020 Form 1040 or 1040SR to claim the Recovery Credit.

Most individuals who missed the November 21 deadline to register for the IRS non-filer tool are eligible to file their 2020 tax returns using the IRS Free File program. The program allows individuals to prepare and file your federal income tax online for free. Individuals can use the IRS Free File program for their 2020 taxes if they earn less than $72,000.

Some people who had to register for stimulus checks using the non-filer tool may not have much experience or feel comfortable navigating the IRS Free File Program. Those individuals may be able to take advantage of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, where volunteers help prepare basic tax returns for qualified individuals at no cost. “VITA/TCE services are not only free, they are also a reliable and trusted source for preparing tax returns,” according to the IRS. “All VITA/TCE volunteers preparing returns must complete and pass tax law training that meets or exceeds IRS standards.” While many VITA sites are temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, hopefully it will be safe for some to reopen in time for tax filing in 2021.

The result

Missing the November 21 deadline to register for a stimulus check does not mean you will not receive payment. Individuals can still claim their economic impact payments, but will have to wait until 2021 and file a tax return.