Stimulus Payments and the Recovery Rebate Credit

Early last year, many U.S. taxpayers, including those living abroad, received an Economic Impact Payment (“stimulus payment”). The IRS and the Treasury Department started delivering a second round of stimulus payments during the last week of December. In most cases, those who are eligible will receive a payment automatically.

Eligibility for the second round of payments

If you’re a U.S. citizen, living in the U.S. or abroad, you may be eligible for $600 if you have a valid U.S. social security number (SSN) and your adjusted gross income does not exceed $150,000 if your filing status is ‘married, filing jointly’ or $112,500 if your filing status is ‘head of household’. In addition, you may be eligible for $600 for each qualifying child.

Payment Status

Taxpayers can check online, on the IRS’ website, whether their second stimulus payment was sent. You can also check the payment type: direct deposit or mail. The IRS will make direct deposit payments to taxpayers who have valid routing and account information on file. Other taxpayers will receive their payment by mail.

What if you did not receive the full stimulus payment?

The IRS advises taxpayers that don’t receive the full stimulus payment should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible. In other words, if you’re eligible for the stimulus payment, but haven’t received it, you can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.

The stimulus payment was an advance of the recovery rebate. The IRS figured the payments based on information from 2018 and 2019 tax returns. However, the Recovery Rebate Credit is figured based on the tax year 2020 information shown on the 2020 tax returns filed in 2021. If your income dropped in 2020, you can claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.


If we prepared your U.S. tax return, and you have questions about economic impact payments or the Recovery Rebate Credit, please contact us.