Washington (CNN)Low-income Americans who aren’t usually required to file taxes could be leaving a lot of money on the table if they don’t file a 2020 return thanks to changes made by the latest pandemic relief package.
Many may still be waiting on a stimulus payment because the Internal Revenue Service didn’t have their information on file. Plus, the expanded child tax credit means that families could be sent more money this summer — but only if they file a return.
Accessing those benefits is the reason the IRS wants everyone to file this year, even though people with income under a certain threshold aren’t required to do so because they won’t owe any tax.
This year, tax returns are due Monday, May 17 — a month later than usual due to the pandemic. But if a tax filer doesn’t owe any money, there is generally no penalty for a late filing within three years of the due date. There’s still time to file a 2019 return and possibly receive additional tax credits from that year, too.
Claim a missing stimulus check, or extra cash
The federal stimulus money sent to millions of Americans over the past year is tax-free, but filing a 2020 return could help the estimated 8 million people who may have been eligible for a payment but missed out because the IRS had no way of reaching them.
An online portal that allowed them to input their bank account information is no longer available — but they can file a 2020 return and claim the refundable Recovery Rebate Credit to receive the money. More than 2 million people have already gotten a new stimulus payment by filing a 2020 return, according to the IRS.
Even those who did receive a stimulus payment could be eligible for more money once they file their 2020 return. Because stimulus checks were calculated using 2018 or 2019 income, those who lost their job in 2020 or otherwise saw their income fall from the year before may be able to claim some extra cash on their return and receive what the IRS is calling a “plus-up payment.”
Families could be eligible for more cash this summer
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