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May 19, 2020, 1:41 p.m. EDT

‘My dad claimed me as a dependent on his 2018 return. I haven’t filed my 2019 return. Can I still claim $1,200?’ Answers to your stimulus check questions (Part 2)

Tax Guy answers reader questions about the $1,200 payments many Americans will receive under the CARES Act

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By Bill Bischoff


MarketWatch photo illustration/iStockphoto
Many Americans will receive $1,200 payments from the IRS — and many have questions about the money. The Tax Guy has answers.

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The feds are using the Internal Revenue Service to distribute so-called Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) to many Americans, also known as “stimulus checks.” Singles can receive up to $1,200, married couples can receive up to $2,400.

Minor kids under the age of 17 are worth up to another $500 each. However, EIPs are phased out at higher income levels — based on your 2019 Form 1040 if you’ve already filed it, or your 2018 Form 1040 if you have not.

The IRS is not currently processing 2019 paper returns. (IRS is apparently still processing 2019 electronically filed returns.) The agency is swamped with all the new COVID-19-related tasks it has been given. Worse yet, the IRS’s data processing systems were notoriously inadequate even before getting overwhelmed with all the new tasks.

Here are more answers to some of your questions received:

Q: I’m a 19-year-old college student. My dad claimed me as a dependent on his 2018 return. I have not filed my 2019 return yet. Can I get an EIP if I file my 2019 return right now and my dad does not claim me as a dependent on his 2019 return?

A: Yes. The real question is how long it will take the IRS to process your 2019 return and your dad’s 2019 return. In your situation, processing those returns is necessary to determine your eligibility for an EIP. As I said earlier, the IRS is not currently processing 2019 paper returns, so you could be in for a long wait. Make sure you supply automatic deposit information with your 2019 return. That will speed things up. We hope.

Q: I have not received my EIP, and I think I know why. I was claimed as a dependent on my parent’s 2018 return. I’ve already filed my 2019 return and received a refund. My parents already filed their 2019 return, and they already received their $2,400 EIP. Will I get my EIP?

A. Yes, assuming your parents did not claim you as a dependent on their 2019 return. If they did claim you as a dependent for 2019, you won’t get your rightful EIP until you’ve filed your 2020 Form 1040 next year, as explained in answer No. 3. However, as I said earlier, the IRS is not currently processing 2019 paper returns. If your 2019 return has not yet been processed, it could a while before you get your rightful cash. How long? Who knows?

Q: In 2019 I made too much money to be eligible for an EIP. Unfortunately, I was laid off in November of last year and given a severance package that put my 2019 income over the EIP phase-out threshold. Is there anything I can do to receive an EIP?

A: Yes, but not anytime soon. As explained in answer No. 3, you’ll receive your rightful EIP in the form of a tax credit that you can claim on your 2020 Form 1040, when you file it sometime next year.

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