9 weird stimulus check facts you'll definitely want to know
Stimulus checks are anything but straightforward, and even the smallest details matter.
Clifford ColbyManaging Editor
Clifford is a managing editor at CNET, where he leads How-To coverage. He spent a handful of years at Peachpit Press, editing books on everything from the first iPhone to Python. He also worked at a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWEEK and MacUser. Unrelated, he roots for the Oakland A's.
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But there are a lot of smaller, overlooked facts you want to watch out for, too. For example, did you know that there's a deadline for how long you have to cash a stimulus check? Or that a married couple could get two checks, each for half the amount they are due?
Instead of making you wait till you file next year to claim the missing amount, the IRS is making "plus-up" payments, starting this week. The IRS is automatically recalculating and then sending these plus-up adjustments, without your needing to request them in an amended tax return form.
Watch this: Stimulus check 3: How much money you'll get
If the IRS miscalculated your payment and overpaid you, you may be able to keep the difference
If your check was lost, stolen or destroyed, you can request a replacement
If you suspect your payment by paper check was lost, stolen or destroyed, you can start the process of receiving a payment by requesting a payment trace. You can also request a replacement for a lost EIP card.
Parents who share custody of a kid could both get money (for the first two checks)
With the first two payments, parents who aren't married and share joint custody of a child could each receive a payment for the same kid, if they alternated years claiming those children on their taxes. Congress closed off this loophole for the third check.
If you have a new dependent in 2021, they count toward your stimulus payment
The same goes for this year, too. If you had a baby in 2021 -- or adopted a child or added a dependent -- you can get a stimulus payment for that new dependent. You will need to wait until you file your taxes in 2022, however, to claim that money as a rebate credit.
Some are reporting, however, that the IRS calculated the amount of the third stimulus payment before applying the exclusion, resulting in either a smaller stimulus check than they qualified for or no check at all. If you suspect you fall into this group, double-check your calculation for how much you should receive. We've contacted the IRS for more information on what to do if this is your situation.
Married couples may get two checks
In some cases, the IRS said, married taxpayers who file a joint tax return may get their third payment as two separate payments. Half the amount may come as a direct deposit and the other half will go out in the mail. The checks could come within weeks of each other. The IRS suggests that each spouse check the IRS' Get My Payment app using their Social Security number for the payment status. We've contacted the IRS for more information.
For more details, here's how to calculate how much you'll get, everything you need to know about the third stimulus check and when you can expect your payment to arrive in your bank account or by mail.