Your chance to file a 2021 tax return on time is running out -- tax deadline day is Monday, April 18. It's also your final chance to claim any additional stimulus payments you might be eligible for.
The American Rescue Plan provided third stimulus check payments last year of up to $1,400 for each adult and child. If you didn't receive the full amount of your eligible money you'll need to claim the recovery rebate credit on your 2021 federal tax return.
To confirm the amount of your 2021 stimulus payments, use IRS Letter 6475, Your Third Economic Impact Payment, which was mailed to recipients earlier this year. It includes the full amount of your stimulus check money including "plus-up" payments.
Read on to learn what do if you didn't receive or lost Letter 6475, or if you never received the stimulus money the IRS claims it sent you. For more, learn how to get the rest of your child tax credit and how to track your tax refund after you've filed your return.
Why did I receive IRS Letter 6475?
According to the IRS, Economic Impact Payment letters include important information that can help you quickly and accurately file your tax return, including the total amount sent in your third stimulus payment.
This could include "plus-up" payments, the additional funds the IRS sent to people who were eligible for a larger amount based on their 2019 or 2020 tax returns, or information received from the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs or the Railroad Retirement Board.
Even though it is not taxable income, you still need to report any stimulus money on your IRS return. In 2020, the IRS received over 10 million returns that incorrectly reported stimulus money, according to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Retting, resulting in manual reviews and significant refund delays.
You may have already received a Letter 1444-C, which showed the amount you were paid and how it was delivered, but that's not what you want to use to prepare your 2021 return.
What do I do with the stimulus check letter?
If you are using a professional tax preparer, give them Letter 6475 along with all of your other applicable tax documents. If you're preparing your own return, use the amount shown in Letter 6475 in the Recovery Rebate Worksheet to determine if any credit applies. Then enter that credit on Line 30 of IRS Form 40.
The Recovery Rebate Worksheet is included in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and calculated automatically by tax preparation software.
"Having the wrong amount on your return could trigger a manual review," according to the H&R Block website, which could delay a refund for weeks.
How do I know if I'm eligible for more stimulus money?
All stimulus check payments ended on December 31, 2021. Most Americans received their full payments, but there are a few reasons why you may not have received as much as you are eligible for: If you had a baby or added qualifying children to your family in 2021, you're due another $1,400 for each additional kid.
Likewise, if your income dropped considerably last year, you could also be owed more money.
If you believe that you are eligible for more stimulus money than you received in 2021, the best tax software will calculate your recovery rebate credit automatically and include the amount of additional money on line 30 of your IRS Form 1040.
If you want to calculate your potential recovery rebate credit yourself, use the Recovery Rebate Credit Worksheet as directed in the IRS instructions for Form 1040.
What if I never received Letter 6475 or lost it?
If you never received a third stimulus check, the IRS didn't send you Letter 6475. If you were eligible and didn't get a payment in 2021, you can get those funds now by claiming the recovery rebate tax credit on your 2021 tax return.
If you did get a third stimulus check but never received Letter 6475 or you lost it, you can find the information about the amount of your economic impact payments using your online IRS account. After you log in, click the View Tax Records link and then the plus sign next to 2021 under Economic Impact Payment Information.
If you are married filing a joint tax return, you and your partner both need to log into your online IRS accounts and add the amount of your payments in order to calculate your full stimulus check payments for 2021.
What if Letter 6475 says that I received money, but I didn't?
First, the IRS recommends that you check your bank account records for 2021 to make sure. They particularly advise looking for deposits from the IRS in spring or early summer.
Next, check your online IRS account. The info on the IRS website will be more up to date than Letter 6475, particularly if a payment was returned. If your online account says that you received stimulus payments, but you didn't see the money, you should contact the IRS immediately to see if a payment trace is required.
What if I reported my stimulus money incorrectly?
If you've already filed your 2021 tax return and realized that you reported the wrong information for your stimulus check payments, do not file an amended return. The IRS says that it will correct any mistakes and send you a notification indicating the changes it has made to your return.
Even though you won't need to file an amended return, making a mistake when reporting stimulus money will definitely delay the processing of your return and any potential tax refund. As mentioned above, stimulus payment errors were one of the biggest reasons for IRS delays last year.
If, however, you filed your 2021 tax return and reported $0 for your recovery rebate credit and you do want to claim more stimulus money, you will need to file an amended return, using IRS Form 1040 X
Should I keep Letter 6475 after I file my taxes?
You should always save tax return-related documents, says Mark Steber, chief tax information officer at Jackson Hewitt: W-2s, interest statements and IRS letters are a good record of your account "in case anything comes along in the next two or three years," he says.
The IRS also advises keeping all documents related to income, deductions, credits and other tax items for at least three years.