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So many people are about to get $3,600 in new stimulus checks – are you one of them?

Published Apr 20th, 2021 11:45AM EDT
New stimulus check
Image: Roman Lipovskiy/Adobe

Here’s where we stand in the stimulus check disbursement process in the US at the moment: For a variety of reasons, as we’ve noted on more than one occasion now, a fourth round of stimulus checks stemming from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic is probably a pipe dream at this point. While a good argument can certainly be made in support of yet another wave of new stimulus checks, those payments would assuredly face an even tougher wall of political opposition than the last round of checks did. And President Biden, as well as his Press Secretary Jen Psaki, have said almost nothing about a fourth stimulus check at this point, either, which doesn’t bode well for them.

But here’s the good news: This discussion really boils down to semantics, because what is also certain is that a big chunk of American taxpayers are about to get something even better than a new one-time $1,400 check from the federal government soon. It’s a round of monthly payments that add up to $3,600 over the course of the year, and the new payments are set to kick off in July.

These payments are part of an expansion of the federal child tax credit that was included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that President Biden signed into law on March 11. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig confirmed in recent days that these monthly payments are set to begin in July — and whatever else you want to say about them, it’s hard to argue that the payments don’t count as a new recurring stimulus check for people (they’re just not labeled as such).

Here’s how eligibility for the payments breaks down: if you’re part of a married couple earning $150,000 in total or less, or are an individual making $75,000 or less, you’ll get $250 for each child between the ages of 6 and 17 from July through December for a total of $1,500 (6 months x $250). You’ll get $300 for each child under the age of 6. The balance of the $3,600 will come as a tax credit next year.

This is a big deal for the IRS because it puts the tax agency in the position of operating as something that’s altogether new for it. Up to this point, the IRS has basically been the most powerful (and, to some people, the scariest) collection agency in the US. It’s still that, but one that now joins the myriad federal government offices in doling out monthly payments to federal benefit recipients as well.

On a related note, this is why Rettig had to confirm recently that the child tax credit payments would start in July because it’s actually a massive undertaking for the IRS to get set up for this. A whole new online portal needed to be devised, and staff needed to be designated to this endeavor — which also comes at a very busy time for the agency, this being smack in the middle of tax season. And it’s a tax season that lasts a little longer than usual this year, since (again, because of the coronavirus pandemic) the deadline to file your federal tax return has been extended until May 17.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.