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Did you already get your $1,400 stimulus check? The IRS might still owe you even more money

Published Mar 24th, 2021 2:53PM EDT
Stimulus check update
Image: Pamela Au/Adobe

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If you haven’t done so yet, while you’re waiting on a new stimulus check update to tell you when your $1,400 coronavirus relief payment from the Biden administration will arrive, here’s a basic calculator you can use to estimate how big your check will actually be.

It was prepared by Forbes, and it’s super easy to use. Just input things like your tax filing status and your income in 2020, and you’ll have an answer in seconds. As we noted yesterday, more than 90 million stimulus checks hit Americans’ bank accounts last week, in addition to the IRS simultaneously mailing out another 150,000 stimulus payments. Meantime, the IRS announced this week that more stimulus checks are being sent out today, which will help the IRS and US Treasury reach the goal of distributing 100 million payments within the first 10 days as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus legislation that President Biden signed into law in recent weeks. And here’s something else many taxpayers might not be aware of about the $1,400 checks — there’s actually a chance the IRS might owe some of you more stimulus money than you received.

Here’s what’s going on: If you’re part of a married couple and file your federal tax returns jointly, you might have not one but two stimulus payment installments coming your way. If, that is, you filed an “injured spouse claim,” which is something a taxpayer can file for if part of their tax refund is held back as a result of something like their spouse’s past-due debts.

We should stress that couples who find themselves in this boat are eligible for their full stimulus amount (which, as we’ve noted on multiple occasions, could range from the base stimulus check amount of $1,400 for both members of the couple, or even more money — depending on whether they have children). This comes into play when your spouse owes federal back taxes, or perhaps child support, or maybe has defaulted on a federal student loan. In that case, the couple can file a Form 8379 (that’s the injured spouse claim), and if the IRS grants the claim, some of the stimulus money won’t be re-routed to satisfy those spousal obligations mentioned above.

This issue is apparently acute enough that thousands of people formed a Facebook group called “Half Stimulus Missing/Received Status.” The group’s description reads: “With little being reported to help us figure this out, we can help each other until we find an answer.”

The IRS said this week that couples in this situation will get the full amount of the stimulus payment that they’re owed, it just may come in two installments. Meanwhile, check out some of our previous stimulus-related coverage for additional details about the payments, as well as when they’ll arrive:

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.

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