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You might be missing a stimulus check you should’ve received – here’s what to do

Published Feb 4th, 2022 3:31PM EST
IRS headquarters
Image: Pamela Au/Adobe

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Normally, an IRS letter showing up in your mailbox is the kind of thing that strikes dread in the heart of a taxpayer. However, a new communication is going out right now from the tax agency that not only shouldn’t scare you. For millions of Americans, it’s actually something crucial they’ll need in order to properly file their federal income tax return this year.

That’s because the letter contains details about stimulus check money you got last year. Which you’ll need to include on your tax return. And which could also help you get more of the stimulus benefit that you’re owed, if for whatever reason you didn’t get any or all of the third stimulus check last year. The same also holds true for the six child tax credit payments. But those are detailed in a separate IRS letter to be on the lookout for.

IRS letter 6475 (and 6419)

The two IRS letters are numbered 6475, and 6419. And here’s what you need to know about both.

The tax agency started issuing the first of those letters in late January. The purpose is to help stimulus check recipients determine if they are entitled to and should claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. Which they would get via the tax year 2021 tax returns that they file this year.

“Letter 6475 only applies to the third round of Economic Impact Payments that (were) issued starting in March 2021 and continued through December 2021,” the IRS says. It adds: “Most eligible people already received the payments. However, people who are missing stimulus payments should review the information to determine their eligibility and whether they need to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit for tax year 2020 or 2021.”

IRS letter 6419, meanwhile, started going out in late December and continued into January. Here’s a portion of the second letter from the IRS. “The letter will include the total amount of advance Child Tax Credit payments taxpayers received in 2021 and the number of qualifying children used to calculate the advance payments. People should keep this and any other IRS letters about advance Child Tax Credit payments with their tax records.”

Stimulus checks

IRS 1040 tax form with pen
An IRS 1040 income tax form is shown with a blue pen. Image source: Kenishirotie/Adobe

Importantly, the Recovery Rebate Credit we mentioned is only relevant to the third stimulus check last year. Specifically, to people who may have only gotten a partial amount. Or people who didn’t get their checks at all.

As for the expanded child tax credit? It was already set up in such a way that recipients would claim the remaining amount on their taxes this year. So, let’s say you’re missing one of the six monthly checks and never got it last year.

You’ll simply get a bigger second half of the child tax credit than most people will. But, again, everybody who received any of the six checks will be doing that same thing. Noting the amounts on this year’s tax return, and getting a corresponding additional rebate, accordingly.

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.