Third Stimulus Check Update: Why You Should File 2020 Taxes Early

Two parents with dependent check third stimulus check status

This article was last updated on February 26, 2020.

The Biden administration is working on a new $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, including a plan for a third round of stimulus payments. Based on what we know about the proposed plan, filing your 2020 taxes early will help ensure you get the correct amount as early as possible. 

Note: The bill has not yet been signed, and the information in this article is subject to change. Here is a look at what we know about the third stimulus payments so far. 

How much will the third stimulus be worth? 

According to the proposed plan, those who qualify for the stimulus could receive up to $1,400 per person in their household – including $1,400 for each dependent.  

As with the previous stimulus checks, the amount you’ll receive depends on your household AGI. The table below shows the new income thresholds for stimulus round three.  

Filing status Eligible for full amount (AGI)Stimulus phases out completely (AGI)
Single  Less than $75,000 $100,000 or more 
Head of household Less than $112,500 $150,000 or more 
Married filing jointly Less than $150,000 $200,000 or more 

Taxpayers making less than the minimum threshold could get the full stimulus check, while those earning above it will get a reduced amount. The stimulus fully phases out at $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for married couples. Above this limit, you will not receive a stimulus, and neither will your dependents. 

Who qualifies for the third stimulus checks? 

As with the first two stimulus payments, this third check will depend on your tax filing status, your AGI, and how many dependents you claim.  

Single taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 and married couples earning less than $150,000 are eligible for the full stimulus.  

The plan also calls for an additional $1,400 for each dependent in the household. There is no age limit for dependents this time, so college students and adult dependents would be eligible for the $1,400. 

Families with mixed citizenship (that is, at least one family member is a U.S. citizen) would also qualify. 

Is the third stimulus check amount based on my 2019 or 2020 taxes? 

According to the new proposal, the IRS and U.S. Treasury will look at your 2019 and 2020 tax returns to determine how much you will get. This is especially important for tax filers who did not qualify for the first or second stimulus payments, because if your income was lower in 2020, you may qualify for the third stimulus. Filing your 2020 tax return as early as possible helps to ensure you’ll see your payment without delay.  

When will my third stimulus check be delivered? 

It is not clear when the government will begin distributing the third round of payments or how you will be able to check the status of your third stimulus check. More information about the timing and delivery of stimulus checks will be available once the relief package is passed.  

 How will the third stimulus be delivered?  

The IRS will send payments by direct deposit, paper check, and prepaid debit cards. They will likely deliver your third stimulus the same way you received your tax refund (if you were owed one). 

To ensure you receive the stimulus payment by direct deposit, file your 2020 tax return and choose direct deposit for your refund delivery method. If you’ve received your refund by direct deposit in prior years, filing your 2020 return now gives you the opportunity to verify your bank account information (and make sure your mailing address is current, too).  

If you don’t have a filing requirement or you are not expecting a refund after you file, you can use the Get My Payment tool on the IRS website (when available) to enter bank information for direct deposit or your preferred payment method.

When the second stimulus checks were delivered, an IRS error caused some payments to be returned. This issue has been resolved and will not impact how your third stimulus is delivered. 

Does the third stimulus check get reported on 2020 tax returns? 

No. You will only provide information about the first and second stimulus check amounts on your 2020 tax return. The Recovery Rebate Credit for tax year 2020 is calculated based on the first two stimulus payments and does not account for the third stimulus.